Season 1, Episode 7, “Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. the Crackcident”

Shoshanna is by far the best character on “Girls,” and if you don’t agree, you sure will after watching this episode. Zosia Mamet’s portrayal of hilariously innocent Shosh is spot on. Though she is not the star of this week’s installment, she undoubtedly shines brighter than ever, securing Shoshanna’s placement within the series as a necessary and more flushed out character.

Shoshanna’s plot line in this episode is the most funny and interesting, but other also developing with the ladies. All of the girls attend a party in Bushwick, which turns out to be quite a rager.

Marnie picking a fight with Charlie and his new girlfriend.

As soon as Marnie hears that Charlie’s band is playing, she rushes off to say an “obligatory” hello. Once his band finishes their set, she greets him and acts extremely patronizing during their conversation. When Marnie realizes things aren’t going the way she wanted, she tells Charlie that “all [she] ever wanted for [him] was to find satisfaction outside of [their] relationship.” You can see Charlie reacting to her statement emotionally and angrily through his expressions, though he remains silent. But he breaks into a smile when his new girlfriend comes running over and jumps into his arms. Marnie then tries to pick a fight with him over the fact that he has moved on so quickly, even trying to drag the new girlfriend into it, angrily asking her, “You’ve never heard of me?” The girl is obviously innocently happy-go-lucky and genuinely asks her, “No, should I have? Are you one of those Real Housewives?” Marnie screams at both of them and storms off, into the party’s cloak of anonymity. The interesting thing about their encounter is the obvious contrast between overly serious, calculating and boring Marnie, and how genuine and happy the new girl seems to be. I think Charlie deserves to be happy too, and Marnie shouldn’t be trying to drag him down to her miserable level. During the rest of the episode, Marnie is shown complaining about this to anyone who will listen (or happens to be passed out and she thinks is listening).

Hannah’s plot line is a little deeper and more meaningful, though. She spots Adam at the party from afar, remarking to Shoshanna and Jessa, “I’ve never seen him outside of his house. I’ve never seen him with a shirt on…he hasn’t returned one of my texts in two weeks, and I was just coming to terms with that he was dead.” She seems jealous, upset and sad all at the same time. When Adam sees and calls out to her, she walks away, pretending she didn’t hear him. A little later, Hannah meets one of Adam’s lesbian friends, Tako, at the bar, who asks her if she met him through AA. Hannah is obviously stunned and doesn’t answer. The girl nervously fills the silence, saying, “I just blew his anonymous, oh shit…Don’t tell him…I just assumed that everyone that knew [Adam], like really knew him, knew that. It’s like the main defining thing about him, isn’t it? Well that and his love of books.” Hannah remains quiet and looks like she is going to cry.

My favorite part of the entire series so far, Shoshanna finds Jessa in a hallway chatting with Ray, and immediately starts rambling about kickboxing and how she smoked weed while in line for the bathroom. (Click on the photo to the left to see a clip of this scene! So hilarious.) Little did she know, but Shoshanna accidentally smoked crack. Her response to this realization is THE BEST. After Jessa breaks the news to her, Shoshanna says, “Oh my God, don’t tell my mom. Don’t even tell me. I’m matriculated at NYU and I just smoked crack, what is going to happen?” Jessa assures her that she will be her “crack spirit guide,” but then recognizes Jeff, the father of the family she babysits for, and runs off to damage control, passing along the “crack spirit guide” duties to poor Ray. Shoshanna pauses for a second after Jessa leaves, and then just turns around and bolts off. For the entire rest of the episode, all Ray does is chase her all over creation to make sure she “doesn’t jump off a roof or get fingered by a beat boxer,” as Jessa put it.

Jessa talking with Jeff at the party.

Jessa’s portion of the episode is not as interesting or funny. Basically she had responded to an unknown number in a text message, telling them to come to the “best party ever.” It turns out, it was Jeff who had sent her the initial message. She talks to him about why he came, tells him that he should tell the truth to his wife and stop pretending to have a job, and then winds up in the emergency room with him, because he got punched in the face. Now back to the more entertaining characters.

The episode wraps up fairly quickly after this part. Eventually Ray catches up to Shoshanna, who has not pants on anymore for some reason. Thinking the “man in plaid” was chasing her so he could rape her, she does some kickboxing moves on him and knocks Ray to the ground. Snapping back to reality and realizing what happened, she tried to help him by massaging him “in a nonsexual way” since she “took sports therapy last semester to meet jocks, but it was mostly Indian girls.” They seem to share a moment but Shoshanna is awkward and will look anywhere except at Ray while she massages his groin area.

At the same time, Adam drives Hannah home by allowing her to sit on the front of his bike. She yells at him to slow down and stop because she is getting scared, but he jams on the breaks and she flys onto the ground. They start to fight when Hannah asks why he never told her about AA, which is finally broken up when Marnie arrives in a cab to bring Hannah home.

Hannah finally happy for once, during the cab ride home.

Hannah lingers and Adam shouts at her, “Look kid, I don’t know what you f*cking want from me. Do you want me to be your boyfriend? You want me to be your f*cking boyfriend, is that it?” The next scene is the cab ride home, with an angry Marnie bitterly staring out the window on Hannah’s left and an exhausted and frustrated Adam stuffed into the backseat with his bike on her right. And for the first time ever, Hannah is happily smiling.

Lena Dunham’s “A Box of Puppies” published in The New Yorker

REVIEW of: “A Box of Puppies: Lifelong Canine Cravings” by Lena Dunham, featured in the March 25, 2013 New Yorker. (Read the full article here.)

Lamby, Dunham’s dog, is a mutt who came from a rescue shelter in Brooklyn. Newyorker.com, Photograph by Robin Schwartz.

Lena Dunham has been a darling of the press lately, and her newest installment is an article in “The New Yorker” about her dog, Lamby.The piece reads more like a personal essay, which is undoubtedly Dunham’s forte, but it seems out of place in a magazine. Nevertheless she is successful; you actually want to keep reading.

In her candid style, Dunham narrates readers through her wonky childhood obsession with dogs and her journey to get one of her own. As a misfit, she felt the need for a companion, leading her to ride in some man’s sketchy van to rescue newborn pit bull puppies from a cardboard box. (Spoiler alert: she didn’t get to keep them.)

Continuing through her adolescence, we learn that Lena finally does get a family dog, but it became more of her mother’s pet than her own. Flash-forward to the present, and Lamby, her new rescue mutt, enters the picture. This portion of the article made me smile. Any dog owner can relate to the growing pains of a new furry friend entering the family, from dealing with significant others who are allergic, to “siren” barking and even having the dog follow you around constantly, as it does not like to be alone, which Dunham details.

My one caveat with the article was the ending; Dunham gets artsy and it is annoying. I enjoyed reading her canine life story and hearing about her trials and tribulations with Lamby, but why go and ruin the whole article with a dumb, dramatic ending? So cliché; I’m over it. The finale of her piece reads as follows:

“‘I’m not going anywhere,’ I tell Lamby. He wakes up only one more time in the night, with a single bark that trails into silence. I kiss his little mouth, his ears that smell like corn chips and old water. ‘Sh-h-h . . . I love you. I love you. I love you so much.’ There is no one to call for help. We don’t need any help. He is mine, and I am old enough to have him. We are all adults here.”

Despite the ending, Dunham’s piece in The New Yorker is an enjoyable and fun read. Be sure to check it out here, or in the magazine’s March 25, 2013 issue.

Season 1, Episode 6, “The Return”

Episode 6, “The Return,” is particularly interesting because we finally catch a glimpse of Hannah’s childhood in Michigan, as the episode just follows her during her trip home for a weekend. Her relationship with her parents is explored in more detail, which is great since they were only featured for a few minutes during the first episode. Also, we are able to see the difference between how Hannah is treated by her friends from home, versus her New York crew.

Hannah’s parents driving her home from the airport.

While at home, Hannah bickers with her parents and broods in her room. Clearly not much has changed since we last saw her in New York; she is whiney and entitled. But the next day, we begin to see her unwind and act more confident…perhaps her lack of self-esteem has something to do with living in the city, and is not a personality flaw after all.

While running an errand for her mother, Hannah stops by to say hello to an old girlfriend from high school. She is bubbly and friendly, which leads us to believe Hannah used to be that way too. Apparently the city has hardened her. While catching up with her friend, Hannah learns that another girl from their graduating class (Carrie) went missing while on vacation, and is believed to be dead. The town is throwing a benefit to raise money for Carrie’s parents, so they can afford to hire a private investigator. Clearly this is a close-knit town, where people care about and want to help one another. Again, basically it is the complete opposite of Hannah’s dog-eat-dog life in New York.

Later, Hannah heads to the local pharmacy to pick up medication for her mother. The handsome pharmacist behind the counter recognizes her from their high school class and tries to start a conversation. At first it seems Hannah is caught off guard (someone actually being nice to her for once??), but quickly warms up to him. He is a genuinely nice guy, which is a good thing for her. To both Hannah’s and the viewer’s surprise, he asks her to be his date for the Carrie benefit that evening.

Hannah giving herself a pre-date pep talk.

My favorite scene of the episode (and possibly of the whole series thus far) is when Hannah tells her parents about her upcoming date. As she was visiting them for their anniversary, Hannah’s parents are upset since they already all had celebratory dinner plans. Hannah responds, “I don’t really think that you guys are understanding the severity of this situation. I have been dating someone who treats my heart like it’s monkey meat. I feel like a delusional, invisible person half the time. So I need to learn what it’s like to be treated well, before it’s too late for me.” Finally admitting her unhappiness with her relationship with Adam, it seems Hannah is making great strides. She is finally honest with herself how cruelly Adam treats her and that she deserves better. I wanted to jump up and down in my living room during this scene; Hannah is finally seeing clearly, it’s a miracle!

While getting ready for her date, Hannah gives herself a pep talk. While her self-esteem has seemingly soared since she has traveled home, her confidence is still slightly lagging behind. Looking in her mirror, Hannah tells herself, “You are from New York; therefore, you are just naturally interesting, ok? It is not up to you to fill all the awkward pauses. You are not in danger of mortifying yourself. The worst stuff that you say sounds better than the best stuff that other people say.”

Hannah awkwardly reacting to the pharmacist putting his arm around her

It appears that Hannah is a bit nervous and on edge, but thankfully she loosens up while eating pizza with the pharmacy guy. However, her awkwardness comes out in full force at the benefit, when he puts his arm around her shoulders. Poor Hannah looks shocked, horrified and like she going to cry all at the same time, which I found confusing. Shouldn’t she be happy someone is finally treating her well and respects her? Hannah ends up sleeping with him at the end of their evening out, but she is too forward and needy. It is awkward and uncomfortable to watch.

While she is sleeping in her bed after returning home, Hannah receives a call from Adam. She pretends to be nonchalant about it, but it’s obvious that she is excited…especially after he says that he misses her and wishes she were there with him. Oh no, here we go again…Hannah is going to get sucked back in. Nevertheless, the rest of their conversation is interesting. Hannah tells Adam how everyone is different in Michigan and how nice it would be to live there. “It’s like why doesn’t everyone struggling in New York move here and start the revolution,” she says. “It’s like we’re all slaves to this place that doesn’t even want us.” Prophetic words indeed; hopefully she still feels the same way upon returning to the city, and doesn’t lose the sense of self that she has gained from her time at home.