'Girls' Season 3 Premiere: Are You A Sociopath?

on January 13 2014 11:23 AM
Girls Jan 2014
Cast members of the HBO show Girls (L-R) Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, and Zosia Mamet arrive for the premiere of the third season of the show in New York January 6, 2014. Reuters

It's taken me over two seasons of "Girls" to realize that the central premise of the show is how four* narcissistic and completely self-absorbed women have collectively deluded themselves into believing theirs is a real friendship. (*Shoshanna is the exception; because even though she pathologically brings any discussion to her own, often irrelevant, point of reference; she seems to acknowledge that a world exists outside of her own.)

“Females Only,” the season 3 premiere of “Girls,” finds Hannah and Adam happily cohabiting in her apartment (no word on what happened to his dungeon abode). Hannah is still working at Cafe Grumpy, and when Adam stops by to get a key he runs into his ex, Natalia, and her very angry friend (a very funny Amy Schumer). The girls give him a dressing down in front of a bewildered but clearly amused Hannah, who lets Amy Schumer's dig about her appearance roll right over her. She won. Adam may be a feral animal, but for now, he's her animal.

Marnie is crashing with her mom (Rita Wilson) since she and Charlie broke up (probably for good – Christopher Abbot confirmed this fall that he would not be returning for the next season of “Girls"). In true Marnie style, she's behaving as though the end of her relationship is the end of the world. Later, over tacos at Hannah and Adam's, Marnie cries that she can't understand how Charlie could have left her on the same day they had planned to make grilled pizzas.

Adam is clearly struggling to adjust to Hannah's world, but he's making an effort. He tries to beg out of the dinner party she's planned for her girlfriends, but Hannah refuses to let him off the hook. Though he's clearly out of his element at dinner, he valiantly pulls Marnie out of her K-hole with a heartfelt pep talk about the difference between feeling connected to someone and really knowing them. But after the girls leave, Adam tells Hannah he doesn't want to see her friends again “for like, three months.”

Jessa is in rehab, apparently for heroin, though it's not completely clear if she really has an opiate problem. In any case, she's not making much progress: Due to what we can only assume is some kind of sexually charged boundary violation, Jessa has been branded with a “Females Only” sign hanging from her neck. (Really?) During a group meeting, she accuses another female resident of shirking her responsibility and suggests that she's probably a lesbian. Turns out, Jessa was right: On her therapist's orders, she goes to the girl's room to apologize, but ends up fooling around with her. Which gets her kicked out of rehab, and she calls Hannah to let her know where's she been all this time.

In “Truth or Dare,” the second installment of the two-part season 3 premiere, Adam, Hannah and Shoshana take a road trip upstate to pick up Jessa from rehab. On the way there, Hannah complains that the road trip is too unremarkable – she was hoping for some material for her book: “I'm realizing that this road trip is not a metaphor, it just isn't.” While the three of them are sharing a hotel room, Shoshana suggests that they play a game of “Truth or Dare.” Adam plays along for about 30 seconds before abruptly turning off the light and declaring that it's bedtime.

Shoshana is in denial about how messed up Jessa really is, insisting that her self-destructive behaviors are “for fun” and that she's going to be just fine. When Hannah tells Shoshana a story about Jessa from college that's meant to show how damaged Jessa is, Shoshana dismisses it, claiming that Hannah is probably remembering it wrong.

Back at rehab, Jessa has escaped from solitary confinement and is hiding out in the room of an older British man she befriended, who naturally has assumed they are going to have sex. “You were almost charming until now,” Jessa tells him as she pushes him away. He responds by taking a pill from his hidden stash, and Jessa looks genuinely disgusted; maybe because he reminded her of her father's weaknesses.

It turns out the rehab had an open-door policy, and Jessa didn't need Hannah or anyone else to come pick her up. Initially, Hannah is furious, but her relief at having Jessa back in her life gets the better of her.

I really hope Jessa's issues are given more serious attention this season than they have been in the past. In an interview for the Season 2 behind-the-scenes commentary, Lena Dunham discussed what she felt like was a responsibility to portray OCD (which Dunham has struggled with) in a truthful manner, instead of dismissing it as a superficial compulsion. When Jessa's therapist at the rehab center asks her if she is a sociopath, it doesn't sound completely like a rhetorical question.

Jessa seems to believe that she can be an ugly person on the inside because she's so beautiful on the outside. And maybe that's because she feels victimized by her looks, and therefore feels justified in using her sexuality as both a weapon and a shield.

Having Jessa back in the city is sure to have some kind of impact on Adam and Hannah's relationship. For now, Adam seems to be the best equipped to resist Jessa's manipulations: He's a recovering addict himself and is aware of how untrustworthy addicts can be. We don't know yet what Jessa's temporary living arrangements will be, but if she ends up staying with Hannah, it seems all too likely that she might try and come between Adam and Hannah, given her desperate need for male attention and her pathological insistence on pushing away those who care about her the most. Here's hoping Adam continues to be the voice of reason and doesn't let Jessa destroy another relationship -- his own. 

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