Everyone—artists especially—keeps tabs on their classmates’ movements. Who works at what publication, who got a promotion, who lives at home. It’s always been a sick obsession of anyone with any hope for a career, but for the current crop of twenty-somethings, of which I am a part, it is even more profound. In a dwindling market, every person is a competitor. Any job they take is a job you can’t have. So, it’s no surprise that Hannah is morbidly jealous of her old classmate having published a real live book—especially one that people seem to think is good.
Being preoccupied with what people think is good, as far as writing goes, is Hannah’s downfall this week. It seeps into a reading she attends, where she’d planned on doing an essay about a hoarder ex-boyfriend, but because of Ray and Marnie criticizing the essay’s apparently trivial nature, she instead reads a shoddy death-centric piece she penned on the subway. Of course, at the end of the reading, her professor (Michael Imperioli) – who had invited her there – asked why she hadn’t read her original choice, which, he thinks, was much better, and Hannah maybe starts to realize she needs to trust her own judgment.
The more interesting development this week is with Jessa, whose story is simply a conversation with her ex-employer, Katherine. Katherine comes to Jessa’s apartment to apparently try to hire her back, even though she is having nightly dreams of dicing and cannibalizing Jessa. She realizes, of course, that she can’t hire Jessa, but she still wants to help her. Jessa responds by saying she doesn’t need help. And then comes Katherine’s speech about causing drama to prolong personal growth, and the look in Jessa’s eyes tells us that she gets it, which is huge. Somehow Jessa has become the most interesting of the characters, perhaps because she’s now focusing on herself rather than her relationships—or lack thereof.
The episode closes very SATC-like with Marnie finally telling Hannah that she’s self-centered, judgmental, etc., and rather than listening to the criticism as Jessa did, Hannah blows it off and gets into an argument, calling Marnie on all of her issues. This leads to some vicious name-calling—and accurately describing each other as a ‘wound’— during which Marnie pulls out embarrassing secrets and Hannah stoops to a new low by suggesting the feud is only because she has a boyfriend, and Marnie doesn’t.
As of this episode, all of the characters have reached a point where they’re decently self-aware. They all seem to see their problems, but they’re making the youthful mistake of owning them rather than trying to fix them. Jessa is the only one who seems willing to change right now, and that’s not something I thought I’d ever write. She and Hannah are operating on a different level than Marnie, and especially Shoshanna, who barely makes an appearance this week. It’ll be interesting to see where the finale takes us, but it’s doubtful there’s any saving those two characters – or Marnie and Hannah’s friendship – before season’s end.
- Shoshanna: “This is like the most SATC.” First line of the episode. Pretty accurate statement for the episode with more girl drama than any other.
- “Her boyfriend killed himself, on purpose, by crashing a vintage car while on percocets.” “I know. She’s so lucky.”
- “I wanna be so skinny that people are like, ‘Do you have a disease? Are you gonna die?’”
- “Talia took chances. She wore lipstick to class. She did everything right. Including getting her boyfriend to kill himself.”
- “His name is Bryce—which, hello, good name. He works in product development, which is like perfect for me because I love products.”
- Funniest lines of the night go to Ray: “You’re daring a homeless person to wipe their blood on your breasts. Forget about the BBC you watch at home with your cats, and pick out an appropriate outfit. Stop by an American Apparel if you have to. And get a slim leg—jeans with a slim leg. A slim leg.”
- “’Maybe everyone in this town is just looking for a bathroom. In fact,’ he thought, ‘maybe everyone in this whole damn world is.’”
- “She captures something true about the uncertainty of our age. I cried twice.” “Well, are you getting your period?”
- “You are so selfish. This is why you have no friends from preschool.” “Uh, I have a lot of friends from preschool, I’m just not speaking to them right now.”
- “You’ve been crazy since middle school, when you had to masturbate eight times a night to stave of ‘diseases of the mind and body.’”