February 12, 2014 by NowhereButPop
For those of us who have recently graduated college, we’re at an awkward stage in our lives; as a result, we are made awkward because of this. We’re still trying to figure ourselves out, while simultaneously trying to get on our own two feet. But, at the same time, we’re still immature and for the most part still dependent upon our parents. Despite the fact that we’re between the ages of 22-26, as a society, we’ve never been younger that this age than we are now.
Girls reflects this notion of awkward people going through a second bout of those “awkward years”, it’s just that now it comes with the outward perception of adulthood. In the most recent episode “Free Snacks” the major characters find themselves put in awkward, yet adult situations, which in some cases mirror junior high scenarios. How they handle these situations proves to be the thrill of this installment.
The main storyline involves Hannah’s first day at GQ where she quickly discovers all the perks that her new position brings her including a free snack table, which for Hannah Horvath is sheer nirvana. However, the next day she realizes her dream job is not what it seems as she is stuck writing drab, unfulfilling style pieces. Initially, that awkward feeling everyone has their first day on the job turned into childlike joy before it then turned into a stifling sense of entrapment.
By the end of her second day, Hannah decides to quit, only to retract her dismissal because the prospect of those “free snacks” is all too enticing. This leads to an awkward encounter with her boss whom she, moments ago, expressed her desire to leave GQ. Hannah is an awkward girl, caught between the allure of adulthood and the safety of childhood, which leads her into situations where her naivety and immaturity reveal themselves.
Ultimately, it is the B storyline of Marnie and Ray’s budding “relationship” which proves to be the most intriguing. Unlike Hannah and Adam’s relationship, which from a viewers’ standpoint is stagnant, Marnie and Ray’s ongoing tryst is still in that development and awkward stage that Hannah and Adam were at in season one. The recipe that made Hannah and Adam so interesting two seasons ago is being used now on Marnie and Ray with equal, but uncomfortable success.
Ray and Marnie aren’t friends, in fact, they don’t particularly like each other, and besides the fact that they are both condescending and judgmental have nothing in common. It’s the fact that not only does the viewer know they have nothing in common, but so do Marnie and Ray. They know they are nothing alike, and this truth adds to the initial awkwardness that comes with sleeping with someone for the first time. Because they had sex while in their right minds, they’re now trying to justify their actions by going out on impromptu dates, even though this just highlights their differences and usually ends with the two of them either having sex again or arguing, as is what happened in the Chinese restaurant. We get the feeling that Marnie and Ray both know that it’s their sexual compatibility that’s keeping things afloat for now, but are trying to disguise this truth, even from themselves.
Marnie wants no one to know that she has been seeing Ray, as made evident when she shoved him away when she thought she saw Adam and Hannah. When she does things like that, but then goes out with him and sleeps with him, it highlights that they merely like having sex with each other (because they have no one else to sleep with).
Ray is equally as awkward about their tryst as he too sends mixed signals in the form of taking her out, but then insulting her intellect, vanity, and home. But he likes having sex with her though, so he puts up with the fact that they don’t get along. There trying to make something work, because they’re both still awkward about their initial sexual encounter. The more they go out though, the more it becomes clear that these two people should not be going out. The relationship will just be founded upon sex, despite the fact that both Ray and Marnie realize they don’t like each other and it will just lead to more fighting. Awkward people acting even more awkward because of an already awkward situation.
The C storyline featuring Shoshanna is an exact, but less insightful mirroring of Marnie’s dilemma, except it’s rife with stereotypical Shoshanna immaturity. She talks about how she wants to be in a serious relationship, but is stuck with some schmuck named Parker, who may be brain dead. But of course, she puts up with his stupidity because she likes having sex with him. Shoshanna is an exaggerated version of Marnie in this episode as she mirrors Marnie’s action, but with an immaturity and empty-headedness that is expected and welcomed for her age. As a result, we don’t take Shoshanna as serious because we realize that how she acts is how people her age act, making her act her age. She only seems immature and childish in contrast with Marnie and Hannah; in reality it is these two who are immature as they are acting in a similar way to a college student.
Three of the four main girls are put into awkward situations in “Free Snacks”. Hannah is now stuck in a job that she feels will constrict her creativity and smother her dreams. Marnie and Shoshanna are in uncomfortable “pseudo-relationships” because they don’t know how to react to awkward situations of a one night stand, and “the talk” every couple has to determine what exactly they are. The reason why they are being so awkward is because they aren’t nearly as adult as they’d like to be. They’re more reminiscent of junior high school students encountering junior high school problems of an awkward crush and a desire to break free from authority. It’s a telltale sign of immaturity when you’re going out with someone you don’t like, as is possibly throwing away your future for free snacks. But then again teenagers never were the most mature people.