The “Girls” Emotional Age Recap: “It’s Back”

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.


s2e8 hannah

Emotional Age: gimmicky

Wait, what? OCD relapse? Really?! I can’t write about Hannah’s maturity or lack thereof because every action she takes this week is motivated by a condition that she has supposedly had since high school even though we’ve never seen her display a single symptom before this sudden episode.

I’m not saying that mental illness is always visible, or that issues can’t go dormant and then emerge without warning. But giving Hannah OCD feels like an arbitrary writing choice spurred by the desire to say something important about mental health issues while simultaneously making our unlikable protagonist suddenly sympathetic.

I’m not buying it. This development was, pardon the word choice, insane.


s2e8 marnie

Emotional Age: 22

There’s a moment when you’re about to graduate college and you think you’re ready to be an adult but you’re actually not. The world hasn’t shown you that you’re unprepared, so you get to operate in this oblivious haze.

That’s Marnie this week. When she sees that Charlie is successful, she has to go verify it, and then pretend like she’s so totally over him, and then bitch about how it’s not fair that his life is so great when she’s the one who’s doing everything right!

News flash: if your results suck, you might not actually be doing it right. Good thing she can sing like that; 22 is still young enough to make it on American Idol.


s2e8 shoshanna

Emotional Age: 18

Having only recently dipped her toes into the world of dating and sex, Shosh is a little behind in terms of boy stuff.  But as a freshman, she gets to go out and live with people before it’s advisable or make out with strangers while they’re supposed to be working. Her inability to decipher Hannah and Jessa despite their wild transparency is also indicative of teenage inexperience.

So yeah, that college party she went to: spot on in terms of her personal development.


s2e8 ray

Emotional Age: 600

Since Jessa has jumped ship (temporarily, I’m sure), I’ll let Ray pinch hit for her. He earns the mention this week because of his inexplicable bout of wisdom. He knows that going to the “impromptu” with Shoshanna would be a huge, gross mistake. He knows that Marnie’s hang-ups about Charlie have nothing to do with her ex and everything to do with her own life. And he knows that she has an unfulfilled dream that she isn’t chasing.

Sure, he’s still a loser who does nothing to better himself, but if you ask him a question, he’ll apparently have the right answer.



  • Carol Kane, everybody. Carol Kane.
  • I love that in an episode trying to give OCD a fair depiction, the show’s creators imply that AA meetings are kind of terrible and filled with weird losers. The takeaway: mental illness should be treated with dignity and respect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t point and laugh at the scraggly addicts and their passive-aggressive struggles with cookies, right?
  • Judy Collins, everybody. Judy Collins.
  • Is Hannah’s counting going to keep coming up now? Or will this be conveniently erased next week, in the same way that her ability to pay the rent, concern about STDs, and freelance job as a cocaine columnist have all evaporated.
  • Bob Balaban, everybody. Bob Balaban.