Before I get started, I want to say that “Bad Friend” is a fantastic episode name. I actually want to petition to change the show’s name from Girls to Bad Friend.
Technically, the ‘bad friend’ in question in this episode is Marnie. Hannah finds out that Elijah and Marnie slept together, and she gets emotional and confronts Marnie about it, giving her a great big end-of-episode speech about what it’s like to be a bad friend and pleads for Marnie to admit it. And she does. Marnie’s far from perfect, but at least she knows that her life is a mess, and she very willingly admits that she is a bad friend.
But of course, it all comes back to Hannah, who’s the worst type of bad friend because she has no idea how horrible she really is.
The episode opens up with Hannah at a sort of interview for a freelance writing position, where the editor, with no hint of sarcasm, suggests that Hannah do something exciting so that she can write about it, like cocaine. Now, it’s one thing for the editor to suggest something so crazy, but Hannah actually takes the advice to heart and sets out to get high on coke and write about it. It kind of made me queasy to think about at first, that Hannah’s life is so pointless and she is so desperate for something noteworthy to happen that she would just casually do coke for the story of it all.
Don’t get me wrong, any excuse to see Andrew Rannells and Lena Dunham dancing around and playing off one another while acting high is fine by me, but what started as a rather bland arc brought in some more intrigue with the introduction of Hannah’s ex-junkie neighbor, Laird. There’s something off about the guy for sure; he’s a bit of a voyeur and knows way too much about Hannah before every having met her, but once we spend a few minutes with the guy we learn that there’s an inherent sweetness to him (if nothing else, Girls has definitely perfected the creepy charmer). As a recovering addict, Laird is trying to get his life back together, and normally we wouldn’t really care that much about his plight because we aren’t invested in his character. But his honest struggle and worry for Hannah paired up against Hannah’s complete naivety and selfishness shines some more light on Hannah’s ever-growing narcissism problem.
While high, she mentions to Elijah that it is both her dream and her nightmare to have sex with herself, and I don’t think Hannah’s personality could have been summed up any better. She thinks she’s entitled to all this love, attention, and praise, but god forbid she were to ever raise to that level of adoration, she would never be able to handle it all.
By episode’s end, Hannah has allowed Laird to continue following her, deeming him her very own guardian angel, even though his idea of salvation is completely different than Hannah’s. For Hannah, it means saving her failed drug experience for a one-night stand with the junkie who lives in her building. Because what is life if not to do off-the-wall things to share with the world to prove how great you are?
While I appreciate the show’s ambition in sending Hannah down this dark path, I feel like a reality check needs to be in the cards for her very soon. Hannah is incredibly unlikable at this point, even more so than at her lowest last season, and I am completely fine with that, but I fear if there’s no turnaround soon, I’m going to hate her so much that I’ll eventually stop rooting for her.
– More on Marnie: She goes back to Booth Jonathan’s (or in Elijah’s words, “what’s a Booth Jonathan?) place. He shows her his really weird artwork involving endless TV screens of disturbing images played over Duncan Sheik’s “Barely Breathing” and then after really terrible kinky sex she laughs in his face. This is not Marnie’s proudest moment, but at least she knows she is a screw up, and knowing so liberates her just a little bit.
– That said, I was a little turned off by how rapey Booth came across, dragging Marnie back to his apartment like that, locking her in his art contraption. I get that he’s meant to be an incredible douche, but it still made me feel a little icky.
– Here’s some of the things Hannah and Elijah did while high on cocaine: writing down life goals on the walls of the apartment (“raise show dogs”), having trouble navigating crowds of people on the subway, dancing to the gay DJ duo Andrew Andrew, swapping shirts with a guy for a mesh yellow tank top.
– “Let’s have one of those nights when it’s like 5 a.m. and one of us definitely punches someone from the Disney Channel.” I love Andrew Rannells so much that I want to forever forget that he’s on The New Normal.
– Laird’s watching over Hannah, like the mom from “Extremely Loud and Extremely Close.”
– Hannah’s wifi networks: Madame Ovaries, Muffin are Tasty.