I really wish I could sit in on the production schedule for Girls, because it seems as if the show has subtly evolved in line with the constructive criticism it’s received since its debut in April. Lena Dunham wrote the first five episodes, but for the two following, and the rest of the season, she has writing partners: Last week it was Judd Apatow channeling Freaks & Geeks with Hannah returning home to Michigan and the show making a case for monogamy with her parents’ healthy, sex-filled marriage. Now we reach 1×07 ”Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident,” an entire episode devoted to a raucous Brooklyn warehouse party that actually ends up with every plotline focused on maturity.
A major criticism that all four characters have received is that they’re disgustingly entitled and utterly inept; whether this is Lena Dunham reporting her personal experiences or slyly skewering the Millennial generation is still unclear. From Hannah expecting her parents to pay her to write her memoir, to Jessa sagely informing a bunch of non-white nannies, “I’m just like you,” these girls are startlingly out of touch with what it means to actually survive in New York City. But it’s the party atmosphere, where they’re reunited with ex-boyfriends and new female rivals, that each girl reevaluates whether she’s as worldly and self-sufficient as she believes she is.
So here’s how Girls defines maturity:
1. Being Cordial with an Ex: In a scene that makes me sure that Girls is a satire, Marnie makes a huge deal about approaching Charlie, whose band Questionable Goods is playing at the party, and making sure he’s OK. There’s a lot of firm hugs and cocked-head sympathy, “Are you OK?” and “I always wanted you to feel secure outside of our relationship” and “Look how cordial we are!” So of course we were feeling a bit of schadenfreude when “tiny Navajo” Maureen jumped onto Charlie, thus demonstrating that it only took him two weeks after breaking up with his college girlfriend to find someone more to his tastes. Watching Marnie lose her cool is one of my favorite parts of the show now.
2. Denial: Even though all the previews played up poor innocent Shoshanna accidentally smoking crack, the big reveal of what she had done was still hilarious. She kept telling Jessa and Ray, “No, I smoked a glass cigarette and now I’m high.” But when Jessa finally gets through to her, she gasps, “Oh my God, don’t tell my mom, don’t tell me!”
3. Kicking Baby Birds Out of the Nest: The relationship between Jessa and Shoshanna is fascinating, since they would never be friends if they weren’t family, and yet Jessa has a twisted sort of affection for her naïve cousin. (Remember the scene where she chides Shosh for being “a huge perv” when she accidentally watches Jessa screwing her ex?) So when Shoshanna is panicking after her “crackcident,” Jessa is completely on-board with being her “crack spirit guide”… that is, until her DILF boss Jeff walks in the door with a bottle of wine and Jessa fobs off Shosh on poor Ray. She really is the worst babysitter ever.
4. Not Always Having to Talk: As much as I despise Hannah, I sort of loved how she says, “That’s Adam, and I’m not going to talk to him”—then the next shot is her sidling around the corner to watch him dancing with his friends. Then later, she tries to confront him about not texting her back, and he just takes her arms and starts dancing. Because that’s all they need in the moment.
5. Accepting That There Are Other Girls Out There Who Are Better For Your Exes: The episode seemed to be setting up this lesson, but it never fully got realized (which maybe Lena Dunham and co-writer Jenni Konner planned). Marnie doesn’t take it well at all that Charlie already has a new girlfriend who’s much better suited to him; and the awesome Tako doesn’t seem to be Adam’s new fling but more a friend who actually knows him outside of the bedroom.