It’s a Shame About Ray
When I saw Sunday night’s episode of GIRLS I wanted to throw my hands up and praise the great Lena Dunham. If you have been enjoying this season slightly less than the first, finding the episodes’ plot lines running slightly too straight and Hannah a little more grating than lovable, this past episode induced a sigh of relief.
Along with seeing a glimmer of the charmingly quirky Hannah we all grew to love, we finally get our long awaited dose of Jessa and Shoshanna.
Let’s take it girl by girl this week…
In honor of her essay being posted on the blog she freelances for, Hannah throws a dinner at her apartment for the whole gang, including Charlie and his new girlfriend. Hannah extends an invitation to Marnie only as a ‘gesture,’ assuming she would not attend following their scrap over the Elijah incident. Her seemingly well intentioned move backfires when Marnie shows up. Her selfish indifference to her friends’ feelings has not waxed nor waned, shown when Marnie and Charlie’s new girlfriend square off, each suggesting the other’s departure and putting Charlie in the middle.
Hannah sticks up for Marnie after her disgruntled retreat from the party when Charlie speaks badly of her, but then goes on to acknowledge that she too is at fault for much of the trouble brewing.
In case you had any lingering doubts as to whether or not Marnie’s ex-boyfriend was a complete jerk, his girlfriend, an annoying hipster-type and clear divergence from his taste in Marnie, baits Marnie into a fight at dinner. She chastises Marnie over a conversation about butt plugs, especially when it comes out that Marnie’s ‘trigger word’ is butthole, and then continues to call her ‘Stepford psycho.’ The girl even berates Marnie over attending parties where her ex-boyfriend is present. Marnie, avoiding confrontation, gets up and excuses herself to the roof.
Charlie, shortly thereafter, follows her up, explaining how his new girlfriend is merely intimidated by Marnie, attributing it to her importance in his life, her beauty, and her cleanliness. Then he goes in for a kiss. Marnie pushes him off and reveals her new relationship with Booth, to which Charlie responds by calling him “that little Ewok.” His response to her mere mention of another guy is a reminder of his chronic immaturity.
Jessa’s newly minted marriage takes an unfortunate turn for the worse after dinner with her husband’s parents. Thomas-John’s father’s affections for her wild-child aura, juxtaposed with his mother’s pointedly disapproving questions, makes for an all around uncomfortable evening.
The dinner’s dysfunction comes to a head when Thomas-John’s mother infers that Jessa has an ulterior finance-relevant motive in her marriage. Upon returning to their apartment, he and Jessa explode into a bombastic argument with him denigrating her freewheelin’ lifestyle and her attempting to vilify his mundane world of finance and business.
Things are left boiling after Thomas-John asks her how much money she would need to leave. After first rebuking the suggestion with disgust, Jessa bargains with him, arriving at $11,500 and storming upstairs, but not before hurling his glass pyramid award and watching it shatter at his feet.
The pair arrive late at a party because they were having sex, which Ray admits to Shoshanna’s trademark embarrassed enthusiasm. After Hannah asks Ray where he is living these days, his evasive answer leads Shoshanna to the cold shock that he spends every night with her not only out of his care for her, but because his other residence is his Mitsubishi. Feeling used, Shoshanna gives Ray some stoic, detached responses to his conversation for most of the evening.
Finally, while they are sitting alone, waiting for their subway train, Ray opens up to Shoshanna about his insecurity. He is 33 years old, with no real directions or interests, and no home; all these things are magnified as he awaits what he believes to be Shoshanna’s inevitable disillusionment with him. When he begs for an answer as to why he is worth anything to her, the beloved Shoshanna drops the bomb that she is falling in love with him.
Ray wrings his hands in frustration, dropping his head into his palms, exasperating that it is far too early to express those feelings. He pauses and then exclaims, “I love you so f***ing much,” repeating the statement a few times.
The episode closes as Hannah sits in her bathtub and Jessa startles her by appearing, overwrought and worn-looking, in the doorway of her bathroom. Jessa undresses and joins Hannah in the tub, breaking down in hysterics before blowing her nose into her hand and releasing the excretion into the bath water. Hannah’s comic repulsion with this behavior brings a smile to Jessa’s face. The episode closes with a palpable bond between the two girls, reassuring viewers in the strength of female friendships and reminding us why we fell in love with the show in the first place.