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BYT is recapping Girls Season Three for your reading pleasure. Rather than a straight review, we’re doing it “he said/she said” style with recappers Svetlana Legetic and Alan Zilberman. They will both feel a lot of feelings, and A LOT of those feelings will be disparate. Enjoy!


Alan: After dealing with David’s death and its aftermath, the latest episode of Girls is a transition into lighter comedy. Dunham skips the usual hoops of job-hunting – to the point of fault, possibly – and puts Hannah at a new position in GQ. Her job is not glamorous, exactly: she’s writing copy that’s meant to look like genuine content but it’s an advertisement in disguise. Still, this gives her an opportunity to meet intriguing new people, including The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams and Rescue Me’s Michael Zegen.The workplace antics in this episode are oddly hilarious, especially when Hannah steals all the free food she can, yet there is also sly meta-commentary here. In a pitch meeting, Hannah’s superficial ideas catch the attention of her editors. I can’t decide whether her superficial idea of men inform her minor success in the meeting, or if Hannah is actually a shrewd appraiser of GQ’s editorial voice.Svetlana, what do you think of the abrupt tonal shift?

Svetlana: Hi! Well, in some ways-one could say that Hannah’s job hunt is sort of reminiscent of Dunham’s “job hunt” too – if there is one thing she has been ongoingly accused of it is her seemingly amazing ability to have things simply land in her lap. So who knows, maybe what we are considering a crazy thing is Dunham’s more-relatable satire of her own existence?
I loved all the GQ moments. If you are a girl watching GIRLS you probably squeeeee-d your way through seeing Jenna Lyons (head designer and spirit animal of J.Crew) making her small screen debut as the lead editor and if you are boy, that’s what Jessica Williams and Michael Zegen were there for, so kudos again to the guest-casting team. The free snacks thing reminds me so much of the BYT office – kids these days love free snacks SO MUCH. They will do ANYTHING for free snacks. Those free snacks are to them more worth than most things. And the success of her ideas is, I think, simply reflective of the fact that in 2014 – there is obviously nothing new one could do in the editorial (or advertorial) world so “grown-ups” are forever grasping at straws and wanting to believe the youth WILL have the ideas they themselves have now run out of. Between that and the GODAWFUL “we are all real writers” moment – I felt the office scenes were all pure gold, and weirdly sharply observed, especially considering they were done by someone who has never really worked in a proper office.
Alan, what did you think about the whole REAL WRITERS moment? What makes a real writer? Also, we should obviously dig into the Marnie/Ray business or whatever the kids are calling it these days?
Alan: That’s the reason I’m glad we’re collaborating on these recaps, Svetlana. Between our niches of pop culture, we’re able to glean all cameos (I don’t know who Jenna Lyons is). It’s certainly likely that Dunham is satirizing her privilege – I think she’s smart and self-aware for that – although her detractors would probably say that the seamless transition to GQ is indicative of her utter lack of struggle. Either way, she does a phenomenal job of capturing the novelty of young people in the workplace.Let’s talk about snacks. When I was in college, I had an internship at the Maryland General Assembly. By far, the biggest perk was the snacks; lobbyists would throw lunches for elected officials, and it’d only be the interns who would show. In retrospect it’s an easy perk for employers, especially since young people lack responsibilities and are still in good health. I’m sure if we were to talk to Hannah and the others, they’d concede that GQ does not offer the most generous benefit package.I liked the “real writers” moment because there are so many ways to take the scene, but I’m not sure what makes a “real writer,” exactly. The easiest way to think about it is through the lens of an audience: I wouldn’t call Hannah a real writer because her pitches are accepted for their snarky wit, not their thoughtfulness. Williams and Zegen’s characters admit they’ve written serious pieces, although now they’re reduced to being SEO-obsessed content monkeys. Now if Hannah and the others could find a place where they’re writing seriously without much concern for annoying administrative CMS work, then they’d be “real” in the context of this world. Either way, it’s interesting for Hannah to meet people who might eventually be her peers. This is the true beginning of her publishing work, and I have a feeling she’ll soon be disillusioned, too.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Ray and Marnie return to each other. Not only are they lonely and desperate, they’re both complicit in their secret. So, despite a mutual sense of loathing, they spend time together because, well, they have no alternative. It’s an uncomfortably real situation, one that works because Marnie’s lack of self-awareness is the perfect foil for Ray’s piercing intelligence. Svetlana, what was your favorite moment from their scenes together? How do think their time together will end?

Also, this is the last screener copy of we have of GIRLS season three, so I want to talk about the season in a general sense. I think Dunham has really hit her stride this season. Both the serious episodes and the lighter ones have a confidence and consistent voice that’s been missing from the earlier two seasons. That might be just because she’s built up these characters so their actions now have greater resonance, but I think Dunham has grown, both in terms of her sympathy for her characters and her criticism of them. What about you?

Svetlana: Yes, I just thought the notion of free snacks as such a selling point to a workplace where you are essentially a paid-to-dance-monkey (which is what I think they think is the death of the real writing in all of them) is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking and therefore a very good joke to make. As I was watching it, I kept trying to imagine the conversation in the writer’s room as it happened, the sharing of experiences about them losing their free snack virginity (a metaphor, I am sure, for selling your soul to the corporate devil for basically peanuts) and I also really wanted to know how/who decided WHICH SNACKS would be in the room. Somehow, all that seemed very important to me at the time. I want the commentary attached to this episode more so than the other ones. Somehow, the snacks are the most poignant thing in this season thus far to me. Free snacks (as a signifier of corporate life) and Jenna Lyons (as a beacon of cool conformity). Perfection.Speaking of this season: I agree. This season has been a lot more engaging overall and probably the most thought provoking. It has ALSO been the season that has been THE MOST about Hannah herself. I feel like in seasons 1 and 2, there was a lot of playing Hannah off the other leads characters (Ray, Marnie, Elijah who I miss dearly, though rumor has it he is coming back soon? Fingers crossed) and even given them some pretty special episodes all their own (BOYS is a perennial favorite of everyone at BYT, right?), but this time around there is a lot of satellite characters and A LOT OF HANNAH. Even poor Adam is now essentially a sounding board without being allowed to really let his freak out fully.Having said that-this is the season I am enjoying the most thus far, I think. Maybe because they’re getting a little more grown up? Alan, what do you think happens next? Lets just get some insane scenarios out of the depths of our soul….

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Alan: Why do I think happens next? Hmmm I always envision a scorched earth scenario: Hannah loses her soul, literally and metaphorically, which causes Adam to break up with her and she ends up moving in with Jessica Williams, who turns out to be insane. Shosh confronts Ray about Marnie, and then they start fucking behind Marnie’s back. Jessa starts fucking Adam AND Caroline (not at the same time). But here’s the kicker: everyone, including Hannah, starts to do a lot better professionally. They begin their careers, and not coincidentally they become worse people at the same time. I don’t necessarily think this is Dunham’s worldview, but it’s certainly a possible trajectory for the show.What do you think? Am I being too pessimistic?
Svetlana: Hahaha, no-I think you may actually be quite on the nose there Alan.