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"Girls" Review/Recap: "Incidentals"

Leah Zeffren ‘17/Emertainment Monthly Staff

Lena Dunham and Patti LaPone in the Girls episode "Incidental." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Lena Dunham and Patti LaPone in the Girls episode “Incidental.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

This week’s episode of Girls, “Incidentals”, opens with Hannah (Lena Dunham) waiting for Patti LuPone (playing herself) to meet her for an interview, only to get stood up at the last minute. Determined to get the interview anyway, Hannah hunts Patti down via her publicist and promises to only take five minutes (possibly fifteen max) for the interview (featuring another ten—just to wrap up.) As they negotiate what lies to agree on for the article, Adam (Adam Driver) calls Hannah to deliver incredible news.

As it turns out, Adam managed to nab a part in his first Broadway play, Major Barbara, despite looking like the only version of himself without a nose job in the waiting room. Immediately after getting the part he proceeds to manically stuff a roll of bathroom napkins into his mouth to muffle his delirious victory screams in what can only be described as classic Adam-esque behavior.

The second Patti is filled in on Adam’s big news, she starts getting inside Hannah’s head about all of the ways that Broadway will change him, such as fans (although Hannah is convinced he’s far too funny looking to grow a true fan base) as well as warning her to prepare to forgive him for becoming a jerk and inevitably forgetting she exists. When asked of his maturity, Hannah describes Adam perfectly, pointing out, “In some ways he’s the most mature person I’ve ever met, and in other ways…he has not yet been born.”

Later at the GQ office Hannah gets her first paycheck and discovers that it’s way more than her rent, so of course her first instinct is to use all her newfound wealth to make it rain in the meatpacking district. In the end, Hannah only manages to make it drizzle, her shopping spree resulting in just a single purchase, making for one of the most anticlimactic, least extravagant shopping sprees in the history of television.

Adam Driver and Andrew Rannells in the Girls episode "Incidental." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Adam Driver and Andrew Rannells in the Girls episode “Incidental.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Meanwhile, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) grows restless at her job in the children’s boutique, losing her mind over the mundane moments of living a normal life. It’s right around this time that Jasper (Richard E. Grant) from her rehab days shows up, coked out of his mind, and successfully pressures her into relapsing.

As disappointing as it was to watch Jessa slip back into her reckless pattern with Jasper, it was definitely worth getting to see what should have been the juxtaposition of a sober Shosh (Zosia Mamet) sitting next to Jasper, a coke addict, and realizing that there is in fact no discernible difference between the two. Who needs cocaine when you could just be born with a “chronic condition of having a terribly fast mouth”?

Ray (Alex Karpovsky) decides to dump Marnie (Allison Williams) because he’s not willing to sacrifice the chance at a real relationship that’s “deep and sincere and challenging and scary.” Although Marnie acts as if this doesn’t faze her – why would she be eating pizza in front of him if she actually liked him? —she still ends up crying to Hannah about hitting this new low: dumped by a guy she thought was beneath her.

Later at Adam’s celebration, Marnie sings along with Desi, (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) Adam’s Broadway co-star, as he serenades the room with his guitar. He plays an acoustic rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Roll On, John” which Marnie ineptly mistakes as a Michelle Branch song. (Finding out that classic song you love is actually a cover? We’ve all been there, Marn.) Despite the gaffe, Desi praises Marnie’s singing voice, which she is not used to, confessing that she views her singing as more a series of “attempts” than talent. She even insults herself when trying to help him peg the sound of her voice. (Is the word you’re looking for “grating,” Desi?)

Allison Williams in the Girls episode "Incidentals." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Allison Williams in the Girls episode “Incidentals.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Marnie’s character has been treated as such a punching bag up to this point that it’s almost shocking to watch someone finally respond to her with positivity. While it’s fair to say that her life isn’t actually that bad and it’s just her entitled attitude that makes it seem horrible, at a certain point, it seems almost fair that someone would finally cut her some slack and pay her a compliment. Besides, if we’re being realistic, no one is actually expecting marnface1988@aol.com to blow up into anyone big enough to taint the face of the music industry, so why not just let her have this?

In terms of Hannah and Adam’s relationship, “Incidentals” perfectly captures the conflicting emotions that come with watching a loved one succeed, and the threat of realizing that you are not the only aspect of their life. Adam is independently moving on to a career that doesn’t necessarily require Hannah’s presence unless he decides he still wants it, and knowing that he has this option makes it hard for Hannah to be fully happy for him since it can potentially risk the loss of her own happiness.

Although Hannah’s character has grown in that she recognizes the appropriate reaction to Adam’s success is, “I’m so happy you’re doing what makes you happy because I love you,” it’s still laced with her signature narcissism and the worry that he may end up abandoning the life they’ve built together for a faster-paced Broadway lifestyle.

The episode closes with Adam reassuring Hannah that he loves her too and she has nothing to worry about. As he’s told Elijah (Andrew Rannells) before, he has no interest in partaking in the Broadway scene, or any scene for that matter. Scenes are just not Adam’s scene. But knowing Hannah, she will shamelessly find a way to make Adam’s career less about Adam and more about her and a huge fallout is more than likely to follow.

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