1. Adam's sister is even crazier than he is
In some inspired casting, Gaby Hoffmann appeared last night as Adam's unhinged sister, Caroline. It's the first time we learn about Adam's family and, judging by Hannah's reaction when Adam tells her Caroline is coming over, there's a very good chance Hannah is only learning of -- let alone meeting -- her now. We don't learn much about Caroline throughout the episode, other than oblique references to an abusive boyfriend (and some pretty nasty thigh bruises) and getting fired from her teaching job but it's interesting to watch the Yin-Yang-ness of the Sackler siblings. While Adam can be emotionally vacant and uncommunicative, Caroline is all sturm und drang. We don't yet know which one is the older sibling but if we had to guess, Caroline is the older sister whose emotional issues and neediness has caused Adam to develop into the opposite personality -- withholding and aloof. Let's hope we see more of Caroline throughout the season and get to meet other members of the Sackler clan.
2. Marnie's music video is awful and perfect
Like some horrible mash-up of Ke$ha and Sara Bareilles, Marnie appears in a YouTube music video and it's terrible but also exactly the kind of thing she would make. Marnie doesn't know what she wants -- or who she is -- and, in a way, this music video perfectly captures that. Alternating shots of Marnie wearing heavy eyeliner and over-emoting with coy close-ups, Marnie is caught between wanting to be assertive and confident and delicate and demure. Or maybe we're reading into it too much and it's just your typical pop music rip-off as seen through the eyes of an early twentysomething Oberlin grad. Regardless, it's good to see Marnie's getting out of her funk and actually taking action -- even if that "action" is talking to a customer service operator at YouTube about removing the video while wearing zit cream.
3. For once, Hannah's relationships seem pretty healthy, stable, and -- dare we go there -- mature
Hannah's parents have trucked it all the way from Michigan to attend Hannah's 25th birthday party at Bar Matchless (but not the Bar Matchless we're used to -- what is this 'fancy' impostor?!) and it seems like parents and child have mended their rifts from season two. Tad Horvath's wearing a fedora, both parents are yukking it up with Adam and no one has a fight about money. And they're not the only ones who seem to be on good terms with Hannah... Laird's there, too!
4. Shosh continues to be a caricature of herself
In a great piece on Vulture, writer Margaret Lyons asks, "What Is Going On with Shoshonna?" and we have to echo those sentiments. Sure, Shosh has always been a little nutty and immature but, as we mentioned in last week's recap, her lack of awareness and Emotional Intelligence of a pre-teen has been pretty unbearable to watch. This week we didn't get to see a ton of Shosh other than shots of her wearing a hairstyle that reminds us of a '50s housewife in hot rollers and talking (or not talking) to Ray while attempting to smoke a cigarette. We're really rooting for her to have more depth this season but, unfortunately, this episode didn't give her much of a chance.
5. Ray is not over Shosh and it's pretty cute
There was always something oddly sweet about the fact that cynical, sarcastic Ray would fall for a naif like Shosh and the fact that he's still not over her made us like his character even more.
6. Jessa's trying to stay on the wagon
Like Shosh, we hardly get any time with Jessa this episode but she seems to be doing well -- or at least well enough that she's behaving herself at Hannah's birthday and sipping water.
7. Hannah's editor is super lame!
The whole time we've gotten to know Hannah's editor, he's come across as smart, self-assured, successful and charming but now, out of his element, we see he's a huge dork! He crashes Hannah's birthday, gets really drunk, asks to borrow an "Internet-enabled phone" to "temporarily download Grindr", asks the DJ to play LMFAO and gets into a physical altercation with Ray. Worst.guest.ever.
8. What is Marnie's problem and why is she forcing Hannah to sing Rent?
Just when we think that Marnie's shown some selflessness by throwing Hannah a big birthday party, she goes and coerces her best friend into singing some Broadway. Marnie often tries to mask her feelings and insecurities -- Allison Williams talked a bit about this in a new interview with the Times -- while finding horribly misguided ways to over-compensate (we're still cringing from her season two performance of "Stronger"). As much as she pretends to be bubbly, happy and the perfect best friend and birthday hostess, Marnie's still envious of Hannah and all the shit she has going for her so she attempts to create a situation in which she'll outshine her friend. And that situation is singing a showtune beloved by 12-year-old girls. Predictably, Marnie's plan to wow everyone with her singing backfires but thankfully Hannah's chill enough -- and confident enough -- not to be upset that her friend embarrassed her.
9. Adam might have patience for Hannah's weaknesses...but not for Caroline's
We really hope we'll get more of Adam and Caroline's backstory because it was interesting to compare Adam's treatment of his girlfriend and her issues with how he reacts to his sister and hers. With Hannah, Adam shows a surprising amount of patience, generosity and concern but with Caroline, he acts like he gives zero fucks and tell her he wants her out of the house ASAP. Something tells us this isn't the first time Caroline's had a meltdown and come to her brother for help and we wonder if Adam's reaction has to do with how she's behaved in the past.
10. Caroline's final bottomless scene was unnecessary
We're used to seeing tons of nudity on the show but there was something a little gratuitous about the last scene where Hannah and Adam discover Caroline helplessly standing in the bathroom without any pants on. We've already had plenty of evidence that Caroline is nutty and vulnerable and so the last scene seemed to be more of a bid for buzz, especially considering the fact that Hoffmann's said in a well-publicized interview that she abstains from waxing down there.
Best lines of the episode:
"Adam, can I borrow some pants, a shirt and dickie for the birthday party, please?" -- Caroline
"I always have terrible birthdays. It's kind of my thing." -- Hannah
"Can you get me a tall glass of still water and an Internet-enabled cell phone of some kind?" -- Hannah's editor
"I'm just gonna download Grindr temporarily." -- Hannah's editor