Girls Maturity Level Threat Watch: Episode 2

HBO Girls


Hannah attempts to take her independence to the next level via streaming Internet How To videos on dancercizing and cutting your own bangs. She ruins her relationship with Sandy the Manic Pixie Dream Hipster Black Republican by pushing her art on him too soon, getting defensive about his diplomatically negative opinion, whitesplaining her way into a non-negotiable idiot hole with some Missy Elliott lyrics, and then being surprised that Sandy doesn’t still want to get his freak on. She’s condescending to Marnie about her new “pretty person job,” out of jealousy or false concern. She feels so freaked out when Adam invades her apartment that she beeps 911, and acts shocked when they actually come.

Pressed to pass judgment, Sandy tells Hannah that her essay was stylish but empty, and Hannah interprets that as his call on her whole character. He does not say that it sucked, which is what Adam would’ve said. He merely says it’s not for him — which is the shrewdly neutral way of saying it sucked. Hannah thought that giving Sandy her essay would be a way to achieve instant intimacy. She pretends that it’s not a test, but it’s clearly a test, just like gauging his reaction to her statement that she likes having sex with him was a test. He failed, and she was unable to make her ego submit to her sex drive long enough to get laid and then go cool off.

Speaking of people who can’t cool off, Adam brought his murdery Brando-y energy back into Hannah’s space, and she really doesn’t like it anymore. Adam and Hannah’s relationship consisted of imbalanced power plays that were theoretically just sexual but quickly overlapped into real life. Now that Hannah’s in control, she doesn’t know what to do with the upper hand. She never wanted to dominate Adam; she just wanted them to be equals. She was obsessive about him because she’s obsessive about any guy she dates. She’s obsessive about everything. Now that he’s doing his own version of standing outside in knee-socks begging for sex, she can see how unattractive her own desperation might’ve been. It’s the evil flip side of passion.

Maturity Level: Try to Maintain


As the new resident loser of the group, Marnie is suddenly the most likable. A despotic gallery owner (played by artist Laurie Simmons, Lena Dunham’s real-life mom) tells Marnie that she has no future in the art game. Maybe Marnie is too preppy. She doesn’t seem to know how to wear a messy topknot, or bright jewel-tone lipstick, or architectural jewelry and chunky shoes. She smiles too much and can’t affect the proper boredom — although I’m sure she’d catch right on after a few of the gallery owner’s lessons in proper teabagging. As Marnie’s dream is struck down, her face scrunches up like Kerri from Gallery Girls every time she was blocked from her goal of curating art for luxury hotels.

Marnie, who’s never shown much passion for art or selling it, takes this random advice about her life plan as fact. Maybe she’d already been looking for a way out of the gallery scene, with its go-nowhere internships and tricky endless social climbing. She does not consider a move to pursue other art markets like Los Angeles or Hong Kong. No, Marnie will stay in New York. But to do it, she’ll have to wear suspenders. She’s doing what many normal young people do: sucking it up and taking a job that’s not part of your so-called career plan but that pays the bills and gives you some freedom to breathe while you figure out what you actually do want from life. Good for her!

Maturity Level: Pragmatic


In the manner of charming beautiful people, Jessa can be fairly insufferable at times. Marrying her affable, fedora-wearing dummy of a husband, Thomas John, has made her a font of wisdom on how to live and love the fauxhemian way even more than she was before. Jessa seemingly grew up incredibly fast and then retired early at the top of her game, and can’t stop telling you how much happier she is now. When she was wild for years, I ‘m sure she insisted that wildness was the only way to be, and now that she’s domestic, she’s all about being someone’s “paradise wife” in a waterfront condo that she would’ve spat on just a few months back.

Jessa is infuriatingly self-contradictory, like the other characters on Girls and also like human beings in real life. She makes an argument to Hannah in favor of more realistic romantic standards, then insists that Hannah ought to demand Sandy’s opinion on her writing and reject him immediately if he won’t comply. Jessa seems to live in a bubble above the actual world, but then proves to have a much greater awareness of politics than Hannah, who would absolutely fail a current-events news quiz. Or maybe Jessa just has a lot of time to read the newspaper while she’s chilling in her condo waiting for TJ to get home so she can paint him. Hannah would probably prefer that Jessa seem conflicted rather than so settled down and smug.

