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Monday, February 25, 2013

Girls Episode 7, Season 2: Explaining Jessa

Posted By on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 9:00 AM


Tonight, we get a glimpse into why Jessa is Jessa. Of course, it's all down to her goddamn family (isn't it always?). And even ever-self-entitled Hannah can see that the way Jessa is treated by her largely absent dad is terrible. "This is like my worst nightmare from being a kid," she notes, while waiting for Jessa's dad to pick the two of them up from a train station in the middle of nowhere. "Being the last one

to be picked up from school or some social event and then all these

adults know about your sad home life."

Episode 7 opens with Hannah and Jessa waiting on train tracks for

Jessa's father to come pick them up in the middle of the countryside --

and it's Hannah expressing the anxiety about being left at the station

too long. Jessa, of course, is no longer insulted by such nonsense and

is far more patient about the whole thing: "It's only bad when the weird

stuff molests you," she shrugs, enigmatically, obviously used to this treatment.

Our hearts should bleed for Jessa, frankly, given the situation here. The reasons she and Hannah are trying to visit Jessa's dad are paper thin. "The other night I got a text from him -- which are few and far between -- and it was a bunch of letters," Jessa explains. "And I didn't understand it, but it felt like something. He was trying to tell me something, so I thought it was a sign." If we've been wondering why Jessa is so un-anchored to anything, this is it -- her parents might as well not exist, for all the good they do her.

Of course, Jessa's dad is outwardly enamored to see her on first sight, and makes a big show and tell of seeing her for the first time in a long while. That doesn't change the fact that he hasn't even bothered to keep his evening clear to spend time with her, and instead goes to a lecture about "nuclear toxicity" with his new wife. The man doesn't even have space in his trunk for Jessa's bag because it's already full of old computers that he's unwilling to let go of.
The only time Jessa and her dad really bond is by talking in East London Cockney accents to each other. "What accents are you guys doing?" Hannah inquires, ever-aware that she's an outsider. "Just 'cause I don't like not getting jokes ... " Even this minor moment of joy for Jessa and her only father figure is interrupted by Petula, Jessa's dad's new wife, who tells Hannah she's "the cushion," then feeds one of their pet bunnies to the entire group -- something Jessa is already hardened to and tells Hannah off for being squeamish about.

Interestingly, Jessa is more inclined to open up to her deadbeat dad than anyone else we've seen thus far. "It was like he didn't even remember that we took vows" she says of her recent breakup with husband Thomas John. But Jessa's dad's response basically tells her she was asking for it. No wonder she runs away so much.

Left with nothing better to do with their evening, Hannah sleeps with 19-year-old Frank -- who we assume is Jessa's step brother -- who "has camel toe" and looks like a really lame, curtain-haired EMF fan from 1991. But as Jessa notes earlier, while looking at an issue of Penthouse from 1979: "In a way it's the most noble thing you can do -- help a boy find his sexuality. Help a boy become a man." Hannah knows, however, that her role here isn't nearly as righteous as all that. When she talks to Frank about their tryst after the fact, it becomes apparent that (a) Frank was probably a virgin before the incident and (b) he's probably far more romantically interested in his male best friend, Tyler.

click to enlarge jess_and_dad.jpg
Jessa describes her recent divorce as a "festering sore" to Tyler. "I don't think I was in the right frame of mind to see my father," she tells Hannah later. And who can blame her? After all, this is a man who thinks that "bangers and mash" will fix Jessa's question: "Why can't you do one single thing you say you're going to do?" He even fails to pick Jessa and Hannah up from a simple grocery run in town. There is no right frame of mind for a daughter to deal with this kind of neglect.

The whole incident finally prompts the usually ungrateful and entitled Hannah to call and thank her long-suffering parents for actually, you know, being parents, even when they're being annoying (as all good parents are). At the last moment, we see Hannah waiting for a train all alone, in the middle of nowhere, after receiving a note from Jessa bidding her farewell. We can only hope the absence won't last too long. We now understand why Jessa feels the need to run... But it just makes us want to run even harder in her direction.

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