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The Brilliant GIRLS Finale

girls-hbo-season-2-finale-lena-dunhamLast night’s GIRLS finale was a tour de force. In terms of character, dialogue, wit and plot, I’d put it right up there in Annie Hall territory. As soon as the episode ended, I went right back and watched it a second time. It was that good.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Season 2 of GIRLS. While Lena Dunham always delivers great dialogue, I’ve been perplexed and disappointed with some of the choices she’s made for the characters this season, especially her own. The compulsive and gratuitous nudity, the ill advised hookups with a junkie and Jessa’s teenage stepbrother were nauseating, especially since she confessed to not feeling any particular desire for either guy. Her two-day fling with a gorgeous guy whose trash cans she’d been invading just didn’t pass the plausibility test. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, I declared that GIRLS had jumped the shark, and hoped that Lena Dunham’s work would become more consistent as she matured. 

Then last week she delivered a great episode, leading us into the grand finale. All is forgiven, and I humbly bow before Lena, the voice of her generation. No one else has come close to capturing the gritty, confusing and neurotic lives of New York Millennials. It’s a brilliant portrait of a society where adolescence lasts until your 30th birthday (or in Ray’s case, 34th).

The show was most profound in its exploration of authenticity. You can pretend to be sane for a little while, or adopt the persona of some cool dude you’re not, or promise a publisher that you’ll write a series of brilliant essays on the sex you’re not having. But in the end, it never works. As I said in a recent comment thread, “Wherever you go, there you are.” We can’t escape ourselves, nor can we hide ourselves from others, not really. 

Hannah and Adam

The show opens with Hannah in full-blown compulsive mode, googling for information about germs and unable to get out of bed. Her book, which she had been given just a month to write, is overdue by several days and her publisher’s threat to sue her to get their advance back fails to inspire more than a single line of text about college friendships. Instead, she eats a bowl of Cool Whip and cuts her own hair in an attempt to look like Carey Mulligan. When that is a disaster, she gets Laird the junkie to come up and “fix it,” and he succeeds in making her look like Martin Luther. It’s all tragically hilarious, and in the middle of this she says to Laird, “I haven’t been eating that much so I don’t know if I look scary thin or anything.” It’s the perfect finishing touch. 

Ironically, Hannah’s breakdown creates the perfect opportunity to reconcile with Adam. Adam, who has been pretending to be a guy who cares about the Mets and enjoys romantic comedies, can’t keep up the charade. His girlfriend Natalia shames him when his dark side bleeds through, and a scene where he wants to talk dirty and she scolds him as a feminist is both poignant and painful. As he is expressing passion, she is instructing him in the ways of Coital Alignment Technique: “Back up, bear down, go slower.” The mismatch of Adam and Natalia was torture to watch. I found myself fondly recalling the sex scene from last season where Hannah went along with Adam’s fantasy of having seduced her as an 11 year-old with a lunchbox. 

When we next see Adam, he’s destroying his wooden sculptures and yelling, “Fuck her!” We don’t know whether he means Hannah or Natalia, but when Hannah reaches out to him via Facetime, he drops everything and runs like the wind across Brooklyn to scoop this Martin Lutheresque-Hannah into his arms. I haven’t seen such a physical demonstration of love for a woman since Superman flew against the rotation of the earth to save Lois Lane. 

Shoshanna and Ray

I confess I didn’t see the breakup coming. As ill-suited as these two are for one another, and despite Shoshanna’s making out with the doorman, I hadn’t realized how disillusioned Shoshanna had become with Ray, or how completely she controlled the relationship. When he  decides to change his life, it’s only to keep her, not from any real motivation within. It’s a patch up that falls flat. Ray’s misanthropy, his “black soul,” which seemed so romantic and mysterious early on, is now a constant burden. 

Shoshanna expresses her frustration with Ray with a hilarious description of his negativity, listing all the things he hates, which include the sound of children playing, colors, pillows, ribbons, people wearing sunglasses even in the daytime, and all his living relatives. It’s a pitch perfect summary of who Ray is, and a reminder of why Lena Dunham has been called the new Woody Allen.

He thinks that finishing his doctorate in Latin Studies is the answer, but his boss at Grumpy’s knows that’s not what Shoshanna wants. “She doesn’t want a Latin scholar! She wants somebody who can support her for the rest of her life so she can keep buying purses shaped like different bread products!” Dunham has an unerring sense of female attraction cues, and she knows what makes Shoshanna tick.

In a nice final touch, we see Shoshanna making out with a tall, thin blonde guy at the bar, despite having assured Ray there was no other man, “Especially not an adult male blonde, you know me better than that!” Ray was a darkly charming parasite in Shoshanna’s life, and she was bound to see his true self eventually. Her tender age and naivete allowed Ray to pretend to be an adult for just a while.

Marnie and Charlie

Charlie successfully pretended indifference to Marnie for a couple of weeks, but he never had a chance. He says he knows he’s an idiot and he doesn’t care. Not even her painful and humiliating solo at his workplace, with her strangely sexless sexually tinged performance, can dampen his ardor. 

In Season 1, when Charlie and Marnie were breaking up, she asked him why he never had doubts are their relationship. He replied, “Because I decided on you! I fucking decided on you!” 

Charlie is true. Marnie says she loves him and “it has nothing to do with the money.” His status has skyrocketed, he took her on his desk in the most manly way, and I’m sure Marnie believes what she is saying. But I don’t have a good feeling about this. In the end, she’ll disrespect him again, just for loving her so much. 

Wherever you go, there you are.

  • J

    I just got done watching the episode for the third time, this time with the LD’s commentary. I LOVED the finale. At the risk of sounding like I’m confusing TV and reality, I’m hopeful for both couples that got back together. I really don’t see Marnie as golddigging in going back to Charlie as much as I think she think she is attracted to the new Charlie who is strong enought to push back. And, of course, I think Hannah and Adam are made for each other in some crazy way. I love the Hannah finds love. I love the idea that love isn’t just for the graceful and beautiful but for the chubby, the neurotic and the spergy as well. I loved the passion between Adam and Hannah as they rise to their best selves at the end of this episode after having to face their dark sides earlier on.

    I even loved the Ray/Shoshanna break up and felt it was very realistic that after having been swept away by the dark, cynical, Byronic pose that Ray affects eventually realizes that he has problems that will only suck her under and drag her down. I find it interesting that Ray fell in with Shoshanna in the first place; a woman his own age would have seen through his issues immediately.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @J

      I really don’t see Marnie as golddigging in going back to Charlie as much as I think she think she is attracted to the new Charlie who is strong enought to push back.

      I hope you’re right. I don’t want Charlie to be hurt anymore! I will say that Marnie looked radiantly happy as they walked down the street together at the end.

      I think Hannah and Adam are made for each other in some crazy way.

      Me too. I hope that this time Hannah is going to let Adam love her (and love him back), and that she grows as a person. Laird was right, she is incredibly self-absorbed and presumptuous.

      I find it interesting that Ray fell in with Shoshanna in the first place; a woman his own age would have seen through his issues immediately.

      I hope that this will serve as a wakeup call to Ray. If this doesn’t light a fire under him, nothing will.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Reposted observations:

    1. That has to be the single worst haircut OF ALL TIME, whether on man, woman or Shetland pony.

    2. The Natalia/Adam thing makes clear Dunham’s intent with the episode before, that no rapeyosity was implied, that there are different kinds of sex different kinds of people require & that these two people just aren’t compatible in bed at ALL. Also made me think of that analysis of inflated rape statistics Christina Hoff Sommers did that showed something like 60% of the women classified by the Cosmo survey as ‘raped’ not only didn’t regard themselves as ‘raped’ but were continuing to have sex with their ‘attackers’ months later.

    3. The croissant-shaped clutch bag.

    4. Charlie, you fool! Marnie will just do it all over again!
    (Oh, & no webcams involved after all).

    5. Adam coming to Hannah in her time of need… that was so beautiful: Really romantic, really sweet, really real. Awww…

    What a great show.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Byron

      . That has to be the single worst haircut OF ALL TIME, whether on man, woman or Shetland pony.

      Agreed. I love how she’s not the least bit concerned, though. She has no sense whatsoever of what looks good on her or even her own level of attractiveness.

      The Natalia/Adam thing makes clear Dunham’s intent with the episode before, that no rapeyosity was implied, that there are different kinds of sex different kinds of people require & that these two people just aren’t compatible in bed at ALL.

      Yes, I was actually delighted that Natalia had not broken up with Adam and is still saying she loves his cock. I hope all those radfem knuckleheads are eating crow today. Also, I went back and watched the previous episode again. She is clearly saying, “not on my dress,” not telling him not to come. Also, did anyone else find it kind of gross she confessed to not having showered that day? I understand her self-consciousness, but not her decision not to shower for work or the party afterward.

      I never noticed the croissant shaped bag, but that was a hilarious touch. Shoshanna’s fashion sense is just bizarre. I think Hermie was correct in saying that she wants a guy who makes the big bucks. It’s clear from her apartment that she has wealthy parents paying her bills.

      Adam coming to Hannah in her time of need… that was so beautiful: Really romantic, really sweet, really real. Awww…

      When he said, “I’ve always been here,” my heart melted. He is so intense, he’s a strange guy, but his heroic rescue of Hannah really was lovely.

  • SayWhaat

    Her tender age and naivete allowed Ray to pretend to be an adult for just a while.

    Ray didn’t even like pretending to be an adult.
    IIRC, he “felt like her father.”

    I saw it coming. Shosh knew she could do better. Seducing the doorman was her way of confirming that she could get any guy she wanted now that her virginity baggage is gone.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Seducing the doorman was her way of confirming that she could get any guy she wanted now that her virginity baggage is gone.

      Ah, that makes sense. She did start it by telling him how good looking he was.

  • Jackie

    Pasted from earlier thread :D
    ===
    How awesome was that finale?!? Adam Driver *forever*! :mrgreen:

    Some very quick thoughts:
    Did anyone else think they ended back up in the same place as the beginning, but in inversion? Examples:
    *Charlie and Marnie are together but now she is the one who is pursuing him as a total mush (for now! That comment about “this isn’t about your money” popping out of her mouth first thing can’t be a coincidence!)

    *Adam and Hannah are together as well. Inversions: Instead of her stalking outside his apartment, he comes to hers. Instead of this being some casual thing, in her hour of greatest need when everyone else has dropped her is when Adam is the most devoted of all. More inversions: Instead of being creepy/911-y when he is trying to get in previously, he kicks down the door and this time it’s heroic. MORE: Even the tropes are inverted: How many romantic bedroom scenes end with the male lead topless and the focus on the viewer’s gaze and no sex is implied? Inverted Dunham: This is as intimate as they have ever been and she’s wearing clothes!

    *Shosh and Ray: Just like before, they end up as singles satelliting the couples around them. Inversions: Shosh is no longer the person with no confidence who feels saddled with virginity; she is the confident girl in the bar in what could be a scene out of her fave show, SATC. Ray is determined to make something of himself, in a massive inversion.

    *Jessa is just as alone and nomadic and unreachable as she was at the start. We didn’t really find out anything about her in this one, so no beloved inversions in my observation. (Yet!)

    Those were my first thoughts. This was a great episode! :D

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      How awesome was that finale?!? Adam Driver *forever*!

      I’m with you, he is my absolute favorite! I’ve done a complete 180 on this guy, now I find him endearing and highly attractive!

      Your insights re inversion are brilliant – I wonder if Lena Dunham thought of it this way or if it all just comes together in her head, the way some people just “know” how to solve a calculus proof.

      I too was struck by the way that Adam broke into the apartment – as a hero this time. It was quite a contrast to his last visit there.

  • Jackie

    Another observation: How many shoutouts were there to acknowledging mental health?

    *Hannah’s OCD (which it implies she has told Adam about, when he asked, Is this the OCDC from high school again? Also: Note that she has only shared this with her parents and Marnie to this point.) She is raising “mental health issues” to her boss, the Indian NP, etc, but not really naming it due to stigma.

    *Shosh tells Ray he needs to get therapy. (This is true.) His response is to tell her she is the crazy one, I think, or blow up in some manner. Again, stigma to mental health.

    *Hannah’s depiction of the downward spiral of depression was one of the most realistic depiction that I’ve seen on TV. Anybody who has ever been depressed will recognize that she is always on the verge of tears, self-care goes down the garbage and hiding from people. (How sad was it that she would hide from “anorexic Marnie” under her own bed?)

    *In the middle of this, how hilarious is it for her to bring up to Laird that she hasn’t been eating, and may be stick-thin and eating-disordered?

    The Martin Luther haircut (perfect description!) was something that I inflicted on myself at one point in time. (Only my case was a horribly misshapen bob.) The things that make perfect sense in your ravaged mind turn out soooo badly. :(

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      Re mental health, I read an interview where Lena Dunham says she has been in a psychiatrist’s care since the age of 5 for OCD. With two artists for parents, my guess is that the general level of neurosis in the family is sky high. I sense that her depictions of these issues are quite autobiographical.

      OCDC, lol.

  • Jackie

    @J

    “I love the Hannah finds love. I love the idea that love isn’t just for the graceful and beautiful but for the chubby, the neurotic and the spergy as well. I loved the passion between Adam and Hannah as they rise to their best selves at the end of this episode after having to face their dark sides earlier on.”
    ====
    J, I was wondering why the end of the episode moved me to tears. (Despite employing romcom tropes that usually leave me cold.) You’ve hit the nail on the head. Thanks very much :)

  • Jackie

    @SayWhaat
    “I saw it coming. Shosh knew she could do better.”
    ===
    SW, I, too, remarked on all the anvils they’ve been dropping on Shosh & Ray the last 3-4 episodes. (Great minds think alike :) )

    I don’t know if it was as clear-cut as “she could do better” as much as she realized, he is never going to change. Last week, the scene at the party, where she apologizes for Ray being a jerk and Charlie says something like, That’s just Ray, that’s who he is. And there is a look of realization on her face like, “Ohhh, that’s who he is, intrinsically, to the core.”

    That is where I think she realized that things were just not going to work.

