06x03 - American Bitch

(music playing)


Hi, um, I'm here to see Chuck Palmer.

- Hannah Horvath.
- B.


Yeah, mm-hmm.

(elevator dings)

- Hi. Hannah,
- Hi, I'm Hannah...

Hannah. Yeah, I know.
It's, uh, nice to meet you.

- Shoes-off household, or...
- Ah, yes.

- Sorry, I'm... I'm that asshole now.
- Oh, yeah.

I mean, yeah, I ha... I have my, uh, special slippers, but, uh, these are just for me.

Um, if you could put them in the same line as the others, that'd be great.

- Of course, yeah.
- Yeah.

Um... I'm sorry. If they could... if they could not touch the suede boots. It's just a whole thing.

Thank you.

(music playing)

Are you sure I can't take your bag?

No, I'm good, thanks.

How about your red tote bag?

I'll hold on to this, too. I'm not planning on staying so long.

Sure, fine. Yeah. Here, sit.

(Chuck sighs)

It was, um... it's good of you to show.

Well, I wasn't gonna not show. I was just surprised.

Surprised, what, that I wanted to talk?

Yeah. I just... surprised that you... found the article that I wrote.

I mean, you must have an ass-deep Google alert on yourself.

This was, like, a niche feminist website.

It's not the front page of "The Times."

Well, let's just say I'm hypervigilant these days.

Look, I'm not trying to get an apology out of you.

- Okay, good.
- Okay, good.

I'm just looking to give my side of the story.

Okay, but first, there's something that I'd like to say.

Oh, sure. Uh, go right ahead, Hannah.

I'm a writer, you know?
And I may not be a... a rich writer or a famous writer or a writer with a picture of myself hanging out with Toni Morrison.

Good catch.

Well, you put it right in my face, so...

Yeah, yeah, I did.

But I am a writer, and as such, I think I'm obligated to use my voice to talk about things that are meaningful to me. And...

I read something about you that troubled me, that troubled me greatly.

Namely that you were using your power and your influence to

involve yourself sexually with college students on your book tour. And...

whether all those sexual encounters were consensual or not...

Okay, hold up, because that's where this all gets pretty f*cking messy, when words like "consensual" are thrown around.

That's why I'm not sleeping.

That... that is definitely why I've lost pounds.

Well, that sounds lucky. I would love that.

Look, Hannah, you're clearly very bright.

I could tell that from the first sentence you wrote.

Uh, thank you. You printed out a blog?

No. I have assistants who can do that for me.

"If one more male writer I love reveals himself to be a heinous sleaze bag,

"I'm gonna do a bunch of murders, "create a new Isle of Lesbos, and never look back."

You're funny. That's a funny sentence.

Thank you.

But you should be using your funny to tackle subjects that matter.

Me, who I may or may not have got a blow job from consensually, in a college town, does not f*cking matter.

But the thing is is that it does, because if one of those girls is saying she didn't

- want to give the blow job...
- By the way, how exactly does one give a non-consensual blow job?

A non-consensual blow job?
It would be very chokey.

- (phone ringing)
- It...

It would involve somebody sort of holding someone else's... head down and kind of, you know, maybe holding them by the hair, by the pigtails.

- You've heard that old joke...
- (ringing continues)

What do you call a blow job with handlebar?


I'm sorry, I have to get this. It's, uh... it's family stuff.

- Yeah, of course.
- Hi, Mayaan.

No, if Miranda wants to come over for the weekend, it's fine, yeah.

Is she feeling better?

No... no, I don't have her gymnastics bag.

Ask Graciela, 'cause, uh, sometimes it's in her car.

Well, I'm not gonna let her sit here

and eat f*cking Flamin' Hot Cheetos and play Candy Crush or whatever.

She's gonna need to walk, you know, go to a park, whatever. She's depressed.

Yes, I mean clinically.

I'm... I'm not calling you a bad mother.

Mayaan, I'm not... I'm not.


You know what? Would... would

this be a good time to talk about summer, uh, custody?

Because I would love to bring her to the Cape, um, for three weeks.

