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Girls' 'One Man's Trash': Hannah's Sensitive Tryst

Girls' 'One Man's Trash': Hannah's Sensitive Tryst

02/11/2013

In “One Man’s Trash,” which aired Sunday night on HBO, a dream man walks into Hannah (Lena Dunham)’s life out of the blue – hey, it’s New York, these things can happen. Patrick Wilson guest stars as a charming doctor named Joshua who lives near Grumpy’s, the coffee shop where Ray (Alex Karpovsky) and Hannah work. Joshua shows up to find out who’s been dumping the coffee shop’s trash in his garbage cans. Ray then throws a characteristic hissy fit and Hannah storms out of what she proclaims to be a “toxic work environment.”

She tracks down Joshua at his brownstone and admits to him that she’s the one who’s been throwing the Grumpy’s garbage into his trash cans because she lost the coffee shop dumpster key. He invites her inside and despite a potential “Ted Bundy situation,” as she calls it, his perfect face and perfect home are too much to pass up.

They sleep together, and he shares that he has an estranged wife. He makes her a steak dinner with an air of nonchalance that would astound a 24-year-old who’s likely been living on cupcakes and Ramen. When it starts to get late, Hannah offers to leave but Joshua asks her to stay the night – treatment she isn’t used to receiving from men. She suddenly finds herself in a situation of, dare I say it… mutual respect? Given the dysfunctional relationships that grace this series (and real twenty-something life), this is a little jawdropping.

Joshua takes the following day off work and they spend the next 12 hours hanging out at his place. When Hannah passes out in his steam room-like shower, he comes to the rescue and goes into dashing doctor mode. As he is stroking her hair and taking care of her, she starts crying uncontrollably. Joshua presses her to open up about her feelings and she realizes aloud that she wants to be happy and treated well, just like anybody else would want – something she hadn’t admitted to herself until now. Hannah tells him she had been allowing herself to be treated poorly for a long time and proceeds to explain some theory about suffering through bad things for everyone else. She reveals that Joshua’s kindness has made her realize she’s lonely. She pours out her emotions, but as we all know, when people ask for someone to be “honest” they don’t mean it as much as they think they do. After she shares “too many” of her feelings, Joshua shuts down and closes off, and it’s clear to Hannah that their little tryst is over.

Hannah forgot the most important unspoken rule of our time: when somebody asks you how you’re doing, they don’t really want to know how you’re doing. Anything beyond “I’m fine, thanks” is an over-share that, for whatever reason, terrifies people. She forgot that for living in such a crowded city, every New Yorker is really isolated. The scariest part of this lesson is that it can’t just be attributed to temporary twenty-something neuroses if 42-year-old Joshua still hasn’t grown out of it. This scene conveys just how lonely people can be without even comprehending it. Not too many people can get through too much of their twenties without a moment like Hannah’s in which they finally understand that the thing they’ve been searching for all along isn’t so complicated after all – it's just human connection.

Lena, you’ve done it again.

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