    Also: You could make a really interesting dichotomy of Shoshanna: She is the least experienced and the most wise. (Even though Jessa sounds faux-wisdom-y.) Additionally, she is the one who has the most hangups about her mode of communication — she stopped herself in the middle of the discussion with Ray before letting herself get angry– but she is the one who speaks the baldest truths.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Susan,

    Interesting you mentioned Woody Allen & Annie Hall, Adam’s run through the streets of NY put me in mind of the ending of ‘Manhattan’, & was just about as romantic, if such a thing is possible.

    If I was going to try explain to someone the value & meaning of what goes down at the end, I guess I would say it seemed to me a beautiful depiction of the stripped-down proof of actual love: beyond your demonstrations of higher status & good looks, who loves you? Above all the bullshit & the games, the grievances & blame, when you call, who comes? Who cares enough to come to your aid?

    I think what was played out so beautifully was that feeling of the clarity that comes in an instant in an emergency, when all internal dialogue stops, & you know what matters, you know who matters, & you know what you must do. Really beautiful, noble, uplifting stuff.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Byron

      I think what was played out so beautifully was that feeling of the clarity that comes in an instant in an emergency, when all internal dialogue stops, & you know what matters, you know who matters, & you know what you must do. Really beautiful, noble, uplifting stuff.

      It truly is. My biggest fear is that Hannah really is not worthy of Adam. Laird was right about her – she’s incredibly self-absorbed. Is she even capable of loving Adam? Perhaps if she has “unraveled” enough, she can learn to love, IDK. I’m not optimistic.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Jackie,

    *Shosh tells Ray he needs to get therapy. (This is true.)

    I really thought the joke there was it was Shosh, if anyone, who needed the therapy – that hysterical explosion of yelp she lets out: ‘YES YOU DO!’ I thought was there for laughs.

    But yes, I thought the depiction of Hannah’s heightened, overloaded consciousness was really well depicted, what with the crazy googling & the differences in sound in each ear right at the start. She was a mess. Gotta admire someone willing to have THAT bad a hair day in front of millions of people. The kid’s got spunk.

  • J

    I hope you’re right. I don’t want Charlie to be hurt anymore! I will say that Marnie looked radiantly happy as they walked down the street together at the end.

    Yeah, me too. Of course, if things go too smoothly, that’s the end of that story line.

    Me too. I hope that this time Hannah is going to let Adam love her (and love him back), and that she grows as a person. Laird was right, she is incredibly self-absorbed and presumptuous.

    I was blown away by the scene with Laird because so much of Hannah’s self-absorbed bullshit is confronted–her fear of looking too skinny, her fear that she is going to have to fight Laird off, her fear of not being cared for as she was when she was ak id, and her hearing the truth about herself fom Laird. She is at a nadir professionally with her writer’s block, and I think that forces her to drop some of the bullhsit and let in some of the truth. Hopefully that will make her a better person for Adam.

    Adam in the meantime does have his own BS too, and I’m not so sure he’s confronted it to the extent Hannah has. I see the last sex scene with Natalia a little differently than you do. I had some sympathy for her character. She does have a right to ask him to move in a way that pleases her; she is correct in saying “I can love your cock and still not be a whore.” It’s true that she is not the girl for Adam, but a lot of who Adam and Hannah interlock is unhealthy. I think there’s a lot of fodder for LD to write about as they work through that.

    I hope that this will serve as a wakeup call to Ray. If this doesn’t light a fire under him, nothing will.

    Me too. I like the character, and I agree that he is the most clear-seeing of them all. OTOH, there is something off about a 33 year old guy hanging with a group of 20-somethings and sleeping with the youngest and most naive of them. The truly wondrous thing about LD’s writing is that she creates these weird characters that we love despite their flaws.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @J

      Of course, if things go too smoothly, that’s the end of that story line.

      I just discussed this with a friend over lunch. Dunham has created male characters as important to the series as the women, and she has a very large male audience. I think all her fans are going to want Adam, Ray and Charlie to stick around. That means continually finding scripts for them. That’s not easy to do. I remember how invested I was in the Jim and Pam storyline on The Office, then when they got together they were the most boring couple ever.

      This is going to be tricky.

      She does have a right to ask him to move in a way that pleases her; she is correct in saying “I can love your cock and still not be a whore.”

      I agree, but from the start I have never seen Natalia express any concern for Adam’s pleasure. Two sex scenes unfolded entirely on her terms, and she was very rejecting and shaming during the scene at Adam’s place. To be sure, not all women would go for that. However, remember what Hannah did when Adam called her a dirty whore? She went home and made herself up like a Goth, then returned to his apartment to tempt him. She was game, and much more accepting of Adam’s fantasies.

  • SayWhaat

    I don’t know if it was as clear-cut as “she could do better” as much as she realized, he is never going to change. Last week, the scene at the party, where she apologizes for Ray being a jerk and Charlie says something like, That’s just Ray, that’s who he is. And there is a look of realization on her face like, “Ohhh, that’s who he is, intrinsically, to the core.”

    That makes sense. Did this happen before or after she acted the “social butterfly” at the party?

    Also: You could make a really interesting dichotomy of Shoshanna: She is the least experienced and the most wise. (Even though Jessa sounds faux-wisdom-y.)

    Shosh has had a lot of time to analyze the mistakes of others while she was single, that she is wiser than her friends is of no surprise.

    Jessa just pisses me off. She is like, what every NYU freshman thinks is inspiring and edgy. One of my girlfriends remarked that if she ever met Jessa at a party, she would say, “You are made of bullshit.” And walk away, lol!

  • J

    I really thought the joke there was it was Shosh, if anyone, who needed the therapy – that hysterical explosion of yelp she lets out: ‘YES YOU DO!’ I thought was there for laughs.

    It was funny–not because Ray is so healthy and Shosh isn’t, but because we see how their individual virtues and flaws mesh both internally and with each others. Ray is dark and troubled; Shosh is correct in fearing that she will be pulled down by him. OTOH, she really IS young and naive; her stamping her feet underlines that even though she is right. Ray needs someone strong enough to confront him on whatever underlines his cynicism. That’s not going to be Shosh at this point. Neds to grow up first, but she won’t be able to do that while overshadowed by Ray.

  • Jackie

    @J
    ” She does have a right to ask him to move in a way that pleases her; she is correct in saying “I can love your cock and still not be a whore.” It’s true that she is not the girl for Adam, but a lot of who Adam and Hannah interlock is unhealthy.”
    ===
    Now this is where I think things could get really interesting next season:

    Can there be a female character on tv who has a healthy attitude towards sex? Who can love sex and “still not be a whore”? Adam’s weird degradations match up with Hannah’s in some twisted way, but it’s still not healthy.

  • J

    J, I was wondering why the end of the episode moved me to tears. (Despite employing romcom tropes that usually leave me cold.) You’ve hit the nail on the head. Thanks very much.

    You are very welcome, Jackie. I thought your ideas about Hannah’s nudity and the lack of real intimacy were spot on and instructive.

  • Jackie

    “I like the character, and I agree that he is the most clear-seeing of them all. OTOH, there is something off about a 33 year old guy hanging with a group of 20-somethings and sleeping with the youngest and most naive of them.”
    ===
    It was like he was uncomfortable with it, too, when she wanted him to go to the college party. It made him feel creepy, but those were her peers! I think, too, that where Shoshanna is at in life is less threatening to him. “Threatening” not in the sense of what his life is –working at Grumpy’s is fine– but she is not going to call him on pursuing his dreams the way he did to Marnie.

