In the latest episode of Girls, Lena Dunham gives the regular cast a few days off, except for Ray who gets to rant for a minute or so. This episode revolves around Hannah and her two-day fling with a handsome, grown-up doctor named Joshua, played by Patrick Wilson.
I loved this casting choice, a handsome Hollywood actor, playing a well-established man with a brownstone who wants to fake love with the young Hannah. Her looks are far from leading lady standards; she has regular features and carries a few extra pounds on her frame. We are saturated with Hollywood anorexic, pore-less females while Dunham’s body is more the norm than the exception in the real world.
Not surprisingly, many thought this must have been a dream sequence, the sentiment being that a man like that would never get intimate with Hannah. Thank you to Dunham for tackling the disparity in how we view men and woman and the pairing of both. We are regularly fed images of unattractive, unintelligent men schlepping an extra 100 pounds or so, who are married to, engaged to, or dating thin, attractive, younger women. Case in point, James Belushi and Courtney Thorne Smith as a married couple in the sitcom According to Jim. Or goofy Adam Sandler wooing Brooklyn Decker in Just Go With It, and Kevin James married to Leah Remini in The King of Queens. No one raises an eyebrow at the inequality of the physical attractiveness or the validity in these pairings. Why is it so difficult to accept the other way round and why does this make people so uncomfortable?
After two days of sex, steak and a little ping-pong, Joshua finds Hannah passed out in his steam shower. He comforts her and strokes her hair and in this moment she reveals her deep true feelings. “A long time ago, I promised myself I would try to have all experiences. But it gets so tiring taking in all the experiences for everybody, letting everyone say things to me.” She reveals that all she wants is to be happy. After two days of bliss, she thinks that maybe she could like this normal adult life.
With that confession, Hannah has alienated Joshua and put an abrupt end to their fling. He exits their conversation, goes to bed and is gone when Hannah awakes the next morning. She gets the newspaper, makes herself breakfast and takes out his trash on her way out. It was an unusual somber episode and I kept hoping for a little levity. Hannah’s self-indulgence and narcissism continues to increase this season, a fact that has not escaped her equally self-absorbed friends.
Lena Dunham is brave, to me, one of the bravest woman on television at the moment. She appears confident in how she looks, and strips herself down emotionally and physically for us week after week amid criticism and protestation. She boldly deviates from what we are conditioned to see on television to what is true in the real world. This is one of the reasons the show is so polarizing, and why I look forward to Sunday television again, adorned in old sweat pants and a paint stained T-shirt, wrapped in the arms of Brad Pitt.
Girls HBO Sundays @9p.m.