Girls 4×07 ‘Ask Me My Name’: Fragmented

Girls 4x07

There has always been a fair amount of backlash against Girls with the assertion that these people on the show are far more awful than people generally are in the “real world”.  And sure, the people on Girls aren’t great.  Often enough, they’re portrayed as immensely selfish and petty and narcissistic.  But when I think about the group of people on Girls and think about my group of early-twenties friends, I can’t help but see the similarities.  We’re mostly post-college or ready to finish, we’re mostly working jobs that we don’t necessarily like.  And we’re fractured, pushed on our own paths, at odds with each other for a plethora of reasons.  We either have our own agendas or we neglect each other or we’re being manipulative.  People, as they grow up, don’t grow up together.  It’s hard enough being in a relationship and trying to connect as the two of you grow up and change.  Friends, as they grow up, can easily become disconnected from each other, that disconnect turning into resentment turning into anger.

Girls 4x07-2

Source: HBO

“Ask Me My Name” shows us how fragmented all of these characters truly are.  Hannah, who seems completely stable at the beginning of the episode, completely falls apart when faced by the real problems at her core.  She hasn’t taken a full-time teaching position, as it is only a sub position, but she seems to be thriving within her job there.  She loves talking to kids about Oedipus, and she loves the lack of accountability that comes with being a sub (she can have a favorite if she pleases).  She even meets a decent guy named Fran who seems to have his life together.  When they go out on a date, they have a fun time with each other and genuinely seem to have a connection.  But when Hannah suggests to go to an art show with him, and when we find out that it’s Mimi-Rose’s art show, then it’s apparent just how messed up Hannah truly is right now.

Girls 4x07-4

Source: HBO

Because Hannah never really liked Fran.  She just wanted to use him to get over Adam, which is exactly what he saw and why he bailed on their date almost immediately after going to the art show.  Instead of trying to fix her life, she wanted to pretend that it was all better, to find a guy to help her craft this delusion.  But her delusion was paper-thin, and as soon as she saw Adam she knew that she wanted him back.  She was just looking for an excuse to crash Mimi-Rose’s art gallery for the sake of running into her and Adam.  And it would be easier for Hannah to recover if she had people around her that were willing to go out of their way to help her.  Sure, Marnie and Shoshanna were there for her at the beginning of her crisis, but when Marnie sees Hannah at the art gallery, she doesn’t care enough to figure out what is going on with her.  Not to mention that Jessa was the one that set Adam and Mimi-Rose up, and for her own selfish reason of wanting to hook up with her ex.  Hannah doesn’t really have anybody looking out for her, and it makes her evening more of a downward spiral than anything else.

Girls 4x07-1

Source: HBO

But as the episode goes on, we can see the similarities between Mimi-Rose and Hannah.  Both of them are deeply manipulative.  We know that Hannah is manipulative, but we learn in this episode how Mimi-Rose is obsessed with others’ perception of her image, and that she manipulates people through her art and her actions in order to preserve that image.  It’s why she talks about the abortion with such a nonchalant manner, and why she attempts to look as if she is put together.  She’s also deeply unsure of her art, which she tries to make authentic, but doesn’t exactly know how to take her selfish desires out of it.  It’s likely why Adam finds himself so attracted to her.  Even though she plays herself as independent and put-together, she’s deeply damaged and unsure of herself, just like Hannah.  And it’s why Hannah seems to connect to her so well.

Girls 4x07-3

Source: HBO

It’s Hannah’s conversation with Mimi-Rose in the laundromat that brings this episode into context with the rest of the season.  Hannah is pursuing different directions because she’s afraid that her writing isn’t good enough.  It’s why she quit Iowa.  It’s why she’s trying out teaching (which we all know she isn’t going to like once she gets neck deep in it).  Hannah is scared of having to really push her abilities to the limit.  She’s a hard-worker, but she doesn’t want to be criticized, and the only way for her to grow is to really be criticized and pushed to her limit.  But her departure from Iowa isn’t the end of her attempt to be a writer.  She left Iowa because she wasn’t ready yet.  And maybe losing Adam, losing her direction, and losing more will push her to try writing again.  Because she knows that it’s writing that she loves.  She tells Mimi-Rose that she doesn’t want to be boring or normal.  She wants to be something more.

“Ask Me My Name” is pushing us toward a crossroads for Hannah.  Something is going to drive her to make a major decision concerning her writing career, whether that push is related to Adam, to her parents, or to her time as a substitute teacher.  But right now, Hannah is trying to figure out exactly what kind of person she needs to be.  And sometimes it takes falling down a couple times to do just that.  But right now Hannah is doing the falling, because for every mature gesture she makes (such as leaving Adam alone at the bar), she’s making ten more self-destructive ones.  If anything, the next three episodes will show us just what she has to go through in order to get to that crossroads.

So what did you think of “Ask Me My Name”?  Do you like the direction that Season 4 has moved in?  Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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