I know the subject is still totes verboten, but what if Lena Dunham’s depiction of her body is basically the point of her creative endeavor? Or at least the most important part of her creative endeavor as it relates to the constant discussion we’re all having about television right now? Does that sound like an overstatement? If that sentence made your butthole clamp shut with fury, you’re probably going to want to stop reading my recap, because I have a lot of THOUGHTS and FEELINGS on the subject.
Before I get into the marathon nipple-thon Dunham ran this evening, however, can we talk about her delightful critique of women-targeted websites and the personal revelations a freelancer must write about in order to make a measly buck in this dirty town? Hannah stops by for an interview at JazzHate (Right? That’s what it said on the wall), an XOJane knock-off edited by an intense blond named Jame. “You don’t look seem that fancy,” she smirks before offering Hannah $200 an article. Guys, that’s fancy money as far as I’m concerned. The catch is that Hannah is basically required to peel back the layers of her individual privacy and expose her vulnerable inner nugget to the world, preferably in a story containing group sex or drug use that people will actually click on. The whole concept makes me think of XOJane’s Cat Marnell, but the idea of researching that whole saga enough to make a compelling argument about a possible connection makes my bones weary, so I’m just not going to do it. I ain’t making Hannah-style money for these recaps, if you get what I’m saying.
And so Hannah decides to do coke for the first time to have something to write about. “The reason I’ve never done it before is because I have weird nasal passages,” she explains. Excited to finally write a story that “exposes all of my vulnerabilities to the internet” like so many young writers before her, Hannah introduces herself to her building’s resident junkie, Laird. We soon learn Laird is in recovery and conflicted about playing a part in another person’s drug use. Luckily he’s also a creepy stalker with a crush on Hannah, so he gets her some cocaine anyway. “Um, how much can you guys hear me upstairs? ‘Cause I can hear you,” Laird says and smiles creepily. His investment in Marnie’s departure from their apartment was such a great, disturbing detail. “You have different magazine subscriptions and different schedules,” he says with a sympathetic nod. Yikes.
Speaking of Marnie . . . let’s talk about Alison Williams for a second, shall we? Maybe I’m late to the party on this one, but it’s slowly dawning on me that either the show is craftily underwriting Marnie in preparation for her total meltdown, or Alison Williams . . . how should I put this? . . . is more of a novice to the craft of acting than everyone else on the program. Right? She’s kind of stiff and blank a lot of the time? Shoshanna and Jessa appeared in tonight’s episode for roughly 45 seconds, meaning we had a whole lot of Marnie on our hands.
While working her hostess job, she runs into Booth, that artist who last season told her he was a man and knew how to “do things” before running away from her on the Highline. Haha, looks like we’re about to learn what those “things” are! Turns out, they are having sex while lying completely flat on top of Marnie while demanding she look at and narrate the inner emotional life of an antique doll. “How is she feeling?” Booth pants. “She’s feeling . . . sassy?” Marnie ventures. So, just as I had guessed, the only thing that separates the men from the boys is a sexual fixation on an off-putting porcelain homunculi.
The visual of that scene was excellent, as were the numerous details offering us insight into Booth’s inner workings. (“What’s the blood made out of?” Marnie ponders as she examines his dollhouse sculptures. “Oh, it’s blood,” he replies.) Marnie’s inner workings, on the other hand, continue to be a mystery to me. Their sex scene is paralleled by Marnie’s journey into the video tower, where her motionless face hides what turns out to be total awe at the experience. “What the fuck, man?” she gasps after being forced to watch babies and maggots on a howling loop. “You’re so fucking talented.” There is literally no way we could have known that without her explaining out loud how she felt. Marnie’s face is almost always set to “Annoyed” or “Unreadable.” Now, I certainly don’t mind one of the show’s characters being more opaque than Hannah. I just don’t know if that’s the show’s intent, or what purpose it serves. Obviously Marnie’s got some stuff going on if she’s letting strange artists lock her in an installation and blow loads inside her (Right? Since he asked if she’s on the pill right before he came?), and I just wish we had a better idea of what that stuff was.
But back to Hannah’s coke adventure, which due to human decency starts at some point after 4:00 p.m. “I’m going to get married wearing a veil,” Hannah yammers excitedly before scrawling her life goals on the wall in marker. “I want to learn to write a check properly.” As the night descends, she and Elijah head to a club to dance to the DJ stylings of Andrew Andrew, a pair of Genesis P-Orridge-style fun guys, and to confirm their own genius. “My greatest dream is to have sex with myself,” Hannah shouts. “It is also my worst nightmare.” I personally felt that all the coke scenes were an excellent depiction of the combination of youth and substances that convinces you that everything you say is a string of golden words sent directly from the mind of God, when in fact you are merely sweating and babbling over a toilet seat. “Are you kidding? Are you a mind reader?” Hannah gasps when a fellow dancer gives her his mesh shirt to wear. Hannah’s boobs are out the rest of the episode, which brings me back to my larger point about the centrality of Lena Dunham’s body, and how much she wants us to see to it in all its sweaty, frantic, average beauty. Beyond just showing off her nakedness as she dances maniacally, hair matted, unfettered titties flopping free, Hannah’s slow-motion coke rock to “I Love It” seemed like a big fuck you to the haters sputtering and flushing over her success. Or at least I enjoyed it as such.
It goes without saying that their drugged-out evening ends with Elijah blurting out that he had sex with Marnie. “Did you fuck her like in a sexual way?” Hannah screams before dousing her head in the club’s bathroom sink. “Like Rizzo says in Grease, there are worse things I could do,” he scoffs. Jeez, this guy. Despite the unfairness of her expectations (“Elijah, I was meant to be your last!” she cries), Elijah is just a real tool about the whole thing. “When did you eat jerky?” he asks, cringing after Hannah surprises him with a kiss. “That is not any concern of yours,” she spits. What kind of person would then let Hannah drag him (and Laird, who has apparently been stalking them this entire time) to Booth’s apartment to chew out Marnie? “You’re the bad friend,” Hannah snarls at her stunned best friend, before demanding that her other best friend move out. Having successfully alienated those closest to her, a seething Hannah propositions Laird in the hallway of her apartment building. Lord, can someone get Donald Glover back up in here? If Hannah’s types are destined to be “black Republicans” and “total psychos,” I would like more of the former so we can take a break from the latter. “It’s just for tonight though, for work,” Hannah tells a trembling Laird, in case you thought for a second we’re supposed to sympathize with her at all after watching her vitriolic, braless emotional rampage. Can’t say I blame her! Gotta get that rent money, girl. Haters will always hate.
Last Week: I’m 100% Not Getting Weird