Maturity Level: Puppies!!!!!


Pretty much living the dream (of lying around in bed all day with the guy you like).

Maturity Level: Obvi


The hipster conservatives that I know are Libertarians. It’s less about not wanting to be known as a Republican and more about thinking you have unique superior intelligence. You’d think that, as an Ayn Rand fan, Sandy might also consider himself a Libertarian. There’s definitely a certain type of intellectual contrarian who enjoys baiting liberals, who are so very easy to bait, and I’m sure some of them also wear flannels and live in Brooklyn. But (from my experiences only) that type of person tends to be financially conservative and socially liberal. They firmly believe in small government, but also in live-and-let-live. Think Ron Swanson.

The other common scenario is hipsters who are Republicans because of their religious beliefs. I want to know more about Sandy’s specific views and where they sprang from, since he said his parents had nothing to do with it. Sandy and Hannah’s debate over the merits of her essay reminded me of the Sex and the City arc involving Carrie’s relationship with Berger, a writer played by Ron Livingston, which also blew up over literary criticism. Hannah’s art is very personal, but isn’t all art personal? Be careful who you show your book to.

Maturity Level: “Call me Ayn Rand cuz I get head like a fountain.” — fake Childish Gambino lyric


For someone who doesn’t drink, Adam sure seemed drunk. If this is sober, can you imagine what he was like when he drank? Adam is the Sergeant Brody of Girls. Adam Driver’s performance in the first season was so great that you assume they’ll keep him on the show for as long as possible, even/especially if his presence is unhealthy for the protagonist. Adam’s mania provided the ep’s biggest laughs, as he live-texted Hannah her bedtime routine and scared the shit out of her in a feathered mask. Adam is offended that Hannah thinks he would ever actually hurt her, since, to his mind, this is all just part of the game they’ve been playing this whole time. He might have choked her during sex, but he would never choke her during an argument. She used to refuse his attempts to cut ties with her, and now he’s reciprocating. Not only does he have feelings, Hannah can genuinely hurt them, and does. On the other hand, Adam Sackler does have a touch of Norman Bates to him, and breaking into your ex-girlfriend’s apartment to creep in her bedroom is not exactly NOT a huge red flag. The plus side is that Adam’s album of revenge songs could be a big hit, what with the popularity of Taylor Swift’s vendetta pop and all. Still, why you all n my grill?

Maturity Level: CA-CAW!


Much like ex-girlfriend Hannah, Elijah gets what he wants and then never wants it again. George dumps him for last week’s indiscretion with Marnie, but instead of relief, Elijah feels only self-pity. Then again, he did pay for everything. Maybe if Elijah had just copped to the cheating instead of trying to spin it into not counting because it was with a woman, things would have been different. Of course it counts, Elijah! And George’s reasoning that Elijah is 25 and at an identity crossroads while George is … older, is a fair enough point. Elijah should experiment, but he shouldn’t do it on someone else’s time if they’re not willing. He might have been turned on by Marnie because it was illicit for both of them, Don Draper style. Or maybe he really is bi! (Elijah, not Don Draper. Although …) Elijah spends his time sulking around and bickering with Marnie over whether they should tell Hannah about the two-and-a-half pumps. Some people can’t keep a secret, while others enjoy it. Hannah, for example, couldn’t keep a hook-up secret to save her life. Marnie and Elijah could honestly bury it forever, and if they want to avoid drama, they should. They don’t have to see each other that much. Unless the reason they’re so reticent is that they might try to do it again? Nahhhhh …

Maturity Level: Questioning


I think Ray’s right about the pigs. I really do.

Maturity Level: Sentient


Charlie didn’t show up this week, which means he probably wasn’t in contact with Marnie since their impulsive platonic slumber party in his built-in, at least not any that we know about. Which makes him the most mature Girls character of the week!

Maturity Level: Through the Roof

Filed Under: Girls, Girls Talk, HBO, Lena Dunham, Recap

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert