The episode finds Hannah celebrating a major career win: a New York Times Modern Love column in which she grapples with the fact that her best friend and ex-boyfriend are dating. After the well-received column, she lands a magazine assignment to cover a surf camp for women on Long Island in Montauk.
“I just feel like I’m perfect for the aesthetic of Slag Mag because my persona’s very, like, witty and narcissistic — as you could probably tell from my triumphant Moth monologue and resultant Modern Love column,” Hannah tells her new editor, who looks appropriately pained. “And the other thing about me is, like, I give zero f—s about anything, yet I have a strong opinion about everything, even topics I’m not informed on.”
Ultimately, the episode amounts to 45 minutes of pure trolling — keeping up the aspects of the show that seem to annoy its haters and (sometimes) its fans. We’ve broken down some of the most amusing examples.
So. Much. Nudity.
Since “Girls” premiered in 2012, Dunham has gotten mixed responses to the show’s frequent nudity (particularly when it comes to her character). Critics have questioned whether it’s gratuitous. Dunham and her fans have said being naked is just part of real life and have pointed out that other shows featuring copious amounts of nudity haven’t faced the same scrutiny.
Hannah spends most of the premiere in various states of undress. There are several awkward sex scenes, a wetsuit misunderstanding and a Shailene Woodley-inspired sunning regimen that, honestly, we should have all seen coming.
Jessa and Adam are also pretty much naked the entire time they’re on screen, including one particularly obnoxious scene where Ray goes to his apartment only to find Jessa sitting naked on the couch eating yogurt. Adam appears in black boxer briefs to hug his roommate and explain that they stashed Ray’s stuff in the corner to make more room “for sex reasons.”
“It’s by the best window,” Adam assures Ray.
“And it’s all organized. I mean basically, roughly,” Jessa adds.
“In that it’s not,” Adam says, and the two burst out laughing.
The show doubles down on its bad millennials.
“Girls” has always been a reliable source of millennial stereotypes (inconsiderate roommates, for one). Despite her stroll toward adulthood in last season’s finale, Hannah is still the entitled, largely incompetent 20-something we’ve come to know over the years. She fakes a ridiculous injury to get out of trying the surf camp she’s supposed to be covering, and complains — a lot.
“Everyone here kind of talks in this slow, unintelligible way that borders on just, like, Matthew McConaughey hell,” she tells a surf instructor whom she later sleeps with (an ethical no-no since, again, she’s supposed to be writing about the surf camp).
The good news is that said surf instructor is played by Riz Ahmed, fresh off a breakout year that featured critically acclaimed turns in HBO’s “The Night Of,” the Star Wars movie “Rogue One” and Netflix’s “The OA.” Ahmed is funny and charming as Paul-Louis, an easygoing Detroit native who finds freedom in life at the beach and refers to nature’s salt as “the big blue medicine pill.” He raps, too (making expert use of the multitalented Ahmed, who performs under the moniker Riz MC).
But because this is “Girls,” Paul-Louis is also kind of a terrible person. After sleeping with Hannah multiple times, he casually reveals that he has a girlfriend. Hannah is annoyed at this admission, but she doesn’t stop hanging out with him and looks completely smitten by the end of the episode. We haven’t seen the last of Paul-Louis either. Executive producer Jenni Konner told Entertainment Weekly that he “dips in and out of Hannah’s life in an important way.”
Marnie and Ray are still awful (and awful for each other).
Speaking of terrible millennials, Marnie and Ray are still together and call each other “baby” a lot. (They exchange the pet name some eight times in one less-than-two-minute exchange). This is arguably the most annoying pairing in “Girls” history. The good news — if we can call it that — is that despite their oft-verbalized affection, both are still entangled with their exes and it doesn’t seem as if they’re entirely secure in their ill-advised relationship.
Marnie is in the middle of her divorce from her estranged husband and band partner, Desi. Ray, unable to live at his own apartment because of Jessa’s constant presence, opts to stay with his ex-girlfriend, Shoshanna. This doesn’t square well with Marnie, especially when she sees them bonding over shared interests like hating on Paul Krugman columns and avoiding Starbucks. “You know that he doesn’t drink coffee from multinational conglomerates,” Shoshanna tells Marnie.
Later in the episode, with Ray still presumably at Shoshanna’s, Marnie and Desi try to divide their few possessions. When they get to their band equipment, one thing leads to another and Desi tells his soon-to-be-ex-wife that she is “a musical force.”
“Thank you for really seeing me,” she says, before they start furiously making out.
Here we go again!