Maybe after the European residency? But, you know,

I also don't wanna feel like you're not getting your time.

Yeah, go grab your calendar.


No, I asked you, Mayaan. I % asked you, because I always goddamn ask you.

Mayaan, I'm not gonna tell you when you can see our daughter.

I'm gonna tell you when I want to see our daughter, and then we'll take it

from there. And, being the mother, no doubt you'll win.

Rest assured you'll win.

No, no, it's not a swipe at you... it's not.

I... I know. I know. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, honey.

Yes, of course. I'll see her at : .

Yeah, okay.



So, I'm assuming that was Toni Morrison.


That's funny. No, it's my ex.

Very tortured woman.

But our daughter is a good girl,

so, you know, I have to believe that this... life, this mother, is teaching her something, you know, building her up strong, because, uh, she's had some depression stuff this year and it got kind of serious, but, um... she's good.

- Listen, I don't know you...
- No, Hannah, you do not.

But your work means a lot to me.

It has for a long time.

It's made me laugh and it's comforted me. And my copy of "Shannon's Rock" is so dog-eared and underlined, you can barely read the words anymore.

So when I saw Denise's Tumblr, I was...

Isn't that the crazy part about all of this?

Like, about... about being alive right now, that so much of your life, your world can be destroyed by something called "Tumblr" without an E?

I mean, "destroyed" seems like a little bit of an overstatement.

You got a great review in "The Times" four days

- ago... that was a rave.
- Oh.

- You got this apartment. Your...
- Yeah, I'm fine.

- Yeah, I would say so.
- Thing is I'm not, because I've been taking pills to fall asleep. And guess what.

They don't f*cking work.

I started therapy and for the first time in years,

thought I was done with all that sh1t. Tried everything.

Different types of meditation. I've...

I tried to learn Spanish, rowing.

You know, I went on a juice cleanse, did a silent retreat.

I am now having nightmares that my daughter's friends will Google and find out about whatever the f*ck this thing is and that will hurt her.

Understand? It will hurt my daughter.

So what I wonder is why am I being punished?

I wasn't trying to punish you.

I just think it's important to listen to the voices of women who have historically been pushed to the side

- and silenced and...
- Do you know the woman who wrote the article?

Do you know any of the women who came forward?

Are you some kind of activist?

(scoffs) No. I don't even recycle.

Then why would a smart woman like you write a very long and considered piece of writing on what is ultimately hearsay?

Because I don't consider the accounts of four different women hearsay.

Really? Remember what happened in Salem.

Yeah, these four women are the witches.

- I'm the witch.
- I don't see it that way.

These women don't have the reach that you have.

They can't get "The New York Times" to hand them over the op-ed page.

That's why the Internet is so cool, because it takes all the voices

- that have been marginalized...
- Oh, my God!

Is that why the Internet is so cool?

Because some might argue it's a monster we've created that will ultimately kill us.

Yeah, well, the people who argue that are probably a generation above me, but...

f*ck, I need a cup of coffee.


I'm not perfect, but I'm not saying I'm perfect.

I'm a horny m*therf*cker with the impulse control of a toddler.

- Oh, that must be hard.
- Listen, I get it.

There are kids dying in Africa. Blah, blah, blah, okay?

But this is f*cking hard for me.

I f*cked around on my wife.

I've told women I've loved them and didn't even call them back.

I even went to a couple of hookers, and one of them had a dick.

I don't have any secrets.

None of that's illegal.

I mean, except the prostitutes. That's technically a felony.

I have never f*cking forced anyone to blow me.

That is not my style.

These Tumblr girls who come up to me at my lectures and... I am sorry... they hurl themselves at me like I'm some fire and brimstone preacher who's gonna cure their mom's bum leg with the touch of God.

I invite them back to my hotel.

We may drink teeny, tiny bottles of booze if a place is nice enough to have a f*cking minibar.

A couple of them might stay, and then, voilà...they have something to write about. Because what do writers need?

- Money.
- Very funny.

Stories. They need stories.

So one of them starts talking.

"I met Chuck Palmer. He's a sad man with a receding hairline.

