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"Girls" Review: "Free Snacks"

Leah Zeffren ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Lena Dunham in the Girls episode "Free Snacks." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Lena Dunham in the Girls episode “Free Snacks.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

This week’s episode of Girls, “Free Snacks,” opens with Hannah (Lena Dunham) making moves. She doesn’t let the previous episode’s squandered book deal defeat her, and she quits her job at Ray’s coffee shop once again for a job at GQ Magazine. Of course, Ray (Alex Karpovsky) is not about to let her get away with the bragging rights and exposes the job for what it really is—an advertorial section—while sending her off with a heartfelt, “See you in about a week, when you quit whatever dumb gig you’re leaving for and come back here begging for your old job again.”

Luckily, Hannah doesn’t need Ray’s support. She continues to remind us of her deluded arrogance and endless belief in her “literary voice” and “myriad talents” throughout the episode, even slipping to a new co-worker that “I’m used to people being belittled by my rapid-fire mind pace.” The voice of a generation never ceases to be heard.

Meanwhile, Ray decides to make an effort in cultivating a friendship with Marnie (Allison Williams) following their random bout of hate-sex in last week’s episode. Although he finds her to be frustratingly dumb, he tries to “follow the protocols of a gentleman and a squire” and stops himself whenever he’s overcome with the urge to patronize her. No matter how insipid he finds Marnie to be, he doesn’t want to drive his one companion away, and he proves it by watching reality TV with her. Although neither of them seems to be enjoying themselves, they’d rather resort to eating dumplings together in the throes of a heated argument about Africa than carry on leading their lonely lives.

Alex Karpovsky and Allison Williams in the Girls episode "Free Snacks." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Alex Karpovsky and Allison Williams in the Girls episode “Free Snacks.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Despite having an actual job at a children’s clothing boutique, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is living proof that acquiring a job in no way makes you any less lazy. Even in her new professional setting, she still manages to impatiently condescend to everyone around her, shifting her flawed suggestions onto the faults of her customers—specifically when she offers a little black dress to a mother for her baby: “Christening dresses are usually white, aren’t they?” “Not the chic ones,” scoffs Jessa.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s mind is blown on her first day at GQ, less because of the job itself, and more due to the snack room, where her new coworker Joe (Michael Zegen), has informed her that every last item is free.

Although her ideas are well received by her new colleagues, Hannah starts to notice that everyone around her seems to be in a writer’s rut. She learns that her co-workers Kevin (Amir Arison), Karen (Jessica Williams), and Joe are all formerly accomplished writers and poets with their heydays long behind them. Despite having won accolades and having been published in works such as the New Yorker, they all ended up here at GQ for years, their distinguished literary careers slowly slipping away.

Upon realizing that such promising young talent has been wasted on less than “spiritually fulfilling work,” Hannah starts to panic that she might be next, her literary career certain to plateau if she stays at GQ. She fears she won’t be able to remain a self-proclaimed “writer writer” (no offense to her coworkers) if she stays at this new job, her dream of becoming a published author doomed to procrastinate itself into oblivion if she allows “the perks and the money and the free snacks” to seduce her into selling out for corporate advertising.

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

In total contrast to Hannah, Shoshana (Zosia Mamet) is overly in control of her life, deciding to add a serious boyfriend to her 15-year plan. Unfortunately, she’s so absorbed in her mental checklist that she can barely acknowledge the sexual advances of her new dumb boyfriend, Parker (Evan Jonigkeit), as he furiously pummels her against a couch, registering it as merely an afterthought to her inner monologue.

And lastly, while Adam (Adam Driver) initially can’t seem to take his acting auditions seriously if it means dancing for puppet masters and smiling on command, he finally lands a role (and fittingly chooses to use his acting chops as the method of delivering the news to Hannah).

The show closes with Hannah’s resolve to preserve her career goals by forcing herself to write on nights and weekends, shortly before falling asleep and accomplishing nothing on the first night. We’re all left to wonder what will become of her when she wakes up—a starving artist or corporate snacker?

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