GIRLS recap: Episode 1

Apr 16 2012 by
Categories : Culture

Meet the GIRLS: Jemima Kirke (as Jessa) and Zosia Mamet (as Shoshanna) flank Hannah (played by writer-director-series creator Lena Dunham).

First things first: Despite the
Sex and the City outburst from Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) at the beginning of
GIRLS—“I’m definitely a Carrie at heart, but sometimes Samantha kind of comes out. And when I’m at school I definitely try and put on my Miranda hat”— this new, über-hyped HBO show about young women living in New York is more Woody Allen than Candice Bushnell. It’s not about single girls doing it for themselves as much as self-involved millennials relying on others for everything they possibly can. You don’t picture these characters growing into Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, even though they will get older, drink fancier cocktails and be able to afford nicer apartments.
Meet Hannah Like Woody himself, the show’s lead character, Hannah (
Lena Dunham), seems too absorbed reveling in her own neuroses to understand how she impacts the people around her. Which isn’t to say that she isn’t likeable, or that the audience won’t relate to her, because she is and we do (although not always in ways that flatter us). It’s clear though, that even as she’s announcing her imminent failure to survive New York, she doesn’t believe that she will be allowed—by her parents, her friends, the city itself—to fail. So when Hannah’s parents take her out for a fancy dinner and announce that they’re cutting her off financially, she’s more than a little shocked. After all, she protests, she’s done everything right: She’s interned at an upscale publishing house for a year, and her boss has agreed to read her memoir when it’s finished. She isn’t a drug addict—“not even
pills.” All her friends’ parents support
them. No dice. “When does it start?” a wide-eyed Hannah asks, as reality dawns. “Right now,” comes the unflappable reply.

Allison Williams as Marnie.

Meet Marnie Back at Hannah’s place, we meet her roommate, Marnie (Allison Williams), and Charlie (Christopher Abbott), Marnie’s poor schmuck of a clingy boyfriend (side note: Marnie and Charlie? Rhyming names are a terrible sign for any couple.) When Charlie puts out his hand out to take Marnie’s night-guard, you know their relationship is deeply troubled. A boyfriend who talks in a baby voice as he willingly holds your dental appliances? #vom Marnie agrees. As she and Hannah hang out in the tub (Hannah eating a cupcake for breakfast), Marnie tells her that Charlie’s touch “now feels like a weird uncle putting his hand on my knee at Thanksgiving.” Ick. “How does it feel to be loved that much?” Hannah asks. “I don’t even feel it anymore,” Marnie replies. #yikes

Meet Jessa and Shoshanna Across town, Jessa (Jemima Kirke), a British blond bohemian with Vuitton luggage, arrives at her cousin Shoshanna’s apartment. (Said cousin is wearing a Juicy Couture tracksuit— the only costuming note that felt a bit off to us. While Shoshanna is naïve and silly, we don’t really buy that any girl in her position would be caught dead in Juicy— she seems the type to religiously read
People Style Watch and emulate Jessica Alba.) Shoshanna is overwhelmingly thrilled to see her cool British cousin (she is the only one of her girlfriends to have one), and her mind is blown even further when Jessa admits to never having seen
Sex and the City—the show
or the movie—AND not being on Facebook. Little cousin has a lot to learn from her.
“You won’t be here anymore to do the reading.” —Hannah’s boss At the publishing office, Hannah confronts her boss, Alistair, who doesn’t seem to understand why she would ever need to be paid for her job. When she mentions that another intern was hired after her internship, he reminds her that she “knows Photoshop”. The conversation spirals from there, with him reminding her how many intern applications he receives daily, and then rescinding his offer to read her book since “You won’t be here anymore to do the reading.” Hannah’s promising internship has rapidly devolved into unemployment. There should probably be an app that shuts down our phones when our self esteem is at its lowest, as evidenced by Hannah’s response to her firing—calling her non-boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) and using the oldest and worst line “I was in the neighbourhood.” Adam is a cocky actor/woodworking artist who delivers lines like, “You should never be anyone’s fucking slave…except mine” with a straight face. Adam talks Hannah into a compromising position, and tests whether her sorry state has left her in the right frame of mind for anal sex. (Um, no.)

“It doesn’t taste like Twix!” —Hannah Back at the apartment, guests begin to arrive for Jessa’s welcome home dinner, hosted by Marnie and Charlie. Noticeably late? Jessa and Hannah. Charlie’s friend Ray (Alex Karpovsky, who you might recognize from
Tiny Furniture, Dunham’s directorial debut), and the silly “shiksa” he picked up that day at the mall are there though. Marnie is not thrilled. When Jessa finally arrives, trailing patchouli, she details her life as an
au pair in France (Ray gets his best line of the night when he notes that her story sounds like the plot from
The Sound of Music). Right behind her, Hannah arrives and soon takes up Ray’s offer of opium tea, which Hannah discovers tastes like twigs—not Twix, as she’d thought. The opium leads to a chain reaction with Hannah first receiving opposite advice from her two friends—Marnie offering A-type mothering and Jessa offering hippie encouragement. Hannah takes off for her parent’s hotel room with a proposal that combines her two friends’ approaches while they stay behind to hash out their issues. Charlie then walks in on another overly personal bathroom moment, and Marnie gets to the bottom of what is really going on with Jessa. She’s pregnant.
“Or at least a voice of a generation.” —Hannah Over at The Warwick Hotel, Hannah arrives at her parents’ room to make her offer: she needs $1,100 a month for the next two years. Her opium high is giving her delusions of grandeur (this is where she delivers the oft-quoted line from the trailer about being the voice of her generation, which she downgrades to “a voice of a generation”), and infuriates her mother to the point where she pointedly suggests: “Why don’t you get a JOB and start a BLOG?” Hannah wakes up alone and discovers that her parents have checked out (closing the account, so she can’t order room service). As Hannah makes her way out into the city, stolen housekeeping money in hand, it’s clear that the night’s events haven’t broken her—in fact they will probably make up essay number five in her memoir. Earlier in the episode, she and Marnie fell asleep to the
Mary Tyler Moore show, and it’s easy to understand why that would be their ideal bedtime story. They imagine that they are career women, making things happen for themselves like Mary, but really it is the soothing nature of the show’s simpler times that attracts them. That and the theme song of course—what twentysomething girl doesn’t want to hear that she’s going to make it after all?
Episode 1: The lines we loved best 1.  Hannah: “I have work, and then I have a dinner thing, and then I am busy trying to become who I am.” 2.  Hannah’s mom: “We can’t keep bankrolling your groovy lifestyle.” Hannah: “Groovy? Lifestyle?” 3. Hannah to Jessa and Marnie: “You are gorgeous and a vision. You are a brilliant genius. Both of you are sex goddesses. When I look at both of you a Coldplay song plays in my heart."
OVER TO YOU: Did you watch the episode? Your favourite lines? Just for fun: Are you a Hannah, Jessa, Marnie or a Shoshanna?
Read more: Our
ELLE-approved travel guide to maximizing 24 hours in New York.

Categories: Culture