Girls 5.06: The Panic In Central Park
“Everyone’s an asshole when they’re 22 years old.”
The Panic in Central Park is all about Marnie - just how she likes it - and opens with the still newly-wedded Mr and Mrs Desi. They’ve had a row over a scone (I know) and she wants to sit in silence while he keeps playing his guitar “aggressively” at her. The whole scene is hilarious and ends with the ever delicate Desi yelling “You recoiled from my touch, like I’m a fucking monster!” followed by something about wanting to die and then dissolving into sobs. Oh Desi, Desi, Desi, you’re a plank. We all knew what a mistake she was making on her wedding day and maybe by the end of this one, she’ll realise it too.
Taking inspiration and a couple of plot points/references from The Panic in Needle Park (1971), restless Marnie storms out of her marital home and goes for a walk. She sidles past a group of four cat-calling men; one oddly in a UPS uniform and the others in varying degrees of shorts and denim. The third bearded male looks familiar and she does a double-take only to realise it’s Charlie. Charlie, beautiful-faced Charlie who was the Fran of the apartment back in the day, Charlie who was in a band with old-man-Ray, Charlie who started an App company and Charlie who unceremoniously dumped her over grilled pizzas. It’s a welcome, albeit brief, return for Christopher Abbott who left Girls and impressed in this year’s James White. *This* Charlie is potentially the one she wanted all along, well sort of…
He asks her to spend the rest of the afternoon with him, he has a party he has to attend; she’ll need a dress but he wants her to go. She arrives at the Waldorf Astoria in her kicks and a bright red, low-cut, sequinned dress (he’s still in his double denim). It turns out Charlie is now Bryan the drug-dealer and is able to help out the rich and famous with all their cocaine needs. Marnie feels inspired and becomes Magita, the up-market prostitute and exhorts some serious cash from a customer before fleeing the hotel lobby. From there, they head to an Italian restaurant and order the works on the coke-head’s dime, stuff themselves with food and laugh; she hasn’t done that much lately before heading to Central Park and breaking out a boat for a midnight ride. Somewhat predictably, they end up in the lake and ride the subway soaked, back to Charlie’s apartment, not without being robbed of everything of value - including her wedding rings - on their person.
Marnie’s ex provides her with the escape she needs from her current pickle. I doubt anybody could predict the reality check she gets after staying the night. She spent so long in trying to change Charlie, and yet her absence and circumstance did it anyway. He’s not the man she knew and loved and the one she’s with now is not the one she needs. Why the hell didn't she choose Ray? There is a stunning moment when they fall into the lake and Marnie lingers underwater, it immediately brought to mind Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967) and as soon as Marnie’s heads breaks the water which I saw as a rebirth; she's the last character I thought would experience an existential crisis but hey, we've all been there and I started feeling a teeny tiny bit sorry for Desi, it has to be said.
She walks home barefoot, still in the red dress, to the husband who, it would appear, has waited up for her all night. “I don’t want to be married to you.” Did anyone else do a mini-wave and celebration? No, just me… “It’s not your fault. I mean you’re an asshole.” I *think*, Marnie finally has my respect. It’s always wonderful when your mistake, I mean, your husband tells you he expects you to get murdered without him, right? Desi the drip has been such an irritating wally these last two seasons but I should really cut Ebon Moss-Bachrach a little slack, He has played the ridiculous human fantastically and Allison Williams gives a stunning performance here. The episode ends with Marnie climbing into bed with Hannah and Fran*.
*too nice but still around, thankfully
Just Sayin’/I Tried by The Internet ℗2015 Odd Future LLC
Tied Up by Casey Veggies feat. De J Loaf ℗2015 Vested in Culture-Epic Records/Sony Music
Little Marriage by Lia Ices ℗2011 Jagjaguwar
Here’s To Us by Ellie Goulding ℗2016 Interscope Records