GIRLS, “Free Snacks” Episode Recap
The trouble with analyzing shows episode by episode is that sometimes we’re too quick to make snap judgements in what’s meant to be a long-form narrative. Quality television will always require some level of patience, because sometimes what’s so frustrating about an episode like “Only Child” makes an episode like “Free Snacks” all the more rewarding.
That’s not to say that I’m ready to totally forgive Girls for its early-season missteps — the show was still repetitive and unsurprising over the last few weeks — but putting Hannah’s egotism back in motion in recent episodes at least allowed for the crash back to humanity that she desperately needed.
Just as the show was beginning to make Hannah more insufferable than ever, it give her a reality check in the form of a new work environment (minor plot hole: how does Hannah get jobs so quickly? She still hasn’t really done anything). She’s working at GQ Magazine, but it’s not as glamourous as it sounds. She’s in the Advertorial department, writing copy for Neiman Marcus. Hannah sees the move as nothing more than a stop-gap until she’s able to do what she really wants, which she openly admits to her fellow co-workers while simultaneously talking down to them. No offense, she tells them, but she’s a writer writer, not some corporate sell out. But much to Hannah’s surprise and dismay, Kevin, Joe and Karen all have writing resumes even stronger than hers and have been working this job for several years, putting their dreams on the back burner in favor of a steady paycheck.
It’s the most important scene of the season and arguably of the entire show. Hannah, who so rarely ventures outside her social bubble, has lived such an idealistic lifestyle that she never even considered that maybe she’d have to settle for doing something less than what she thinks she deserves. And now that she sees three living, breathing examples of excellent young writers who are struggling to fulfill their creative vision of themselves, she can’t handle it. It’s something that writers and other creative types struggle with all the time, me included. We all want to be someone in the most romantic sense of the word, like the heros we admire, but at a certain point real life catches up and you have to start separating your dreams from reality, also known as being an adult. We all know Hannah is an incredibly slow learner when it comes to this notion, but for the first time in a long time (maybe ever), Hannah takes positive steps towards transitioning from girl to woman when she comes to her senses and decides not to instinctively quit a job she feels will stifle her creative spirit.
It’s a small yet monumental step for Hannah on her way back to becoming a more complex, interesting and even slightly more sympathetic character. Her ability to (finally) make a compromise gives her a tiny shred of hope that she won’t be drowned out by her own narcissism, hope that the showed desperately needs.
- The fact that Marnie and Ray don’t work together is exactly what makes the subplot interesting to me. I really like that they are nothing alike and sometimes actively hate each other, but as Ray put it, “You have no else to eat lunch with, and neither do I.” It was a heartfelt sentiment, and the fact that these two are able to at least try to fill a void in each other’s lives is nice. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be better if Marnie was able to be okay with being alone for a little while? Or at least try it out?
- What I loved most about this episode is that Hannah finally proved herself to be a driving creative force with her strong ideas at the pitch meeting. Most of the time, the show simply just tells us how great Hannah was without ever showing why we should admire her. More of this, please.
- There’s some definite flirtation between Hannah and Joe (Michael Zegen, who starred alongside Adam Driver in Frances Ha), although Joe has a high school-like infatuation with Karen. Most importantly, Joe introduces Hannah to the snack room…”you just said snack room and everything just blurred.”
- Jessa’s working at a clothing boutique, Shoshanna wants to take the next step with her dumb boyfriend. Are these two even apart of the show anymore?
- “It’s really hard for a jew to gain respect in sports.”
- Kevin hates Hannah’s face. It looks like some he hated when he dated her (or him, Hannah never finds out).
- There’s two sex scenes in this episode where I thought to myself, “If the actors aren’t actually having sex, then what are they doing?”
- With Hannah’s apparent step in the right direction growing-up wise, there may be some friction to come between her and Adam, who’s lack of direction is becoming more and more apparent to her. Although after refusing comply to the rules of his early audition (I would love to see those tapes), Adam secures a callback. Regardless of which way this story goes, it’s no secret that more Adam is a must.