Hannah Horvath and I Wouldn't Be Friends | Tarreyn Land: Hannah Horvath and I Wouldn't Be Friends

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hannah Horvath and I Wouldn't Be Friends

(*note: Non GIRLS viewers may not get/appreciate this article. Just heads-up.)

On HBO's Girls, Lena Dunham has created the character of Hannah Horvath with conviction, humor and aplomb. 
I love Lena, I love the show, I love it all.
I have some issues with Hannah that I need to address. 
Sure she's relatable. She says the things we're all thinking, she does a bedroom/living room dance party like no other, and her neuroses make mine feel better about themselves. 
She's vulnerable, loves cake, and talks to herself in the mirror.
But - she is also selfish, self-absorbed, and totally unaware. 

Hannah Horvath and I would not be friends. 

In this, I examine the hypothetical situation in which Hannah and I are friends in real life:

Brooklyn, Wednesday, 2:49pm:

I'm meeting Hannah for lunch. 
We haven't seen each other in weeks because she's been holed up with Adam and his weird sister and not returning my calls and texts. 
(I don't take it too personally though, because I know she hasn't called Marnie back in weeks either, even though she threw her that nice birthday party and tried to sing karaoke with her. Which, by the by, is the only time I've even seen Soshana this season month.) 
But, she's going through a creative crisis and has called me to discuss her E-Book. 
I've read a couple of the essays (I particularly like the one about the incident with Glitter Pens), and am happy to talk to her about it.
Although, I know that if I give her any remotely negative feedback that she will probably spiral into a 10 minute tirade about my lack of support for her and her creative ambitions and voice... So I need to choose my words carefully. 

If I was late to meet her, she would undoubtedly be upset (unless I was Jessa - which I'm not), so I arrive on time. 
But of course, she comes in 20 minutes late dropping all of her things and apologizing profusely, barely even greeting me, then launches immediately into what is going wrong on in her life.

And I just snap.  

I start to bring up all of the issues I'm having with our (one-way) friendship, and she just stares at me agog. 
Then she begins to tell me how lucky I am to have her in my life. 
I start to get mad, but she refuses to let me feel the way I'm feeling, because her emotions are so much more important and intense than mine. 
And she's "having so many feelings she can barely think straight and it's all she can do to keep her calm right now". 

To which I respond that she's always feeling feelings, but mostly feeling sorry for herself. And how nice it would be if she had some MODICUM of awareness of the rest of the world, because if she did, then she might feel a lot better about her own life. 

And then she stares at me with her jaw dropped and says "I don't even know how you could say this to me right now." and am I "seriously doing this?" 
When I get even angrier, and that I'm going to leave, she tells me how her life is so much harder than anyone else's because of all the pressure she feels all the time. 

(Yeah - it must have been TORTURE growing up in a well-educated, upper middle class household, that paid for four years of Oberlin's $59,474 per YEAR tuition, where she got to find herself and write for every literary outlet on campus And meet fucking Jessa. Then have that followed by 2 years of a completely funded a life in Manhattan. Cue the violins.)

Back to Hannah because she's still whining talking. 

She's saying how I should be more sympathetic because of how hard it's been since she was cut off financially and brutally rebuffed by her very own parents, and how she's going through so much. 
And shouldn't I be more understanding of the difficulties of her life?! 
And that's not even mentioning the issues she deals with being 13 pounds overweight that's been really hard for her her whole life?!
After this outbreak, I take a deep breath and sit back down. 

I will try to be more understanding, I think. 
After all, she does have some hard stuff going on with the OCD and all.

Then she apologizes and asks me what was going on in my life.

I start to tell her, and I see her start frantically nodding, even though I can tell she's not absorbing anything I'm saying, and she gets that glossy look in her eyes that I am all-too familiar with, and I know she's really just waiting for me to finish so she can talk again.

So I take another deep breath and reach for my muffin. 
But then I see that it's gone, and look up to find her putting the last bite in her mouth.
I look at her in surprise, to which she responds out of the side of her full mouth "What? You said you were leaving and if I don't eat now, my blood sugar will drop and that's something you should actually be really proud of me for dealing with in a timely and appropriate manner!"

I start to pack up my things and she looks at me shocked, then asks if I'm really leaving and can she first show me the tooth necklace Adam gave her?

And then I get really mad because - what did she even get Adam for his birthday? 
And stop acting like he's so lucky to be with her because despite his weirdness, he's the most interesting and profound person in the show Brooklyn, and he forgave her even after her constant antics and he took care of her with all her OCD bullshit and even carried her like fucking Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard, and maybe she should be a little more giving in that relationship!
And then she indignantly tells me she is giving in all of her relationships but nobody notices because they're all so self involved (which isn't totally wrong. Especially Jessa.) and that she's just exhausted and can't we just talk because she was really counting on me and really needs to talk to me about all the shit that's going on with her E-book deal. 

I tell her that the only person she actually gives a shit about OTHER THAN HERSELF is Jessa because she can do whatever she wants (which is reckless most of the time), and yet she's the only fucking person who Hannah ever goes out on a limb for, she doesn't even show interest in or help her own parents. 

To which she gasps and says in that familiar horrified, determined tone "That is NOT true!"

And with that, I'm done.
I leave Grumpy's coffee shop and continue on to whatever Brooklynite job I landed two weeks earlier and am now running late to.

And she goes home and eats cake naked in her kitchen with her hair clipped back and tells Adam what a judgmental bitch I've been at our coffee date. 
And now who's she going to get to proof her essays?

And that's why we wouldn't be friends. 
Hannah Horvath is all of us.

We are all individuals who feel what we feel when we feel it.
We are all worried about our futures and we're all self-conscious, and we ALL think mean things about ourselves. 
We all want to experience things for the story and we all get scared and we all want to have all the things and to be happy. 
We all want to dress funky but look smart and be able to cut loose with our gay-ex-boyfriends and cook meals like adults. 
And we all want a boy who wants to hang out with us all the time and thinks we're the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only us. 

But we all also need to suck it the fuck up sometimes.
And we all need to be conscious and considerate of the needs, worries and feelings of our friends and loved ones (even if they're Jessa).

Girls is an accurate misrepresentation of millennials' narcissism. 

We need to start being a little more aware of the bigger picture.

All adventurous women do. 


  1. Uber-interesting read as ever, darling Tarreyn! I couldn't get into Girls at all - I watched the first episode and found them all INCREDIBLY annoying, with no redeeming features whatsoever!! Maybe I should persevere??

    1. Thanks so much, Caroline! Hard to say if you should push through Girls, I have a real Love-Hate relationship. But it's certainly interesting and has a lot of laughably relatable moments! Thanks for the comment, lovely!