Girls: “Female Author” Season 4 Episode 3 Review

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This week’s Girls was incredibly busy. Everyone is now where they are going to be for the season, which makes “Female Author” the first true episode of the season four status quo. And that means its time to pin down the characters’ flaws and initiate some growth.

We saw every major character this week, and very few of them were ever in the same room. The main focus was still obviously on Hannah, who continues to struggle to fit in amongst her peers, despite Elijah’s efforts to build their social circles (well, at least his). The crux of “Female Author” dealt with Hannah feeling awkward around the other members of her program. As usual, she didn’t do herself any favors, publicly pointing out the flaws in each of their writing.

This circle of aspiring writers seems to be Lena Dunham’s vehicle to openly discuss issues like gender equality. If you’re okay with the transparency of that, you’ll find some pretty interesting points being made about the creative minds we celebrate versus the ones we ignore. That said, as Girls becomes more about Hannah’s journey to become a writer, Dunham appears to be narrowing the audience even further. Hannah is likable enough that we’ll see it through to the end, but her journey has almost gotten too specific and focused.

Of course, this all surrounds her temptation to give up. Having Hannah in Iowa is a major challenge for the show. But while this storyline hasn’t quite found its footing yet, having her quit and move back to New York would feel like a huge cop-out. No matter what comes of Hannah’s career after grad school, Girls has to see this thing through to the end. Sending her back would not only damage Hannah as a character, but also the rewards the show his given its audience over the past three seasons.

Back in the city, things were a bit more interesting. Marnie became a mess back in season two, and the show has done very little to fix it to the point where “mess” is practically her personality. Desi is the only thing potentially putting her on the right track, though he’s also a mess. But at least her career is benefiting from their severely unhealthy relationship. Marnie appears to finally gain some confidence and asks for what she wants. Desi can’t reciprocate and says this is the time where Marnie should be exploring. Their meeting with the record label appeared to go well, but their behind the scenes drama could ruin their chances at making it big.

However, the best character branch of the week easily went to Jessa and Adam. These two rarely share scenes together, but when they do, it’s usually golden. Their material in “Female Author” was no exception. It’s sort of a cool detail that they go to AA together and laugh off some of the other, crazier members. You wouldn’t think the two characters with the biggest, weirdest personalities would work well together in a story of their own, but they bounce off each other incredibly well.

Their arrest was actually incredibly well done. I was honestly dreading it when the clip showed in the trailer (it looked like Girls had gone off the deep end), but Jessa getting arrested for peeing in the street in the middle of the day felt very authentic to who she is. Adam aggressively defending her when the cop hurt her, getting him arrested, was just as authentic to his character. As Adam later points out, Jessa is still pulling this crap when she’s sober, getting them both into trouble. He’s ready to grow up and stop getting into trouble, causing him to maturely not want to be around Jessa. But with Hannah gone, she needs a friend, and she knows he does too. This will be a fun friendship to explore, if only to hear their warped yet relatable conversations about everyday life.

Collectively, “Female Author” showed a lot of characters at pretty low points in their lives. The point Girls seems to be ready to make is that it isn’t cute anymore. Now’s the time where these people need to step up and grow into who they are going to be. Perhaps these lows will be a wake up call for them all, so long as the show is courageous enough to ascend them to the next step. Grade: B

Some Other Notes:

– Shoshanna just had the short job interview scene this week, which was hysterical. This series has had a ton of job interview scene, due to its very nature, but has landed every single one.

– Ray is back to being the voice of reason, knocking some sense into Marnie, Jessa, and Adam this week. Of course Marnie immediately kisses him. These people never learn.

– Desi lost some serious likability points this week. Granted, when I read people talking about Girls, it’s me and maybe one other person out there who sympathize with Marnie still.

– Waiting for HBO to greenlight The Adam and Jessa AA Comedy Hour.


By Matt Dougherty

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