Girls and Enlightened: Carnival Toys and Unsent Letters

Girls
Episode 6:
Boys

Another week, another pair of masterful episodes. I’ve said it before, but I’m so pleased that HBO paired up Girls and Enlightened on the same night. Even though the stories and characters couldn’t be more different, the shows explore similar ideas. Maybe it’s a clever ruse by Lena Dunham and Mike White. Maybe they exchanged texts as they were writing their respective series.

If they had, it might have been “Episode 6 is all about wanting everything out of life, but not getting it.” Because both shows this week were all about it.

This week’s Girls opens with Hannah talking with John Cameron Mitchell. Well, really the journalist he’s playing, but come one. Mr/Mrs. Hedwig him/herself! Have you seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch? If the answer is “no,” then stop reading, stop eating, stop masturbating or stop whatever it is you do when you read these recaps and go watch that film.
...

Okay? Are we good? Let’s continue.

JCM is one of Hannah’s heroes, and he read her essays and thought they were wonderful. He starts rambling on about “high/low and low/high writing” and what is this world anymore and what’s this—a pistachio, Hannah replies, not sure if he’s joking. Then he comes to it: he wants Hannah to write an ebook. She has a month. To anyone who writes (or wants to professionally), that seems like a slap in the face. But I know I couldn’t say no to JCM. Who could?
No, really. Look at that face! *swoon*
They hug, he’s excited to have a “protege” and Hannah’s so excited she pukes on the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, that same morning, Marnie wakes up at Booth’s place. She’s covered up, he’s naked. My notes for this scene say “Booth’s buttt.” Yes, with three t’s. Guess I wasn’t paying attention to my writing. Can’t imagine why.
It's because I like man butt.
His assistant, Sun Jin, comes in, rattling some assistant-speak. Booth wants to know if she took a bite out of his rose water ice cream. She admits it; she’d never had it before, so she had a little scoop. He’s furious about it, in his smarmy, pretentious artist way. Sun Jin quits. So, Booth asks Marnie if she’ll host the art opening tonight. And since Marnie is smitten, she agrees. Hey, Marnie? You might want to adjust those rose-colored glasses. Just a thought.

And are they at Marnie’s apartment? Because it doesn’t look like Booth’s.
Or is it just me? Where are the creepy dolls?
At the cafe, Shosh is trying her best to help Ray further himself. Donald Trump is giving a talk that he should go to. Ray wants none of it—no Donald, and no help. Fortunately Hannah shows up (late) for her shift. Shosh is so excited for Hannah’s book deal, finding it “adult and intriguing.”

Ray asks Hannah about his copy of Little Women that he lent her. Apparently his godmother (or was it grandmother?) wrote some inspiring words in it for him, and he’d like to get it back.

Hannah informs him that it’s at Adam’s, and she’s not about to go there. Shosh drops some wisdom and tells him to go get it himself.

So he does! Adam is all fired up when he answers the door because it’s Adam. And he’s working on...something involving kicking and swearing at some wooden thing. He says he doesn’t know where the book is, but then recalls it’s in the bathroom.

In the bathroom with the angry dog. Yes, Adam has a dog now. A dog that he stole from the outside of a cafe. A dog that bit him on the arm. Ray astutely observes that it’s Adam’s “break-up dog.”

But in any case, he needs to return the dog to its owner. At first, Ray declines helping, but Adam needs backup in case the owner is crazy. And for some reason that brings Ray on board.

Elsewhere, Shosh watches while Marnie tries on clothes for the art event tonight. Shosh relates their friendship where Marnie is “like Bella Swan from Twilight, and I’m the weird friend who doesn’t understand...” and then it turns into her bitching about Ray.

Meanwhile, Ray and Adam find the address on the dog’s collar, and of course it’s over on Staten Island. Fun fact! Ray turned down a three-way with two Staten Island girls one time. And they were cute, too. 
 
