Girls 6×05 ‘Gummies’: “It’s being an adult that’s hard”

Source: HBO

Girls tends to present adulthood as this vague notion of a destination, of progress made from childhood to something else.  Even when we’re legally adults, we yearn for a time when we exist as adults, when we can do adult things, whatever that means.  Really, more than anything else, we’re simply looking for progress towards becoming something better.  Maybe we want to be more kind.  Maybe we want to be smarter.  Maybe we want to be more self-sufficient.  Maybe we want to be more capable of handling responsibility or trauma.  But we want something, some form of progress, and we call that progress “adulthood” in order to make it feel more real.

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Hannah’s pregnancy storyline really is perfectly timed.  It’s the end of the series, and while Hannah has had to make important decisions throughout the series, such as choosing to go to grad school or choosing to stay apart from Adam, this decision is about the potential to create life.  Hannah has made a lot of poor decisions.  She has struggled to take care of herself, struggled to take care of others, struggled to keep from exploiting others, and she knows that it will be very, very difficult to raise a child.  But she sees this sort of potential in having a baby.  It gives her the chance to really place herself in a different situation, to really grow as a result.  And while she’s terrified of having a baby, it seems like she’s more terrified of what she might become without the baby.

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

The rest of the episode deals with all of Hannah’s friends and family being awful, and it does so purposefully, in order to juxtapose Hannah with them and to show us the kind of people that would influence her if she doesn’t change her way.  Ray is grieving over his friend who passed away from a terminal illness, and he spends the day going through his friend’s old things to try to make sense of death and loss.  In a moment that seems that an inverted form of the end of Season 2, Ray is able to find comfort in a more grown-up Shoshanna, who is able to make light of death to make Ray feel better.  Marnie, however, doesn’t really care to spend time with Ray and doesn’t really care to console him.  Part of that is understandable, as Ray, for all of his posturing, needs somebody to take care of him, but Marnie’s distance and selfishness really is stunning in its magnitude.  When Ray breaks up with her, frustrated with how awful she has been, she tells him she’s not a bad person, even though she knows she’s being wretched.

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Adam and Jessa are both being awful as well.  Jessa has created this sanitized version of Adam and Hannah’s relationship in order to make her relationship with Adam feel more special and more meaningful, and is lashing out at Adam now that their movie is threatening her.  Adam, on the other hand, is so engulfed in the project that he fails to see how it is making Jessa feel as a result.  The movie, instead of bringing them together and pushing Hannah out of their lives, is instead making them both retreat inward either to validate themselves or to push away the other.  Because, no matter what they do, Hannah was a massive part of both of their lives, and pretending that she wasn’t or pretending that Hannah’s role in their lives doesn’t affect their relationship is only going to make things worse.

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Elijah and Loreen are no better.  Elijah is so self-absorbed that Hannah has to drag him out of bed when her mother goes missing.  Loreen is so self-absorbed that she descends in a drug-induced haze to avoid dealing with how lonely she is.  Nobody is really listening to Hannah in her time of need because they’re all too busy with themselves.  When Elijah and Hannah do find Loreen, when Elijah finds out that Hannah is pregnant, his cruelty is worse than it really has ever been before.  He actually insinuates that her pregnancy is about him.  When he tells Hannah that she’s going to be a terrible mother, it upsets her not only because she’s afraid she will be, but also because she’s going to have to make some major changes if she’s going to be a mother.  People like Elijah, people that take an emotional toll on her life, are going to have to go.  If “Gummies” is about one thing, it’s how unflinchingly cruel people of any age can be, and how “being an adult” is about more than age.  It’s about being able to transcend beyond your own pain and your own selfishness.  It’s about becoming better instead of regressing.  And it’s about shedding those in your life that hold you back.

Girls is getting closer to its endgame, and while it’s about how all of these characters navigate their lives, it’s really about Hannah.  The pregnancy is as big a decision as she has ever made, and while the last episode was about Hannah coming to terms with the decision to keep it, this episode is about Hannah coming to terms with how much her life will have to change to sustain her baby.  People like Elijah, even (to an extent) people like her mother, are going to have to leave or play a much reduced role in her life, if only to keep her from being sucked into their selfishness.  While these other people, Marnie, Elijah, Jessa, Adam, while all of them spiral out of control the way they always have, Hannah actually has a chance to seize this moment of clarity and make some real change in her life.  All she has to do is stay the course.

What did you think of “Gummies”?  Do you think Ray and Shoshanna will get back together?  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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