I typically write a Girls post after watching the episode on Sunday night. Even though we got to watch last night’s Girls a bit early, I couldn’t bring myself to write on American Bitch. My initial reaction was that I didn’t like the episode. Of course, I loved Hostage Situation so much I had kind of set myself up to be disappointed anyway. American Bitch isn’t for us to like, though.
The intro is long– we watch Hannah walk to this expensive New York home, check in with the lobby desk, ride the elevator up, and start conversations with Chuck Palmer all before the Girls title card flashes across the scene. It gave me a long time to judge Hannah’s outfit– a silk blouse, track pants, and metallic slip-ons, an outfit that gives confusing context to what kind of meeting this could be. We know from last week’s preview that Chuck Palmer is an author, but we’re left to figure out slowly what brings Hannah to him.
We wrestle, as Hannah does, with Chuck’s motives throughout. Chuck feels victimized– he is sad and lonely, despite the furnishings his successful career has garnered. For me, everything about the meeting is uncomfortable. Why did you come? Why don’t you leave? I found myself thinking this throughout, but you have to understand from Hannah’s perspective:
- this is a writer whose work she loves, respects, and connects with
- he slings compliment after compliment at her about how smart she is, how good her work is, how funny she is, that’s a great sentence…
It’s such a complicated back-and-forth about power dynamics. It’s uncomfortable. When the point of genuine connection is met, and Chuck reveals himself to be just as disgusting as we all feared, he reveals a smug smile that confirms that I hate him. The look of pride on his face when his daughter plays the flute can’t even redeem him.