The “Girls” Emotional Age Recap: “Bad Friend”

As fans of Girls know, Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa are big on mouthiness but low on maturity. So each week, blogger Chris J. Kelly is grading the four main characters’ emotional ages based on their words and actions.

Chris took a semester of psychology so he’s, like, totally qualified.


s2e3 hannah

Emotional Age: 25

While discussing job opportunities with a website that is definitely not XOJane, the interviewer suggests Hannah should do a whole mountain of coke as inspiration for a story. This sounds like a swell idea to Hapless Hedonist Horvath. In her quest to be the kind of fun person who talks about drugs on the Internet, she manages to trade shirts with a stranger, ruin the paint job in her bedroom, possibly trigger a recovering addict, badger a good friend into a crying jag and evict her roommate. Oh, and she displays her signature self-centeredness in the inappropriate ways she processes Elijah’s confession that he slept with Marnie.

It’s tough to judge her actions accurately this week since they’re all fueled by blow, but I’m going to go ahead and say that she’s acting like a twentysomething. Her problem is that she’s exceptionally dumb for her age.

marnie girls

Emotional Age: [not applicable]

There’s an indication early in the episode that Marnie is a real person: She knows where to get cocaine and initially rebuffs Booth Jonathan’s advances with some harsh words about his talent.

But don’t get your hopes up.

Marnie  allows herself to fall under the repugnant little twit’s spell and follows him him back home. There, she is locked into horrible art projects, praises said art projects, and then has weird (and probably awful) sex with him. When Hannah stops by—politely ringing the buzzer even though she’s amped up higher than the Kool-Aid Man—Marnie gets badgered into tearfully admitting that she’s a terrible friend, even though it’s not true. Her age is immaterial this week, because she’s become an inanimate object incapable of displaying any sort of agency.


s2e3 shoshanna

Emotional Age: 76

We barely see Shosh this episode, save for a quick outdoor interlude at what I assume is her apartment building. In this brief appearance, however, she emits a cloud of world-weary guilt and passive aggression so strong she would put my Italian grandmother to shame. That kind of festering, fermented stank takes decades to build up.

If she continues aging at this rate, she’ll be dead before mid-season.


s2e3 jessa

Emotional Age: 8

Like Shoshanna, Jessa pops up for only a moment at the stoop sale. She didn’t have much to say other than what I assume is a severely embellished story about her blouse, so I’m putting her in the high single digits because that’s when you’d run a lemonade stand, and that’s what she’s essentially doing.



  • Seriously, though, could we have a line or two of exposition about that stoop sale? Is Jessa selling all her belongings? Why? Why are Shosh and Marnie helping? Why isn’t Hannah involved?
  • Actually, I know why Hannah’s not involved—I wouldn’t invite her to my stoop sale either.
  • Larger point: do you ever feel like Hannah is secretly a secondary character, and everyone else is doing something more interesting? Like, “Girl who does a lot of cocaine” is such a B plot. I want to know more about Laird, the man downstairs who’s going through recovery and is obsessed with a girl he doesn’t know to the point that he follows her around all night. Where’s his show?
  • For those of you outside New York: AndrewAndrew are real and are depicted accurately in this episode. They once reviewed a play I wrote. Harshly, but whatever.
  • I’ve had boyfriends who show me their nipples less frequently than Lena Dunham does. I applaud her bravery, but you have to admit that she’s running out of reasonable excuses to get naked. The body positive feminist blogosphere will forgive her if she remains clothed for 30 consecutive minutes one week.