Girls: “Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too”
B+

Girls: “Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too”

B+

Girls

“Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too”

Season 1, Episode 8
B+

Girls

“Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too”

Season 1, Episode 8

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“Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too” revolves around the actions of two angry men, one of whom is set off by the lack of understanding others have in his own pursuit of perfection (and, perhaps, from his own fears of failure) and the other who is set off by how he’s convinced that Jessa and Marnie owe him something for being so-called “daddy’s girls” who live it up in Brooklyn and ignore hard-working men like himself. Both outbursts are legitimately terrifying in the moment, though the second teeters on the edge of being comical. (Some of that may stem from the performance by Chris O’Dowd, who takes things way, way over-the-top in a way that I’m not sure the episode earns.) Though both come from different places, they scare the women in close proximity to them (though Jessa knows immediately that the businessman’s outburst is a buncha bullshit). And both are motivated by the world’s failure to conform to said man’s expectations.

“Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too” isn’t my favorite episode of the show—again, O’Dowd’s performance just made that scene in his apartment feel like it was trying too hard—but I liked the way it delved even further into the weird mind of Adam. At one point, Jessa asks if he’s a great thinker, or if he’s just fucking weird, and I think it’s safe to say that even the audience doesn’t have a good idea at this point. He seems like he could be either, and, more importantly, it seems like the show could have him be one in one episode and the next in the next, while still having him be recognizably the same person. I don’t know if I would have guessed in the first few episodes that Adam would be the character with the second-most development once we neared the end of the season, but here we are.

“Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too” is also the second episode of the show on which a man has co-writing credit on the script (Judd Apatow co-wrote “The Return,” still my favorite of the season), with Dan Sterling joining up with Lena Dunham for this one. (It’s directed, again, by Jody Lee Lipes, who doesn’t get as many great shots as he did last week but still does a solid job of keeping the performances honest and the pacing moving along.) That makes some sense, since this is the most Adam-heavy episode we’ve had so far, and the scenes where Adam is ranting about how much he doesn’t like his partner in the play he’s in feel very much like the words of every young man who’s engaged in an artistic pursuit and been terrified of compromise. To be sure, the guy Adam’s doing the play with seems to be kind of an idiot—his “white guy rapping” shtick is tired and horrible—but Hannah’s right that he should be proud of his contributions to the whole thing. (Also, Adam’s into theatre? Who knew!)

I also liked that the episode gave us more of a look at Jessa, who’s the kind of girl who can make it seem like she’s making fun of someone even when she’s complimenting them. (I have this affliction as well, and when Jessa started outlining how she really admired Marnie’s commitment to good hygiene, it was hilarious.) In past weeks, I haven’t been able to really embrace Jessa’s aloof cool, the way that she always seems to be slightly detached from everybody and everything. In the show’s world, Hannah’s the writer, but Jessa’s often the one who seems to be outside of herself, watching her and her friends go through the motions of one story or another. In this episode, though, Jessa’s nature is exactly what’s needed when she and Marnie need an exit from the venture capitalist’s apartment. She’s the friend who always seems to be separate from everybody else, but that comes in handy when all of her friends need a lifeline to carry them back above the surface. Jessa’s cool, yes, but it feels more and more like that coolness has an origin story we’ll get at some point (probably further down the line than this season). It’s not simply a fact of life.

This also plays into the long, long kiss between Jessa and Marnie, which I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of. Is it just the two women being present in that moment? Obviously, it starts out as Marnie desperately trying to salvage an evening with a guy she thinks is cute, but it turns so real and so intimate so quickly that it’s hard to parse out what’s going on (though the venture capitalist trying to get in on it offers some funny physical comedy). At times, it feels like a weird male fantasy thrust into the middle of the episode, but maybe that’s the whole point. By trying to turn this guy on in the only way she can think of, Marnie creates a whole other scenario that spins off of the first one. Regardless, it was nice to see the central characters split off into new pairings, and the Marnie and Jessa pairing is one that could work well with a little more development. (Speaking of Marnie, I particularly liked her early anger at having to listen to Adam and Hannah’s horrifying—from the outside—sex talk.)

This is really an episode for Adam, though. Where it could have been too full of the sorts of cutesy stuff couples do when they’re in the throes of a new relationship—and was a bit in the early going—it very quickly turned into something else when he first got angry with his creative partner, then with the driver of the car who honked at him. His angry yelling was terrifying, even to us in the audience, and it wasn’t immediately clear if he’d completely lost it or if he had anger issues he needed to get under control or both. Adam’s eccentricity is sweet and fun when it comes to performing his monologues or not liking ice cream, but there’s a lonely, angry edge to it that makes you wonder if Hannah’s getting more psychological trauma than she bargained for with him. Last week’s episode suggested that Hannah might have shut herself off from some good things about Adam by not getting to know him better; this week’s suggests she might not have learned the bad things about him.

That’s all part of a new relationship, too, of course, and I assume the rest of the season will play out with the two characters increasingly dancing around their faults, trying not to let them get in the way of something they both really enjoy, even as we know those faults will come back sooner or later. When the episode ends, Adam is putting up dozens of “SORRY” placards at the corner where he yelled angrily at the driver, and while it’s a nice gesture, it’s also the sort of thing that doesn’t matter. That guy might never drive by there again, and even if he does, why would he necessarily connect those words to the kid who yelled at him so much? Learning to rein in your emotions and have empathy for other people is often a big part of growing up, and in that regard, Adam has as much growing up to do as anybody else.

Stray observations:

  • For as much as I’m not sure the O’Dowd monologue worked, I did like the pathetic, desperate line, “I want to be balls deep in something!”
  • This week’s musical choices include Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper,” which is just the worst, and The Vaccines’ “Wreckin’ Bar” (which was the insanely catchy closing credits song).
  • Hannah’s self-absorption strikes even in an episode where she has less to do. Both Adam and Jessa tell Marnie the things she wants to hear in the wake of finding out about Charlie and Audrey, while Hannah mostly doesn’t seem all that interested.

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