Recap: Girls ‘Ask Me My Name’ – A Boy Named Fran

Girls never ceases to amaze me in how easy it makes life seem (despite Shosh’s theory that no one ever tells you how hard life is going to be). Hannah wants to get into grad school, so she does it (no struggle—not even through the damn application process which can be a bitch). And now, in “Ask Me My Name,” Hannah has become a substitute teacher faster than “Teach: Tony Danza” getting canceled.

The episode opens with Hannah teaching Oedipus Rex, with the ease of someone who’s been instructing for years. No struggle maintaining their attention (which anyone who’s ever stood in front of a classroom will tell you is tough). No reprimand for using the word “MILF” to describe the Latin text. She even openly tells the classroom she has favorites (Cleo, played by Maude Apatow, of course—how fitting since her father produces the show) and constantly bolsters the self-esteem of students to the point that it sounds disingenuous (“Simon. You’re the funniest person I’ve ever met. You should write for SNL.”)  Also, I’ve never seen a substitute teacher do so much. . .well. . .teaching. What school is this?

Later, in the teachers’ lounge, she meets a boy named Fran (Jake Lacey) who’s covered in glue, drinking a juice box. He’s cute, smart, and funny, and once again, easy-peasy Hannah snags a date with Fran just moments after meeting him (she and Shosh much have some sort of magic conversation skills, since Shosh landed a date after bombing an interview in last week’s episode).

Back at her apartment, Hannah is trying to figure out what to wear on her date with Fran while Elijah critiques her choices as if she were a 45-year-old woman, out on the prowl again (“I gotta take a chance. I don’t want to die alone. Not without a fight!”). Hannah indulges him before telling him to get lost. She has to masturbate so there’s no sexual tension on the date (ahhh, I see Dunham is a fan of There’s Something About Mary).

On the date with Fran, things seem to be going really well. Hannah discusses how she’s always seen herself as an “on the streets” type of teacher like in Dangerous Minds the TV show with Annie Potts, but that you kind of need a degree for that. Fran tells her that at St. Justine’s, you do not need a degree. In fact, one of the teachers even dropped out of middle school. They exchange conversation about music teachers in pornos (you know, typical date conversation), before Hannah segues into what she really wants to do next: go to an art show. Because it’s cute, puppy-dog Jake Lacey, he’s game for whatever.

That’s a Beautiful Name

The art show is some kind of “the people are the art” kind of installation, with everyone wearing aprons that say “Ask Me My Name” on the front. But everyone has a script, as Jessa learns when she asks one of the people what happens next in a story (“I can’t go off-script”).

Hannah is basically leading poor Fran to the wolves. She knows this is Mimi-Rose Howard’s art show, and she wants to make an entrance with Fran by her side to show she doesn’t care about Adam. When she shows up, Marnie is the first to spot her. Soon, Fran starts to figure out that Hannah’s ex-boyfriend is at the show. At first, he’s OK with it (“Everyone’s got a past. This might be shocking. But I’ve dated people before. Women.”), but then Adam makes a beeline for Hannah and causes a scene.

“Hannah do me a favor and leave before this gets f***ing weird,” says Adam.

“Like maybe 10 minutes ago,” says Fran.

Hannah and Adam continue to argue, with Hannah citing that he mustn’t be over her because he noticed her immediately in a crowd of 40 to 60 people. Fran quietly says to himself that he feels he’s being used before exiting with some class. Adam wants to know why Hannah is really here. She says she doesn’t really know.

Then, Mimi-Rose pops up and is so excited that Hannah decided to come, in a tone as disingenuous as Hannah’s to her students earlier in the episode. She invites Hannah to go to the after-party, along with Ace (Zachary Quinto), MRH’s former partner, who was “a big part of her life.”

They split up in cabs: Hannah and Mimi-Rose, and Adam and Ace.

Once in the cab, Mimi-Rose asks the driver, “Is your name Adeem? That’s a beautiful name.” This little moment is very telling of Mimi-Rose, as we’ll learn more in the other cab.

Taxi Cab Confessions

In the boys’ cab, Ace laughs, saying that this whole divided cabs thing is so very Mimi-Rose.

“What we find awkward, she finds blissful,” he says. “Your suffering’s her f***ing safe space.”

Adam looks at him blankly.

“You mean you’re not clued into the whole act?”

Ace begins to tell Adam that Mimi-Rose puts on a front, the whole girl-from-Maine-with-Asperger’s isn’t real. She manipulates people. (Which actually makes sense considering the way she brought up the whole abortion topic to Adam last week. It seemed to be done in a way to elicit a reaction from Adam. Personally, I question whether there was even an abortion.)

“She’s a bad bad girl who knows what works.”

