In case this season didn’t make it perfectly clear already – this show is very clearly about Hannah. I’m not saying this a terrible thing, but I feel that I enjoy the show the most when all of the characters are together and bouncing off each other in the same place. I miss the days when they went to a party in Bushwick and were all in the same place, even though they each had their own storyline (the best being Shosh accidentally smoking crack).
But this show has become Hannah’s, even when it’s not supposed to be. Tonight’s episode is an example of how I thought we’d finally be getting a good story about Jessa but Jessa’s story turns into a breakthrough for Hannah and a continued stall in character progression for Jessa. So let’s get into it. Again, we’ve only got two girls to discuss this week since Hannah and Jessa go upstate to visit Jessa’s absentee father and his new-ish girlfriend Petula.
I think we were supposed to gain some insight into Jessa by seeing and hearing about her fucked up family but really, it wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know or figure out on my own. Jessa was the type of kid who was picked up last from a school event or maybe not even picked up at all and instead stayed at a friend’s house after school dances or soccer games. Hannah knows this because as she is talking about this being her greatest fear and Jessa thinks it is ridiculous.
Jessa was that girl in middle school who stayed at your house for like four days in a row because you had a normal family and hers was super crazy. I knew some of those girls and my mom, being the the fabulous human being that she is, would welcome these types of friends into our house and mom the shit out of them. They loved coming to our house. And only now as an adult can I really understand why. These girls were Jessa’s in their own ways.
The thing about being friends with a Jessa is that they think everything revolves around them and are super defensive of how fucked up their childhood was. We get it Jessa — you wanted your dad to want to see you so badly, that you actually took his butt text as a “I really want to see you.” It was a sad and sort of pathetic admission when she told Hannah, but then basically told Hannah that she was horrible for suggesting it was only a butt text and nothing more.
She wants her dad to want to see her so badly, but it’s pretty clear he doesn’t return the feeling. He is late in picking them up, he doesn’t cancel plans to see a lecture in order to hang out with her, and in the end he abandons her at grocery store after they have a painfully badly acted heart to heart on a swing set about how he never showed up for her or was there for her. I hate to sound mean, but it was all pretty uninteresting and didn’t hit the emotional spots I think it was going for.
Jessa does get in a few good moments though – my favorite example being the moment where she is waiting for Hannah to finish having cemetery sex with creepy Frank and then calls Hannah out for doing so. Hannah thought they were each separating for some quality doing it time with the young boys but Jessa is disgusted and gives her a great “What the fuck is wrong with you?” face and calls her out for doing a barely legal teen. Thank god.
So, in the end, after walking back to the house after being abandoned by her dad again, Jessa does what she does best and flees – leaving Hannah only a note. This is nothing new but it’s really disappointing to me that instead of taking this opportunity to let Jessa have a break through and start separating herself from her past and start to grow up – they chose to have her run away. Just like her father would. UGH.
I know this is probably because Jemima Kirke was pregnant in real life and needed to be written off for awhile, but I can still feel disappointed. Maybe Jessa will realize and own up to her faults and failings and move past her seemingly shitty childhood and come back a new woman. But I fear I’m asking too much. Jessa remains to be the least developed and my least favorite Girl.
This episode perfectly captured what it feels like to go to a friend’s hometown and meet her family, friends, etc. It’s almost like visiting a foreign country and Hannah is definitely out of her element. Jessa’s stepmom embraces Hannah as the “cushion” between Jessa and herself, but in reality I didn’t see much tension between the two women at all. Hannah is freaked out and possibly slightly charmed by Jessa’s weirdo family – who compare life to video games, eat rabbits they raise, have old computers in the back of their cars, and have son’s who are weird and loser-y and wear turtlenecks.
I really enjoyed the girls leaving with the nineteen year old boys and driving around back roads while doing whippets. It’s a very “bored in your small town” type of thing to do. And of course it leads to the most awkward sex ever when Hannah runs off, pissed off about Jessa being immature and then steals weirdo Frank’s v-card in a cemetery. She even tries to have a weird conversation about heaven before Frank comes in her thigh crease after 8 seconds. The casting of Frank was perfect. As was his terrible haircut, jean shorts and turtleneck.
