Girls: “Daddy Issues” Season 4 Episode 9 Review

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On last week’s Looking, a show that was once considered the gay equivalent of Girls but has since surpassed it in quality, two main characters are developing a mobile game that pits different divisions (or kinds of gay men, such as twinks, bears, otters, and, yes, daddies) of the gay community against each other. They present the app at a gay video game convention, to which a fellow developer says they are just perpetuating the stereotypes and divisions of the culture. Looking is smart enough to pull off criticizing the very culture it wants to present as normally as every other culture on television. Labels and stereotypes are breaking a culture that had and still has to fight against those very things.

Well, I bet the folks over at Looking had a good laugh at tonight’s Girls.

In the gay world, a daddy is an older man that prefers younger men roughly half his age that he can sort of “father around” while engaging in a sexual relationship. Needless to say, the stigmas surrounding daddies are pretty bad, even though there’s really nothing wrong with it so long as both parties are consenting. Preferences are preferences and we can’t help them.

But daddies took a beating tonight from Hannah and her mother. It’s not out of character for Hannah to get upset about the prospect of her father being a daddy, but it is irresponsible for Girls to label this newly out character so quickly, or even at all.

It is important to note that Tad never labels himself as a daddy, meaning that he is at least open-minded to the world he is about to enter. I don’t expect Hannah or Loreen to be so open-minded so soon, but I wish Tad’s coming out didn’t force him to be misunderstood and reliant on labels. Girls had a chance to do something interesting an progressive here, but maybe they should just leave the criticisms of gay culture to Looking.

Otherwise, this episode had some pretty solid moments for the rest of the cast. Ray and Shoshanna continue to shine as their supportive friendship continues to build. This is a big leap forward for Ray’s career, and it’s nice to have Shosh backing him up with platonic companionship.

Then there’s Jessa and Adam, who finally aren’t the craziest ones in the room now that they’re dating Ace and Mimi-Rose, respectively. Jemima Kirke was particularly excellent as she sensed the awkwardness in the room and played off of it perfectly. It was also commendable of her to remove Adam from the situation completely. It’s actually growth for her character to walk away from crazy and do something positive for herself. Considering Girls frequently has zero clue what to do with Jessa, this was a nice change of pace.

So overall, this episode did enough right that it is better than the last two weeks’ entries. But Girls will clearly never be the show to go to for subversive storytelling about gay culture. Grade: B


Some Other Notes:

– Who else super doesn’t want to watch Marnie and Desi’s inevitable failure? We saw this almost verbatim with Jessa and Thomas John in season two. No thanks.

– Excuse me Hannah, but Christopher St. still has a lot to offer, it’s not just Chelsea!

– I can’t wait to watch Ray do politics.

– Might we see Zachary Quinto and Gillian Jacobs in next week’s season finale? I hope so, they’ve been the best thing about this season.

– Don’t Google Image search “Girls: Daddy Issues.”


By Matt Dougherty

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