What Is a Friend? ‘Girls’ Wants to Know
With single Marnie living with her mom, Shoshanna living it up and Hannah and Adam reunited, Girls‘ double season premiere episodes “Females Only” and “Truth or Dare” seem to pose the question: what is a good friend? Can someone be a good friend to the one they love and an utter terror to himself and other people? Are terrible instincts about friendship more detrimental than begrudging friendship floating on top of a bubbling cauldron of rage? “Females Only” starts with Adam’s erstwhile fling Natalia (Shiri Appleby) and her buddy Angie (played to raging shiska perfection by Amy Schumer) confronting Adam and Hannah during a chance coffee shop meeting. The ladies dress him down for blowing off Natalia, fake a pregnancy, drag Hannah into Natalia’s rant – you name it. “You two should enjoy your urine-soaked life, fuck you, like the two feral animals you both are,” Natalia shouts into Hannah’s cringing face. Hey, tell Hannah something we don’t know! Ah yes, Adam is terrible. Now I remember.
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From that moment on, however, we are systematically walked through all the very charming, exceedingly endearing aspects of Adam. He makes sure Hannah takes her OCD medication, which seems to have helped her finish her eBook to her editor David’s (John Cameron Mitchell) delight. While Adam initially gripes about having dinner with Shoshanna and Marnie, he not only nuts up and does it, he offers some extremely kind words to Marnie, who has started to spiral out after her break-up with Charlie, who is unfortunately doing fine and not suffering from a personality changing brain tumor. While Marnie played a minor role in this week’s episodes, I’ve never liked Alison Williams more than as a depressed, taco-masticating loser forced to move him to Mom (Rita Wilson.) I hope she spends the entire season there, being berated by her wonderful, insane mother.
“You will be aware, and you won’t hurt or be afraid,” Adam promises Marnie about finding love. Ah yes! This is why Hannah puts up with the indoor boat building and the volatility and the constantly bare asses on all of her cloth surfaces. Adam might not look out for himself, but he does look out for Hannah. The only problem with this careful, deliberate love fest for Adam is that Hannah doesn’t at any point seem phased by Natalia’s extremely on-point rant about how odious Adam was to her. Hannah don’t care if Adam was a dick! Instead of losing her mind over it (as most human beings would), she praises Adam for putting up with her friends, and doesn’t hesitate to assume that he will rent a car for her and Shoshanna to pick up Jessa from rehab at the end of “Females Only.”
Oh right, Jessa’s in rehab. While she voluntarily checked herself in, Jessa apperently takes no greater delight than picking apart the Calvins and females Franks that populate the facility. Jessa befriends Jasper, a middle-aged British chap who both calls out and enables her daddy issues (and her daddy’s daddy issues and the daddy issues of his daddy before him and so forth and so on.) While I probably don’t have to tell you that Jasper turns out to be a creeper desperate to fuck Jessa, Jessa also uses sex to get under the skin – and inside the pants – of nascent lesbian Laura (Danielle Brooks). “I feel like you’re using being molested as an excuse,” Jessa smirks during group therapy. “I just feel you’re just being whiney.” A couple scenes later, their cunnilingus is so loud, a bunch of people burst into their room and discover them. (Been there, ladies!) While Jessa might be pleased to have been right about Laura after all, she’s still no closer to addressing her actual problems, which seem myriad and obscure. “I dare you to tell us how you feel,” a member of Jessa’s group therapy demands. Dare request denied!
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Which takes us to “Truth or Dare,” in which Hannah, Shoshanna and Adam spend an emotionally taxing road trip fetching Jessa. While throughout both episodes Adam’s acts of kindness are clearly laborious if genuine, the flip side of Adam’s coin is Hannah’s blasé attitude towards pretty much everything, from Jessa’s addiction to leaving her computer light on when Adam is trying to sleep. When Adam deigns to hang out with her friends, Hannah flat-out refuses to hike during an impromptu stop. While Hannah is happy picking up her friend at a moment’s notice, Adam points out that signing Jessa out of rehab is incredibly detrimental to his health, an excellent point considering the fact Adam is himself an alcoholic. Hannah don’t care. She writes and writes and hopes to encounter some interesting characters or dilemmas on their trip – another Puerto Rican Jew with an extremely unfortunate case of kidney stones perhaps, or a donut that cures nausea or a carpenter to pry her head out of a $14 rocking chair Shoshanna picks up during their journey. Even Shoshanna loves Adam. “You’re like so dementedly helpful,” she chirps as he walks her through the words like a goddamn saint. I love Shoshanna, and no one should be forced to be sexiled in a motel hallway with a bag of Chex Mix she cannot even eat as she was, but dear god – they were cranking her Shoshanna-ness up to 11.
Perhaps they felt they had to do a lot of work to redeem Adam after the whole depressing, hollow, aggressive sex scene with Natalia last season. Maybe they thought the shirtless heroics of last season’s finale just weren’t enough. Maybe future events will make these episodes necessary, and it’s of course heartening to see the ways in which Adam takes care of Hannah. But honestly, she doesn’t seem to have a doubt in her head whether she should stay with him. By the end of “Truth of Dare,” when Adam offers to accompany a newly released Jessa to A.A. meetings (implying both that he values Jessa as Hannah’s friend and intends to work on his sobriety) it’s like, we get it. Everyone loves Adam. Or at the very least, they are both donkeys.
Adam assumes that Hannah’s desire to save Jessa is rooted in a “vortex of guilt and jealousy” inherent in all female friendship. He wishes! What a beautiful, simple explanation that would be. No, it seems clear that Hannah is just like this, lying in the leaves in the forest with her underwear out, listening to the nasal, dulcet tones of “This American Life” rather than experience life along with him. Even after finding out Jessa technically did not need a ride and their road trip was for nothing, Adam is clearly onboard. Until next week, of course, because these people’s feelings can change like the wind.