After riding shotgun for most of the second season, Hannah took a bit of a backseat last week as the rest of the Girls and their problems were very much the focus of "It's A Shame About Ray." The resulting episode was fantastic, surely one of the highlights of the series, with Shoshanna's titular discovery, Marnie playing, uh, party (slash relationship) crasher and Jessa's marriage falling apart all seamlessly stitched together, not to mention each balancing perfectly between hilarious and heart-wrenching. It's no knock on Lena Dunham, you know, since she creates it all, but the best instalments of the still young show seem to occur when it operates as a full-on ensemble dramedy. And right when the rest of the Girls (and boys) were finally getting some screen time, "One Man's Trash" brought Hannah back to the forefront, delivering perhaps the most singular and least successful stories so far, certainly when compared to the rest of this stellar season.
"You're just going to make a rash sexit like that? What the fuck you guys looking at? Go back to your panda videos or I'll turn off the wifi."
It will actually be interesting to see if the events of "One Man's Trash" are ever brought up again by Hannah or alluded to by the series in any way because everything after the initial encounter in Grumpys seems to occur in a different world. The surreal marital situation with guest star Patrick Wilson, the matching bookends (Hannah coming and going, dropping another bag of trash) and, especially, the Mothersbaugh-ish music all contributed to a dream-like atmosphere and an episode of Girls that played more like an artistic exercise than a naturally progression of the series. And I think this trying too hard to be special presentation was what bugged me more than anything, probably more than the episode focussing solely on Hannah and her issues. "One Man's Trash" opens with a great scene that takes place in, uh, reality, with Ray and a handsome neighbor getting into a heated exchange over Grumpy's garbage ending up in his cans.
"Whether I was lying or whether I was telling the truth, something is broken inside of me."
Ray, the self-proclaimed loser, takes the opportunity to exert his limited power and gives the man a hard time, not only driving the latter out but also putting Hannah in pursuit. Oh. Guess who was putting the garbage in handsome neighbor's trash cans? Well, the guilt or the handsomeness (or some supernatural force, perhaps a dream) brings Hannah to Joshua's doorstep to confess and she ends up spending a few days. You know, as you do. After the two share some lemonade and bodily fluids, it's time for a sweet steak dinner and to learn that the dream man happens to also be separated. Of course, when asked why he and the wife split, his 'boring stuff like that' explanation doesn't satisfy the drama queen in Hannah and she continues to question why she's there and/or if she's actually wanted even though they seem to be having a great time. The fun continues through the following day when both of the them call in sick and spend the day playing nude ping pong and having sex all while Hannah continues to question her good fortune. Or just her life in general.
"I just want to feel it all. You know?"
The wonderful day comes to an end after our heroine faints in the luxurious shower and realizes, while having her head rubbed, she's tired of being unhappy and lonely. Spending time with Joshua, being showered with affection and shown a (seemingly) grown-up life, makes her realize how maybe she's just not hardwired for happiness no matter how much she might want to have it. That she's this conflicted mess of emotions, who wants all the things, especially someone who won't shy away from her honesty even if it comes across as more than a little crazy. And self-centred. And unrealistic. The brief romance comes to an end right pretty much on the spot, if it existed at all, and the next morning Hannah, dressed in the same clothes, makes her way back the same way she came. The exercise is over and the curtain drops on the Neil Simon-esque play awkwardly stuck in the middle of Season 2. I wonder what the rest of the characters were up to?
Girls returns with Episode 6 "Boys," next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Created by Lena Dunham, the series stars Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Allison Williams, Adam Driver, Christopher Abbott and Andrew Rannells.