Sunday’s (Feb. 9) episode of “Girls” had one thing on its mind: Settling.
Each of our core four, nearing or in their mid-twenties, have been struggling with the idea of the dreaded settle throughout most of Season 3, but in “Free Snacks,” each seemed to look directly down the barrel of that gun.
For Hannah (Lena Dunham), this means getting a real job. After the bad luck dealt her way that snuffed out her young publishing career before it ever really had a chance to live, she’s landed herself a job writing Neiman-Marcus advertorials for GQ.
It’s a good gig — steady pay, benefits and that most glorious of snack rooms. And turns out Hannah has a knack for it. The catch? It’s writing, but not quite. There’s no artistic control. This writing is not hers. It can’t have her voice or express what she’d like to express. It’s meant to sell clothes.
At first, Hannah’s pleased at how well she does because she’s convinced herself this is just temporary, a holdover until she writes the next book she’s actually able to have published. It’s not until her new co-workers let her know that they were each once chasing the same dragon but got comfortable and mostly gave up that her bubble bursts.
This is a transition point for Hannah. This job represents her walking away from her active pursuit of her true dreams, however much she recognizes it or not. She tries to quit, but remembers she’s got that broke boyfriend at home and an apartment to pay for and she goes crawling back. It may seem like another defeat for the character, but it feels a bit more like a sign of maturity.
This is a Hannah who’s beginning to realize it’s time to grow up.
Elsewhere, her buddies are each facing down a settling of their own. Jessa’s (Jemima Kirke) working in that children’s clothing boutique. She’s certainly not made for it, but she’s trying. She’s also only in one scene in the episode, so there’s not much else to say about her.
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), still creepily keeping tabs on Ray (Alex Karpovsky), is realizing that she needs to move on and settles for that truly dumb, but spectacularly hot co-ed (I mean, did you see his body in that sex scene?). She’s trying to morph the new union into what she wants, but she’ll soon learn that she lack the control she thinks she has.
And then there’s Marnie (Allison Williams), settling for Shosh’s castoff, however hard she may try and fight it. Ray makes a play for her after their impromptu rendezvous last week, even though neither of them seem to really like each other all that much. For both, the other is the exact opposite of what they, caught up in all their pretensions, deserves. But they just may be what each other needs.
That seems to be what “Girls” is going for on the whole this season. At a certain point in your early adulthood, you learn that what you want may not be what you need. And when you realize that — and you start making the right choices for you — well, settling won’t feel like settling for much longer.
– It’s a bit odd that the show didn’t even touch on Hannah throwing Caroline (Gaby Hoffman) out of the apartment and Adam’s (Adam Driver) subsequent anger. I suspect it will be brought up eventually, but it was really jarring that it didn’t even earn a mention.
– That said, the relationship problems between Hannah and Adam do seem to continue fester, and maybe Caroline’s comments about Adam’s aimlessness have gotten to his girlfriend. She makes a point to bring up a need to make money this week, which pushes him to go on an audition — which he gets a callback for. His success at his “dream” in the face of her losing hers certainly isn’t good news.
– Another bad omen? This new guy Joe (Michael Zegen). He may say he’s got a thing for Karen (Jessica Williams), but there’s some flirting happening here. And he gets what Hannah’s going through, career-wise. I’d be shocked if something doesn’t happen here.
– “Did they need someone for the before picture in a makeover article?”
– “You just said snack room and everything blurred.”
– “No, it’s because I don’t like your face.” Get out of here, Kevin. And Take your Mod Hatter with you.