Patrick Wilson as Joshua
In a recent interview, Lena Dunham stated that Girls is never going to glorify commodified sex: that is, putting the characters in situations where they sleep with someone for status or money or because they have a nice apartment.
This is admirable, of course—but so far, this season has been all about status-driven (and usually, super unsatisfying) sex: Jessa and Thomas-John, Elijah and George, and most recently, Marnie and Booth. This week, Hannah tries her hand at the wealthy-and-established-older-dude game.
Hannah has been illegally tossing trash into the hunky, forty-something Joshua’s cans (ifyaknowwhaddimean). She shows up on his doorstep to apologize, and their brief kiss turns into three days of nesting, brunching, and epically intimate sex.
On the surface, Joshua appears to be of the same settled, confident, and distinctly un-Hannah-ish breed as our other statusy Lotharios: He has a spectacular brownstone! He wears cashmere! He has a shower that bleeps and bloops! He has a job where he can decide not to show up!
It becomes clear, however, that Joshua is different. He’s a giver. “I want you to make me come,” Hannah says, and the camera stays trained on both their faces as he does. It’s exquisitely uncomfortable, and super, super hot.
For all her intellectual feather-fluffing, Hannah is willing to completely sublimate her sense of self in order to please her lovers. In return, guys tend to treat her like a sex doll or, as she puts it, “monkey meat”—and the best she’s found thus far is Sandy, who’s self-important, but hey, at least he doesn’t make her wish she “doesn’t exist” mid-coitus. When Joshua calls her beautiful, she’s honestly skeptical.
In her quest to make an “extreme sport” out of intimacy, Hannah digs into Joshua’s sweetness—”What’s your damage, Josh?” she barks—and ends the affair in the process. It’s easy to be hard on Hannah for not just S-ing the FU and letting things run their course. She does, after all, prattle on self-importantly about how hard it is to bear the weight of experience—you know, as a public service so the rest of us don’t have to. (Vomit.)
She can’t just let romance be—but then again, we’re dealing with a huge age gap and a trial separation. This was never going to be A Thing. Both parties needed to learn (or, in Joshua’s case, re-learn) how to be with someone without complications or meanness or negotiation.
Hannah emerges from the brownstone on her own, tosses out the trash, and makes her way down the block and back to her own place. She knows now that she wants (and deserves) “all the things”, and that she’s no less authentic as a person, a woman, or an intellectual for wanting them. And let’s be real: it is hard to admit that happiness consists of something more than other people thinking you’re interesting—especially when that happiness is dependent on other people. (I think this is especially difficult for women, who have to struggle to be taken seriously anyway.)
This episode left me feeling just as dazed as Hannah—but I’m psyched to see how this newfound appreciation for being treated like a human will play out in her relationship with Adam.
You go, girl. You deserve it.
Photo via Vulture.com