    Someone who is strong enough to be honest with him will inevitably ask him questions about accountability and why he’s made the choices he has. That probably scares the crap out of him at this point.

  • J

    When he said, “I’ve always been here,” my heart melted. He is so intense, he’s a strange guy, but his heroic rescue of Hannah really was lovely.

    LOL. I’m probably the world’s least romantic woman, and my heart leapt.

  • Fred Flange

    I always thought the two-day fling with Patrick Wilson’s doctor was one of the more brilliant shows – which could also be interprteted as a fantasy/dream since no one else sees them together. Hannah has loving sex with an attentive alpha male sporting beta comfort, and she can’t handle it. A running theme in both seasons is when Hannah is offered happiness, she destroys it, using the excuse she wants to “experience everything for her art” (i.e., suffer). It was why she ran from Adam eafter she hooked him, and expect to see that push-pull again in Season 3. She can’t help it. In this respect – whimsical self-sabotage – she has a trait in common with the far more toxic BPD Jessa. Hannah’s fling with the junkie fits the pattern. Though the Jessa family show provides a compelling background for how Jessa got so toxic, she learned from the best.

    It will be interesting to see if it is Charlie who dumps Marnie for being too clingy in season 3! Also nice how the Ray and Adam characters are being fleshed out, confounding first impressions of both. (Also, look for Adam Driver in “Lincoln”, where he is a soldier taking dictation from Lincoln to send a critical telegram).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Fred Flange

      A running theme in both seasons is when Hannah is offered happiness, she destroys it, using the excuse she wants to “experience everything for her art” (i.e., suffer).

      True, astute observation. However, I don’t think Patrick Wilson’s character was offering her happiness. The moment she began to express emotion, he became formal and rigid. He saw her as a temporary way to plug some vast hole in himself – no doubt loneliness. But it seemed clear from the start that this was an interlude never to be repeated or even mentioned again. It’s like he went on a bender, then shook it off and went back to work.

  • J

    @Jackie

    Ray is in a bad position. He knows that he doesn’t belong in Shoshanna’s world, but he is also becoming painfully aware that he has not made his own way in the world among his own peers. He’s been deriving satisfaction from being the senior-most member of a group of younger people and even they are starting to outgrow him.

  • J

    Fred, great observations. I thought the sequence with the doctor was very dream-like too. I agree that Hannah has a knack for throwing away happiness with both hands.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    I always thought the two-day fling with Patrick Wilson’s doctor was one of the more brilliant shows – which could also be interpreted as a fantasy/dream since no one else sees them together.

    Hadn’t thought of that, but would make sense, it’s never spoken of again.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    @ Jackie
    Yeah. Have to agree with you on the mental health angle. Pretty much all of these characters are severely damaged, enough that many of them need some serious psychiatric help, IMO. Possibly not even healthy enough to HAVE intimiate relationships, which might even be half the point!

    I seriously do not like Hannah, but having been in a similar situation myself, goddam. Wathcing her depressive spiral come full circle was just heart wrenching. And she is reaching out to everyone and nothing is working, and even getting yelled at, and Marnie is just “I am not looking under the bed and I am leaving.” Damn. The girl is so alone and you want someone to reach out and help her.

    Which was Adam. Yay Adam! Thrilling scene.

    Looking back, though, if I were adam, I would be careful interpreting this as “love.” they each still have a LOT of issues to work out. Specifically that Adam feels the need to degrade everything…I mean, jeez.

  • Joe

    Okay, I need some help here. I only saw the first couple of episodes (on-line, ’cause I don’t get that premium station) and I wasn’t at all persuaded to see more. The characters are just too much out of my experience.

    I was glad to see you question if they need psychiatric help, ADBG, because I can’t distinguish, from everyone’s synopses here, if these characters are acting at all realistically in their time and place. To me, the characters all seem borderline insane, or perhaps intolerably stupid.

    If they are representative of even a part of a generation in that place right now, it’s frightening.

    But I guess Woodstock seemed frightening to my parents too.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Joe

      If they are representative of even a part of a generation in that place right now, it’s frightening.

      They are representative, but only of a part of a generation. They’re not people who have focused on study followed by career. They’re artsy and alternative. I think the relationship dynamics are extremely realistic, though. Sadly.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    I was glad to see you question if they need psychiatric help, ADBG, because I can’t distinguish, from everyone’s synopses here, if these characters are acting at all realistically in their time and place. To me, the characters all seem borderline insane, or perhaps intolerably stupid.

    If they are representative of even a part of a generation in that place right now, it’s frightening.

    What Susan said, the career paths and spending choices are not always indicative. I do not know anyone who chose to try to write a novel.

    I do know of some questionable spending choices by my generation and a lack of concern for the future, on the idea that the 20s should be fun. I have to admit that I am also not saving as much as I should be.

    The relationship dynamics, I fear to speculate too much about.

  • Joe

    Thanks. I’ll keep in mind that it’s about a demographic slice, and like most characterizations, also represents only tiny part of everybody.

    I didn’t mean to blast an entire generation. Boomers get enough of that, so I know what it feels like.

  • J

    Lena Dunham says she has been in a psychiatrist’s care since the age of 5 for OCD

    Wow, that is early. There may well be some genetic basis as well.

    I think all her fans are going to want Adam, Ray and Charlie to stick around. That means continually finding scripts for them. That’s not easy to do.

    Absolutely. I thinhk she’s going to have to create interesting challenges in their relationships and then have the characters grow to overcome those challenges. That should be very interesting.

    I agree, but from the start I have never seen Natalia express any concern for Adam’s pleasure.

    That is true.

    To be sure, not all women would go for that. However, remember what Hannah did when Adam called her a dirty whore? She went home and made herself up like a Goth, then returned to his apartment to tempt him. She was game, and much more accepting of Adam’s fantasies.

    She was, but she had her own agenda and desire to explore odd stuff.

    I do hope that what Laird had to say to her sinks in.

  • Sassy6519

    I just watched the finale. I’m about to watch it again! That’s how great I think it is.

  • A definite beta guy

    Also re: shosh and ray. Ray is a principled, intelligent, lesser beta who got cheated on by a girl who wanted a ONS with a good looking doorman. A girl who looks like she is about to take a turn on the carousel.

    More thoughts on this one later…

  • SayWhaat

    Ray is a principled, intelligent, lesser beta who got cheated on by a girl who wanted a ONS with a good looking doorman.

    I don’t think she wanted a ONS so much as validation.

    And I disagree with that characterization of Ray. He’s definitely not a lesser beta, IMO.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @ADBG

      Why do you think that Shosh wanted a ONS, when all she did was make out?

  • A definite beta guy

    The point is that ray got cheated on. I just used he shorty hand because I am posting from a broken iPod.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Anyways, my perception of the Ray-ShoSho relationship was totally different. My thinking is that ShoSho is a bratty little girl that does not understand relationships and is too impulsive for a relationship, not that Ray is “too dark.”

    Notice her excuses kept changing? OMG, you’re not ambitious enough! OMG you need therapy! OMG, you’re too dark!

    The problem is that ShoSho did a very shitty thing and can’t stand to be around Ray. That’s what kills her when she’s around, and now she’s starting fights to drive Ray away and is coming up with excuses to justify it.

    It gets even worse with her “confession,” because she deliberately taking advantage of an honorable guy and her fake confession just proves it.

    The reason she is “in control” of the relationship is because Ray lost frame and became insecure and is trying to do whatever he can to keep her.

    Ray is operating from a scarcity mindset because for him there is NO ONE ELSE. He is a cynical fuck, but he’s a hardened cynical fuck for a reason. He’s a smart 34 year old guy that majored in Latin Studies and now has to work at a coffee shop and is homeless. He has seen an entire generation of this hook-up shit. He has seen an endured an entire generation of Hannah’s that think they can change the world with their words, and he’s laughed at an entire generation of ShoSho’s and their pink ribbons.

    But he was still pretty principled. He chased ShoSho through a sketchy neighborhood, he delivered that dog back to Staten Island, blah blah blah. Why wouldn’t he connect to the beacon of shiny-shiny innocence? It’s just like all the hardboiled Rep-Pill guys wanting virgins.

    ShoSho is on an entirely different wavelength from that, so obviously their objectives are going to conflict eventually, but the problem here is definitely a ShoSho and not a Ray.

    Ray is in a shitty place because that’s where he “Settled.” like how Jessa tried to settle and Marnie wanted to settle. But because he’s a principled beta type of guy, operating from a scarcity mindset, he goes to find a job. what, you think that Ray went to his boss to talk about his PhD so he could listen to someone say “follow your dreams”? No, he’s walking in there expecting the talk-down and wanting to get fired up about something.

    A very Beta way of handling things! ShoSho wants a guy who can buy her handbags!

    ShoSho wants a guy who makes her feel good about herself. BIGGGGG difference there.

    And right now, Ray can’t do that, because he has no frame control, and the frame is now “I cheated on this guy and every second around him makes me feel like shit.”

    “Alright, so this is an issue.”

    No, Ray, that was never the issue. She fell in love with you when you were a mother-f’in homeless bum. This is GIRLS: the only guy who is actually wealthy is Booth Jonathon and he is a psycopath. The issue was that she was temporarily upset with you and acted on it in a bad way and now is not mature enough to figure out how to resolve it like a big girl.

    Ray, though, this is YOUR problem, because you “settled’ in a shitty spot in life. Ray, this is your problem, because you saw “virgin” and thought “purity” when you really should have thought “immaturity.”

    Ray, this is YOUR problem, because you got One-Itis for an immature girl and lost the frame.

    That’s my thought on it. Ray tried to play Beta Script, and he got burrrrrrnnnnneeeeeeedddddd.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    I also think that all of these girls have a misguided view on “finding themselves” that ShoSho still glorifies.

    “I need to have all these experiences” for Hannah.

    Or Marnie’s conversation that “well, we need to have these experiences, and now we are at end point.”

    Or Jessa “experiencing” life.

    For ALL of these girls, these “experiences” are absolutely soul-crushing. As Hannah said, she just wants to be happy, which conflicts with those “experiences,” and most of Marnie’s recent experiences basically involve her getting completley screwed over.

    And in the end, they both end up with the same guys they started with! Bwhahahahahahahahaaha! They don’t really change except that they have beaten into nothingness. The MEN change into some more resembling, well, men.

    Now ShoSho is going to get the chance to learn what “experience” REALLY means on “Girls”

    Oh Karma. How lovely it will be!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @ADBG

      For ALL of these girls, these “experiences” are absolutely soul-crushing. As Hannah said, she just wants to be happy, which conflicts with those “experiences,” and most of Marnie’s recent experiences basically involve her getting completley screwed over.

      I agree, which is why I give the show credit for telling it like it is about relationships and sex for your generation. In SATC, the women pretended they were empowered and better off, even after failures.

      Whether Lena Dunham will allow the characters to learn from their experiences is an interesting question. As the writer, she clearly knows how damaging these experiences have been, and how little happiness they have generated.

  • SayWhaat

    My thinking is that Shosh cheated on Ray *because* of his lack of ambition.

    (Morally loose) People cheat when they are unsatisfied in their relationships, but don’t have the guts to end things beforehand. In this case, Ray’s lack of ambition was clearly an issue. Shosh cheated so that she could confirm that she “had it”, which added to her growing discomfort with the relationship.

    Ray is principled, yes, but IMO his immaturity matches (if not surpasses) that of Shoshanna. He’s a 30+yo guy who works as a manager of a coffee shop. That’s arrested development, right there!

    There is a status gap between Shoshanna and Ray, I’ll give you that. Shoshanna has been pampered by her parents (I continue to marvel at her apartment); accordingly, her natural mate is someone who would afford the same lifestyle. Her virginity depressed her natural SMV in the SMP, so she went for Ray. That’s no longer the case, now.

    I should be clear that I’m not condoning Shosh’s cheating. I was taken aback by that and it dramatically lessened the character’s appeal. But in the context of Ray/Shoshanna, it’s clear to me that Shoshanna knows what she wants, and Ray sure as hell doesn’t.

  • SayWhaat

    Whether Lena Dunham will allow the characters to learn from their experiences is an interesting question.

    I think she will. If not her, then Apatow will. Immature characters growing up is the central theme of his work.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    SayWhaat, I would say that Ray knows absolutely what he wants. He wants ShoSho. Enough so that after he realizes that the ambition thing MIGHT be an issue, he immediately goes out to improve his job status.

    This makes me believe that ShoSho really did not make a big issue out of the whole ambition thing until the cheating…which makes me believe it is not the reason for the cheating, only something that she didn’t like, but suppressed, until the cheating fiasco blew the dam.

    What really pissed ShoSho off is that Ray didn’t want to go to the party. And when ShoSho got knocked back by the Mean Girls at the party, she went for the easy route of Male Validation with an attractive guy, like…uhhh…all the other Girls on the show.

    My contention is that if ShoSho were more mature, they would still be together. If she were ONLY mature enough to actually discuss problems, Ray would try to fix them. If she were ONLY mature enough not to cheat, she would not hate herself. If she would ONLY confess to cheating, maybe Ray could have even taken her back eventually. It was only kissing, not actual sex, which may have helped her case.

    If ShoSho knew how to handle a relationship, that storyline would have been tied off and ended up in Wedding Bells.

    If only if only if only Beta Bucks actually DID drive this show, but it doesn’t.
    I may be wrong, just my view on things. :)

  • Sassy6519

    @ ADBG

    This makes me believe that ShoSho really did not make a big issue out of the whole ambition thing until the cheating…which makes me believe it is not the reason for the cheating, only something that she didn’t like, but suppressed, until the cheating fiasco blew the dam.

    What really pissed ShoSho off is that Ray didn’t want to go to the party. And when ShoSho got knocked back by the Mean Girls at the party, she went for the easy route of Male Validation with an attractive guy, like…uhhh…all the other Girls on the show.

    My contention is that if ShoSho were more mature, they would still be together. If she were ONLY mature enough to actually discuss problems, Ray would try to fix them. If she were ONLY mature enough not to cheat, she would not hate herself. If she would ONLY confess to cheating, maybe Ray could have even taken her back eventually. It was only kissing, not actual sex, which may have helped her case.

    If ShoSho knew how to handle a relationship, that storyline would have been tied off and ended up in Wedding Bells.

    If only if only if only Beta Bucks actually DID drive this show, but it doesn’t.
    I may be wrong, just my view on things. :)

    Actually, to the trained feminine eye, there were plenty of signs to show that ShoSho was turned off (even repulsed) by Ray’s lack of status and ambition.

    1. When she learned that he was practically living with her, she proceeded to freak out at the house party they were attending.

    2. She mentioned that Ray never pays for anything.

    3. She mentioned at one point that all ray wants to do is lounge around in her apartment and watch Ally McBeal reruns.

    4. She mentions Ray not being able to pay for their tacos, with a look of disgust on her face. She also compliments Marnie on dating Booth Jonathan by mentioning how cool it is that Booth pays for things. She even went as far as saying that she wished a guy would buy her tacos for her.

    5. She suggests that Ray go to the Donald Trump seminar, and doesn’t understand why he won’t go. When he mentions his “Little Women” book, she belittles it. The contempt on her face is plain to see. She received further evidence that he is not as ambitious as she had originally believed. She even begins to slowly emasculate him. At one point in that episode, she makes him hold her purse or books for her. He may as well be a glorified butler at that point.

    6. When she invites him to the party, and he snuffs her, one thing he mentions is that he wants to stay in. That is not what ShoSho likes to do, however. She enjoys being social and hanging out, even though Ray claims that it would be creepy for him to go to the party.

    I noticed over the course of their short relationship that she was slowly growing frustrated with him. She really liked him, and she was happy to be in a relationship with him, until she found out that he was homeless. Once that was revealed, her image of him began to crumble.

    One thing of female nature that I have noticed is that when we identify a form of weakness in a man, we keep our eyes out for further clues/confirmations of that weakness. Once ShoSho learned about his rather pathetic lifestyle, she continued to identify and mull over new clues. She could no longer see him as the man she fell for initially. He became a loser in her eyes, and her attraction to him began to wane. This culminated in her cheating on him.

    I do not condone the cheating, but I can understand how the character of ShoSho ended up cheating on Ray. Her attraction to him began wilting the moment she discovered his lack of ambition/status.

  • IDKY

    I don’t know. I watched season 2 in hopes of understanding why people like this show and I really can’t understand. Hannah really is self-involved and selfish, as much as the other characters are. I really wouldn’t want to be friends with any of them except maybe Adam or Charlie. They do characterize what I have seen in the 20 something segment of NYC, SF and similar cities, but they are the very thing that I think is wrong with that population. My fear is that they will grow into the same self-involved adults that have set the stage for our current societal problems. Add in the complete escapes from reality with Adam’s love rescue and trash can guy, and it feels very similar to prepubescent fantasy a la Twilight. I don’t know, but I did give it a shot. Happy watching to everyone else.

  • J

    My contention is that if ShoSho were more mature,….

    But she isn’t, so you have to wonder why a jaded 33 year old is with a kid.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Very good stuff by Beta Guy on Ray, I really like his somewhat Eeyore-like character too & don’t really get what the fuss is about him being a coffeeshop manager – it’s honest work, & if he HAD a place to live it would pay the rent.

    Shoshanna IS too immature for him, it’s true, but that’s not because of the age difference, it’s because she is a cosseted little princess with literally zero life experience whatsoever, who knows nothing about the world or how to treat the people within it that she hasn’t received through watching Sex & The City. She hasn’t lived, hasn’t loved, & simply doesn’t know what she wants. And now she is about to go make a lot of very silly mistakes that Ray already made 10 years before.

    She’s freakishly weird but in Ray’s eyes is ‘special’ – he’s jaded at the world but is lit up by her wonder & naivete. I really thought his love for her was quite sweet, & I don’t get all the shaming dirty old man inferences: if anyone’s been screwed over it’s Ray, who has loved, supported & committed to the bizarre creature wholeheartedly from day one, & she’s responded by chasing other men, lying, & dumping him. Kind of inevitable, I guess, but still.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I really like his somewhat Eeyore-like character too

      That’s brilliant! He is like Eeyore!

      I agree that Shoshanna is freakishly weird. If I’d met her in real life I would think she’s bizarre and not very attractive.

      I also agree that she behaved badly and handled the breakup abysmally. Telling him she loves him like she loves a monkey in a cage?

      However, there was great comedy in her description of Ray’s misanthropy, which is very real. People like Ray are very difficult in relationships – she said that she hated being the only thing he liked, and who can blame her?

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    This show is not available in my country. But this does remind me of the marriage of Frances McDormand’s character in Fargo.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    What’s different with Fargo is that the pregnant female police chief & her slothful house-husband are very sweetly (but perhaps unrealistically) shown to be having a perfectly happy marriage.

  • J

    I really thought his love for her was quite sweet, & I don’t get all the shaming dirty old man inferences

    I actually don’t find him to be a dirty old man. In fact, I initially thought the character was more like 28, not 33. I see his relationship with a 21 year old as more indicative of his being stuck in one place than of anything else. It’s also not so bad that he manages a coffee shop; it’s that he does it because he didn’t finish his PhD and because his PhD was in a relatively useless subject. If he had finished and was teaching college that would have been fine too. He’s just too old to be floating around like he is. His being with a kid is a symptom of that. It indicates that he didn’t pair up with someone in his mid to late twenties as others in his social milieu do.

  • SayWhaat

    if anyone’s been screwed over it’s Ray, who has loved, supported & committed to the bizarre creature wholeheartedly from day one

    Actually, he didn’t. He treated her like any other ONS. It wasn’t until he saw her again at a party that he remembered what she was like, and then they got together.

  • J

    I also agree that she behaved badly and handled the breakup abysmally. Telling him she loves him like she loves a monkey in a cage?

    That would be a really cruel thing to say IRL, but I loved it as a metaphor. He is trapped in his cynicism like a monkey in a cage. I thought it was a very astute observation.

    she said that she hated being the only thing he liked, and who can blame her?

    I found that remark very poignant and astute as well. I tend to be a sucker for injured cynics myself, and they can be very burdensome people. Shosh’s shoulders aren’t broad enough for that.

  • J

    I also think that all of these girls have a misguided view on “finding themselves” that ShoSho still glorifies.

    That’s a feature of our era and a result of relative affluence.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Actually, he didn’t. He treated her like any other ONS. It wasn’t until he saw her again at a party that he remembered what she was like, and then they got together.

    That’s a strange way of looking at it: he looks after her when she’s on crack & she kicks him in the balls(!), then sees her at the wedding & tells her – & this is before they even sleep together, remember:

    ‘I can hardly stop thinking of you since the night we met. You’re the strangest person – you’re so raw & open. You vibrate on a very strange frequency… I want to go home with you.’

    Apparently after that he doesn’t see her for a little while & she is hurt. But that is something that happens very often when two people sleep together – they have to give it a little time to see what they thought about what just happened & whether they want it to happen again. That part just seemed to me to be about awkwardness & misunderstanding.

    Anyhoo, when they next get together, again it’s Ray who is pursuing & expressing his feelings & attraction. Once they become a couple he is a remarkably faithful & committed boyfriend, not looking at other girls, manufacturing drama, complaining about her or looking for reasons to break up. A real good guy, in other words.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Apparently after that he doesn’t see her for a little while & she is hurt. But that is something that happens very often when two people sleep together – they have to give it a little time to see what they thought about what just happened & whether they want it to happen again.

