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“Girls” Review: “Beach House”

Maddie Crichton ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Allison Williams in the Girls episode "Beach House." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Allison Williams in the Girls episode “Beach House.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

After most of this season of Girls focused on Hannah, and profiled the other three girls individually, the gang finally reunited in “Beach House.”

The episode opens with Marnie in a beach house, in what could be considered a cheaper version of the Hamptons. She is planning their weekend to the last detail all by herself, without asking anyone’s opinion or considering what anyone else may want. Marnie’s let-me-fix-everything-in-my-life attitude only grows throughout the episode, revealing her true colors.

Once Hannah, Shoshanna and Jessa arrive, the four girls go to the house, look around, swim, and generally have a good time. After not seeing the four friends together in a positive environment for so long, it was nice to have a change of pace. However, it did not take long for their fun dynamic to change.

Hannah starts complaining, and then Marnie complains about Hannah complaining, and their dysfunctional friendship takes the front seat for the rest of the episode. Marnie pulls out the best one-liner of the episode when she lays out her plan for their “healing” weekend: “You guys, we are so disconnected now. I thought this would just be a nice opportunity for us to have fun together and prove to everyone via Instagram that we can still have fun as a group.”

As the day goes on, Marnie follows her one-track mind and keeps bringing up how important dinner is going to be that night. Marnie’s goal for the weekend is to make sure they all have an open discussion around the table. Marnie’s selfish ways end up clashing with Hannah’s selfish ways, as they almost always do. While running errands, Hannah runs into her ex-boyfriend—who Marnie once slept with and that everyone has a complicated relationship with—Elijah. She then invites him, his boyfriend, and all his friends over to the house.

Allison Williams and Andrew Rannells in the Girls episode "Beach House." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Allison Williams and Andrew Rannells in the Girls episode “Beach House.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Marnie is upset by this at first, but the two groups end up meshing really well. They drink, swim, and enjoy each other’s company. They even choreograph and learn a whole dance routine together. And while all this is happening, Hannah and Marnie have time for their own heart to heart where they give each other insincere apologies. Elijah even warms up to everyone and becomes a friend, rather than an enemy.

However, Elijah and his friends are still over once dinner time rolls around, ruining Marnie’s plan for the girls to “heal” around the table. Marnie asks Hannah to respect the plans she made and ask the boys to leave, so Hannah yells at the crowd “Dinner time!” thus inviting them all to stay for the meal.

By the time they are all eating, everyone is pretty drunk. They are screaming for no reason, laughing at nothing, and the guests are blind to the fact that they have intruded upon what was supposed to be girls-only bonding.

After dinner, the girls run through their dance one more time, and then Marnie reaches her breaking point. She yells at Hannah for inviting everyone to dinner in front of the large crowd. Hannah acts surprised, as if she had never heard Marnie mention that she wanted to reserve dinner as a time for just the four of them. The two argue about things that have bothered them since they first met in college, and then drunken Shoshanna saves the day.

Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke in the Girls episode "Beach House." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke in the Girls episode “Beach House.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Alcohol makes Shosh a little too honest and a little too rude, but also an excellent voice of reason. She calls Hannah a narcissist who refuses to take any personal feedback, and calls Marnie out for being controlling. They get mad at Shoshanna, but she is just saying what the audience has been thinking since season one. She yells about how they disrespect each other, and how they constantly neglect her. She then reveals that the four girls no longer have anything in common, that they don’t really have any fun when they are together, and that she doesn’t even know why they are still friends.

This is where Girls shines. It takes that feeling that everyone has but no one really wants to think about, and puts it front and center. Shoshanna’s monologue speaks to thoughts that everyone has, like why they have the friends they have, or why they feel stuck in relationships they no longer want.

The trip ends on a sour note, but the episode does not. The final scene is a shot of the four girls sitting on the curb, waiting for a bus to take them back to the city. Hannah starts doing the dance they learned, and then one by one the rest of the girls join in, proving that despite their extreme differences, they are still friends.

“Beach House” was one of the most important episodes of Girls this season. The change of scenery was refreshing, and the constant conflicts between the girls were entertaining. The episode highlighted the flaws in every girl, but not in the way most shows do in order to make the character’s endearing. Girls uses it to make them imperfect, relatable humans. This episode was a great example of the pure honesty that makes Girls the show that it is.

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