"He made sad noises while I sucked him off."

And all of a sudden, she has something to write about.

She has a story... she has an experience, okay?

She has something that makes her different from every other creative writing undergrad that was bussed in from Virginia.

Do you understand what I'm saying about experience... the way people crave it and the way people use it?

- Yeah, I think I do, but...
- Denise, the one who started all this, she practically ripped at my Dockers.

Kept asking if she could come visit me in New York.

- (sighs)
- I probably nodded.

Probably indicated yes. I didn't follow up.

That made her angry.

So you expect me to believe that every one of these girls came forward with a story just because they had hurt feelings?

- Clearly haven't met my ex.
- Feel like I have.

That conversation was very long, and pretty weird thing to do in front of a stranger.

By the way, if you're so sure you're innocent, if you know that you're this, like, perfect specimen, then why can't you just let it go?

Did you just say why can't I just let it go?


That's really great advice. Uh, are you Buddhist?

Why do you need me to know all this?

Plenty of people wrote about Denise's story.

Did you call all of them to come to your apartment?

Which, by the way, is lovely.

I had no idea novelists could make this much money.

No, I didn't call them. I didn't call any of them. I only called you.

(sighs) Why me?

Because you're smart.

You write well. You write sharply.

Like you're actually paying attention. You even made me believe what you were saying, and I'm the one you're f*ckin' lyin' about.

So, are you really gonna use all this skill to write for some shitty website, being paid a meaningless fee to slam some guy you've never met but claim to respect?

If not me, who? And if not now, when?

Oh, my God. This isn't the Civil Rights Movement, Hannah. It's me.

It's just me getting head in some sterile hotel room in Rhode Island.

So, the larger significance is just lost on you? You just don't even...

What larger significance?

- The power imbalance.
- (whispers) Oh, my God.

You know what? I haven't been offered a beverage, so I think I'm gonna get myself one.

The part where she looks like a Victoria's Secret model and I didn't lose my virginity until I was and I was on Accutane... that part's not lost on me.

Uh, no. I'm talking about the part where you're a very f*cking famous writer and she's working really hard to have just a little bit of what you get every day.


So, you invite her back to your hotel room. What's she supposed to say? No?

- Uh...
- She admires you.

Then you unbuckle your pants.

What's she gonna do next?

You got it wrong. It's not so she has a story.

It's so she feels like she exists.

And, by the way, people don't talk about this sh1t for fun.

It ruins their lives. You know that.

- Do you hear yourself right now?
- Mm-hmm.

I am a grown man inviting a grown woman to my hotel room.

Did I put a gun to her head? Did I offer her a job?

I may be stupid, but I'm not evil, sister.

An invitation isn't inherently wrong or dangerous.

Sexuality's very muddy. That's a real Grey area. Or at least we say it's a

- Grey area so we can get...
- I am so sick of Grey areas.


When I was in fifth grade, I had this English teacher, Mr. Lasky.

He liked me. He was impressed with me. I did, like, special creative writing.

I wrote, like, a little novel or whatever.

Sometimes when he was talking to the class, he'd stand behind me and he'd just, like, rub my neck.

Sometimes he'd, like, rub my head, rustle my hair.

And I didn't mind.

It made me feel special. It made me feel like someone saw me and they knew that I was gonna grow up and be really, really particular.

It also made kids hate me and put lasagna in my f*cking backpack, but that's a different story.

Anyway, last year, I'm at this, like, whatever, warehouse party in Bushwick, and this dude comes up to me and he's like, "Horvath,

"we went to middle school together, East Lansing." And I'm like,

"Oh, my God, remember how crazy Mr. Lasky's class was?

"He was basically trying to molest me." And you know what this kid said?

He looks at me in the middle of this f*ckin' party like he's a judge and he goes,

"That's a very serious accusation, Hannah." And he walked away.

And there I am, and I'm just again, and I'm just getting my f*ckin' neck rubbed.

Because that stuff never goes away.

Yeah, I'm sorry that happened to you.

I mean, it gives me a greater perspective on what triggered you, to use the parlance of our times, about my story.

