Goodbye to Girls


"I hope that Girls is going to represent a moment in which it became ok for women to show like, the full range of their complexity. Being messy or inappropriate or sexual or having dark urges or acting like a fucking bitch - became alright and became something that you were allowed to show on TV." 

- Lena Dunham

From Season 1…

I can’t lie – I was SHOCKED by Girls when Season One came out. The hyper-realistic depictions of sex scandalized me and the characters flipped from likable to horrible faster than I could keep track. I couldn’t figure out who to root for – or even HOW to root for them. Basically, I was constantly like this:

Me: “Marnie’s my favorite! She’s into art, she’s got her shit together, she tells it like it is!”
Me: “Oh wait what is she doing…?
Me: “Oh Marnie, no…”
Me: “Well crap.”

…to Season 6

Looking back on this initial reaction to the show, I realize that I was scandalized because nothing else existed like this on television previously. Television shows didn’t really have awkward sex (like sex really is most of the time!) or characters who wore clothes that didn’t suit them or dramatically lost main characters. I didn’t get it then. I do now. As a woman in my 20’s, I was looking into a very scary mirror by watching Girls. They were exhibiting everything I was worried about; all the mistakes I was terrified of making. Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna go through periods where everything is clear and they know exactly what they want, and then it shifts and they’re lost again. They’re fighting battles of self-discovery, sometimes involving some highly questionable situations. They learn and grow and change – not always for the better. I was 22 when this show started, just leaving college to enter the “real world” and now I’m 27. I didn’t realize how much these girls and this show meant to my experience as a 20 something until this last season.

Here are my favorite parts of the last season

Shoshanna’s growth

Shoshanna grew to become my favorite character and really came into her own in the final season. I found her fast talking, daring aesthetic choices and general spazzy behavior really endearing. She started out so lost and unsure of herself and her voice, but gradually found her courage. In the second to last episode, she really shows this by deciding to cut out the people who have been dragging her down. She’s always had a vision for how her life is supposed to be and though she’s not always been on the right path to achieving it, she starts to figure it out by the end. I love her Japan arc, especially because we get to see this whole side of Shosh where she is in her element.

Elijah’s heartbreak

Elijah has always been such a comedic character – he’s Hannah’s hilarious sidekick/roommate most of the time. But in the last season, we really get to do a deep dive into who Elijah wants to be and what’s holding him back from his dreams. He falls in love with a manipulative celebrity and it brings out this amazing vulnerable side – even though eventually the relationship crashes and burns.

Marnie and Hannah fight Desi in the woods

In episode 2, Marnie, Hannah, and Desi all go on a weekend jaunt to Poughkeepsie. What starts as some sort of idyllic weekend ends up as a nightmare when it’s revealed that Desi’s addicted to drugs. He loses his mind when Marnie destroys his stash and starts threatening her and she and Hannah band together to lock him out of the house. The whole situation is so bizarre and the girls handle it in an almost nonchalant way – they seemed less freaked out by Desi screaming at them through the windows than I would be – that the whole thing is wonderfully comical. And I just love Hannah and Marnie smacking Desi around – he’s needed a punch in the face since day one.

Hannah and Jessa makeup

I bawled like a freaking baby when Hannah and Jessa finally apologize to one another at Shosh’s engagement party. I can relate to going through a betrayal with a friend and not knowing how to heal that bond. The longer you dwell and stew in it, the harder it becomes to forgive. All the pieces finally fell into place for Hannah and Jessa to forgive each other for doing “their worst best.”

Don’t meet your heroes

I love the episode American Bitch where Hannah goes to the house of a writer who she admires but about whom she wrote a disparaging article. He wants to defend himself and the two engage in a conversation about using celebrity as a power play in relationships and taking advantage of women. It’s an episode that stands alone and has so much to say on consent, victimhood, privilege, gender dynamics – I could go on and on.

I’m just so happy to have been able to watch a show about real, complicated people who are a mess but keep trying to make the best lives for themselves. I didn’t always like these girls, but I can’t deny that I love them. Goodbye, girls.

Photos 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 /

You may also like

No comments: