When Hannah gave her new boyfriend Sandy one of her essays to read, she expected him to like it, since her writing is an extension of herself. But he didn't. So does that mean that he doesn't like her as a person or doesn't like her as a writer? Neither, really. He thinks—or insists—she writes well. He just didn't like what she was saying. "Ultimately it just felt like waiting in line and all the nonsense that goes through your brain when you're just trying to kill time," he said of her piece. While he meant it as a critique, it could also double as a summary of many people's experience of being in their 20s. So is Lena Dunham's depiction of the quarter-life crisis really spot on? Or entirely too specific? It depends on who you ask. And you'll probably get an answer, because when it comes to Girls, everyone is a critic. Which is why it's brilliant that, for the show's second season, Dunham seems to be engaging them all.
In the opening scene of the second episode, "I Get Ideas," Hannah's roommate Elijah and his boyfriend George break up. Ostensibly it's because Elijah cheated on him with a girl and is toying with the idea of identifying as bi instead of gay. Really, though, it's not about Elijah questioning his sexuality, but about Elijah being at an age where really big huge questions in regards to his identity are still looming. He barely even knows who he is yet. None of the (younger) characters on the show do. That's kind of the point of it.
"It just says so much about who you are right now," George explains. "I've spent so much time confused I dont want to be with someone who's confused…or bi."
That confusion causes a lot of the bullshit bad decisions that make up the growing pains of early adulthood. There's just so much gray area. It's not all black and white, as the title card to this episode would suggest.
But some things are black and white: Sandy and Hannah. We all knew they would eventually break up, and their conversation leading up to that was trite and clichéd—which is why it was perfect. Those two people would totally have that conversation.
"I never thought about the fact that you were black once. I don't live in a world where there are divisions like that." So perfect.
The only thing that felt inauthentic was that Sandy was a Republican. Having lived in Greenpoint and Williamsburg for the past 13 years I've only ever met one republican. He was white. And rich. And 40. But Sandy's political beliefs worked for the story because it provided a reason for Hannah to break up with him without looking like an asshole — in her mind, anyway. Because of course she looked like an asshole. She always looks like an asshole. It was asshole-y of her to pester him about reading her essay in the first place.
I always hated when someone I was seeing or sleeping with or whatever would ask me to read his shit. It's just a different, more obnoxious way to fish for compliments. Because when you are freshly fucking somebody, there is no such thing as constructive criticism. How do you not take things personally when the entire basis of your relationship is personal?
That being said, for a boyfriend or girlfriend to be supportive of your creative endeavors doesn't necessarily mean they need to love what you create, as Jessa tried to tell Hannah. For all of her posturing about having arrived at complete happiness because she found the love of her life, she's still just as ignorant as Hannah (even if she does read enough newspapers to know about the effect of the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act had on our economy in 2008).
"This is what it's like when the hunt is over," she gloats. But after a while, a basket full of puppies turns into three dogs that will shit all over your life.
At the end, Hannah's ex Adam showed up at her apartment unannounced and she learned a classic lesson: every girl thinks she wants a Lloyd Dobler in her life until it finally happens, and she realizes that he's just an annoying stalker with limited career options.
Still, there was a moment there—shortly before Adam got arrested in her hallway—when Hannah called him back to her door and shared a look with him that no doubt inspired the title of the episode, "I Get Ideas" from the Louis Armstrong song of the same name (recently recorded by M. Ward):
Your eyes are always saying
The things you're never saying.
I only hope they're saying
That you could love me too.
For that's the whole idea, it's true,
The lovely idea
That I'm falling in love with you.
So yeah, Adam and Hannah are likely not done. It would appear that after going black, she went back.