This Girls review contains spoilers.
Girls: Season 6, Episode 7
This episode feels a lot smaller than the past few. Nobody’s dying or finding out they’re pregnant or making a movie. And that’s fine. A TV show season should give you a few breathers here and there. I didn’t expect that breather to come in the form of an episode almost entirely about Elijah trying out for a White Men Can’t Jump musical, but okay, sure.
The biggest problem with “The Bounce” is the one that Girls often has at this point in its seasons: a sudden, unnatural acceleration of plots. We know Elijah was in musical theater in the past, so it’s not unbelievable that he’d slide back into it, but it’s harder to swallow that he’d get a callback on his first audition in who knows how long. Yes, in real life he’s Andrew Rannells, famous The Book of Mormon star, but this is Elijah Krantz, not Andrew Rannells. Also, the other side of Elijah’s plot is the reappearance of his lover Dill Harcourt, who the show seems to be saying actually did love Elijah and is now coming back for keeps.
Basically, Girls appears to want to give Elijah a happy ending and has fashioned it almost out of nowhere. As I said in the previous episode, the only reason I’m okay with this is Elijah was a side character for so long that I just don’t feel as strongly about his trajectory. He’s funny and I’m glad he’s around but, unlike, for example, Hannah and her writing, I’m not super-excited for Elijah booking a musical or finding the love of his life because I’ve spent less time with him and his dreams. But, you know, hey, I’m happy for him, whatever.
This episode also speeds Marnie along to her acceptance (finally) that she’s a self-centered person who needs to take responsibility for her actions. Her plot comes down to her getting evicted from her apartment and then getting some (too on-the-nose) advice from a pawn shop owner. Marnie is a shitty person, but part of me has trouble with the idea that she’s accepting this only now, largely in relation to how she treated Desi, because Desi is such an incredibly shitty person in his own right. I mean, what about how she treated Ray? Where the hell is Ray? And Shosh? The last two episodes have been Ray and Shosh-less and it’s starting to piss me off.
One other thing I didn’t love about “The Bounce” is that it leans pretty heavily on wise character tropes. Marnie reaches an epiphany from the advice of an old man (cliché number one) and Elijah reaches his from the advice of a sassy black woman (cliché number two). The theme continues and is subverted when it seems that Dill is going to be the voice of reason for Hannah but, instead, they just end up being equal blubbering messes, but this doesn’t excuse the tired tropes that came before.
Where this episode mostly succeeds is that it’s very funny and made me laugh out loud several times. Marnie finding out that all her heirlooms are fake is good, as is her flipping off her mom on Facetime (“Oh God, those nails”). I also loved Elijah saying his real age and then unconvincingly rolling it back. And Dill holding up cereal boxes to Hannah and asking “Do you have anything to eat that doesn’t have an activity center on the back?” is hilarious as is the payoff of him later doing the puzzle on the back of the Cookie Crisp box (“Well, that’s easy”).
Dill is probably the best he’s ever been, really. I complained last season that I never got a real feel for who the character is, so him spending time with Hannah and displaying a personality was nice. Plus, Hannah’s plot, though brief, is the best one of “The Bounce.” She finally gets in touch with the father of her child, Paul-Louis. It’s a good plot detail because it doesn’t cop out. Paul-Louis neither completely shirks the responsibility nor stands up to take it. The guy’s not a total prick, but he doesn’t have any interest in being a father either, just as Hannah assumed. It’s sort of underwhelming, but in a good, realistic way. Girls hasn’t bailed Hannah out, but it hasn’t damned her either. She’s right where she was two episodes ago; she’s just confirmed it now.