Sunday, April 3, 2016

Girls recap: Season 5 Episode 7: "Hello Kitty"

Because it's about the emotional lives of a group of young women, Lena Dunham's Girls is also very much about friendship—real friendship, not the wish-fulfillment kind you see on TV shows where a tight little group of besties go through life in lockstep, anatomizing every triumph or frustration over cocktails or coffee. So one of the most poignant motifs of the show's last couple of seasons is how Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna often grow slowly, almost imperceptibly apart as their interests change or they head out of town for a while—whether it's the Iowa Writer's Workshop or rehab or Tokyo.

The friends all convene now only when there's an occasion big enough to compel their attendance, like Marnie's wedding or, in “Hello Kitty,” Adam's (Adam Driver) new play. The performance may be mostly included to get them all in one place, but, typical of Girls, it's also a closely observed, tartly funny little gem of social satire. Based on the murder of Kitty Genovese, the play is a spoof of those audience-participation plays in which the viewers turn into some ungodly hybrid of extra and editor as they move from room to room, seeing random snippets of scenes—and, in this case, pocketing candy from a bowl or talking loudly over dialogue since, as Marnie (Allison Williams) puts it, “It's not like the actors are doing anything interesting.”

The tectonic shifts in the inner lives of Girls's main characters sometimes bring them back together: As they prepared for her wedding in the season opener, Marnie complained to Hannah that the two of them had barely talked for the last couple of years, and Hannah's heartfelt apology and the awareness that Marnie's words sparked in her seems to have reunited the former best friends, who've been seeking each other out again whenever they're feeling particularly vulnerable. This season, it's Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Hannah (Dunham) who seem to be drifting the furthest apart. While Jessa agonized over whether to date Adam because she knew it would upset Hannah, she gave in to the impulse without so much as talking to her old friend about it.

Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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