Hannah Horvath acts out! Watching “Girls” with Girls, Ep. 10, “Role Play”

The theater separates Hannah and Adam. Marnie sings badly. Jessa does more coke.

Topics: TV, Girls, HBO, Lena Dunham,

Hannah Horvath acts out! Watching "Girls" with Girls, Ep. 10, "Role Play"

Last night, Adam immersed himself deeper into his acting career, even as Hannah acted out as a reaction to her grandmother’s death. Her attempts to course-correct their flagging relationship failed even as his ambitions rose. Once again, I enlisted an actress to provide special insight into Adam’s renewed focus. Fortunately, Sam also had very strong opinions about Marnie’s lack thereof, as well as Jessa’s thoroughly wasted potential. With very little prompting, my latest guest was off and running.

This Week’s “Girl”: Samantha Strelitz, 27

Job – Actress

Hometown – Long Beach, Calif.

Adam or Ray – Adam

Favorite “Girls” Girl – N/A

Episode Watched – “Role Play”

Let’s talk about the morning when Hannah comes home after a night of excessive drinking with her friends. She’s hoping to get a much bigger reaction from Adam than she does.

I think that we are seeing this play slowly consume him. Honestly, when they were at the bar [later in the episode] and he gets punched in the face I was thinking “What if his face is swollen?” And “I can’t believe she’s going to keep him out that late.” She thinks, “Oh my god, we should be working on relationship things.” But he has had an entire day of rehearsal. I have had days where its like a 10-hour day of shooting or a six-hour rehearsal and all you want to do is relax and cool down. But he is in a relationship and he has to deal with that dynamic.

What did you think of Adam’s rehearsal tactic: wearing his stage costume all day throughout his normal life?

Those choices inform the character. I get it. You have to make objects personal in an organic way. That makes sense to me. There are so many cliché actor things on TV and you’re like, “Oh god, do people really do that?” I’ve normally ended up dating actors. My current boyfriend – who is an IT guy – is a former actor, so he’s not, like, “What is wrong with you?” It’s all a matter of how much you want to involve someone in your profession. How much do you want to bring your work home with you, and how much do you want to expose your significant other to that. That’s always difficult.

Did you cringe when Hannah showed up at his rehearsal?



I think part of Adam is really trying to feel out what he is supposed to be experiencing. When you get a huge job like a Broadway job – which has connotations, especially for a New York actor – what does that mean for you and your career? Where are you and what are you building?  He wants to involve her, but he was naive to think that she could watch rehearsal. In the end, he was embarrassed. He realized it was not a good idea.

Once Adam seemed to be this drifter who never quite could commit to anything, even acting.

I think he thought he would never get the opportunity. He was only a drifter because he was a struggling actor and he wasn’t getting jobs. Now, he’s like, “I can’t fuck around. I’m going to do it full blast.” Remember in the first season he tried to do that play in that black box theater? It’s the realization that he can get the work that he wants to do and he can be passionate about it. And who doesn’t want to do Shaw as their first gig on Broadway? He made in onto the poster. It’s a big deal.

So, now, Hannah’s concerned about their relationship. Is this familiar to you?

Your life is thrown into a state of chaos because of the rehearsal or shooting process. I’ve definitely had my relationships in the past and the present suffer because of that. The other person always thinks it’s a reflection on them because, of course, why wouldn’t you be having a healthy sex life or why wouldn’t you be trying to make time to go on dates with your partner? They think that I leave my work at work and come home, but the clock is different when you’re an artist. Sometimes you can’t escape it. I’m not gonna say that Adam is extremely method, but he seems like a pretty intense person.

As a writer, an artist herself, you’d think Hannah might understand his situation better.

Unless you’re an actor creating your own work, you don’t really have control over when you get work. You have to kick into high gear once you get a job. When you’re a writer, there is more control over what you create. If you wanted to sit down and write a novel for the next three years, you can dedicate specific time to that and you would get that at the end.