Adam asks why Ace continues to show up for her art events if she’s so manipulative. Ace admits that he still loves her and wants her back.

Back in the other cab, MRH starts to “work” on Hannah, asking her what she thought of her show. Hannah said she loved it; it was perfect—“Beyonce.” Seeing that Hannah is not going to crack, Mimi-Rose brings out the big guns. She tells Hannah that she didn’t have much time to work on the art show because she’s been asked to write a stupid book (“a psychosexual thriller told from the perspective of a dead woman who solves her own murder using hologram technology she invented”), even though she’s not much of a writer—like Hannah.

Hannah is visibly upset, as any struggling writer would be, and urges the cab driver to make the next possible turn. Adeem turns and runs right into an old woman with a walker crossing the street. They get out to examine the woman (“What’s your name?” – MRH, how appropriate), and soon the cops show up. Because Hannah told the cab driver to turn, Adeem is trying to pin it on her. Hannah grabs MRH to head into the deli and avoid confrontation.

In the deli, MRH starts picking at Hannah’s scab some more, only this time, asking if she resents her for dating Adam. Hannah says she doesn’t. She said if she would resent anyone, it would be Adam because he’s deceitful and didn’t tell her he was in love with someone else (even if that’s not a word Adam and MRH are using quite yet).

Hannah takes her purchases to the front and asks to use the restroom. The clerk says it’s for employees only. Hannah and the clerk clash for a bit before she and MRH make a run for it, with Mimi-Rose swiping a coconut popcicle in the process.

They head to the laundromat to use the restroom, where upon coming out of the ladies’ room, Hannah discovers MRH has made friends with someone in like two minutes’ time (MRH was trying to slip a note into the woman’s laundry because she’s always wanted to give a stranger a poem).

MRH asks Hannah point-blank: “Do you want Adam back?” That snitch Jessa told Mimi-Rose that she did. Then, Mimi-Rose tells Hannah that maybe she could have him back, as in, maybe MRH doesn’t want Adam anymore.

“You are laying out a beaver trap and I’m not going to walk into your beaver trap.” – Hannah

MRH doesn’t want to stand in the way of Adam and Hannah, and she thinks it’s something they need to discuss.

“I wouldn’t just give him to you, but I feel like we could figure something out.” Then, MRH sits creepily close to Hannah. Hmmm. Lesbianism? Is that where this is headed?

So how would MRH “break up” with Adam? Maybe she’d subtlely distance herself from him and then Hannah and Adam could do a joint creative project. This angers Hannah, and soon MRH wants to know whether she’s mad because she gave up on Adam, art, or both? Hannah says she didn’t give up. He was stolen from her while she was trying to get a degree in something that actually is art, unlike Mimi-Rose’s pretend art, which is really just manipulating people.

Mimi-Rose explains how she came up with the “Ask Me My Name” art show, and it had to do with a photo from the 1940s of a Japanese girl on her way to an internment camp. The caption of the photo was just, “Girl.”

“Learning more about you physically pains me,” says Hannah. And MRH feels the same way. She knows Hannah hated her show.

“The way that you see me. I’m afraid that’s the way everyone sees me.” This may be the most honest moment coming from MRH, but one can’t tell whether this, too, is just a fabrication in order to get a reaction.

Soon, they bypass they whole “we ran over an old lady” situation and the Adam predicament, and head to the bar to drink and forget this conversation ever happened.

Pain in the Ace

At the bar, Adam and Jessa are discussing Ace. Adam says that Ace wants MRH back, to which Jessa looks displeased. The whole reason why she set Adam up with MRH in the first place was so she could swoop in and nab Ace.

Hannah finds Adam at the bar and tells him she really likes Mimi-Rose.

“I think she’s a really special, unique, neat person. [. . .] I get it.” Hannah congratulates him and then exits, but not before Adam watches her leave.

At a falafel place, Hannah makes a lonely order and a misfired name joke based on her apron, before walking out to the tune of “I Get Along Without You Very Well.” She may have said she’s happy with how things are, but she’s clearly not.

What did you think of “Ask Me My Name”? Do you think MRH is putting on an act? Will Fran forgive Hannah? And did anyone else notice the Pittsburgh connection in this episode (both Gillian Jacobs and Zachary Quinto are from Pittsburgh)?

Favorite moments:

“I don’t even like what I chose to wear tonight, so this is actually a good solution for me.” – Hannah, on her “Ask Me My Name” apron

“Adeem. I don’t want to upset you, but the meter is still running.” – Hannah

“I’ll do it, too!” – Elijah, suggesting they both masturbate at the same time

Least favorite moment:

Hannah high-fiving the cute, little kid with an afro had to be the cheesiest moment of the night, like something out of every TV show from the ‘90s.

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