On last night’s Girls, instead of contrasting Hannah‘s personal and professional woes with that of her fellow entitled twentysomethings, the dichotomy was between Hannah… and her parents, who prove that this show isn’t always about post-grads having awkward sex but can also be about older people in actually good relationships.
See, the Horvaths (Peter Scolari and Becky Ann Baker) decide to fly Hannah home to Michigan for their 30th anniversary, because “we want to have our best friend with us.” (Aww!) Of course, within the first five minutes she’s turned into a brat, snapping at her parents when they ask about her job — remember that last week she sexually harassed her touchy-feely boss and quit — and weaseling out of dinner plans because she has a date with a cute boy she went to high school with.
Hannah, being herself, managed to alienate herself from her folks and awkwardly interact with old friends she has nothing in common with, while her parents had a perfectly lovely anniversary celebration without their ungrateful daughter. Let’s compare their nights:
- Hannah blows off her nice family dinner for a date with the random cute pharmacist Eric. They go to the benefit for their dead classmate Carrie, who was abducted while on vacation à la Natalee Holloway, and Hannah’s former BFF Heather performs a Pussycat Dolls-inspired dance to a song by Keri Hilson. Then Hannah and Eric go to his place and have awkward sex: She seems anxious to impress him with her New York worldliness by talking dirty and sticking a finger in his butt, but he’s supremely uncomfortable. And it’s not as if they suddenly have intimate sex and she realizes there are nice guys who aren’t Adam; it’s just awkward.
- Hannah’s parents have a lovely dinner where her dad does a Woody Allen imitation that has the mother cracking up. They talk thoughtfully about how worried they are about Hannah, with her dad saying, “What does a person like that turn into?… When she realizes shes not going to be what she wants to be when she grows up.” The moment where they admit that they don’t even know if her writing is any good was so candid and probably matches how a lot of parents of twentysomething aspiring artists feel. Then they go home and have much better sex than Hannah—even if it does end with the dad slipping in the shower and getting knocked out.
Girls hasn’t given us many encouraging examples of monogamy so far. Hannah’s having cringe-worthy sex with Adam; Jessa‘s an episode away from seducing her babysitting charges’ deadbeat dad; and last week’s episode saw Marnie and Chuck‘s long-term relationship crumble when, in the midst of makeup sex, she said that she wanted to break up. We haven’t encountered Hannah’s parents since the pilot, and yet we can see that they’re doing great after cutting their daughter off. They still love each other after three decades, they bond over raising their difficult daughter, and they obviously still get it on in adventurous ways.
Despite being a bitch to her parents for most of the episode, Hannah seems inspired to emulate them near the end. When her mother asks how she’s doing with money, Hannah doesn’t take the easy out of playing off their pity and admitting that she lost her job. Instead, she sucks it up and says she’s fine. Marnie will be pissed when her roomie doesn’t come up with the cash next week, but that unselfish gesture went a long way toward redeeming Hannah.
Photo: The A.V. Club