One of the best pair-ups this show has done yet.
On the ferry, Ray complains about Shosh a bit. And how young girls and older women make the best girlfriends. “Under 18 and over 40” specifically. They realize they’re more alike than they think. Adam thinks it might just be because they’re both “weird looking.” I mean, I guess that’s true, but I think they’re both kind of adorable. Ray has grown on me this season as compared to last season where I just wanted to punch him. A lot.

Hannah, meanwhile, is busy writing her book. And by that I mean drinking Red Bull and looking at articles online. Jessa comes out of the bathroom and lays down some depressing pragmatism. Her book isn’t going to matter, not to Hannah or anyone who reads it. Sure, Jessa’s just dealing with her recent break up, but it is just an ebook. Get it written and get it done (says the man who has the startings of four novels and not a one is even close to done. But enough about me.)
I know, I'm a hypocrite.
Over on Staten Island, Ray says it’s populated by all the mean people that wanted to live on Manhattan, but are stuck on this island looking out at it longingly. As they walk the dog to its owner’s house, Ray asks Adam if he’s over Hannah.

Short answer: no. Long answer: she’s like a carnival game that you get stuck with a stupid toy. Or something. In Ray’s case, he and Shosh have only been dating for a few weeks, but it’s the longest relationship he’s ever been in (ouch). He also feels a fatherly responsibility for taking Shosh’s v-card. 
And that, my friends, is not a good reason to date someone.
They talk a bit more about Hannah—never a good thing when Adam is involved—and Ray makes the mistake of saying she’s a terrible person. That makes Adam accuse Ray of wanting to fuck her. And if that’s true, this show is like Lost, because that attraction has been so well hidden. Adam gets ridiculously angry (god, I am using so many adverbs, my English professors would be so pissed at me) and leaves Ray with the dog.

Hannah visits Marnie at the art party opening thingie. Marnie is wearing this godawful plastic dress. It looks like something out of Barbarella. Hannah tries to tell Marnie about her writer’s block, but Marnie is in party hostess mode.
I still can't get over that dress.
Booth is there being his pretentious self. He took a picture of himself crying at a piece of art at the MoMA.

Just. No.

Hannah has an awkward conversation with a strange party-goer, and then leaves.

Over on the Island, Ray finds the owner’s house, and his disgusting Staten Island daughter is there. She is all kinds of awful, calling Ray a faggot and a kike. “I’m Greek orthodox!” he yells as she walks away, giving him the finger. So Ray is stuck with the dog. Oh, and I am never living or even going near Staten Island. Ever.

At the party, Booth and Marnie are in the wine room. Because of course they have a wine room. Booth offers to pay Marnie for her time, which is odd, seeing as how they’re a couple, right? Wrong. Marnie just assumed they were dating.

She breaks down, and it’s kind of hilarious. I don’t know if it was meant to be, but I thought it was funny. Turns out she liked the idea of Booth, and she was a “lifelong fan of his art” which I think is utter bullshit. Didn’t she say in an earlier episode she thought he was overrated? Crazy TV prison box notwithstanding, cause she loved that Duncan Sheik insanity.

He gets pissed, saying how he doesn’t have any real friends. They all just want to be friends with an artist. Boo fucking hoo, Booth. He breaks some bottles of wine, has a tantrum, and Marnie leaves. Thank god. That’s one of the most sensible things she’s done all season.

Later that night, Hannah’s “writing” in her Pjs, and she gives Marnie a call. She’s already left the party, in the subway, carrying her plastic dress with her. They both look absolutely defeated. And of course they both lie to each other. Hannah’s writing is going great! Marnie and Booth are having an amazing time at the party! It’s a well-done scene. You can see both of them wanting to just divulge everything to each other. But they don’t.

Ray and the dog look out across at Manhattan. Ray puts his head in his hands and sobs. I have nothing snarky to say about this scene. It genuinely made me sad. 
 
 
Enlightened
Episode 6:
All I Ever Wanted
 
Hoo boy, what an episode this week!

