Entertainment :: Television

HBO’s Girls :: It’s A Shame About Ray

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Monday Feb 4, 2013
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A scene from the HBO series "Girls"
A scene from the HBO series "Girls"  

**Editor’s Note - For those of you who are watching later via DVR - this article contains spoilers***

Hello "Girls." Goodbye guys. Yes, folks, this is the episode about goodbyes. It’s also an instruction manual for how people can hurt each other and how they try to top each other with how they go about doing that.

First we say goodbye to Elijiah (Andrew Runells), Hannah’s gay best friend roomie that attempted to sleep with Marnie (Allison Williams) until his dick went soft. Something tells me he’ll be back, but for the moment, Hannah (Lena Dunham) is an independent woman.

Meanwhile, at the Thomas-John (Chris O’Dowd) "Estate," guess who’s coming to dinner? That’s right: his parents, his super Christian conservative meat-eating parents (Griffin Dunne and Deborah Rush). This, of course, thrills throw-caution-to-the-wind Jessa (Jemima Kirke) to no end. Once dinner has begun, it seems to be going okay until she reveals that she went to Oberlin College, but only spent seven months there because she had to go to rehab for heroin. Once she remarks to Thomas-John’s Jesus-loving mother that "I wish there was a Lord. I know there isn’t," it’s pretty much over for any love that might develop between her and mom-in-law. Dad seems to be okay, mostly because he takes a vaguely creepy liking to her.

Yet it’s Thomas-John’s mother’s comment that really strikes a chord and holds the key for how the rest of the night will go. "You certainly have lived a lot."

This, of course, is the main argument that Thomas-John uses toward her when the inevitable break-up happens. She thinks he’s a useless bore. He thinks she’s "some dumb fucking hipster who’s just munching my hay." And that’s where you watch just how horrible people can be to each other. Her response? "You’re just some scared guy who didn’t get laid until he was sixteen. No one liked you in high school and no one likes you now. I’m embarrassed to walk down the street with you because you’re so fucking average."

"She’s too self-involved to commit suicide."

But here’s the thing, I really do think they care about each other. I just don’t think they are a good match. And with his parents making her feel small, she does the only thing she knows how to, which is to fight back by hurting Thomas-John. And when he insults her ("This is the worst mistake I’ve ever made. You’re my worst nightmare"), she has to insult back. "I tell my friends you’re a test-tube baby so you’ll have some edge!"

It’s a never-ending cycle of ego. But, I think ultimately, this will be an eye-opening moment for both of them individually.

During all of this, Hannah (Lena Dunham) has a dinner party and invites Charlie (Christopher Abbott), his girlfriend Audrey (Audrey Gelman), Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) and Ray (Alex Karpovsky), and... Marnie (Allison Williams) - despite the fact that she is angry with Marnie for attempting to sleep with Elijah. The five of them discuss a variety of weird topics like butt plugs and assholes. "So he was asking you to plug his butt and you still had doubts about his sexuality?" asks Charlie when Hannah reveals she used a butt-plug with Elijah when they were dating in college. When Audrey finally lets loose on Marnie for always being around when her ex Charlie is present, she’s all - "um, Hannah invited me." To which Hannah responds, "I didn’t really think you’d show up seeing as how you recently double-crossed me." Ouch. When Audrey mentions the fact that Marnie showed up at Charlie’s house upset and needing a place to crash, Marnie tries to place some of the blame on Charlie for letting her in. Audrey responds that Charlie was probably afraid she’d slit her wrists because she was so upset. Hannah’s final dig? "She’s too self-involved to commit suicide."

Marnie ends up walking out and, of course, Charlie puts the final nail in the coffin with Audrey by running after Marnie. On the roof of Hannah’s building, the two overanalyze their lives and relationships and then he kisses her. Marnie puts the kibosh on this when she reveals she’s seeing Booth. "That little Ewok in Capri - fucking - pants?"

Back in Hannah’s apartment, the naval-gazing and insults keep flying. Suddenly, Ray’s revealing that he doesn’t really have a place to stay and when Shoshanna starts putting two and two together, she realizes the obvious. "Oh my God, do you live with me??" But when the two are headed home on the subway, Ray admits he is just a vat of flaws. "What makes me worth dating?" To which Shoshanna responds - in her never-ending naivety - "I’m falling in love with you." This is too much for Ray who first states that it’s "way too early to say something like that," but follows it up with, "I love you so fucking much."

Finally, Jessa’s blow up with Thomas-John has her going to Hannah and breaking down. Does she realize her own faults? Or will she place blame and responsibility on him? This is the joy and frustration of "Girls." Every character is flawed. Some in the most ingratiating of ways. But they are flaws that we have seen in ourselves and other people. And the generation that Dunham is showcasing has become a generation of twenty-somethings that can’t take responsibility for their own actions. They spend hours analyzing every situation so they can place the blame anywhere but on themselves. If they just admitted it was their own fault, they could figure out how to correct it and move on. But with every reality show glamorizing "drama," that wouldn’t be any fun. This is learned behavior. And Dunham is calling her generation out on it.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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