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'Girls' recap, 'It's a Shame About Ray'

RentalsGirls (tv program)Lena Dunham

Elijah and Hannah are breaking up. She is kicking him out for his transgression with Marnie and it has gotten really ugly really quickly.

"Here’s your round brush, here’s your Astroglide. Don’t even know how that ended up in my room," announces Hannah, looking for all the world like Divine in "Hairspray" in her Granny muumuu.

Elijah announces he will not be paying this month’s rent, but Hannah is coming out the winner as George (Elijah’s ex-Sugar Daddy) has told her she can keep all of Elijah’s belongings that he paid for which is ... everything. Their break-up fight has too many quotable lines to list, but the way in which Elijah turns on his heel, articulating the word “butt-plug” was the highlight.

Uptown, Jenna and Thomas-John are preparing to meet his parents. She’s already on the offensive, irritated that her new in-laws are early and forcing her to dine at a steakhouse. “I can’t eat meat unless I’m mon-stroo-ating,” she whines. “I’m sure you’ll find a delicate way to explain that,” he hopes.

Hannah is hosting a dinner party to celebrate her first article getting published on Jazzhate.com (confidential to HBO’s marketing department: you really missed an awesome opportunity by not utlizing that URL, dummies). Her soiree is marred by awkwardness — Marnie arrives, aghast that Charlie is there with his headband-addicted and altogether rude girlfriend, Audrey.

Shoshonna and Ray arrive late (“Because we had sex,” he admits, to her horror). Things don’t get any less uncomfortable as it’s revealed that Ray is homeless and by default living with Shosh, which she honestly didn’t realize. Audrey’s nonstop bitch assault sends Marnie to the roof, and Charlie follows her.

There’s a sweet scene where they talk about what they mean to each other and he, not surprisingly, leans in to kiss her (and immediately goes for her breast — really? Who DOES that?). She pushes him off and tells him she’s seeing Booth Jonathan, and he leaves in disgust.

Thomas-John’s parents are precisely as uptight and WASPy as you’d expect. Jessa’s introduction starts off with a bang: “I mean, I hate this restaurant but I don’t even care because I’m so happy to meet you guys!”

Their dinner proceeds to be just as excruciating as Hannah’s. Jessa regales them with tales of world travel and heroin addiction, while Thomas-John’s Dad drunkenly undresses her with his eyes and his mom tries not to spit-take at every shocking revelation about her new daughter-in-law.

Finally the claws come out and T-J’s Mom pointedly asks her about her lack of job, commenting that “It must be very nice to find yourself in such a successful situation.”

“And this is why we didn’t invite you to the wedding,” Thomas-John confesses.

Back at his palatial apartment, Thomas-John and Jessa have it out. He’s livid she didn’t just lie, act nice, and get through the dinner, and admits he thinks she’s after his money: “I’m a f----ng needle in a haystack and you’re just some f----ng dumb hipster who’s munching my hay!”

Jess fires back without mercy: “I’m embarrassed when we walk down the street because you’re so f----ng average.” The fight escalates to imminent divorce (“I have never made a mistake like this before.”) and then to projectiles.

The last two scenes are heartbreaking. It’s the first time I’ve actually gotten teared up watching
"Girls."

As Shoshonna and Ray wait for the subway to take them back to her place she’s still shocked he couldn’t admit he needed a place to live. “Just say it, I’m a loser,” he bellows. “I’m falling in love with you,” she says as the train comes in. “It’s way too early for you to say something like that,” he scolds, and then mutters, “I love you so f----ng much.”

As the two of them sit, facing forward, emotionally wrecked and shocked, not looking at each other, I’m immediately reminded of the scene on the bus at the end of “The Graduate” — it’s so gut-wrenching and beautiful and painful to watch, all at once.

Alex Karpovsky and Zosia Mamet are absolutely brilliant in this scene, and the whole episode. It’s just perfectly acted.

Back at Hannah’s, she’s sitting in her bathtub, serenading herself with Oasis’ “Wonderwall." Jessa comes in, unannounced, and strips down, joins her in the tub, and breaks down in sobs. Hannah’s bewildered and empathetic silence is so well done, this moment is female friendship at its best.

We end, in true Lena Dunham style, not on that aching moment of connection, but on Hannah being grossed out that Jessa wiped her snot and left it floating in the bathwater. “Even I don’t do that.” she chides. They laugh, clasp hands, and the credits roll.

This episode was an emotional body slam. Absolutely the best episode and writing I’ve seen yet this season. I suspect Jessa will be Hannah’s next roommate, and am so looking forward to seeing how Ray and Shosh cope with consciously living together.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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