It will probably come to no surprise to you that “One Man’s Trash” was written by Lena Dunham — after all, you’d have to be crazy to have your own show without devoting at least one entire episode to a hot older guy finding you so wildly attractive that he puts his life on hold for you and lets you frolic in his ballin’ apartment.
My favorite thing about this outing — besides it being like a very odd spinoff of CBS’s cancelled A Gifted Man (though, unfortunately, I’m sure there’s not too much crossover audience there) or possibly some kind of tribute to Hard Candy — is that it was the Girls answer to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. We’ve seen this type of story from a character like Joshua’s (Patrick Wilson) point of view many times in the past, where a lost lady comes into your life when you least expect it/need it most, seemingly to shower you with her youth and bashfulness… but to see this fairy tale from Hannah Horvath’s perspective makes you wonder what happened, say, three days after Garden State ended, when Natalie Portman’s character started to wonder what the hell she was doing with this total stranger.
That being said, I still can’t decide if I find “One Man’s Trash” more enjoyable to watch from the Dunham fantasy sequence angle, as a Gifted Man sequel series, from the Manic Pixie Dream Girl point of view or as some kind of outlet for the majority of Girls's audience (43 year old men, if ratings are to be believed) where they get a first-person shooter perspective of what it’s like to sleep with Hannah. But in any case, I had a lot of fun watching it. And a strange urge for steak and ping pong. Let’s get to it.
Obviously, if Hannah is your least favorite part of the show and you despised Season 1’s "The Return," you probably weren’t wrapped up in the indie-movie romanticism of this episode enough to notice that the only other series regular in these 20-odd minutes was Ray. On the bright side, he was great, and his defensive anger toward Joshua was a fun way to start the action. I also completely buy that Hannah would lose her dumpster keys and then get off on leaving garbage in various people’s trashcans, and claim innocence because she’s “never had [her] own trash cans, so it’s just hard for [her] to imagine how frustrating it would be to have somebody else’s trash in them,” and the whole entering a strange man’s apartment just for the thrill of the experience.
Because I do like Hannah’s character, watching her live this fantasy life for 48-odd hours was fun and interesting for me, from shaking her fist at hippies to making Joshua beg her to stay to her total breakdown and “discovery” that she just wants to be happy. My absolutely favorite moment of the episode was when she looked at herself in the mirror the first time she was away from Joshua, just silently reflecting to herself, the way a person does when they’ve just had an unexpectedly amazing and intimate experience. It was kind of her version of Marnie’s masturbation scene.
But Hannah’s crying? Hysterical, thanks to Joshua’s facial expressions, and the relieving reveal that Hannah is still her horribly selfish self, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar be damned. (I feel like I should talk more about how much this piece annoyed me, but it’s probably better if I just leave it at that.) I do think she will change a little bit from this experience, the same way she grew after "She Did," if the music at the end of this episode in any indication, though I don’t think she’ll become a better listener next time around, or anything. I think I like her even more for that (as a character, not a person), honestly.
From an editing perspective, a few of the scenes just went on a bit too long — especially the “make me come” scene in Joshua’s bedroom. It takes a lot for me to feel uncomfortable watching HBO sex, and even I started to cringe in that moment. And that might have been the point, but it just didn’t work for me. All I wanted to do after was take a shower so hot that it made me pass out and feel like a gummi worm.
Honestly though, are there any A Gifted Man former viewers out there who saw this and also laughed out loud at “I’m like an old ghost”? We need to talk about this! Other than that, I like the fact that the writers didn’t bring “sexit” back around, as well as this line: “One time, I asked someone to punch me in the chest and then come on that spot. Like, that was my idea. That came from my brain.”
Boobs Clock: 9:31, 15:17, 16:49-17:26, 18:25-18:52
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