Film and TV

Girls, Season 2 Episode 8: Who's Bringing the Cookies?

As episode eight opens, we follow Hannah down the street. She receives a text from Adam, which causes her to have a nervous tic, one we've never seen before. We're reminded Hannah got an e-book deal, and the deadline is looming, with nary a word written. Hannah starts doing everything in eights.

Previously on Girls See our previous episode recaps in the RTVF archive.

She has OCD, which was a problem when she was younger. Now it has returned, due to the pressures of being a young e-book novelist. If you've ever read Horse E-books, you know it can be a debilitating process.

We know this will not end well for her, and though it doesn't really feel that unrealistic for Hannah to have OCD, it does seem odd to bring this new old problem into the narrative this late in the series. The intricacies of a mental illness could even drive a whole episode, but they feel lost in this one's ensemble plot, where the women are devolving and the men are evolving.

Adam's back in his AA meetings; he hasn't felt very "solid" lately. When the meeting leader asks who's bringing the cookies next week, it triggers something in Adam, who launches into a confessional about Hannah, and how persistent she was at getting him to care. After baring his soul at an AA meeting, he's approached by a woman played by Carol Kane, who promptly suggests he go on a date with her daughter. Adam does, because he's trying to be a better person; he calls when he's supposed to, meets her at a restaurant, and has a pleasant date with a universally attractive woman.

Perhaps the most believable part of this narrative is that Charlie is now the CEO of an Internet start-up, with his own office and his own employees. The cosmic punchline? He developed an app called Forbid, which blocks you from calling people you shouldn't, inspired by Marnie, who is still so oblivious she decides to just show up at this new office. When Charlie asks, "Do you need money, is that why you're here?" I audibly cringed, but Marnie did not.

The follow-up scene, in which Ray asks Marnie what she wants to do with her life (sing, and more specifically, sing Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why"), is one of the more touching moments in the episode. "The clay is dry," he tells her, urging her to stop waiting around for life to happen. Across town, Shoshanna is making out with a handsome doorman, because her clay is definitely NOT dry yet, am I right, ladies? This action will no doubt send Ray into a bad place in the final episode.

Hannah and her parents, who are worried about the return of her OCD, attend a Judy Collins concert at Cafe Carlyle. Hannah has a breakdown in the midst of a fight with her parents, hits a man in the arm eight times, and interrupts the concert. Even Judy Collins is annoyed by Hannah! She runs into the bathroom to repeat, "You are good and you are fine" to herself in the mirror, which -- wait, are those lyrics to a Judy Collins song?

This episode did have a very Woody Allen-esque feel to it, with the comedic focus on neuroses, and the appearance of Carol Kane. Completing the holy trinity is Bob Balaban as Hannah's monotone Manhattan therapist, who contributes to her anxiety by revealing he wrote a book about a bionic dog that sold 2 million copies.

Hannah's narcissism has spanned almost two seasons, in different forms. Here, we want her to have a breakthrough, to progress. Instead, she steamrolls over her therapist by saying, "I will do anything you say if you just tell my parents that I'm OK." He pauses from taking notes, looks her in the eye and says, "Are you?" If Girls functions as a catalog of neuroses, both mental and emotional, the answer has been the same every show.