(I almost wrote about the sequence where Hannah and Marnie dance to “Dancing on My Own”, but realized that was more about my love for Robyn than anything.)
Girls premiered right around the time when I started taking writing seriously, so I owe a lot of how I've honed this thing to Lena Dunham. Watching the show every week kept the Doorman blog from becoming just another goofy assault on bumbling tourists. My writing was still totally raw, but I felt a moral obligation to go further with the truth of how it was all affecting me, which is why I feel people connected with it.
If I didn't feel terrified and uncomfortable and naked before I clicked the “publish” button, then I knew I didn't lend enough of myself to the story. I still apply that to my writing. I have Dunham to thank for that.
My favorite episodes of television are the ones that veer away from the season's plot and surprise us with a self-contained story. (The Marnie in Central Park episode with her ex is a very close second-favorite.) Here, Hannah has an encounter with a handsome doctor (Patrick Wilson). They spend the weekend shacked up in his incredible apartment, sexing and eating and playing ping-pong in the nude. Something about it feels so whimsical and accidental… and temporary.
Hannah then, as I think many of us have done before, takes a grenade, pulls the pin out, and sits on it. She comes out of the sauna, unloading a barrage of scattered thoughts and confessions, completely overwhelming and pushing Wilson's character away. I've had demon in my brain – the inferiority demon – that kicks into high gear and says, “okay, let's see how much of ME this other person can handle... let me talk myself out of this…”
I might be off the mark on Dunham's intention here, but that's how I interpreted it. It's a very difficult thing to admit – the toxic mix of ego and self-pity, and how it manifests itself when something wonderful and unexpected comes along. Next to sweaty, uncomfortably graphic sex scenes, what Dunham does best is exploit that tucked-away part of us that is the root of self-indulgence. And she ain't afraid to show it.