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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Girls: Episode 6, Season 2: No Such Thing as Real Jobs

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 9:30 AM

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Attention, older generations. You know how you hear on CNN all the time that college graduates have no job prospects now? Well, if you want to get a good view of what it's really like out there, just start watching Girls. In Season 1, it was hard to find paid work and when you did, you were probably going to be touched inappropriately by your boss or laid off after five minutes. Now Season 2 is in full swing, Lena Dunham is exploring the work ethics and the professional quandaries of her generation, like never before.

In "Boys" last night, Episode 6, Hannah finally gets a potential career break -- the opportunity to write an e-book. Only problem is, she has to complete it within a month. After she vomits in the street from the shock of it all, she develops a bad case of writer's block. (A chapter she's writing, titled "Room for Cream?" starts with the line "Her name was Murjashuhaway").

Meanwhile, 21-year-old student Shoshanna is trying to get her coffee shop-worker boyfriend Ray to go to a seminar about how to become a millionaire. Shosh is excited about the fact that Donald Trump will be speaking at the seminar on the third day. Because she has yet to be thrown into the world of work, her idea of success is Donald Trump -- in other words, an anomaly. In Shosh's eyes, the only bad thing Trump's done is hire his daughter to be a judge on The Apprentice.

If there is a character in Girls who is successful in more realistic terms, it's Marnie's current main squeeze, artist Booth Jonathan (who, by the way, only becomes progressively more awful as the weeks pass -- the opposite of what happened with Adam in Season 1). His personal assistant looks like she has a pretty nice job until it's disclosed that (a) he expects uncomplicated sex from his employees and (b) he fires her for tasting his ice cream. That's okay though because the fired PA has something better to do with her time that doesn't involve work. ("I don't need this job! My boyfriend is doing lights for Carly Rae Jepsen and I should be on a bus with him, and I'm gonna go do that now.")

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Poor Marnie doesn't realize, when Booth asks her to be the hostess of one of his art parties, that he's employing her and not, as she thinks, having her there as an equal, a peer, and a romantic partner. Marnie buys a shiny new dress for the occasion and doesn't realize that she's even working until he tries to discuss payment with her. She turns down the $500 he offers (we'd have taken it regardless) and leaves the party in tears. The party incidentally is full of artists named things like Sketch, Hopper, and Stryder -- because it's a job requirement to have a stupid name in the Brooklyn art world, apparently.

Ray, despite telling Shoshanna early in the episode that no, he doesn't want his own coffee shop actually, is so desperate for something meaningful to do with his time that he accompanies Adam to Staten Island ("the gates of hell") to return a dog that Adam stole on the spur of the moment. Adam, incidentally, still doesn't seem to be working at all -- unless you count his insane wood-working projects. By the end of the episode, Ray is crying and alone on a bench, wondering how much of a loser he is. Screw Trump seminars -- this guy needs to get his ass back in the classroom. He's definitely smart enough.

Jessa remains completely jobless and moping around Hannah's apartment, after the split from her husband Thomas-John -- which, if you recall Episode 4, was partially caused by Thomas-John and his parents viewing her as a lazy gold-digger. Unlike Marnie, Jessa's not too proud to accept money thrown her way, so is probably living off the $10,000 Thomas-John gave her to get out of his life.

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So those are the job prospects in Girls: ridiculous and art-based, pointless enough that you don't even know that you're doing them, menial to the point of depressing, or just utterly disposable -- unless of course you can get in with Donald Trump, via a TV show. When given those options, one can almost understand why Jessa and Adam just don't bother in the first place. We are, however, rooting for Hannah to finish her e-book. One of the main characters here needs to finish something they start.

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