Season 1, Episode 9, “Leave Me Alone”

In this week’s installment, there are a lot of emotionally charged conversations and self-realizations, from the somewhat shallow to the very deep. And these words of wisdom come from characters that you would not expect.

The girls at Tally’s book launch party.

The episode begins at the book launch party of Hannah’s college arch nemesis, Tally. All the girls except Hannah are enthralled by Tally’s story, and Shoshanna describes it as “so sad. Her boyfriend killed himself on purpose by crashing a vintage car while on percocet.” Marnie even buys a copy, much to Hannah’s disproval. And then we learn why…because Tally is a huge bitch.

While politely saying hello and congratulations to Tally, she responds to Hannah with quite the condescending tone: “Well, I wish [writing the book] had been more of a labor actually, it just poured out of me…You know someone like you, you’re always really sweating it. You know, you’re really working at it and I really admire that effort to do something that is not maybe…uhm, the most natural to you.” And Hannah just smiled and took it. I know we’ve all been in situations like this, and that is just the polite thing to do when you actually want to punch them in the face, but seriously? Hannah just starting standing up for herself with Adam, why couldn’t she complete the transformation and stick it to Tally too?

Hannah later meets her old writing professor at the party, who supports her hatred of Tally when he overhears her talking to a friend, saying, “I want to be so skinny that people are going to be like, do you have a disease? Are you going to die?” Hannah and her professor share a bemused smirk, and then he invites her to a writer club, where they read their work aloud. Hannah’s unsure of whether or not to attend, and Adam later proves totally unsupportive. (Which I found weird, I don’t know about you.)

The next morning, Hannah has a big light bulb moment of self-realization while talking to Marnie. She was embarrassed for acting like a “freakish bitch” at Tally’s party and for even trying to trip her. She adds, “But then I realized, I’m not mad at her; I’m mad at me. For the fact that my entire life has been one ridiculous mistake after another…Tally took chances and put herself out there [and I never have].” Perhaps this will be a turning point?

Shoshanna’s internet dating profile confession to Jessa.

Next, Shoshanna and Jessa share a cute moment, complete with one of Shosh’s long-winded and incredibly fast-talking monologues, this time about joining a dating site. Here goes: “That paragraph I read in Tally’s book really made me thing. None of us really know how much time we have left…so I have to start living. I did something kind of crazy…I made an internet dating profile. Ok, I know, it sounds kind of nuts. But my nutrition teacher, who’s like so cool, met her boyfriend on Match.com, who’s like super cute and totally perf, and they’re the most happy together. And I joined ElectricHellos.com because it’s the most expensive subscription, and ugly people do Match, and I got this message from this kind of great-sounding guy. His name is Brice, which um hello, good name. He works in product development, which is like perfect for me because I love products! And he’s Jewish…I’m going on a day date.” Nothing more happens with Shoshanna’s online dating in this episode but this is my favorite scene, and Shosh always promises a good laugh.

Finally, one of the most emotional and moving scenes in the series so far takes place. Catherine (wife of Jeff, of the family Jessa used to babysit for) randomly shows up at Jessa’s apartment and asks her to come back to work for them. Jessa looks confused and unsure, and tells her she can’t. Catherine agrees and confesses that she just wishes she could help Jessa and mother her. Jessa points out that she doesn’t need her help, which is honest but kind of awkward. Then here comes the whopper and moment of crystal clear wisdom…Catherine replies, “Fuck it, I’m just going to say this. I bet you get into these dramas all the time, like with Jeff and me. Where you cause all this trouble and you have no idea why. In my opinion, you’re doing it to distract yourself from the person you’re meant to be…she might not look like what you pictured at age 16. Her job might not be cool, her hair might not be flowing like a mermaid, and she might be really serious about something. Or someone. And she might be a lot happier than you are now.”

Catherine talking to Jessa.

Jessa just stares at her, with this look of raw sadness and fear, though you can tell she is emotionally distanced from the situation. Perhaps, Catherine has tapped into the emotional drive behind each of the “Girls,” they are all lost and scared in the search for sense of self. Perhaps that is why everyone who watches this show feels some type of connection to the characters, whether they want to admit it or not; we are all just as confused and unsure as Jessa, Hannah, Marnie and Shoshanna. We continue trying grasp at anything at all, in a search for a sense of security. And when we find this doesn’t exist in the way we desire, we distract ourselves from “the person we’re meant to be,” just like Catherine points out to Jessa. This wisdom must come with age, but it sure would be nice if our generation could tap into it a lot quicker, and avoid all the growing pains and heartbreak of reaching adulthood. This scene made me tear up, and I think Catherine’s words are one of the most honest things portrayed on “Girls.”

While Jessa’s scene with Catherine was the best part of the episode, I’ll quickly wrap up everything else because this post is already too long! So, Hannah goes to the writers’ club and reads a story she made up on the train, because she second guessed herself and her talent, thoroughly embarrassing herself in front of her peers.

When she gets home, Hannah tries to talk about it with Marnie, who doesn’t seem very interested. The two start a fight, and Marnie hits the nail on the head, yelling at Hannah, “You judge everyone and yet you ask them not to judge you.” Then Hannah tries to make us feel bad for her (which doesn’t work, because all she ever does is whine and act pathetic), responding, “That is because no one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself. So any mean things someone’s going to think of to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour.” Though Hannah admits this in anger, we finally see the driving force behind her crippling lack of self-respect; another big light bulb moment in Hannah’s character development.

Hannah and Marnie in the middle of their fight.

Finally, Marnie continues the fight with Hannah, turning it into the “who is a better friend territory.” But Hannah yells back, stating how being a good friend isn’t important to her right now because she has “bigger concerns.” All the emotion and color drains from Marnie’s face, and she becomes sadly calm, saying, “You know what? Thank you. That is all I needed to hear. I’m done…I do not want to live here anymore, not with you.” The two storm off and slam their doors…and that’s the end of the episode, but hopefully not the end of their friendship too.

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