Girls Recap: Beach House? More Like Bitch House, Amiright?
This week, surprising nobody, Marnie continues to be the blurst.
This is a recap, which necessitates spoilers.
Marnie’s comment about proving how happy and healed they were via Instagram may have been tongue-in-cheek, but it was probably just how she pictured the girls’ weekend away: ocean views, beach-hair selfies squinting in the sunshine, artfully sliced duck breast fillets and nests of julienne salad, a half-full glass of wine aglow on a coffee table (suggestive of cosy, healing chats), all suffused with the luminous warmth of the Kelvin filter, or the sunwashed vintage shades of Valencia. The rustic floral arrangements in glass jars and the carefully lettered bed-cards were straight out of a How To Throw A Beach House Weekend guide on Apartment Therapy; the whole opening sequence is shot in the crisp, pale morning light favoured by food bloggers and Etsy sellers with DLSRs. Everything is perfect.
US comic Demetri Martin does a bit on why he likes digital cameras: “Because they allow you to reminisce immediately… ‘Look at us! We were so young – standing right there. Where does the minute go?’”
We don’t see Marnie take a single photo, but you can tell she’s constantly snapping mental images of how she thinks her life is looking. “I’m julienning vegetables! I’m nourishing my friends!” “I’m making a smoothie! I’m taking care of myself!” “I have a cat! I’m responsible!” (That cat has to be dead, right? We haven’t seen it in weeks.)
Ray was right when he said that Marnie means well. Planning a nice weekend away for her friends after a rough few weeks/months/years – even if she was anticipating praise and gratitude for the flowers and the duck and for providing such a lovely setting for all that healing, she’s still doing a kind, generous thing.
But in Marnie’s world, as soon as things aren’t going just how she pictured them, they’re ruined. She can’t just regroup, welcome the extra guests, make a nice duck salad or order a damn pizza and enjoy the impromptu party. She arranges the duck and the julienne salad pointedly on everyone’s plate in its subdivided, diminished form, sulks through the teasing, and bitches when someone actually compliments the meal. (Speaking of which: Andrew Rannells is going to be a series regular in season four, and after this episode, I’ve decided that can only be a good thing. Elijah has always messed with the dynamic of the main cast in delightful ways, and brings out a warmer, funnier, livelier version of Hannah.)
She then goes on to sully the adorably montage-worthy dance routine, which is fucking A-grade chick-friendship memory material — has she never seen First Wives Club? — because she’s still sulking about the general lack of perfection. “If things can’t be perfect, can’t they be as close to perfect as possible?” she whines. But “Wahhhhh, this could have been closer to perfect!” is no different from “Wahhhhh, this could have been perfect!” — woman, you’re just moving the goalposts! If you’re aiming at one particular standard which must be attained, and will never be happy with anything else, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
The kind of healing Marnie had planned for this weekend was probably more of the tipsy, armchair-Freudian “No, YOU’RE a beautiful, powerful musk ox” variety that she and Hannah were wallowing in earlier in the night, but the truth-bomb party that launched a thousand Shosh GIFs was probably much more useful for them, as well as more entertaining for us. Besides, if the guys’ night was any indication, it’s entirely possible Marnie spiked the punch with sodium pentathol to facilitate the healing.
It’s not nice to hear the negative things people think about us, but it’s a useful reminder that everyone is kind of a prisoner of their own perspective. That’s been a major problem for Girls in these last couple of weeks: the main four characters have been so far apart from one another, and they’ve all been stewing in the dark. (Although Shosh’s frustration with Jessa has been building for a few eps.) Throwing them together again throws the light of several different perspectives onto each girl, and it’s not all pretty. It’s pushing it a bit to suggest that a character who’s been written like a Type-A toddler all season is revealed to be the all-knowing truth-spawn of Dorothy Parker and Judge Judy when she gets a few flirtinis in her, but it was the knock-down, drag-out girl-feelings sparring match we all needed — and in the clean, crisp morning afterwards, a little imperfection doesn’t seem so bad.
Girls season three screens on Monday nights on Showcase.
Caitlin Welsh is a freelance writer. She has written for The BRAG, Mess + Noise, FasterLouder, Cosmopolitan, TheVine, Beat, dB, X-Press, and Moshcam.