Girls Recap: ‘I Want To Feel Everything’
10:30 am, February 11th | by Sarah Devlin
This episode really felt like more of a short film, and I suppose it was — the only “Girl” we deal with this week is Hannah, who has an…interlude with the smoking hot 42-year-old doctor who lives in a newly renovated brownstone right by the café where she works. They meet because the doctor, Joshua (Patrick Wilson) discovers that someone has been putting the café’s trash in his garbage bins. It’s not hard to make the leap that Hannah, lazy as she is, is the culprit. Ray, the only other regular cast member we see, handles the conflict with his unique managerial flair, berating Joshua until he storms out in a huff. Hannah tells Ray that the work environment has become “toxic,” and walks out.
Quick sidebar: what is WITH these women so cavalierly quitting their jobs? In this economy in New York City it is tough to find regular work — between Marnie and Hannah both walking out on their jobs mid-shift this season alone, this is one of the things that makes me really feel like Lena Dunham is too far removed from how actual human beings survive in New York, which is disappointing given how authentic the rest of the show feels most of the time.
Hannah follows Joshua home and is bowled over by how beautiful his place is, and confesses to the trash crime, explaining that it started as a convenience thing but became something of an illicit thrill. Joshua, who we will learn is recently separated from his wife, seems sort of amazed at Hannah’s brazenness and turned on by her youth and awe at his home and they start kissing, which leads to sex on his beautiful, renovated kitchen counter.
Once it’s over Hannah is ready to leave, but Joshua invites her to stay for dinner and then the night, and when Hannah, who is clearly not used to being treated this kindly by a man, asks him to beg her to stay, he does. The next day, he calls in sick to work.
“Don’t we deserve it?” he asks. I couldn’t help but think that he might, but Hannah, who spends most of her life indulging every selfish impulse she has, probably doesn’t. Nonetheless, they play ping pong, and have more sex, and Hannah takes a shower in his tricked-out bathroom, turning up the temperature so high that she faints. He discovers her in the bathroom and rescues her and puts her in a robe and strokes her hair, and all this care and attention prompts Hannah to start to talk about her feelings, which: oof.
I think the writing in this episode is crafted so that Joshua’s ensuing coldness could either be him continuing the pattern of insensitivity that he knows made his wife leave, or seeing Hannah’s selfishness and shallowness and youth with total clarity and ceasing to be attracted to her. I hope that it’s the latter, because Hannah makes a speech that is just…breathtaking in its lack of self awareness.
She starts to cry, saying she’s realized that she wants what everyone else wants, which is to be happy. She thought she was above that, making “experiences” her life goal instead of happiness, and modeling herself after Fiona Apple, who says she gets called crazy for wanting “to feel everything.” Hannah wants to feel everything (so she can tell other people about it, like some kind of life ambassador), but she also wants to be happy. Is that too much to ask?
I was not moved by this speech, and neither is Joshua, whose face looks like it’s hardening like a statue with every word that comes out of her mouth. He lets her stay the night, but is gone when she wakes up in the morning. Hannah gets the paper (probably the single unselfish thing she does in this episode, and even then I think it’s so she can prolong the illusion of living there a few moments longer), makes herself breakfast — and probably doesn’t wash the dishes she uses — and puts on the clothes she was wearing before, walking right down the middle of the street.
This episode was a total departure from what the show has been up until now, and I enjoyed it the way I would enjoy a trip to a foreign country, but I hope that this is more of an anomaly than an indication of what the rest of the season will be, mostly because I cannot stand this much of Hannah in a single episode. But it’s a testament to HBO’s trust in Lena Dunham and her clarity of vision to make such a left turn with the series, and that’s pretty amazing. What did you guys think?