‘Girls’ Breakdown: ‘Free Snacks’

SPOILER ALERT, so proceed with caution, Girls fanatics…

Season Three, Episode Six: “Free Snacks”

Written by Paul Simms; Directed by Jamie Babbit

A far-fetched pop fantasy involving the collision of Girls and Mad Men is surely something that exists. Thankfully, such a fantasy is somewhat indulged in this week’s episode — though not lightly.

Quick Breakdown

Hannah quits her job at Ray’s coffee shop after being offered an advertorial writing position at GQ. Employing his usual brand of cynical realism, Ray immediately scoffs at Hannah’s new “job” — stating that the sheer existence of such a position is “morally and creatively bankrupt.” Ray, to the chagrin of Hannah, turns out to be pretty spot-on with his distanced judgment. Though Hannah is immediately swept off her feet by the hilariously bloated assortment of expensive goodies found in the GQ “snack room,” she is just as quickly stricken with an existential crisis revolving around the potential for creative stagnation within this position.

Of course, Hannah’s creative voice is well-received in her first writers meeting. She even manages to make her first competition-based enemy — a snooty but accomplished (former?) poet named Kevin — by repeatedly interrupting his brainstorming inclusions to loudly and confidently proclaim her own. As Hannah learns (in the snack room, no less) of her co-workers’ impressive creative resumes, she starts to question her own future. Will a cushy, free-snacks-laden job at GQ inadvertently stifle her creative desires as what she calls “a writer writer”?

Elsewhere, Ray and Marnie spend a seemingly reluctant amount of time together — continually oscillating between vitriolic character attacks (ex: Marnie unfoundedly accuses Ray of racism following his criticism of relief efforts in Africa, prompting Ray to call her stupid) and passionate sex. Hell, Ray even brings Marnie some free vegan muffins (from his own shop, notedly) and agrees to begrudgingly watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, marking his first foray into the world of reality television. Meanwhile, Shoshanna — in an act of Greek-tragedy-level bad timing — notices that Ray (or, at least, his coffee shop) is being written about in relatively prestigious publications, prompting her to not only reevaluate her opinion of him (and to somewhat charmingly stalk him at the coffee shop and the basketball court) but to reevaluate her entire “15 year plan.”

Thus, Shoshanna decides to embark on a quest for a serious relationship. This quest leads her to an old college fuck-buddy, whom she repeatedly proclaims to her friends is “the dumbest person she’s ever meet” who “can’t even find the library.” Interestingly, she asks him to meet her…at the library. Shoshanna later outlines her plans for their relationship during sex, to which he caveman-ishly replies with vapidly agreeable sentiments.

Adam has apparently been heading out on more acting auditions, perhaps inspired his recent argument with his (now homeless?) sister Caroline. He rather amusingly states to Hannah that he doesn’t necessarily aim to actually get the roles; instead, he’s just into the challenge of taking emotional cues from strangers. However, this plan fails. As Hannah arrives home from another day at the GQ office, Adam tells her that he got a part. Hannah, attempting to keep her earlier promise of writing after work each night, falls asleep on the couch during Adam’s excitement surrounding his upcoming role.

Rating:

B+

The portions of the episode revolving around Hannah’s GQ misadventures are the most rewarding. Marnie and Ray’s circumstantial courting and Shoshanna’s relationship quest — though interesting parallels in their own right — play well merely as groundwork for future conflict.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

Jessa (in her only scene): “It’s really hard for a Jew to gain respect in sports.”

Hannah: “Do you think this is the best use of my literary voice and myriad talents?”

“Your mouth…it makes me want to rip it off your face.” — Kevin (Hannah’s immediate GQ enemy)

“Neiman Marcus doesn’t sell a widow’s peak, but…worth considering.” — Janice (Hannah’s GQ boss)

The prevalent theme in “Free Snacks” seems to be — much as the rest of this season, in general – the art of settling. The further Girls delves into this mid-twenties reality, the more interesting it inherently becomes.

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