      Also, remember he mentioned that she sent odd non sequitur emoji texts? It sounded like her post-hookup behavior was very odd. He was attracted to her, but “strange” is generally best in small doses.

  • SayWhaat

    Ray is definitely a good guy, but that doesn’t absolve him of his flaws. Pre-relationship, he was just looking to get laid. That in and of itself doesnt make him lose points, but it doesn’t add points in his favor as “BF material”. Now, *after* the relationship was established, yes, he was committed and all that….though I do think a large part of his commitment was a matter of convenience. (He needed a place to stay, for instance.)

    Hey, I’m not really invested in which character is “more wrong”, “more flawed”, or whatever. I’m more interested in how each character handles another’s flaws, and how those dynamics play out. That’s what I find so interesting about Shoshanna/Ray. Despite being naive and inexperienced, she is more “together” than the other Girls and ultimately knows what she wants, without having had to do too much “experimentation” to figure that out. Ray, in contrast, is her polar opposite in that he is jaded and experienced, but is mired in his present in a way that Shosh is not.

  • SayWhaat

    I should make it clear that I’m comparing Shosh’s actions relative to those of the other Girls. I mean, look at her friends! One has sex with junkies for “experience”, one is the World’s Town Bike, and one can’t prop herself up without validation from others! Shosh is weird (I mean, really weird) and has loose morals, but those morals seem to weigh more heavily on her than they do on her friends. I mean, looking at her friends, just think about how much worse she could have turned out!

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Pre-relationship, he was just looking to get laid.

    Again, that’s a strange way of looking at that character’s feelings & motivations, & wouldn’t be my conclusion at all, but I’ll let it go.

  • SayWhaat

    What’s strange about it? He didn’t want to look after a cracked-out Shosh (“I’m not a JAP-babysitter!”), he was intrigued only after spending time together, which he quickly forgot until the next time he saw her at a party. His motivations aren’t pure, which is what I think you’re saying.

    But sure, we can drop it.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    What’s strange about it?

    You seem to be projecting unusually ugly, selfish intentions on the guy’s pretty harmless, normal behaviour, & I don’t think any of his actions bear it out. He clearly isn’t any kind of PUA, & he wasn’t just looking for a hole to fuck – he was puzzled & haunted & attracted to her uniqueness. How could his early interactions have been any different so that you wouldn’t judge him so harshly?

    His motivations aren’t pure, which is what I think you’re saying.

    Again, that’s a really heavy judgement on someone falling in love.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Bravo, Sassy. Very well said and well done. I have to rethink and retract some of what I was saying here. ShoSho was Sho-wing a lot more discontent with the relationship than what I picked up on. I noticed some of the warning signs, in particular the handbag, and thought to myself “ray, you need to re-establish frame fast or this thing is going to blow up.”
    I wasn’t listening close enough to pick up the complaints on the money and bill-splitting, though. Shame on me.
    I am not altogether convinced that these are actually unresolvable issues, though, at least until ShoSho went off the Deep End. There was nothing stopping Ray from improving his position, once it was made clear that it was big issue…and even then, a lot of the other guys can keep frame despite crummy job situations. Charlie picked up that whiny club rat, Adam picked up Natalia. The job issue isn’t the biggest one, it is that Ray is just so goddam weak with nothing going on in his life. All he wants to do is watch Ally MacBeal re-runs, so to speak.
    Again, I don’t think THAT’S permanent, either. He is clearly interested in Adam’s wood-working. The guy is going to develop some real interests if ShoSho pushes him in that direction and he spends more time hanging out with Adam and Charlie.
    Not unresolvable issues, IMHO. There’s nothing that should be fundamentally incompatible on Ray’s side, just fundamentally DIFFICULT as he makes changes.
    ShoSho can’t deal with difficult, she can’t be honest, she can’t communicate relationship needs except apparently by being passive-aggressive and snippy or outright angry…not relationship material. Too immature.
    That’s my understanding of the situation. I really do hope Ray gets his life up to the next level. He is too willing to take the easy way out, which, IMO, is how he ended up here in the first place.
    Re: women and sniffing out weakness. Well. That’s what we call “shit-testing,” and the stereotype is holding the woman’s purse for her :P
    Though sometimes she just needs someone to hold her purse for a second.
    Guys are aware of this and are sensitive to it, I dare say at a conscious level. The issue for guys comes into play when he starts to feel an emotional connection and starts to let the walls down, so to speak, which is happened to Ray. The idea of getting shit-tested at that point is mind-boggling to someone who has “chosen” his “one,” like Charlie chose Marnie or Ray chose ShoSho. The idea of slowly losing her respect is, in the same way, mind-boggling.
    Note, even I feel this fear sometimes…somewhat irrational…
    I would also say this isn’t necessarily related to “weakness” and not unique to women, or even romantic relationships. Every person has flaws, and when you are annoyed with them, it becomes oh so easy to point them out and dwell on them until you poison the relationship.
    That is one thing that definitely took me by surprise. Didn’t know I could do that with a person. It’s an easy spiral to get into: annoyed state of mind, and for guys, too, emotions can cloud rational thought. Start picking out flaws. Overthink flaws. Down, down, down the rabbit hole you go.
    It was relatively easy to correct and address once I realized what was going on. Stop dwelling, get your mind on something else, create some positive experiences with your SO.
    On another note, I sent this to one of guy buddies that watches girls. What he singled out, and responded with, was this:
    Regarding the part about Charlie and Marnie, it’s a shame but it’s true, “In the end, she’ll disrespect him again, just for loving her so much.” Love them too much and it’s a detractor….

    I do hope that’s not the universal lesson that’s getting learned…

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    The issue for guys comes into play when he starts to feel an emotional connection and starts to let the walls down, so to speak, which is happened to Ray. The idea of getting shit-tested at that point is mind-boggling to someone who has “chosen” his “one,” like Charlie chose Marnie or Ray chose ShoSho. The idea of slowly losing her respect is, in the same way, mind-boggling.

    Ain’t it the truth. The revulsion that women – & men too, unfortunately – openly express at seeing a man being weak or vulnerable is a pretty breathtakingly nasty thing to behold. They never teach you that in school.

    The closer you get to another person, the more you are driven to let your guard down, to let them in, to trust. It seems to be the case though that if you are a man you can never safely do that ever.

  • SayWhaat

    How could his early interactions have been any different so that you wouldn’t judge him so harshly?

    That’s just it, I’m not judging him by his earlier actions, I’m judging him within the context of his relationship.

    I’m not convinced that he was falling in love with Shoshanna. I think that his relationship was a matter of convenience at first (he needed a place to stay), and when Shoshanna accepted that, she quickly became the only thing in his life that he had going for him. And even then, he didn’t like it (“I took her virginity and now I feel like her father”). Once the relationship was threatened, that was enough of a threat of instability to force him to go and get a better job, but unfortunately by then, it was too late.

    I don’t think Ray is a bad guy. I just don’t think he or Shoshanna were in love. He needed her more than she needed him.

  • Society’s Disposable Son

    “The closer you get to another person, the more you driven to let your gaurd down, to let them in, to trust. It seems to be the case though that if you are a man you can never safely do that ever.”