I don’t know what to say about Hannah’s UTI and why they kept bringing it up. Was it supposed to mean something other than, Hannah doesn’t know how to take care of herself and see a doctor when she’s sick? I’m not sure. Anyway, the post sex conversation between Hannah and Frank the next morning was deliciously awkward as she cons him into admitting he was a virgin and she a v-card shredder. He also pretty much admits he is gay and in love with Tyler. Of course. Hannah, you are so dumb sometimes. Maybe the UTI coming back at the end is karma for bad decision making?
Also – what does Hannah see in Jessa as a friend? I mean – she is mean to her and is always telling her that she cares too much about dumb stuff, should suck it up, doesn’t understand, etc. She is pretty mean in this episode, especially to someone who is coming up to support her while she visits her shitty father. And then she leaves her with that terrible note, abandoning her with no explanation and making her find her way back to NYC alone. And Hannah has been letting Jessa stay at her place and be depressed and mean to her too. She needs to rethink her friend sitch.
In the end – after visiting Jessa’s planet of weird accents, pet rabbit dinners, whippets, dirty houses, weird stepmoms and dad’s who are never there for you – she is the one that has the breakthrough and realizes how amazingly supportive her parents are and were to her. It’s a strange feeling to finally realize that your parents are humans too and that they make mistakes and choices and then you realize how much they sacrificed to make you feel safe, secure and loved.You’re suddenly amazed that these people have done all of these selfless and amazing things for you and you almost can’t wrap your mind around loving someone or being loved that much.
The phone call at the end was the most perfect scene of the episode (though I wish Hannah wasn’t peeing in the second part of it). I loved that Hannah and her parents nearly get into a fight when all she is doing is to call them and tell them she is grateful and she understands how special it is to have loving, concerned parents. I too have called to tell my mom I loved her and we ended up talking about mail she sent me that I wish she would have told me about sooner (this conversation happened last night). So I really loved that at first Hannah’s parents are suspicious of the call – thinking she needs something but then are really touched when she says she doesn’t need anything other than to tell her parents how grateful she is of their love and support.
She gets a bit too effusive and then her mom freaks out because it’s rare for Hannah to be this aware and loving and to say such kind things. Their girl is growing up, but they think she is probably on drugs. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter what they think in this moment because Hannah has finally realized how great her parents are. She has a breakthrough and sees them as human beings. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction of self awareness and growing up for real. Being able to see your parents as complicated and real human beings who have given up a lot for you is a major step in becoming an adult. I am glad Hannah has gotten there and I hope it lasts.
- Jessa was sort of fun and silly for once in her life while doing accents with her dad
- Don’t even get me started on Petula and her video game theory. I don’t have time for her nonsense in this blog except to say – doesn’t she look strangely like a grown up version of Jessa? Maybe she’s a cautionary tale.
- Hannah continues her string of horrible outfits, though these were less horrible than most.
- How painfully obvious was it that Jessa is pregs in real life? Carrying grocery bags? C’mon!
- Everything Frank related was great to me.
- Episodes that are sans Shosh are really way less quote worthy huh?
- Again, the whole Hannah thinking they were on a sexcapade during the car trip situation was pretty great and I lol’ed a bunch
- I think Lena Dunham has invaded my iTunes and brain. Silver Lining was pretty much the best song off the last (fairly crappy) Rilo Kiley album. Perfect use of the song. AND it ended with a great Aimee Mann song. Dear Lena, we are music soul mates.
Winner of the Week – I guess for once in my life I can say it was Hannah. She was funny – with the rabbit, her scenes with Petula, the creepy sex and confrontation with Frank, and finally when she realized her parents are great.
Wound of the Week – Obviously it’s Jessa. She just wants to blame all of her shit and problems on her messed up family situation but the truth is – lots of people I know have come from shitty situations and have turned out to be phenomenal human beings. At some point you have to let it go, and be the person you want to be – not the person whose past rules their behavior.
While I don’t think we really need this: