T: I know that the series Girls, like leggings as pants or fat-free ice cream, has a widely divided audience. But for me, I will forever be on the side-line of Team Girls, rooting on Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shosh in all their absurdity. Every season has had its ups and downs, and for me – a lost girl meandering through her own 20s – this show is/was weirdly reminiscent of my own young adulthood. With that said, Season 4 was a challenge for me. Not only did Season 4 play out in the background of my own failing marriage and personal mental breakdown, but the season itself felt disjointed and tired. I binged in its entirety during a writing retreat instead of working on my novel (in certain ways, Hannah is kind of like me). This was a much different experience than previous seasons in which I would set aside time each Sunday evening to watch each episode and spend the remainder of the week re-watching the same episode. And although I LOVED the season finale (as I often do), appreciated the complexities Hannah faced from attending Grad school, and adored the breath of fresh air that was Mimi-Rose, