Girls Season 3, Episode 3 “She Said OK”
Written by Lena Dunham and Jennie Konner
Directed by Jesse Peretz
Airs Sundays at 10 PM ET on HBO
In “She Said OK”, writers Lena Dunham and Jennie Konner slam on the brakes after the big Jessa-centric events of the last two episodes and put plot on the backburner. Unfortunately, characterization takes the week off as well. However, this episode offers some interesting insights into Ray’s character as he struggles with managing his own coffee shop and the fallout of his relationship with Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet). The main action of “She Said OK” involves Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) 25th birthday, and this setting allows an opportunity for a wide variety of character interactions. However, most of the episode is just Hannah prancing around with her parents and Marnie and checking in with various side characters from the previous seasons of Girls. The only parts of this episode that really resonate is Ray’s little character arc and watching Hannah and Adam (Adam Driver) handle his sister Caroline’s (Gaby Hoffman) issues.
Caroline’s presence casts a pall on what is predominantly a light-hearted episode with dancing and a musical number (or two). She is living proof that Hannah, Marnie (Allison Williams), and the Girls cast could have it much worst. Unemployed, broke, and coming out of an abusive relationship, Caroline throws herself at Hannah and Adam’s feet. Like Adam, she is a free spirit, but has nowhere to focus that primal energy. (She tries to dance and possibly sleep with Ray though.) Dunham and Konner use her character to reveal some of the cracks in Adam and Hannah’s relationship while also showing the reality of living in New York without a parental (or however Jessa gets money) safety net.
Caroline also acts as a dark mirror in which Ray can see his own shortcomings despite being the manager of his own coffee house and having his own place. This parallel is hinted at visually by director Jesse Peretz, who uses a similar image of bloody hands in separate scenes with them. Alex Karpovsky balances Ray’s caustic sarcasm and brutal honesty, especially in a scene where he talks to a man whom Shoshanna invited to Hannah’s party. Like most of Girls’ cast, Ray isn’t super likable, but his wry observations about the twenty somethings of Brooklyn and subtle vulnerability (especially about Shoshanna) make him a well-developed character, who gets his first significant scenes in “She Said OK”.
Despite strong work from Gaby Hoffman and Alex Karpovsky along with all the humor, “She Said OK” was a largely forgettable episode of Girls and sometimes felt like a giant inside joke. As the host of Hannah’s birthday party, Marnie has some decent material to work with and continues to remain trapped in her past as shown by her constant references to her relationship with Charlie and Hannah’s previous birthdays. But at the end of the episode, her storyline remains dangling and has barely moved from the season premiere. With the exception of Ray and Caroline, “She Said OK” barely develops its characters and passes on a chance to use the party scene to explore different character dynamics. (An extended scene with Adam and Hannah’s parents could have so much comedic and dramatic potential.) It has some laughs and a couple good performances, but that is about it.