Late at night, Amy stops by Jeff’s apartment, and shows him all the information she’s collected on Abaddonn. As he goes over it, she wanders around his apartment, looking at his well-worn and highlighted books, and his map with pins in it of all the places he’s been to.
He looks up at Amy and says “fucking gold!” There is so much incriminating evidence they both get super-excited and share a little kiss. Jeff realizes how important the work Amy’s done is, and the level of bravery it took to do it.

They go out to dinner, and they chat about Jeff’s life outside of work. He’s been divorced since 2007. His wife wanted a normal life with kids, he wanted—still wants—to travel, to do good things, to have experiences. Amy agrees, not-so-subtly hinting that she wants those things, too.

After dinner, while they wait for the files on Amy’s laptop to transfer to Jeff’s computer, he asks her if she wants to spend the night. She’s flustered. And I mean, I would be, too. Only, it’s been a while for her, and she’s nervous and it’s all happening so fast and they get it on!

Can it be? Did I conjure you? Someone to believe in...” Amy narrates as they spend the next day together.
At home, Helen asks Amy where she’s been for the past two days. Amy is typically guarded and doesn’t want to go into details.

At the office, Amy super chatty and hyper (more so than usual). Dougie asks about things, and she gives him the good news. They have really done a great job at making Dougie a likable character. He gives the office a speech about “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take an early lunch.”

Tyler comes in, and is concerned. But this time he has a decent reason: he doesn’t want to hurt Eileen when the truth comes out. Amy tries to tell him that she’ll be fine with it. But come on. Her heart will be broken.

On their lunch, Amy calls Jeff and invites him to dinner. At first he’s hesitant, but he agrees.

At her house, Amy is going through a book, when the doorbell rings. She freaks out; Jeff is super early! She asks her mom how she looks. Helen responds “You could use a hair trim.”
Oh Helen, as ever with the worthless advice.

Amy opens the door and—surprise! It’s not Jeff, it’s LEVI. Amy is understandably stunned. “Why aren’t you in Hawaii?” she asks. He says he’s fixed. He did the program. Helen is stunned as well. Levi does his best to apologize for the door he broke last season. Amy suggests they take a walk.

As they walk down the street, Amy is pissed that he left the rehab center. He tells her he didn’t quit, and hands her the letter he wrote—that we got to hear some of a few episodes ago—but never sent. She reads it in the middle of the street.

I can’t help but wonder if Amy is more pissed that he’s back, or that he has lousy timing?
Either way, Levi makes it clear that he wants another try with Amy. They sit in the park, watching the kids play baseball, and Levi calls it “sacred land.” It’s where they grew up and fell in love. And out of love. He sees it as heaven and hell.

You always believed in me,” he tells Amy. But she’s tired of it, 25 years of waiting, and she’s had it. But he wants a “new story.”

Then he says something that confused me. He says, “it can be like grace.” And I can’t help but wonder if that is grace with a capital G. As in the name of their miscarried baby?

Amy has to leave, saying she has a “dinner” to go to. I really wanted Amy to tell him she’s seeing Jeff, but that wouldn’t be Amy, I think.

Levi just comes out and says it, “We can try again...for a baby.”

Amy gets home and Jeff is already there, talking to Helen about all the places he’s been. Amy goes into her room and Helen follows soon after.

In one of the most affecting scenes this season, Amy suffers a panic attack. She doesn’t know what to do. Her mom sits behind her, cradling her shoulders.

Laura Dern is one of those actresses that gives her all in every performance, and this scene is no exception. For someone who also suffers from panic attacks, it hit me hard.

After, Amy and Jeff get ready to go. In Jeff’s car, as they pull away, Amy sees Levi standing out on the sidewalk, looking at her. The episode ends with Levi standing there, as Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” plays out. Talk about perfect musical accompaniment.

Comments

  1. Ray has grown on me too. Gosh, that final scene was really, really, really sad, I might've even shed a tear or two. I felt so bad for him and the dog. I even felt for Marnie in the subway scene (the wine cellar scene was kinda painful, though). Adam and Booth were complete assholes. Finally, this season needs moar Jessa, she's god.

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