    This seems to be truth. PUA and MGTOW’s have learned this lesson and deal with it different ways. The response is dictated by what women react to. Very rarely does a woman react well to man’s true emoting.
    I think the only safe place for men to emote is in art or music…Ironically I know a lot of guys that complain about how songs are always written about girls….can’t win…

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Very rarely does a woman react well to man’s true emoting.

      It was not Ray’s emoting that caused Shoshanna to lose attraction for him. It was his complete rootlessness, and lack of any sort of goals or objectives for the future.

      There’s nothing shameful about managing Grumpy’s, but we don’t expect men with almost-PhDs to choose that career. Ray is clearly smart, but he’s wasting his potential because he lacks motivation.

      Ray is also profoundly misanthropic. Here at HUS I tell women to look carefully at a man’s relationships, especially with family. Ray hates all his living relatives.

      I do believe that Ray loves Shoshanna, but I also believe that their time together is peppered with observations like, “I hate people who wear sunglasses, even on sunny days. I hate colors. I wish the whole world was in black and white.”

      Let’s face it, Ray is not marriageable, and probably never will be. He’s a lovable loser, something he himself acknowledges.

      His failure to sustain Shoshanna’s attraction has nothing to do with his expressing emotion.

  • SayWhaat

    I sense a circle jerk coming on….

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    I sense a circle jerk coming on…

    OK, you start us off, dear.
    I’ll just watch, if that’s alright.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Men and Women have a different view of the same relationship! :o
    STOP THE PRESSES! ;)

  • Society’s Disposable Son

    Just throwing my 2 cents in..no interest in Dutch ruddering although it’s exciting to think I might actually be included in a socal activity….

  • Lokland

    “The closer you get to another person, the more you are driven to let your guard down, to let them in, to trust. It seems to be the case though that if you are a man you can never safely do that ever.”

    +1

  • J

    Ray is definitely a good guy, but that doesn’t absolve him of his flaws.

    I see that as part of the brilliance of Lena’s writing–none of the characters ae 100% good or bad. They are all flawed individuals with good points as well.

    The revulsion that women – & men too, unfortunately – openly express at seeing a man being weak or vulnerable is a pretty breathtakingly nasty thing to behold.

    It is; I wholeheartedly agree that society does not give men in general a lot of leeway to express any emotion other than anger. Yet I have to say that I liked the Ray who confessed his feelings of not being much to the dog on Staten Island more than the Ray who insisted to Shoshanna that his cynicism was merely “critical thinking.”

    Where is that dog now, anyway?

  • Lokland

    “STOP THE PRESSES!”

    lol

  • SayWhaat

    Lol, no need for me to start anything. The train has already left the station. ;)

  • SayWhaat

    I see that as part of the brilliance of Lena’s writing–none of the characters ae 100% good or bad. They are all flawed individuals with good points as well.

    Yes, exactly.

    FWIW, I’m not crazy fond of Shoshanna, either. I think her character contributes to the “Virgin Freak” stereotype. I mean, yeah, she has her flaws, but does she need to be so bizarre?

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    lol
    I know, I’m old. :p

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    So, as the resident “I love an emoting male” female, let me explain what type of male emoting is good, and what type is bad.

    Good emoting is explanatory. The man explains why he is feeling down, and does not project it onto the woman nor expects the woman to do anything. If she does do something for him, it’s gravy. Key words, “I am feeling XYZ” and “don’t take this personally.”

    Bad emoting is accusatory. The man dumps the negative emotions onto the woman and tries to blame her for why he is feeling a certain way. He expects her to shoulder the burden he carries (when everyone has their own burdens). Key words, “you just don’t get it/you wouldn’t get it” and/or “you never do XYZ.”

    My husband is a high EQ guy who does good emoting. He lets down his guards with me, and he trusts me with his vulnerabilities and weaknesses. However, he makes clear when he is feeling a certain way that it is not my fault, that he is dealing with it and actively trying to get over it. He does not yell at me or try to drag me down with him. Instead he is reaching to me for a hand to help him get out of his “funk.” I listen to him, offer my perspective, and cuddle him until we both feel better.

    If you think a man can “never” let down his guards with the woman he loves, then something is wrong with the relationship. Most likely, the woman does not love the man, or the man is sabotaging the emoting aspect of it.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    If you think a man can “never” let down his guards with the woman he loves, then something is wrong with the relationship. Most likely, the woman does not love the man, or the man is sabotaging the emoting aspect of it.

    THIS + 100000000000000000000000000000000000.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7XzcGnUCI0 OffTheCuff

    You can let your guard down, just not all the time, and not 100%. Shoot for 90% and 50%. Everyone has to hold something back, otherwise the world would be like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Invention_of_Lying

  • J

    I mean, yeah, she has her flaws, but does she need to be so bizarre?

    She’s just hyper and naive.

  • SayWhaat

    I mean, yeah, she has her flaws, but does she need to be so bizarre?

    She’s just hyper and naive.

    That doesn’t excuse the fact that her wardrobe looks like it was cross-pollinated between the ’80s and ’50s. :P

  • Cooper

    I haven’t watched Ep.9/10 yet. So I’m avoiding the spoilers.

    I must say Episodes 7 and 8 have been very good in comparison to the start of the season!

  • J

    Naturally, feminists hate the Girls finale

    The most interesting thing about that review is that the reviewer hated everything we all loved.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      The most interesting thing about that review is that the reviewer hated everything we all loved.

      I know, what a pill.

  • SayWhaat

    Naturally, feminists hate the Girls finale

    The most interesting thing about that review is that the reviewer hated everything we all loved.

    I suspect that we won’t be happy by the time Girls wraps up, though.

    LD is a feminist. Just because she portrays her slice of her generation honestly, doesn’t mean that she realizes the things that we point out here. She could be aiming for a Feminism Huzzah! happy ending. We’re just here for the journey.

    Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, I just felt that needed to be pointed out. Speaking as a formerly avid fan of a very popular series who was windswept when the story didn’t progress as I thought it would. :)

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    The reviewer was expecting all these Girls to grow up and realize “I don’t need a man.”

    Instead they are using relationships to mask their own issues.

    Hence reviewer upset.

  • OffTheCuff

    The layout is totally screwed up on the iPad and my phone. White text on white is tricky to read. Maybe i need a reboot…

  • SayWhaat

    OTC, I had the same problem. I just kept refreshing until it “fixed” itself…

  • OffTheCuff

    Was goofed all last night, and just righted itself now. The same bug showed up on iPad Chrome, but I was able to work around it by using the “Request Desktop Site” option.

  • Lokland

    ” I always advise women to hold back 10%. Forever.”

    10% of what?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      10% of what?

      Their thoughts? Emotions? I don’t think it’s healthy for anyone to give themselves over completely to any other human being. If I found myself suddenly alone, I know I could rebuild using that 10%. Not sure if this makes sense, but I know that my husband is still learning stuff about me, and I like that.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Question about the place of Girls in pop culture, getting everybody talking about it:
    It’s said that Girls has about 20% of the audience of Game of Thrones. Outside of lessons from inside Girls, is there any lesson to be found in the possibility that GoT has five times the audience but nobody talks about it?
    Or that GoT has five times the audience?