'Girls' Recap: Money Talks


Anyone who’s ever lived in New York knows that so much of life here revolves around money. Everything single thing is just so damned expensive, and you can either afford it or you can’t. Either way, it’s an issue. So it’s kind of crazy that, in a city that easily delineates between the haves and have-nots, where people so openly and casually compare rents like it’s the weather, someone—like Ray—could be homeless without anybody realizing it. But that shit happens, especially amongst the hipster set, which is populated with people who haven’t shaved in a week, smell like onions and cigarettes, and wear used clothing.

Last night’s episode was the most that the show has focused on money since its first few episodes when Hannah’s parents cut her off financially. First we see Elijah moving out of Hannah’s place. She gets to keep all the furniture he brought into the apartment, because it was paid for by Elijah’s older ex-boyfriend George, who said that he wants Hannah to have it. Elijah tells her that he won’t be paying rent because he doesn’t have the finances, but also because, back when they were dating, he had paid for too much stuff for Hannah.

“That’s what a boyfriend does,” she says. “They pay for things.” (This includes burritos and butt plugs.)

Instead of fretting about how she’s going to cover the second half of her rent, Hannah decides to use the $200 she made from publishing her first piece on JazzHate—I really wish we could read it!—to buy organic ingredients to cook pad thai for her friends. (Another idiot mistake you make in youth in order to make yourself feel like a grownup. It’s so much cheaper, and probably tastier, to just buy your friends some pad thai.)

During the dinner there’s some Marnie/Charlie/Audrey drama, but like Hannah, I was bored with it, and preferred to hear more about Ray. Like where’s he living? His answer was really confusing until Shoshanna was shocked to realize that he was living with her. How did she not notice that? I guess the same way that she got to be a 21-year-old woman living in NYC who didn’t know what a butt plug was. Please. Like those queens at NYU don’t talk about that shit in front of her, if only to laugh when she got uncomfortable. Or maybe she was just too busy learning new hairdos from Pinterest to learn about anything else.

Anyway, I guess we’re supposed to think that the relationship between Ray and Shoshanna is really sweet because they admitted to each other that they are in love, but he’s still a 33-year-old who is living off of a 21-year-old and that’s sleazy. Maybe if you don’t agree with the “boyfriends are supposed to pay for things” ethos when it comes to relationships, surely you agree that boyfriends are supposed to at least pay their own rent. You know? He has a job.

Also, I thought that Marnie was living with Shoshanna, temporarily, anyway. That’s an awful lot of people in a studio apartment.

The real meat of the episode, though, was Jessa’s steak dinner with her in-laws and the immediate collapse of her marriage afterward. Although she’d been acting like she was super happy and had arrived at total peace in her relationship with Thomas-John, her behavior at dinner demonstrated that she hasn’t arrived anywhere—for someone who’s done “a lot of living” she’s remarkably immature and still has a long road ahead of her in terms of growing up. At the mere hint of judgement from Thomas-John’s mother, Jessa began saying incendiary things, just to get a reaction.

At some point during the dinner, Thomas-John began to see his new wife through his mother’s eyes and came to the realization that Jessa isn’t magical—she’s a witch. (The hair and makeup people did a good job of making Jessa as unlikeable as possible with harsh colors and crimped hair.) By the time they arrived back in his gorgeous, riverfront high rise, they both started saying very true (and very hilarious) things to each other.

Thomas-John calls himself a “miracle” and “unicorn” and a “needle in a haystack” while Jessa is just “some fucking dumb hipster who’s munching on my hay!”

Jessa tells him that he was a “scared boy who didn’t get laid till he was 16” (like that’s so unusual or bad) and that nobody likes him and that she tells her friends that he was a test tube baby to give him “a little edge.”

After intimating that she was only with him for his money, Thomas-John screams at her about how he likes hookers because they “respect” him. Then he calls her “a whore with no work ethic.” Whores are his type though. He didn’t have a problem with their arrangement before. He probably wouldn’t have cared if she never found a job. Part of her “work ethic” problem is that she couldn’t even be bothered to work at her marriage, at forming a cordial relationship with her in-laws, at being a wife. So he fired her.

That being said, was Jessa really into Thomas-John for the money? We don’t know much about her past, but the little that we do would suggest that she’s led a very comfortable life. Her mother “tried” working once but decided it wasn’t for her. She’s managed to travel all over the world, just for the fun of it. She developed a heroin problem that was easily fixed with a rehab stint. She essentially lit a match to $45,000 by only attending Oberlin for seven months. Jessa may have been too privileged to even register how wealthy he is.

Instead, she married him because it was something to do. It filled up the space. Like all the other dramas of her life, she got tied up with Thomas-John because it distracted her from getting to work—not on a career, but on herself. We’re probably going to find out some fucked up shit about her past. People don’t tend to get addicted to heroin because their lives are super.

In the end, she arrived at Hannah’s apartment, got in the tub with her, and sobbed. Was she sad about her marriage ending? Or because she allowed herself to get ugly? Or because she was confronted with some truths about herself that she really didn’t like?

It seems likely that Jessa will take over the vacancy in her apartment, and use her $11,500 settlement from Thomas-John to pay the rent. Meaning that Hannah has now benefited twice from her friends fucking wealthy guys. Things are really starting to look up for her.

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