Tuesday, February 12, 2013

HBO's "Girls:" Hannah Hooks Up with Joshua

For those of you who missed it, and are better off for having missed it, Sunday’s episode of Girls saw Hannah Horvath living a dream.

The episode revolved around a weekend tryst between 24 year old Hannah and an older man, a 42 year old surgeon named Joshua. They meet cute when Hannah knocks on Joshua’s door to explain that she has been dropping the trash from the coffee shop in the trash cans in front of his brownstone. Very romantic, don’t you think?

From there they fall quickly into a weekend of lust, punctuated by topless ping-pong and other suitably domestic activities. It’s as though Hannah and Joshua had known and lusted after each other for some time.

Beyond the lust, very little is going on between these two. They have little in common; they do not understand each other; they never really converse. They are acting out a fantasy and doing what they need to do to keep the lust alive. Their communication is markedly one-sided. Hannah bares heart and soul. Joshua reads the Sunday paper.

The communication is so one-sided that you suspect that it hides a darker truth. The absence of reciprocity, signaled by the trash dump, suggests that Lena Dunham, a girl who has been in therapy since she was 8, is dramatizing a dream of having an affair with her doctor, that is, with her therapist… and discovering that the therapy relationship does not translate into a real relationship. The disparity between what she confides in him and what he confides in her is too unequal to be brought into balance. It’s as though someone had been throwing trash in your garbage can, only you do not know who has been doing it and the person who has been doing it does not know whose cans they are.

To my mind, that counts as an excellent description of what happens in orthodox Freudian psychoanalysis. Kudos to Lena Dunham for seizing the essence of psychoanalysis.

Of course, there is always a possibility that Dunham is writing about something that really happened. Yet, the episode feels so unreal that it seems to want to show our fearless heroine working through an unrealistic dream and discovering that some kinds of lust are not really love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm part of the largest demographic that watches "Girls". A White Middle Aged (charitably) Male.

I had a different take on the episode. It was a passionate weekend Tryst. There simply wasn't enough Time for Both to bare their souls.

However, Hannah, as is the wont of her girlfriends, turns the situation into a reason to disparage and Dump the man.

Emily Nussbaum in NYorker review implied the "Life Experience" baloney was Her Insight. She also says she "cries" during episodes.

I cringe in Pity. -- Rich