Jeremy Likes TV

I like TV. Probably more than any human should.

TV Diary | Girls: “All Adventurous Women Do”

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Grade: A

This is the episode. This is the one that completely sold me on Girls and made me realize that I’m in for the long haul with the show. Like a lot of comedies, I’ve found that Girls is even better upon repeat viewings so after I watched “All Adventurous Women Do” for the second time, I came to realize just how truly excellent Lena Dunham’s HBO vehicle really is. She so clearly has a gift for this sort of thing, and “All Adventurous Women Do” displayed her talent in spades. Girls is obviously developing a talented ensemble among its four central characters, but this is Dunham’s show so it’s likely that Hannah is going to be front and center more often than not, as was the case in “All Adventurous Women Do.” Following up on her health scare from “Vagina Panic,” Hannah learns that she’s tested positive for HPV [1] and immediately sets out to determine who she contracted it from. Since she receives the phone call about her condition immediately after a hookup with Adam, she initially turns her suspicions towards him, only to have him rebuke her after he tells her that he’s already been tested [2]. Hannah, not really being up on the ins and outs of STD testing, takes him at his word and, by process of very little elimination she determines that her ex-boyfriend from college, Elijah, must be the HPV culprit. It’s here where “All Adventurous Women” crosses over into something close to genius. Hannah is initially reluctant to contact Elijah but, after conferring with Shoshanna, she ultimately contacts Elijah [3] and sets up a meeting to let him know/gain peace of mind. The two former lovers meet in a bar in a scene that ends up – in some ways – playing like the infamous Jon Favreau on the phone scene from Swingers, only longer and even more uncomfortable. And FUNNY. Hannah has one ignominy after another foisted upon her during their meeting, so let’s run them down one at a time:

  • Elijah tells her that she was never fat, but… “You were soft and round. Like a dumpling.”
  • When he inquires about her writing and she tells him that her book of essays is currently titled “Midnight Snack,” he responds with, “Well… there’s lots of… titles.”
  • After telling him that she’s not looking to re-establish an emotional connection with him, but is open to a physical one, he confirms that he’s actually now gay, something that he believed she’d heard through the rumor mill, but was in actuality unaware of.
  • He tells her that his exploration was “very much inspired by her.” Which, clearly, is what EVERY woman wants to hear when they find out their ex-lover is now playing for the other team.
  • “Are you asking if I always wanted to have sex with men? Yes. Are you asking did I think about it when we were together? Yes.”
  • When Hanna asks him how he was able to… er… perform with her, he tells her the following: “Well… there’s a… handsomeness to you that I…”
  • Things begin to devolve when she finally accuses him of passing HPV to her and tells him that Adam’s already been tested for it, something that Elijah scoffs off by telling her that there’s no way to test men for the disease: “Your boyfriend would know that if he’s even taken an Intro To Human Sexuality workshop.”
  • His response? To throw out the possibility that her dad is gay.

From there, the tension increases exponentially, with Hannah ending up alternately pissed and broken, and Elijah walking out angrily. Dunham is utterly incredible in this scene, particularly in the moment when Elijah informs her that he’s gay. The lip quiver and the barely-able-to-keep-it-together look on Dunham’s face is masterful. And I wouldn’t be opposed in the slightest to future appearances by Elijah, so strong was Andrew Rannels’ (The Book Of Mormon) performance here. It’s a complete ‘wow’ moment that galvanized my love for the show. I mentioned in my review of the first two episodes that Dunham is showing herself to be a fearless performer who’s devoid of vanity and this scene is further proof of that. Girls is quickly developing into one of television’s best shows and is yet another sign that HBO’s creative renaissance is continuing.

[1] Which she uses, at least once, to her advantage when Marnie gently reminds her that their rent is coming due: “I have pre-cancer!”
[2] “My best dyke friend works for a dick doctor.”
[3] Bad move there because Shoshanna isn’t exactly what you’d call “worldly,” and sums up the need to speak with Elijah thusly: “I just think – in the STD world – that it’s kind of courteous.”

Miscellany:
*Hannah’s dad IS totally gay, right?
*Girls is showing a promising penchant for casting talented people in “All Adventurous Women Do,” between The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone as an artist who Marnie encounters at a show at her gallery (and who’s clearly being set up as a post-Charlie thing), and James LeGros and Kathryn Hahn as the couple who hires Jessa as their nanny. I’d also be shocked if there isn’t a future hookup between LeGros’s character and Jessa. However, in regard to the casting of these three, this is a very good sign for future episodes, people.
*Can we talk about the music for a minute? Because “All Adventurous Women Do” featured both LCD Soundsystem’s “I Can Change” and Mayer Hawthorne’s “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” at separate points during the episode. I’ll admit to not being familiar with Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” (the track that closed the episode with the final scene of Hannah and Marnie dancing), though I am familiar with Robyn as a performer and should probably check that record out. In any event, kudos to Girls’ music supervisor because those are some excellent choices.
*Shoshanna watches Baggage. Because of course she does.
*Adam’s dickhead behavior for the week: Grabbing onto Hannah’s stomach and making it talk.
*The Hanna/Adam scene post-HPV phone call includes my favorite line in the series to date. After upsetting him by accusing him of being the one to pass the disease to her, Hannah asks him if he’ll still have sex with her and his answer – again, favorite line yet – is: “When it’s appropriate, sure.”
*He’s an asshole for sure, but God help me… I’m starting to like Adam.
*Jorma Taccone is a BOSS: “But I want you to know, the first time I fuck you, I might scare you a little. Because I’m a man, and I know how to do things. See you later.”
*Marnie apparently thinks so, too, because after hearing this she heads back to the gallery, ducks behind a door and… er… double-clicks her mouse.
*”How do I look?” “You look like you’re going to put a hex on some popular girls.” “Oh, OK American History X.”
*”It’s just three or four pounds. If you hate it so much you could lose four pounds.”
*”I know, and she’s always ‘liking’ my Facebook status. It’s such a weird, aggressive move. It’s like, ‘I’m sorry I passed you an STD, but I enjoy your quirky web presence.'”
*”Marnie, I think one of these paintings is up crooked.” “What makes you say that?” “Because I looked at it, and it is.”
*”This fruity little voice that you put on is a new thing.”
*”Is this about the scarf?” “It’s not about the scarf. The scarf is not helping the situation.”
*”In what way does my father read gay to you?” “Well, he has a stud in his ear.” “He got that on a trip he took with some of his male friends.”
*”Do you know what I’m going to do from now on? Ask people if they’re gay before I have sex with them.”
*”It was nice to see you. Your dad is gay.”
*”I should have suspected it because he only ejaculated 30% of the time. And he seemed gay.”

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