6. Standing Up For Yourself: Just because Shoshanna is a virgin doesn’t mean she hasn’t had the shit kicked out of her emotionally by guys. I still cringe remembering her douchey camp buddy who informed her, “Yeah… I don’t do virgins.” So when she goes careening out of the warehouse, with Ray chasing her down and she turns around and knees him in the groin, it’s really satisfying. Not because Ray deserved the abuse, but because symbolically Shoshanna had finally stood her ground and shown the male sex that she’s not to be messed with. (Also, I would totally support these two hooking up.)
7. Taking On the Consequences of Your Actions: Unfortunately, it’s Jeff who has to suffer the fallout of Jessa taunting a bunch of older guys and calling them poor and shitty: They barge into the party at a pivotal moment and punch Jeff, then kick him when he’s down. However, you could make the argument that Jeff did bring this on himself by texting his twentysomething nanny and coming to her beck and call.
8. Admitting When You’re Using Someone: Wounded and rejected, Marnie wanders the party until she finally tracks down someone she knows and can complain to: Hannah’s ex Elijah. As smarmy as he was in previous episodes, he won our affection by calling Marnie out: ”I haven’t seen you in college, then you make me listen to the same crap I’ve been hearing since 2006.” And when Marnie switches tactics and attacks him, he further condemns her for her self-righteousness and even slaps her.
9. Growing Up: The scene of Jeff crying into Jessa’s lap was so sad, partly because of his weepy plea that she spent the night with him (“Nothing needs to happen, we’ll just hang out”) but also because she realizes, ”I can’t do this kind of thing anymore.” She can’t keep using her worldliness and sexuality to seduce guys who are unhappy with themselves, and then drop them when she’s no longer interested.
10. Defining Your Relationship: Who was expecting Adam to actually have something of substance to say? Go figure that when he puts his shirt on he actually reveals more vulnerability. At first I was going to applaud Hannah for snapping at him, but instead he’s the one who confronts her, saying,
“YOU NEVER ASKED. You never ask me anything, besides ‘does this feel okay?’ or ‘do you like my skirt?’ or ‘how much is your rent?’ I’m not gonna fuckin’ talk your ear off about shit you don’t ask about. You don’t wanna know me. You want to come over in the night and have me fuck the dog shit out of you, then you wanna leave then write about it in your diary. You don’t wanna know me.”
Where did all this come from? Sure, Hannah deserves to be called out for her immaturity, but by the guy who fucks around with other girls and treats her like crap? Still, we got some insight into his frustration with also feeling like they have a shallow, sex-only relationship. When he yells at her, “Do you want me to be your fucking boyfriend?” and then it cuts to them in the car with Marnie and Hannah having a huge grin on her face because she got what she wanted, I wasn’t sure if I were supposed to be happy for either of them.
I really can’t choose just one person who grew up the most tonight; they all did in different ways. I’m curious to see if these self-realizations stick for the next few episodes, or if like a party high they dissipate by morning.
Photo: HBO, IndieWire, Slate