You mentioned earlier that you love Jessa …

Nothing ties Jessa down. People love Jessa because they would like part of them to be like Jessa – the girl that looks good in whatever outfit you throw on her. She walks through life and it doesn’t matter what she does. She meets all these interesting people. She’s a dilettante that escapes any type of responsibility from her life.

… but you can’t stand her new companion.

I hate that guy! When she was in rehab and finally discovers that he is sexually attracted to her, she is like, “Wait. What?!” I just hate the idea that she went down that path and ended up being his girlfriend. I don’t like predatory male figures. He was the father figure and now he’s like dating her? Just makes me cringe.

I suspect he was always predatory, but he was also British. So, he was coming after her in a very polite, sophisticated manner.

I felt like they were more partners in crime at rehab. She made a decision about him at that point, and she goes back on it. That’s Jessa’s whole thing. She’s such a strong character and so opinionated. She makes very solid decisions, and she always goes back on them. She has all the potential in the world.  She’s had all these experiences. She’s traveled the world and had all these opportunities and seems like a cool girl to hang out with. Why is she such a mess?

I find Jessa’s drug addiction to be somehow unconvincing.

I think she would be a lot more destructive. I don’t think they would be just hanging out in her apartment doing coke. She gets people really close because they really like her, and she’s very manipulative in that way. She gets them so close, basically destroys them and then leaves – like the girl who had to fake her own death to [get away from her]. I want to know more about that relationship. You wonder how many people she has destroyed in her path. Why has she not hit rock bottom?

Shoshanna’s opinion of Jessa is certainly evolving.

When Jessa first came into town, Shoshanna was completely enthralled by this girl: “Oh, my god. You look so good. How do you do this? How do you that?” She wanted to be her. Now, she’s at a point where she’s like, “You look like a junkie.” Shoshanna has gone through enough to figure out the type of person she wants to be and the type of people she wants to surround herself with. When you see someone that has always had every opportunity and has all the potential in the world and has wasted it away … Why would you do that? People get personally offended. That’s how I see their relationship.

Let’s talk about Marnie for a minute.

Marnie is stuck in that limbo that I see that a lot of girls in the city are in. For her, it was always so easy to be in a relationship. Now that she’s not, all she wants is a man. It’s hard to watch. Nothing in her life is working out. She can’t get a job. She’s never really buckled down and tried something. Remember when she was that waitress in that hot club? For her, it was a status symbol. But when she realized she was really just a fucking waitress, she quit her job. And then she quit the coffee shop. As much as it would suck to work as an assistant for a girl who’s younger than you, what’s so bad about being paid to be her assistant for a few years? Put on your résumé that you helped open that gallery and go somewhere else. Marni wants a lot of things, but she doesn’t want to work for them. Like, “Oh, I’m an artist. I wanna be a singer.” She has a guy who is sitting there saying, “Fine, why don’t you make a fucking fool of yourself? You are so scared to write a song because you don’t wanna come off as a bad writer or a bad singer or a bad artist. But it’s inhibiting you from doing anything. If you can’t do this here right now, how are you supposed to do anything?” At the end of that, all she wants is for him to say, “I wanna fuck you.” She asks, “What was that song about?” He responds, “My girlfriend,” and she’s disappointed. It’s like, wow.

The episode ends with Hannah and Adam’s failed foray into structured sexual role play.

It seemed almost as if it was somewhat expository to get to the through line of why they were having all that weird crazy sex early on in their relationship. I thought it was actually beautiful what Adam had to say about it. How he was like, “I did that because I was trying not to drink. I did that because I was an alcoholic and any other thrill that could get me through the night and not drink was a welcome thrill.” He was leveraging one addiction with another, which was the addiction to these, not necessarily abusive, but degrading, horrible sexual encounters because it was like this adrenaline rush for him and he didn’t have to drink. I thought that that was really amazing. Then they fell in love and he just wants it to be sex and wants to enjoy her and be intimate. She assumed that the reason why they were having bland sex now was because he wasn’t attracted to her, when really he’d found a deeper level of intimacy.

Neil Drumming

Neil Drumming is a staff writer for Salon. Follow him on Twitter @Neil_Salon.

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