This episode of HBO’s Girls introduces a new character right off the bat: Caroline, Adam’s sister, played by Gaby Hoffmann, who’s allegedly just been dumped, fired, and rendered homeless. Having nowhere else to go, she turns up at Hannah and Adam’s place.
It is made instantly clear that Caroline is a bizarre and extreme character, rambling off articulately insane, breakneck soliloquies about the various people who have slighted her. Her first bit of dialogue includes the following phrase:
“How could a man who loves animals with such a haunting dotality just turn around and brutally rebuff me?”
Hannah wants to do the hospitable thing and take Caroline in, but Adam is pleadingly insistent with her that Caroline is a horrible, toxic person who invents disasters, drawing everyone around her into them. Hannah agrees she won’t let her stay, but moments later takes pity on her and invites Caroline to her twenty-fifth birthday party.
We check-in with Marnie who’s dealing with the new crisis that there’s an extraordinarily awkward video of her on YouTube performing Edie Brickell’s “What I Am.” She can’t take it down because it’s Charlie who uploaded it and she’s too proud to call him and get his password. We also check in with Ray who’s working to get his new Café Grumpy up and running, which means a very brief reappearance of Colin Quinn as his boss, Hermie, still vaguely talking about how he’s dying of something or other.
After that, we get to the party, which comprises the bulk of the episode. Girls typically does parties well, displaying how they can be fun and exhilarating for some and depressing and exhausting for others, and this episode is no exception. Hannah seems to largely be having a good time, but Ray suffers a series of unfortunate events (including a great moment where he aborts an attempt at small-talk with Shoshanna to just tell her point-blank, “I’m sorry. I don’t think I wanna be friends with you.”) It all builds to him getting pissed off about something minor, the DJ abruptly cutting off the song he requested with that LMFAO one, and getting in (and losing) a fight with Hannah’s editor (Cameron Mitchell) who has crashed the party.
“She Said OK” is a bit of a who’s who of Girls’ guest stars. In addition to those already mentioned, Hannah’s parents (played by Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari) show up at the party, as does Laird (Jon Glaser) from Hannah’s apartment building. But most of these guests are unfortunately only used for one or two lines, which I can’t help but be disappointed by since Hannah’s parents are always really charming and Laird is probably my favorite non-recurring character of the series.
Girls does a consistently good job of picking an emotional tone for an episode and sticking with it. For example, the previous episode “Truth or Dare,” felt designed to not be taken so seriously as most of the conversations were undercut by stabs of triviality. Contrastingly, “She Said OK” wants you to feel uncomfortable at all times. Any time Caroline is onscreen is squirm-worthy and Ray’s temper flaring up over nothing is something you feel like you want to step in and stop before it gets out of hand. The same goes for Marnie who, as she did in last season, can’t stop getting up in front of people to sing. Plus, her YouTube video is truly stunning in its awkwardness. (It’s also a bit of a meta-joke as many people became aware of Allison Williams for a YouTube video of her singing. But unlike Marnie who is gorgeous yet awkward, Allison Wlilliams is one of those impossibly perfect people who’s gorgeous and also elegant.)
“She Said OK” has its funny moments (Adam: “I made something for you.” Hannah: “Oh, is it drugs?) and I admire it for putting me on edge for almost the entire running time. My problems with the episode are how some of the stuff introduced feels unfinished. For one, as mentioned, it’s loaded with guest stars, but gets very little mileage out of them. Beyond that, I hope Marnie’s YouTube thing was a setup for something more because it seems like an amazing new element to mine for funny, cringey stuff, but it went nowhere here. Also, I’m fine with Marnie’s downward spiral continuing, but I’d like her to stop doing the same stuff as right now her behavior is basically a repetitive cocktail of pining over Charlie and making a public spectacle of herself. Finally, though she’s a hugely important piece of this episode, there ultimately wasn’t very much Caroline, making this evidently just an introduction to her and I have to admit I’m a bit nervous about that. Though I get this is probably the point of her character, holy crap, I hate her a lot.