I didn't tell you so you'd feel sorry for me.

No, I'm just saying I'm sorry because it's an awful story.

Yeah, but look at me. I'm smart.

And amazing.

And now I have a story.

Can I read something to you?

Chuck: "Jessica had the straining body

"of someone who had very recently worked far too hard

"to lose a negligible amount of weight.

"She was thin, had always been thin enough to get by

"with low breasts and a tanned clavicle.

"But it was as if her form wasn't yet used to its socially imbued power.

"She moved slowly, awkwardly, as if life was a china shop, and she a bull.

"She treated my hotel room like a museum,

"the minibar like fine sculpture from the Ming dynasty,

"delicately pouring herself some vodka over ice.

"I asked her where she was from. She said, 'Around, '

"as if someone had told her that's what made women irresistible...

"being from nowhere and standing for nothing."

Why don't you read?

- I'm okay listening...
- No, uh, read it aloud to me.


"I tried to ask her questions

"about what she was reading, watching, thinking,

"about her home town and her poetry workshop,

"about her mother and her roommate

"and the silvery scar snaking quietly across her forearm,

"but she was silent, reticent, almost angry when I pushed too hard.

"'Sit on the bed,' she told me when she finally spoke.

"'Sit on the bed and stop asking me anything.'

"And so I did as I was told and she reached for my old belt,

"frayed from being the only one in rotation.

"And as she unbuckled it, I thought sadly of my sister,

"my daughter, even my mother and the times they had resisted being known,

"guessing instead that the man they were standing across from

"wanted something or someone else entirely."

Is this fiction?

Is anything fiction?

No, I don't mean it like a Cheshire Cat kind of riddle.

I mean, like, did you change the names and identifying details?

Like, is this fiction?

I did change the names, but this is what I wrote about Denise before she published her f*cking Tumblr article, before a website called The Awl called me "Throat-Piercer."

This is what I wrote about Denise before she told the world that I was a menace and a sleaze and a fraud.

She doesn't think you're a fraud. She clearly respects you a lot.

Okay, this is what I saw and this is what I wrote.

I saw a woman who was lovely, lonely, and scared.

I saw a woman who didn't wanna let anyone in.

And I see, now, in myself, every f*cking guy who didn't care enough to push a little further.

Hannah, that is what I am guilty of... not pushing hard enough to get to know Denise, to get to the heart of her story.

Do you get that?


Do you wanna know why I think I really wanted to meet you?

- Yeah, I do wanna know.
- To fix that.

I mean, it's spoiled with Denise. I...

I know it is, but I can ask you where you're from, what you want, who you are.

I can... I can show you you're more to me than just a pretty face.


Where are you from?

- I'm from Michigan.
- Really? Which part?

I love Traverse City, chocolate-covered cherry capital of the world.

I ate so much on a book tour once, I had to stick my fingers down my throat.

- Really?
- Yeah, I know.

I'm not opposed to a little casual bulimia from time to time.

- Who isn't?
- Well, it takes a toll on the enamel.

Um, no. I'm from East Lansing.

- It's not really that close.
- Right.

And what are your dreams for the next five years?

Sorry to sound like a "People" magazine interview.

No, it's okay. It's a good question.

I want to write.

I want to write stories that make people feel less alone than I did.

I want to make people laugh about the things in life that are painful.

That's what I wanna do.

Good goal.

That's a really good goal.

- So, maybe one day, you'll be famous.
- Pfft, maybe.

And a lot of people know some stuff about you.

Some stuff.

I mean, they'll think they'll know everything, but they won't.

- Like what happened to you.
- Like what happened to me.

You thought you knew everything, but you didn't.

- No, I didn't.
- You listened to one source

and then you flapped your lips.

Your funny lips...

but all the same, you made me the face of this epidemic about literary men attacking industrious, innocent, young women.

That's what two-bit journalists do.

And you're not a journalist, Hannah.

You're a f*ckin' writer.

I can't believe you have a signed copy of "When She Was Good."

God, everyone acts like this book is Philip Roth being the worst, but it's actually him being the best.

