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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Girls, "Bad Friend"

Season 2, Episode 3 

Grade: B

Verdict: This is an episode of everyone behaving badly. Marnie completely loses her spine, Hannah's narcissism peaks, and Elijah is as clueless as ever. This is a "heavy" episode that pushes the limits of making us like self-involved characters, but shows us the writers have what it takes to handle non-comedic material.


If I had to think of a single word to describe this week's episode of girls, I would pick "powerful." It packed a huge punch and changed tones drastically from the previous two weeks, which relied on comedy and idiosyncrasies.


In "Bad Friend," Hannah takes on freelance work for an online publication. The editor tells Hannah to step out of her comfort zone, nonchalantly suggesting threesomes or cocaine. Hannah latches on to the idea of having a new, profound experience and decides to ask Laird, the junkie who lives downstairs, to hook her up with cocaine. Laird, who admits to admiring Hannah's clever wi-fi passwords like "Madam Ovary," says he's cleaned up, but reluctantly agrees to get her the drugs.

Meanwhile Marnie has started her new job as a hostess, which involves being grabbed at by old, rich men. While working she sees Booth, a young artist who showed work at the gallery of her former employer. Booth essentially orders Marnie to leave work during her shift to have sex with him, and Marnie agrees. They go back to Booth's place and he locks Marnie up a cage made of TVs that depict crying babies and decomposing animals, set to the tune of "I am Barely Breathing." They later have bizarre sex, during which Booth orders Marnie to look at a doll and describe the doll as looking sad.

Hannah and Elijah go out to a club while on cocaine, and this is the part of the episode I loved. In the spirit of full disclosure, I've never used cocaine and I'm no expert on the experience (in fact, probably all I know about it is what I've gathered from TV). That said, I love that this episode didn't turn into an after-school special, warning viewers about the negative impact of drugs. It honestly looked like a blast. Hannah dances, sings, and randomly takes off her shirt and swaps clothing with someone else on the floor.

It's all fun and games until Elijah admits to Hannah that he had sex with Marnie. This shouldn't matter to Hannah at all, but of course it does, and she immediately freaks out. The episode ends with Hannah berating Marnie. The argument the episode ends on pretty much sums up where Hannah and Marnie each are right now. Hannah is self-important and righteous, thinking everyone should view their lives and actions in her context. Marnie is spineless and weak - after taking a demeaning job and having sex with an egotistical artist, she tops it off by admitting she's a terrible friend. Elijah is completely clueless, looking shocked when Hannah tells him he'll need to move out.

Here is the thing: I want to LIKE these characters. And usually there are enough light, fluffy, endearing moments sprinkled throughout the episode to make that happen. This week, things were a bit rough. I appreciated the spirit of the episode - each character is sort of pushing his or herself to experience something new and meaningful, but I look forward to a hopefully lighter episode next week. And what's next for Hannah if she keeps it up? No Adam, no Marnie, no Elijah? Who's left?

Best quote:
Elijah: Leave your mark. Leave your fucking mark, Hannah.
Hannah: In urine?
Elijah: No...

Best & Worst moment: Hannah's speech to Marnie about what an awful friend she is. I thought about this for a while, and it honestly fit both categories to me. I love the content of the self-important speech Hannah delivers, but I hated the way she delivered it.
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1 comment:

  1. Hannah is now set up to write a good piece about cocaine, in that she compares it to heroin. But Elijah has the baggie! How is she gonna get it back from him? will they still be friends. She did the coke with him, ergo facto, she should do the H with him, too.

    I thought the argument with Marnie was stupid, Marnie admitting she was the bad friend was totes dumbo. She didn't have to fess up when it happened, that she had slept with Elijah. Girls don't "own" their ex boyfriends. Super dorks!

    Marnie can explain away her absence from work by saying that she got freaked out by the old man touching her butt. Wide eyed and hesitant she tugs on her hair while talking to her manager, says she's not sure she can come back to work. She gets a raise.

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