“Beach House” - GIRLS Season 3 Episode 7 Recap
1. Shosh calling out Hannah’s narcissism, bordering on DGAF territory:
"Seriously, I have never met anyone who thinks their life is so f**king fascinating. I wanted to fall asleep in my own vomit all day listening to you talk about how you bruise more easily than other people."
2. Elijah and Hannah attempting to catch up and share notes on current pop culture:
E: “Hannah, I’m sorry.”
H: “About the Spring Breakers comment? That didn’t offend me, I thought that movie was a beautiful blend of art and commerce.”
3. Jessa sticking up for Shosh’s intellectualism:
“Actually, she is. I’m going to stick up for Shosh on this one and say that I once saw her read the newspaper on her phone.”
“Beach House” : Queen Marnie overlooks her Hamptons-adjacent kingdom in preparation for a big weekend. Unfortunately, her friends were ready for more of a Spring Break weekend romp.
“The Morning After”: Marnie walks into the kitchen to discover that Hannah, Shoshana and Jessa were grateful for the effort she put into the weekend, even if they did not always express it.
ONE TOPIC TO EXPLORE FURTHER: What are friends for?
JP: When someone asks me which character of GIRLS that I relate the most to, I hesitate to answer because they are all annoying in their own way. Hannah is a self-proclaimed narcissist and borderline sociopath, Marnie is a judgemental self-serving ice queen, Shoshana is a vapid squirrel of a person and Jessa is so damaged and non-committal that she is unable to take the time to work through her own bullshit. Nonetheless, we can all relate to some aspects of these girls whether or not we want to acknowledge it. Marnie is obnoxious, yes, but she accurately captures the priorities of her generation — no one wants to admit that they think or do the same things that she says and does, but we do. We Instagram the hikes we go on and the lattes we drink; she just acknowledges her intentions out loud. If a tree falls in the forest and no one instagrammed it, did it even happen? We all calculate our online presence, to the point where it detracts from our presence IRL. Marnie, aside from the vanity, makes legitimate efforts in her friendships - whether that be planning a birthday party for Hannah (even if only for the Gram proof), or hosting a girls weekend to heal her friendships - she’s trying. I felt bad for Marnie when her perfect weekender blew up in flames - she put a lot of attention and detail into planning it and her friends just shat all over it. Maybe it wasn’t their cup of tea, maybe they didn’t want to do face masks and have a healing session but they could have shown some gratitude or appreciation. Hannah, while maybe not as concerned with her social media presence or hosting perfectly planned evenings, is still narcissistic and egotistical. She has the uncanny ability to make any and every situation about herself. Her ego is what led to one of my favorite scenes on GIRLS thus far, the Shoshana fueled explosion of calling it like you see it TRUTH. She may have been a cruel drunk but she finally unshelved all of her thoughts and feelings about her friends and may have opened up the opportunity for the friends to actually heal, in the way that Marnie originally intended. She said “you guys never listen to me. You treat me like I’m a f**king cab driver. Seriously, you have entire conversations in front of me, like I’m invisible. And sometimes I wonder if my social anxiety is holding me back from meeting the people who are right for me, instead of a bunch of whiny nothings for friends.” What is the point of their friendship?. Maybe they are growing apart, maybe they are staying in each others lives because they have too much social anxiety to branch out or maybe they just really needed to say what has been on their minds all along.
Friendship requires effort. It requires saying things that you know may hurt your friends feelings but is in their best interest to hear. Friends are the people you share your innermost secrets with knowing that they won’t judge you, they are the people who you go to for support and advice. The girls of GIRLS are exaggerated examples of the stereotypes that exist within most groups of friends but their experiences aren’t as extreme as most make them out to be. We all have that friend who only plans fun events to have cute pictures to post, the friend who makes every situation about themselves and won’t shut up about their own life, the friend who somehow manages to never take accountability for their actions and the friend who lives in their own bubble of naïveté. In the end, friendship means accepting one another despite the differences that exist amongst the group.
OP: What are friends for? Friends are the ones you share your greatest triumphs with, who will give you a fist-bump when you get into grad school, who will ask you how your date went, who will unconditionally like all of your instagram posts, even when they’re not interesting. But friends are also the ones we turn to in times of need, when you’re feeling dejected, worthless, stressed about navigating a job-market in a recession that shows you no mercy. Friends are for honesty, for clarity, for keeping it real even when you can’t keep it real with yourself. “Beach House” allowed us to really see beyond each girl, and see them as we haven’t had much opportunity to this season, as collective Girls, as a forest rather than trees. Hannah, Marnie, Shoshana and Jessa have all grown up since we met them in Season One, and part of that has meant that they have grown apart, changed, and as an audience, this is the first time where we are forced to assess if these friendships are still worth hanging onto anymore, if our concept of us, as friends in college, can last us through our mid-twenties. Seeing the opening sequence of Marnie cutting flowers, assigning bedrooms and preparing the beach house is a glimpse into this character completely in her element— setting the stage for what she feels will be a strong refresh for their friendship; but as much as she creates a sense of order in the house, she maybe does not consider that these finer details will be lost on people who won’t sweat the small stuff or might be conceptualizing this weekend in a fundamentally different way [we all saw how structure and order worked out for Jessa during her time at rehab]. While Marnie believes she has set up a castle of healing for these friends, the other three feel like they are in a prison of her controlling tendencies and desire to have life play out like a Crate and Barrel Catalog.
For as much as this show is set up with a premise of these women being friends, the episode was filled with passive-aggressive jabs and shit-talking that you can’t help but wonder if that’s still how Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and Jesse Peretz are approaching the direction of these characters. The parallel of the four gay men in the episode, however, showed that Elijah and Co are just as judgmental, narcissistic, unkind, and insecure as any of our four central characters, so that perhaps this is not a condition of our Girls specifically, but of any group of people who have known each other long enough. Plus, the gays are a riot, so please let us have more of them. The culmination of the episode was a perfect unloading of what these characters have been thinking about each other for so long [as well as what we’ve been saying about them on reddit and the blog-o-sphere, lets be real], and putting every single issue out there in a psychologically violent and wounding way and nothing like Marnie had in mind for how the “healing over dinner” would go. I asked myself if this was the ultimate riff for our beloved characters, if they would finally realize that their friendship was taking more energy to maintain than it was worth anymore. But the morning-after scene was brilliant— each of the characters emerges from their bed, slightly hungover, slowly discovering the aftermath of last night, and absorbing the mess that the house was in, and more importantly, the mess that their relationship was in. As they reconvened in the kitchen the next morning, there was a quiet acknowledgement that despite the hurt they may have caused one another the night before, they were willing to work together to heal, to clean up the mess that they’ve allowed their friendship to get to. And as they waited for the bus at the end of the episode, re-enacting the choreography they just learned, there is hope for the Girls, as a unit, to learn to not only accept each other for what they used to be, but to allow their friendship to grow as much as they have grown. When it comes down to it, they prove that they could still have fun as a group even if they’re hungover, resentfully quiet, slumping and no one is stopping to take an Instagram.