And I know I'm not supposed to like him because he's a misogynist and he demeans women, but I can't help it. I f*ckin' love his writing.

You can't let politics dictate what you read or who you f*ck.

Those are my rules. Write that down.

I'll do you one better.
I'll tattoo it on my body.

- Better.
- (laughs)

I heard an alternate title for this book was "American Bitch."

I have no idea if that's true.
Can't find any proof on the Internet, but, God, if it is, f*ck, that's so good.

Why don't you keep the Roth?

- Seriously?
- Yeah, seriously.

I like how happy it makes you.

But it's signed to you and everything.

God, I hope someone writes a book about what a c**t I am someday.

- Do you?
- Yeah, obviously.

What would be better than to, like, ruin someone's life with your wanton s*x appeal and, like, icicle-sharp intellect? But...

I'm half-Jewish, so I don't really see that happening for me.

You really are funny.

- Hannah?
- Yeah.

Would you lie down with me for a moment?

Just a moment.

And I'd encourage you to keep your clothes on to delineate any... any boundaries that feel right to you.

I just wanna feel close to someone in a way that I haven't in a long time.

If you please.

Your bed smells like snacks.

I live alone, lady.

I'm sorry I wrote something about you that, um, upset you so much without considering all the facts.

It's all right.

I'm not angry.



Oh, I've got to go.

Oh, my f*cking God!

I touched your dick.

You pulled your dick out and I touched your dick.

What the f*ck? And now it's still out. You didn't even put it away.

I can see your dick.

It's right there.

- (door opens)
- Miranda: Hey, Dad!

Hi, love!

Hi, honey.

- (zipper zips)
- Oh, my f*cking God.

I'm just confused. I thought that I was going to Mom's.

Mom thought you might have more fun here tonight.

But I don't have my flash cards or my book. I...


- Hi. Hi.
- This is my friend, Hannah.

Chuck: Why don't you go play with your beads and things?

- I got you some new markers.
- Miranda: But I wanna show you what

I've been working on in flute. It's really good.

Do you wanna hear?



Excellent, cool. Okay.

- Sorry.
- Honey, take your time.


♪ Desperado ♪

♪ Sittin' in an old Monte Carlo ♪

♪ A man whose heart is hollow ♪

♪ Unh-uh, take it easy ♪

♪ I'm not trying to go against you ♪

♪ Actually, I'm goin' with you ♪

♪ Gotta get up out of here ♪

♪ And you ain't leaving me behind ♪

♪ I know you won't, 'cause we share common interests ♪

♪ You need me, there ain't no leaving me behind ♪

♪ Never, no, no, I just want out of here, yeah ♪

♪ Once I'm gone, ain't no going back ♪

- ♪ If you want, we can be runaways ♪
- Sync/Corrections [font color="#d dfc"]PetaG[/font] - addic ed.com

- ♪ Running from any sight of love ♪
- Sync/Corrections [font color="#d dfc"]PetaG[/font] - addic ed.com

♪ Yeah, yeah, there ain't nothin' ♪

♪ There ain't nothin' here for me ♪

♪ There ain't nothin' here for me anymore ♪

♪ But I don't wanna be alone ♪

♪ Oh ♪

♪ Oh ♪

♪ Desperado ♪

♪ Sittin' in an old Monte Carlo ♪

♪ We've both had our hearts broke ♪

♪ Unh-uh, take it easy ♪

♪ I'm not trying to go against you ♪

♪ I can be a lone wolf with you ♪

♪ Gotta get up out of here ♪

♪ And you ain't leavin' me behind ♪

♪ I know you won't, 'cause we share common interests ♪

♪ You need me, there ain't no leaving me behind ♪

♪ Never, no, no, both want out of here, yeah ♪

♪ Once we're gone, ain't no going back ♪

♪ If you want, we can be runaways ♪

♪ Running from any sight of love ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah, there ain't nothin' ♪

♪ There ain't nothin' here for me ♪

♪ There ain't nothin' here for me anymore ♪

♪ But I don't wanna be alone, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah. Yeah ♪

♪ Oh ♪

♪ Oh. ♪