The “Girls” Emotional-Age Recap: “One Man’s Trash”

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.

This week, the show threw us a curve ball by featuring only one of the usual quartet. Rather than short-change everyone (because I know how you hang on my every word), I’ll get a little creative and offer three different hypotheses for Hannah’s stage of development.


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Option 1
Hannah is 18

During my first year in college, I did a lot of thinking about what life might be like once I graduated: the job I would get, the man I would marry, the trips I would take, the sex I would have…

Well, Hannah’s pretty focused on numbers 2 and 4. In fact, it’s not hard to see this whole episode as just some odd fantasy she’s having. There she is, lying in her freshman dorm, envisioning the blond doctor who will cook her steak, bang her on the ping-pong table and save her when she faints in the sauna. It’d be so perfect!

Of course, Hannah’s version of an ideal relationship ignores almost all real-world complications—responsibilities outside their gorgeous brownstone would only get in the way. She’s old enough to know what a great life looks like, but not mature enough to accept the compromises necessary to achieve one.


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Option 2
Hannah is 7

If this week is all a game of pretend, then maybe it’s as simple as playing house. That makes Joshua just a doll to be controlled. Hannah can make him skip work, coerce him into begging her to stay, and even change his name to suit her preferences! When she wants to talk, he has to listen; when it’s his turn to speak, she can tell him what to say.

Everything in this microcosm is under her command, and it all follows the structure of a typical fairy tale wish fulfillment narrative. Her three-day arc with this man is more or less a sexually explicit version of a story your mom would tell you at bedtime.


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Option 3
Hannah is 58

Imagine that you spot someone having an illegal interaction with your trash bin. She has no belongings beyond the clothes on her back. When you talk to her, she describes a long history of abuse and delusions. Much of what she says does not make sense. Going to work is nowhere on her agenda.

Sure, it’s sweet of you to feed her and offer her a place to stay, but there’s no getting around the fact that you let an aging homeless woman into your impossibly well-appointed house. She doesn’t need your lemonade: she needs professional help from several sources.



  • This is the farthest Lena Dunham has ever taken her weird desire to make perfect men fall desperately for the deeply flawed characters she writes. Joshua is a handsome, rich, sensitive, well-muscled doctor with a beautiful home, and yet he wants nothing more than to cook Hannah expensive food, obey her orders, give her orgasms, and generally put up with her egomania. This is so wildly fantastical that I worried I might have caught Game of Thrones by mistake.
  • Where were Hannah’s cell phone and wallet this whole time? She wasn’t carrying a purse, and her sheer, clingy little outfit left no doubt that her pockets were empty. People were probably trying to get in touch with her. You can’t just drop off the face of the planet like that: your friends will worry that you died.
  • Speaking of which: I would have been a little excited if this had been the episode in which Hannah died. Like, let’s use the teaching moments we create! Note to America’s youth: the 42-year-old loner who invites you to his place to pour you wine and tell you you’re pretty? He isn’t going to give you 72 hours of blissful indulgence: he’s going to make you into the first five minutes of Law and Order: SVU.
  • Hannah’s repeated assertion that she wants to feel everything for others is easily the dumbest statement I’ve ever heard. First off, what are “all these experiences” she keeps talking about? At least Jessa has legitimately traveled and tried new things. There are middle schoolers with a broader range of exposure than Hannah. And secondly: who reaps the supposed benefit of her life’s choices? I don’t think there’s a Nobel Prize category for randomly asking partners to perform degrading sex acts on you.