February 11, 2013 by NowhereButPop
Here we are at the midway point of Girls second season, and like last season’s fifth episode, the fifth episode of season two is exclusively a Hannah centric episode. However, unlike last season’s fifth episode which was dry, dull and slow paced, this most recent episode, entitled “One Man’s Trash” has proven to be the standout episode of the season thus far. The acting of Patrick Wilson has much to do with this sentiment, as it is his character that gives the episode life and a new degree of pensively.
Above all else (namely the comedy and the nudity) Girls is a show that is supposed to make the viewer think. Very few shows can do this, but Girls is a show that allows for and encourages the viewer to reflect upon their own thoughts, feelings and experiences regarding friendship, romance and sex, life, and uncertainties amongst many other scenarios. That’s exactly what this episode does to perfection. The dynamic between Hannah and Joshua (Patrick Wilson’s character) is perfect in that it emphasizes Hannah’s continuing capriciousness as well as introduces a one-off character who isn’t a part of or affected by the mundane insanity that plagues the lives of the regular characters.
Joshua, a doctor who has recently separated from his wife, immediately supplanted Adam as my favorite character of the show, despite the fact that he will probably not be featured in any more episodes. Here is this character, who is really one of the only few adults in the show, with his shit together who is thrust into Hannah’s world on a whim. He isn’t a drug addict, or emotionally unstable, or immature as some of Hannah’s other partners have been. I just have to say how much I also love the fact that he preferred to go by Joshua, even though Hannah kept calling him Josh. On a personal note, it reminds me of a date I went on where I had to spend a half an hour explaining to the girl why I didn’t want to be called Andy.
Besides our preference for being referred to by our given names, Joshua also quietly embodies my senior year of college. Here he is, an old man amongst children who gets caught up in the whirlwind that is Hannah and is then spit out just as quickly. Joshua sees Hannah for the wreck she actually is and wants no part of that, because he is already past that point in his life. Following his separation, he is wanting of something more on his level, not the weeping child that Hannah regresses to after one day of knowing him. For Hannah, a girl who gets what she wants, Joshua is merely the next man in a quick succession of sexual partners.
The entire backdrop of their encounter was especially riveting in that it takes place during the hangout/one night stand. But everything that happened, the connection forged, will not last past their time together. Yeah, spent an entire day together, got to know each other, and had sex…..multiple times, but it only existed in the confines of itself. Whatever happened will only be relegated to that one day. This comes in spite of the fact that Hannah seemed to genuinely like him, and Joshua, at the very beginning, seemed to be smitten by Hannah.
If “One Man’s Trash” does one thing exceedingly well, it’s that it brings real life to the TV screen. The hangout/one night stand is something that I don’t think I can fully wrap my head around. The very notion of doing both is extremely confounding to me. If it’s only going to be a one night stand, why even hangout at all? Or it starts off as a hangout, why sleep with the person if you aren’t enjoying their company? Well, the answer to that lies in the conclusion of the show.
Something happened after the sex that turned it into a hangout/one night stand. For Joshua, it was realizing how immature and childish Hannah was. They seem to be getting along well, and falling for each other, all of the sudden Hannah just pours everything out; like really weird personal stuff that even the audience didn’t know about. What else is Joshua to do but think that she is absolutely out of her mind?
She tells him of the time she lied to her mom and said the babysitter molested her, told her about her desire to be happy, and some sexual experiences with other guys, namely the time she asked a guy to ejaculate onto her chest. If that were me (and any other rational guy) we’d be thinking to ourselves “Well, it was fun while it lasted but I’m never calling her again”. Regardless of whether or not he really did like her, at that point she became overwhelming and simply too much to handle. While he has his own problems, namely his divorce, he knows better than to just air it all out in front of a stranger, for the same reason why he was turned off from Hannah once she began to air hers. Something based solely in the physical doesn’t warrant, necessitate, or welcome that much of an emotional and personal divulgence. That’s the problem with the hangout/one night stand. Because when you throw in hanging out, at least one party will treat it to be more personal than it really is.
Why would Joshua want to know about any of the following: Hannah’s emotional duress, her naïve desire to be “exciting”, and her sexual experiences with other men? He wouldn’t and didn’t. Hannah was just too much, too soon. She saw their tryst as being something more than it really was, and maybe Joshua did too at first, but when he realized just how overwhelming and immature she was he knew that nothing more could come from this. For something so quick and spontaneous as the hangout/one night stand, things have to go perfectly in order to warrant a second encounter. More often than not, they don’t, for the exact reasons portrayed in what is arguably the best episode of the entire series.