During Season 4 of Girls, Hannah begins graduate school at the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she is teamed with another young Indie screenwriter and filmmaker, Desiree Akhavan.
In Episode 1, Marnie continues make music with and to make love to Desi; and Desi continues to say that he has another girlfriend.
During Season 3, Hannah’s mother had warned her about Adam’s anger and darkness. At the beginning Season 4, Episode 1, Hannah’s parents have come to visit her and celebrate her being accepted to the Iowa Writers Workshop. Adam shows up late for dinner, and his toast seems to prove Hannah’s mother’s feelings about him:
“To Hannah. Taking the next step in a series of random steps. How strange our journey is through life. You know, we try to inject it with meaning but at the end of the day all we have are… days… marching on.” – Adam’s Toast [or lack of a toast] to Hannah
Adam has moved back into Hannah’s apartment, and he continues to be disappointed with his acting.
At the end of Episode 1, Hannah’s parents are driving her to the airport to move to Iowa.
At the beginning of Episode 2, Hannah is thrilled about how much more inexpensive Iowa is than New York City, “Two thumbs the fuck up.”
In Iowa, Hannah feels like a fish out of water. When her dear friend Elijah comes to live with her, things look better for her.
At the beginning of Episode 3, Hannah is talking to Jessa via Skype. It is obvious that she misses her friends in NYC.
In Episode 3, Adam has begun to distance himself from Hannah. He asked Jessa if it would be okay if he threw away her refrigerator magnets.
While walking with Adam in NYC, Jessa decides to simply squat to use the bathroom in the middle of the street. Both she and Adam are arrested, and they call Rato bail them out.
“You guys are a pair of barbarians. You know that? We live in a civil society that’s buttressed by decency and respect, okay? We don’t resist arrest when we’ve done something wrong. We don’t tackle police officers. And we sure as fuck do not urinate on the sidewalk!” – Ray to Adam and Jessa
We can tell that something is beginning to percolate between Adam and Jessa, but Adam seems to be trying to resist her spell.
Desi’s and Marnie’s relationship or lack of relationship continues to be confusing.
Hannah elects to tell the other members of the writing workshop what their flaws are.
After criticizing everyone else in the room, Hannah decides to go back to her Iowa apartment. A Menonite driving a buggy gives her a ride:
During Episode 4, Ray begins to emerge as a civic leader.
Desi finally dumps his girlfriend and falls apart. Marnie has her man. The question begins to mount, Does she really want him?
Hannah finally pushes enough buttons that she alienates everyone in the writing program and decides to get back to New York City.
When she opens her NYC apartment door, however, she discovers that Adam has removed all of her stuff from the place and has moved another girl in.
Hannah doesn’t respond well to being replaced by Mimi Rose. In fact, for a while, she refuses to leave.
In the final scene of Episode 5, Hannah does leave her NYC apartment and goes to the storage unit, where Adam had moved her things. She quietly lies down on the couch.
At the beginning of Episode 6, we see that Adam and Mimi Rose are enjoying a blissful time together
Later in the same episode, the other shoe drops for Adam, when he discovers that Mimi Rose has aborted his child. Adam and Mimi Rose are confronted with the reality that the two of them have totally different philosophical views of life.
Marnie and Desi are spinning in a narcissistic cocoon that they are wrapping around themselves. They are shown making love, and in the background, they are playing a music video of themselves playing and singing. Desi is an emotional disaster, and Marnie is beginning to see that. She confronts him saying that lately, she had been the only one who is actually writing music while he tampers with his motorcycle.
I don’t write much about Shoshanna. Of the four girls featured in the series, Shoshanna is least like me. That is not a compliment to myself. Although she is neurotic, she is probably the least narcissistic. During this episode, Shoshanna continues to audition for jobs.
Hannah feels like the bottom has dropped out of her bucket, and she continues to see a psychiatrist. She says to him that the upside of having everything go wrong in life is that you simply quit having any expectations of anyone else. She decides that she needs a job helping others, and that is what prompts her to seek a teaching job.
When she discusses her plans with her group of friends, Elijah speaks the great truth that he is suspicious of people who have the need to help.
When Hannah tells the group that she thinks that she will become a teacher, Jessa reminds Hannah that those who can, do. Those who can’t teach. Hannah says that she can’t; therefore, she will teach.
God Knows You Gotta Give to Get
In Episode 7, Mimi Rose has an installation-type exhibit, where everyone in attendance wears a vest that says “Ask Me My Name.” Apparently, some of the attendees have a script that is supposed to foster genuine conversation. Jessa shines a light on that farce. “What do you mean…script?” Jessa’s heart throb Ace is at the show, but he has a thing for Mimi Rose.
Ace delivers some cold reality to Adam when he asks him if he actually thinks that Mimi Rose really likes him. Ace adds that to Mimi Rose, Adam is just a chess move. He continues, saying that he knows where Adam is right now, “Adrift on a river of Mimi Rose.”
When people leave the Mimi Rose exhibit, everyone except Hannah has removed their show vests, which were intended to prompt honest interaction. Mimi Rose and Hannah ride in a taxi together and en route to the next event, they stop. Hannah ducks into a bathroom and Mimi Rose gives a poem to a random stranger. Then, she tells Hannah that she will give Adam back to her. Hannah tells Mimi Rose that she is laying out a beaver trap. Hannah tells Mimi Rose that her art is bullshit and she just fools people and that she actually knows that. Mimi Rose tells Hannah that the idea behind her exhibit and the “Ask My Name” vests is to increase awareness about the fact that people have become so very self-absorbed that they no longer take the time to get to know each other. [Keep in mind that Mimi Rose is sleeping with and became pregnant by Adam and that they actually know very little about each other.]
Hannah admits that getting to know Mimi Rose pains her because she is a perfect package. She is beautiful and thin and lectures and is a successfully working artist. Hannah concedes that she quit being an artist and that now, she will be boring, like her mother. She says, “I wasn’t talented enough.” I’ll probably write an entire blog post about this exchange. Lena Dunham [who I believe is largely Hannah] is extremely talented and successful and yet, somehow has doubts.
Speaking of boring, frustrated people, in her teaching job, Hannah meets her next romantic partner, Fran.
In the way that is typical of this series, Hannah’s last stop of the night is at a quick food place. She still has on her “Ask Me My Name’ vest, and the man behind the counter asks her name [for the order]. When she tells him her name, he doesn’t acknowledge her at all as anything but his next food order.
In Episode 8, we see that Hannah, who is teaching high school, has failed to set professional boundaries teaching. She treats her students like friends and has inappropriate discussions with them. She even goes with one of the students, to get their tongues pierced–in best friends style–“best frenulum piercings”.
On the way to the tattoo parlour, Hannah shares the intimate details of her love life.
Desi has bought new guitar pedals and has spent every dime that he and Marnie have made. The honeymoon is ending on that relationship. Too bad, they do not accept that reality. Desi proposes to Marni.
Jessa tries to give Shoshanna relationship advice. She brandishes the men who are clamouring after her as her authority. She tells Shoshanna that she has “…four suicide attempts under her belt”–men who couldn’t live without her.
Shoshanna tries the Jessa approach to catching men and on her date with Scott, she tries sex-talking him:
Early in Episode 8, Hannah’s dad tells her mother that he is gay. Later, they go to a party to celebrate Hannah’s mother’s having attained tenure. At the party, the dad begins to make a decorous, convoluted toast to the mother, and she leaves the table–saying that the whole thing is bullshit.
Hannah calls to ask her parents if she is too dramatic:
“Wait, Mom, I need to ask you something. Do you think I’m a dramatic person? Cause this guy that I like, or like don’t even like, I went on one half date with him and he claims to like me says I’m too dramatic. I’m not dramatic. I’m a person who’s not gonna sugarcoat things. I’m a person who really gets a lot – out of life. Okay, and I’m also a person who sees the darkness in life. I’m not a fucking character on ‘The Hills.’ I’m responding to real issues. I’m responding to the financial crisis. I’m responding to the fact that so many people are homeless. If that makes me dramatic, if that makes me… Courtney Love, you know, then I can handle that…”
Meanwhile, her mother wants to tell Hannah that her dad is gay. Like two ships in the night, the conversations fly past each other.
At the beginning of Episode 9, Jessa has caught her next victim and she and Ace are having sex.
Later, Ace and Jessa are walking and Ace navigates them to the street where Mimi Rose’s studio is. He wants it camouflage the fact that he is still chasing Mimi Rose, but Jessa sees through the ploy.
“I’m not gonna to be a pawn in your game. I fucking run game! And you are full of shit in a different way. I don’t even know what that way is and I’m sure you’ll probably make some really shitty art about it.”
Ray has taken his interest in civic affairs to another level and is running for office. Shoshanna helps him campaign.
An interesting note is that early in the series Ray and Shoshanna were together. She decided he wasn’t ambitious enough for her and dumped him. Ray began sleeping with Marnie, but at the same time, Marnie was sleeping with Desi. Marnie and Desi come to Ray’s campaign party and Marnie tells Ray about her engagement. Ray manages to congratulate Desi, but he obviously cares for Marnie.
Shoshanna had tried to get Ray back, but that failed. Yet, she is still his greatest campaign support.
At the beginning of the series, Ray was a dead beat, but Shoshanna had urged him to be a better person and to strive for more. She is continuing that effort. Ray makes a campaign speech ostensibly to the group, but his eyes were focused on Marnie when he said that he would always be there for them.
Hannah is becoming her parent’s adviser. This is evidence that the roles of parent and child are shifting. Although Hannah has continued to share inappropriate details and intimacies with her student “friend,” she tells her dad that his telling her about his gayness is contrary to proper boundaries.
Marnie uses Ray’s campaign party to announce her engagement. Ray and Hannah fake being happy about it.
Early in Episode 10, Shoshanna interviews for a great job in Japan.
Ray tells Desi that he is a selfish douche and that he is totally undeserving of Marnie. When Desi fails to show for a performance, Desi confirms that Adam’s accusations are true.
Adam’s psychotic sister has been living beneath Hannah’s apartment in another apartment with a recovering junkie-misfit. They are expecting a baby any day, and they are planning for the birth to be at home.When things begin to go wrong with that, Jessa, Hannah, and Adam help carry the screaming Caroline along the sidewalks of NYC to the hopital.
Because of her role in trying to help deliver the baby, Jessa decides that she is meant to e a caretaker. She decides to return to school and study to be a psychologist.
Hannah offers the baby some advice:
“I’m gonna tell you some things about being alive. Life, man. I can’t guarantee perfection but I can guarantee intrigue.” – Hannah to the Baby
Adam tries to get Hannah back. She says that she can’t
As the season ends, Hannah and her newest romantic partner Fran are walking in the snow: