At one point during last night’s Girls, Hannah Horvath said, mid-makeout, “I am so confused.” That’s exactly what “One Man’s Trash” was–confusing. Once again, Lena Dunham focused on her character and ignored the rest of the marvelous cast. Patrick Wilson guest starred as Hannah’s latest love interest, but even he couldn’t keep us from missing Shoshanna’s quirk.

The Players:

  • Director: Richard Shepard
  • Writer: Lena Dunham
  • Cast: Lena Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Allison Williams

Episode Title: “One Man’s Trash”

Hannah’s surprised to find herself drawn to a good-looking 42-year-old doctor (Patrick Wilson) and the trappings of his conventionally successful adult life.

The Good:

  • Casting Patrick Wilson: One of the advantages of having and starring, in your own show is that you get to cast whoever you want to play your romantic interest. Dunham got Patrick Wilson as her latest sex partner. Dunham’s smart. She knows people are going to criticize her casting choice. He’s a handsome Hollywood actor, and how could someone who looks like that go for someone who looks like her, right? But that’s why he was such a great choice. Older, not necessarily good-looking actors get to romance young, beautiful actresses in movies and TV all the time. That doesn’t seem to bother anyone. Yet no one wants to see the roles reversed because it makes them uncomfortable. That’s how Dunham’s pushing the envelope. It’s fantastic!
  • “I Want To Be Happy”: After all the sex, steak and naked ping pong, Hannah realizes she wants what everyone else does, to be happy. She goes on a rant and tells the doctor, “A long time ago, I promised myself I would try to have all experiences. But it gets so tiring taking in all the experiences for everybody, letting everyone say things to me.” She ends  by saying that she wants happiness, which might mean that this is the start of a whole new Hannah. Also, in reference to that “rant” scene, Dunham did a fantastic job of capturing how conflicted she felt about wanting it. It was a real moment of self-discovery.

Best Lines:

  • “I thought I was a gummy worm for like seven minutes.” –Hannah
  • “I just want to feel it all.” –Hannah

The Bad:

  • This Was an Intentionally Polarizing Episode: Dunham’s said several times that she doesn’t go for shock value. But “One Man’s Trash” felt like it was intentionally trying to cause a riot (on Twitter and in the blogosphere). It wasn’t about the nudity. We appreciate that Dunham puts it all out there and is trying to change the way we look at the female body. Like we mentioned above, it wasn’t about casting Wilson as her love interest. Adam Sandler doesn’t get criticized for scoring Brooklyn Decker so why should Dunham? But this episode didn’t live up to its title. It didn’t feel like “a comedy about the experiences of a group of girls in their early 20′s.” We appreciate the drama, but it felt more like a reaction to people who hate the show. It was completely self-indulgent and lacked humor.
  • All About Hannah: The reason “It’s A Shame About Ray” was such a successful episode was because everyone was a part of the party. The show works best when all the characters are included. But Dunham, like Hannah, continues to alienate everyone around her.

Overall:

Salon‘s Soraya Roberts wrote a terrific piece on Dunham’s body politics last week. The big takeaway was that the writer/director/actress is trying to raise awareness about the female body through her show. We can’t ignore that Dunham isn’t a size 4 or that she’s naked almost every week. This is one of the reasons Girls has been so controversial. Many hate that she puts it all out there. Others, like us, praise Dunham for her bravery.

But when that message gets in the way of the entertainment, it becomes annoying. We understand that this experience (meeting an older man, realizing she wants to be happy) was necessary for Hannah to evolve, but was it necessary to exclude the other characters? The comedy? Some may compare “One Man’s Trash” to “The Return,” another episode which only focuses on Hannah. But the latter had comedy. The focus was on the entertainment. (Remember the hilarious shower scene?) “One Man’s Trash” would have been a fantastic short film, but as a Girls episode, it was a complete waste of time.

Rating: 6.5/10

Girls airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

What did you think of last night’s episode of Girls?