After our class discussion on Thursday, it was hard not to stop thinking of this scene from Girls (also one of my absolute favorite shows on television, but I digress):
Here we are presented to a fragmented Hannah (Lena Dunham). The clip begins with Hannah stressing the severity of the situation of her going on a date: “I have been dating someone who treats my heart like it is monkey meat. I feel like a delusional invisible person half the time.” Hannah’s character is framed as completely incomplete; she is in a state of vulnerability. As she so accurately states, “I need to learn what it’s like to be treated well before it’s too late for me.”
The clip then cuts to a scene of Hannah in preparation for this date, and we are presented with the Lacan-esque mirror scene. Hannah looks in the mirror and gives herself a pep talk: “You are from New York, therefore, you are just naturally interesting.”
In her pep talk, Hannah begins to convince herself of her Ideal self. As an audience, we know that the repetition of these proclamations Hannah says to herself are not true. In fact, we are exposed to a process of her struggling to accept these ideals that she creates for herself. Following her “New York” statement, we hear Hannah utter, “okay?” There is an almost disbelief in Hannah’s voice as she questions the accuracy of her statements. By looking at herself in the mirror, Hannah presents to herself an unfragmented version of herself. Mirror Hannah has confidence. Mirror Hannah does not have the responsibility to “fill in all the pauses.” Mirror Hannah is “not in danger of mortifying” herself. These mantras become Hannah’s best imaginative approximation of who Hannah hopes to be. Mirror Hannah then becomes who Hannah strives to be on this date. Mirror Hannah becomes Hannah’s Best Self.
Throughout the series, we are reminded that Hannah’s life is not in order. In the pilot episode, Hannah’s parents cut her off financially, leaving a distressed Hannah resorting to getting high and sleeping in her parent’s hotel room, eventually stealing the money left aside for housekeeping. While the audience is exposed to a vulnerable Hannah, Hannah still attempts to present herself as collected. She has internalized this Mirror Hannah into what she hopes to portray to society. Unfortunately, Hannah does not echo Mirror Hannah, and she stumbles as she learns independence and evolves throughout the series.