Sunday, February 03, 2013

"Girls" - "It's a Shame About Ray": Oasis

     Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Thomas-John (Chris O'Dowd)
     share a (final?) meal on "Girls".
     Photo Credit: HBO

In last week's review, I commended "Girls" for telling a kind of story they don't usually tell. But I was also sure to point out that I wasn't implying that I was tired of those stories or that I thought they were doing a bad job with them. And Saturday's (February 2) episode, thanks to some non-Bears Super Bowl Shuffling, shone a pretty great spotlight on two previously unexplored (at least at this depth) couples in Shoshanna and Ray, and Marnie and Thomas-John.

For the better part of a week, I was trying to hypothesize why this episode was called "It's a Shame About Ray" (the series of tubes tells me it's also the name of a 1992 song and album by The Lemonheads) - the best I had settled on before watching the episode was that we would learn Ray would have some embarrassing accident or disease or etc. But it turns out instead that in a move both simultaneously sadder and funnier, Ray is technically homeless when he's not living with Shoshanna, with Zosia Mamet giving a great reading of the line "Are we living together?"

That probably would have been the line of the night had it not been for Jessa saying "Wish there was a lord, but I know there isn't!" at the brilliantly uncomfortable (it feels redundant to continue to refer to events on this show as "awkward" or "comfortable" - it's basically a given) dinner with Thomas-John's parents, which also included some delightful conversation about the difference between the snorting and injection of heroin, among other horrors.

It was a rough night for fancy dinners on this show, but it was a particularly rough night for the men of "Girls". Between Thomas-John's meltdown (a good, twisted performance from Chris O'Dowd), Charlie calling Marnie the dreaded C-word, and Ray's big revelation, it was a rare occasion when the pain and trainwreckery (a word I'm inventing) of the guys managed to exceed the girls. What's more, they managed to do it without one glimpse of the gentleman known as Adam Sackler. It also has me very intrigued that an upcoming episode is titled "Boys," which would seem to indicate we're going to see an episode presented from their point of view.

I thought during the episode that even though I'd been looking forward to seeing the full-fledged return of Jessa after three weeks of glimpses, I had kind of forgotten who she was as a person. I of course knew that she was the most full-of-it of the four girls, claiming a worldliness that in no way aligned with her maturity, but I kind of forgot about her fragility and that she's still a human being. So I really loved the ending scene where Jessa climbs into the bathtub with Hannah, and she just breaks down crying. No one has to say a word - Hannah just knows. Despite the fact that Jessa completely misunderstands Hannah and her life, as we saw two weeks ago in the absolutely horrible advice she gave her, there is a weird connection between those two where sometimes, their screwups can still serve as a bonding touchstone.

Hannah and Jessa are each other's wonderwalls - I don't believe that anybody feels the way they both do about the other at that very moment, where they're able to sit in the bath and splash snot back and forth at each and other. It's a nice, weird moment, even though it seems very doubtful that they will be the ones to save each other.