Back in 1987, the ABC series thirtysomething was considered by many to be the whiniest, most annoying show on television. Heck, even its title — with a lowercase “t” — had many who covered television up in arms because it went against the style guides of their publications. But even at their most self-indulgent, Michael, Hope, Melissa, Elliot, Ellyn, Gary and Nancy — combined — probably weren’t quite as oblivious to their own infuriatingly exasperating behaviors as Hannah, the lead character of Girls, which launched season 3 this week with back-to-back episodes.

In a weird way, it’s the maddening nature of the characters which make shows such as thirtysomething and Girls such a joy to watch. Personally, I get great pleasure from bashing Hannah’s fashions or Marnie’s self-absorption.

That said, an hour in their company borders on about 25 minutes too much, so I’m going to break this week’s recap in half. Today, we’ll focus on the first episode of Season 3, Female Only. And because Girls is a rather… well, risqué show, and we here at Sweatpants & Coffee think of ourselves as being on the family-friendly side of the scale (although you probably shouldn’t let your kids drink coffee), we thought it might be interesting to try and tackle Female Only in the style of a fairy tale.

Girls HBO S3E1 Females Only recap


Let’s begin!

Once upon a time, there were four very different girls who became friends against all odds and, to be perfectly honest, in defiance of any known logic. The most worldly of the girls, if she did say so herself, Hannah considered herself and beau Adam to be rather like beauty and the Beast. Interestingly, despite his killer bod and her rather soulless demeanor, Hannah considered herself to be the beauty in this scenario.

One day, the couple crossed paths with the beautiful Princess Natalie, whom the Beast had recently shared a brief relationship with. As things had not ended well for the pair due to her inability to tame the Beast, Princess Natalie was not pleased to see the Beast, and in fact unleashed a torrent of very un-Princess like words upon him with the assistance of her lady-in-waiting, Angie.

Upon realizing that standing behind the Beast was Hannah, the lady for whom she’d been dumped, Princess Natalie was unable to hide her shock. Lady-in-waiting Angie, noticing that Hannah was dressed in the style of a commoner, could not help but ask, “Did you leave in a rush?”

Following her encounter with the peeved Princess Natalie, Hannah took meetings with both her editor (who questioned her mental stability and praised her latest writing) and her therapist (who displeased Hannah by attempting to talk about things other than her favorite subject, that being herself).

Returning to her humble abode, Hannah made plans for a great feast at which she and Lady Marnie and Fairy Shoshanna would share tales of their lives over a local delicacy known as tacos. The Beast, however, roared that he did not wish to welcome Lady Hannah’s circle into their home. “I don’t hate your friends,” he explained, “I’m just not interest in anything they have to say.”

“I’m not interested in anything they have to say,” agreed Lady Hannah. “That’s not the point of friendship!”

And thus, we came to the first lesson in tonight’s tale, which was quickly followed by the second. When Adam made clear that he was “not going to change into a different person because you want me to,” his Lady replied, “You have to. It’s called being in a relationship!”

Despite the dark cloud hanging over the Beast’s head, the feast proceeded as planned. Sadly, Lady Marnie, who was recovering from having been cruely jilted by Prince Charlie in a very unprincely way, was not in the mood to make merry. “If you can avoid love and feelings and, like, matters of the heart and soul,” she advised, “you will be so much better off!”

While Lady Marnie attempted to say that she no longer had feelings for Prince Charlie, it was apparent to all in the kingdom that the lady was protesting too much. After all, she had concocted in her head a plot whereby an evil brain tumor, and not simply the fickle and cruel nature of the human heart, was responsible for Prince Charlie’s actions. And upon learning that Beast had crossed paths with Prince Charlie, Lady Marnie’s true self was exposed as she melted into a pool of tears before taking a bite of her taco and then spitting it out, as if the very thought of eating was simply too much for her to ingest.

But it was at that moment that Beast’s true nature arose, as he attempted to help Lady Marnie by sharing with her a tale of heartbreak from his own past. As for Hannah, the supposed beauty in the relationship, her true nature rose to the surface as well. “I’m not a jealous person by nature,” she proclaimed, proving a complete lack of self-actualization, “but I really hate this story.”

In the end, despite his rather vulgar way of expressing what comprises a true connection with another human being — and what does not — it was Beast who managed to help Lady Marnie begin to heal.

Meanwhile, in a faraway kingdom known as Rehab, the wicked witch Jessa spun a web of cruelty that threatened to destroy everyone with whom she came in touch. She crossed paths with an insightful British gent who shared his Great Intelligence with the troubled young woman. “Wisdom,” he opined, “comes from experience. And I suspect you’ve had many, many experiences. Too many, probably, for someone of your age.”

This supposed wisdom housed within the wicked witch Jessa did not immediately present itself, as she opted to “help” a fellow resident of the kingdom Rehab by first calling her a lesbian and then proving her theory to be true by seducing the vulnerable patient. Questioned by the First Lady of Rehab, Jessa simply professes, “You can’t make things that mean nothing mean something,” and as a result, is exiled from the kingdom!

With nowhere else to turn, the wicked with Jessa reaches out to Lady Hannah and utters a three-worded spell that will create havoc throughout the realm: “Come get me.”

Were you surprised by Jessa’s behavior in rehab… or does nothing about her catch you off guard at this point? What was your favorite moment of the episode? Meanwhile, keep your eyes open for our take on the season’s second episode, Truth Or Dare!

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