What caused her to quit wasn’t so much creative stagnation as much as it was raging short-term insecurity. Adam has moved out to focus on his work. This makes Hannah worry that for the rest of her life, she’s going to have to sacrifice her career for his. (An unfortunate dinner with Patti Lupone and her sad-sack husband doesn’t help in easing these fears.) There are, of course, several ways Hannah could have responded to this concern: She could have resolved to take the time she’s not spending with Adam right now and use it to write more. She could have read about “see-saw” relationships, where couples alternate over time between whose career takes precedence. She could have broken up with Adam altogether. But instead, she takes the most drastic course of action, a step that will make her more needy and vulnerable, both emotionally and financially. (She later claims she got herself fired, rather than quitting, so she could collect unemployment—I’m not sure I believe the plan was that pre-meditated, but maybe.)
So that’s a long way of saying, yeah, of course it’s OK to quit your job if it’s truly making you feel dead inside, and you have another way to pay the bills that will be less soul-draining. But I’m not convinced Hannah was so unhappy at her job, and we’ve already seen her alternative to the GQ job: working at Grumpy’s and being miserable.
One possible silver lining in this episode: a rebirth of Marnie and Hannah’s friendship. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, since I am rooting for them, but I found Hannah barging in on Ray and Marnie to be a weirdly hopeful moment in their friendship. Hannah yells at Marnie, “You will never judge me again.” (In other words, Ray is gross, plus he’s Shosh’s ex, how dare you ever look down on me for the guys I sleep with.) Sure, this statement highlights the problems in the girls’ relationship. Marnie’s uptight and imperious, and Hannah feels like she can’t be herself around her anymore. But maybe seeing Marnie vulnerable like this, at time when Hannah herself is a little shaky, will cause the girls to bond again. Just a theory.
What do you think, Jim? Was Hannah’s job fiasco actually a good move for her? Is Adam being a jerk to Hannah, or is he just being honest about his needs? Did this episode mark a permanent regression for the characters, or was it more of a “one step forward, two steps back” pattern of maturing?
Hamblin: I just kept feeling like Hannah was in the worst of her anxiety disorder, and everything she did was a pretty classic manifestation of that. Her symptoms ebb and flow, and the tide was just fully out this week. It might have been painful to watch Hannah quit her job, and that definitely was not in her best interest, but anxiety isn’t a rational thing. Disrespectful and unprofessional as she was, if I were her boss I’d have suggested she go home and clear her head, because something was just not right.
Adam lives with this sort of tension between the person and the illness, and he’s conflicted about letting Hannah’s irrational behavior upset him. That’s probably relatable to anyone with friends and family who have an anxiety disorder. You spend a lot of time trying to justify to yourself that the way that person is acting, especially when they’re suspicious or mistrusting or distrusting, it really has little to nothing to do with you. There are times when someone with OCD is sticking a Q-Tip fully into their ear and it’s obvious to everyone that something’s wrong, but most of the time the suffering is more insidious, from more subtle manifestations that don’t seem quite “crazy.”
Anyway, you guys know I’m not one to withhold contempt for some of the things these characters do, but watching Hannah in this episode I felt pretty much pure sympathy. Let’s hope next week in the finale she’s doing better and everything is rosy.