Mar 13, 2015

TV Recap: Girls - "Tad & Loreen & Avi & Shanaz"

Left to right: Lena Dunham and Maude Apatow
Welcome back to another round of Girls TV Recap. Following the amazing third season, this series will focus on season four and the perils that Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her friends face as she goes to Iowa. What new experiences will she face? What will everyone else do while they wait for her inevitable return? Come back every Friday for the latest recap including thoughts and predictions for each episode. Will it remain one of the best comedies on TV? You'll have to read to find out.
With Adam now broken up with Hannah, there's only one way to go: forward. With her substitute teaching job, it seems like she has gotten her life back in order. That is, of course, until she decides to befriend a student and get into some raucous trouble. As it stands, this season has been about trying to grow up only to find out that maybe things aren't as easy in transition as they would like to be perceived. For an episode that lists a series of characters who are at best supporting to supporting players, it is a rather strong episode in determining the faults of each other and trying to make the most of them.
After leaving therapy one day, Tad (Peter Scolari) confesses to Loreen (Becky Ann Baker) that he is a homosexual. With her recently getting tenure, she feels like this is a stunt to take attention away from her. She becomes concerned that everything in their life is about to change. As they attend a party later on, Tad confesses to Loreen's peers and causes a big stir. With Loreen upset, she decides to confide in Avi (Fred Melamed), who she had a previous relationship with. During a phone call with Hannah, they confess that Tad is gay.
Hannah is about to finish her first run as a substitute teacher. She has befriended Cleo (Maude Apatow) and decides to do something reckless. They go to get tongue piercings. However, once Hannah sees how painful it looks, she decides against it with Cleo too late to back out. She also tries to land a date with Fran (Jake Lacy), who is convinced that she is far too irresponsible to be worth his time. She becomes concerned and goes to her parents to seek advice.
Zosia Mamet
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is starting to help Ray (Alex Karpovsky) run for congress. While she helps him with handing out flyers, he reveals that he has slept with Marnie (Allison Williams) on a few occasions, which makes their time together awkward. Shoshanna is also concerned that she isn't getting anywhere in life based on conversations with Jessa (Jemima Kirke). When she goes on a date, she hits it off despite having a very awkward sexual conversation.
Meanwhile, Marnie snaps at Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) for buying $2000 worth of equipment without her permission. He says that it will help them get a better sound. However, she doesn't think that it's a good enough reason. After they have a fight, they meet up later to apologize. Desi immediately springs the question of marriage on Marnie, which she accepts.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Left to right: Allison Williams and Ebon Moss-Bachrach
It is easy to notice the episode's biggest moment came when Tad came out as gay. For some, it is an arbitrary revelation that is just used to spark the already controversial fire of the series. However, long time fans will recognize that it ties into the first season's episode "All Adventurous Women Do," which sees Hannah confront her ex-boyfriend Elijah regarding HPV (a topic that is also momentarily discussed). However, he is gay and accuses Hannah's father of being the same. There were undertones and since Tad's personal life hasn't been a central focus of the series, there's enough leeway to not address it immediately. In fact, it's kind of cleverly inserted into the canon because of this. It isn't just a callback, but it also has thematic tie-ins with the fact that Andrew Rannells, who has been in every other episode this season, is absent. It may be coincidence, but it could also be an indicator.
Still, what is the show going to do with Tad's publicizing of his sexuality? It seems like Loreen isn't going to take it too well, at least immediately. It seems like they're about to break up and make things possibly worse for Hannah's psyche as things go forward. It is a simple episode and it seems to focus on finding tragedy in someone else's moment of triumph. Much like how Tad ruined Loreen's tenure party, Hannah ruined Cleo's mouth by suggesting that she get her tongue pierced. 
However, it is also a moment to allow revelation for Hannah that she is maybe not as great of a person as she thinks. Fran clearly isn't interested in her. Without Adam being there to protect her, she is helpless and facing a scary world where she regresses to wanting to be accepted by youthful peers. Even in a small role of authority, she ruins someone's life with poor judgment. If this season has been about finding the downside to Hannah, then it has been successful. She seems to be trying to reinvent herself only to find that it is impossible. She is clumsy at every turn. She left Iowa, broke up with Adam and ruined Cleo's mouth. There's insecurity abound, even in her choice to say "We're children" as she sees someone objectifying them in public. It seems like failure is prone to her.
However, I must say that Marnie and Desi have continually become less and less interesting as the season has progressed. While this week's story manages to allow for some progress, it still feels useless. They are a self-involved couple that don't really do anything. Why can't it be like last season where Marnie was secondary and popped up randomly as opposed to weekly? It is a simple request, and one that doesn't lack total sense because she has become one of the least interesting characters. I am unsure if this marriage is going to actually happen. If so, that will put them in a financial hole worse than their lack of music career can provide. Also, it feels redundant to season one when Jessa did the same, though admittedly without any expectations.
Rounding out the stories this week is Shoshanna, whose lack of focus is also baffling. She wants to help Ray, who helped her on and off over the last few seasons. However, she is a mess personally and cannot land a job. Jessa isn't much of a help as her apathetic nature makes her barely exist sometimes. She may be trying to land a man and get enough money to not work, but who knows if it will last. Her sexual talk was cringe-inducing and made things a little hard to swallow. For someone who started off the season so confidently, it seems a little much to have this happen.
We're eight episodes into the season and there hasn't been much really to predict where things are going. There's no mental breakdowns or scholarships that anyone is working towards. Most of the conflicts happened mid-season. While this has been a rather strong batch of episodes, they also feel occasionally inconsequential. It could just be that Hannah's lack of focus is causing an insecure vibe to the show. However, the only real question is where things will go. It does feel like the show is running out of steam, even if the writing is still top notch. There's really nowhere else for the characters to go, unless they turn their lives around. That's the question that hopefully will be answered in the remaining two episodes.

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