Hannah’s new career path is inspiring to “Girls” viewers, but Adam has her stuck in sadness

By Jennifer Usovicz

On the hit TV show “Girls,” protagonist Hannah Horvath has been jump starting a career into teaching, a move that is an inspiring display of her growth as a character.

In the episode “Ask My Name,” it is amazing to see how quickly one chapter ends and another begins. Hannah starts substitute teaching at a private school and has relocated to New York City following a brief stint in Iowa. She appears to have not let her boyfriend Adam leaving her for a more successful artist, Mimi-Rose Howard, get in the way of her dreams.

I think viewers will miss the show’s occasional glimpse of Iowa and the characters from Hannah’s graduate writing circle: Priya, played by  Zuzanna Szadkowski, and D. August played by Ato Essandoh. Hannah has given up on her writing but she seamlessly slips into her role as a substitute teacher. While teaching “Oedipus Rex” she responds slyly, “This is where the concept of the M.I.L.F comes from.”

Hannah gets asked on a date by her cute co-worker, a history teacher named Fran. She returns home to pick out something to wear to drinks with Fran and her ex-turned-gay best friend Elijah, played by Andrew Rannells,  helps her to pick out something to make her look presentable.

Elijah discourages her from wearing a T-shirt covered in plastic lizards in favor of a flattering galaxy-print dress. Hannah quips to Elijah, “Now leave the room so I can go masturbate,” reasoning everyone should do it before a date so that the sexual tension doesn’t ruin the date.

Things are looking up for Hannah, until she decides to take a stop by an art exhibition by Mimi-Rose Howard, the new love interest of her ex-boyfriend Adam. Participants at the show wear smocks that read, “ASK ME MY NAME,” which is the exhibition’s title, and then begin a narrative about a fictional life written by Mimi-Rose. Drama ensues as Adam is aggravated that Hannah has gone out of her way to attended the exhibition where she is certainly not welcome. This regression, although entertaining, was disappointing.

The episode, which began with promise, ends with Hannah desperately clinging to Adam and ruining her chance with her new love interest, Fran. This episode made it hard to like Hannah, as soon as she seems to be headed in the right direction she turns back to destructive tendencies or emotionally abusive boyfriends. Hannah does get to spend some quality time with Mimi-Rose and begins to understand why Adam needs a woman like her in his life and that her own time with Adam is over.

The finality in the line, “I get it,” when Hannah reveals to Adam she likes Mimi-Rose after spending a short amount of time with her, is heartbreaking. Hannah walks down a street alone, still wearing her smock that says, “Ask Me My Name.”

For the next episode, all I can hope is that viewers see less of Adam and more of Hannah being a successful, single woman making a living and continuing to be a creative writer. I’d like to see her focus on her career and making new friendships as her closest friends seem to bring her down or invalidate her feelings. Hannah doesn’t need a boyfriend to pull her out of her emotional slump, but a muse or an inspiring mentor could get her on the right track to being the happy, creative and vibrant woman she is.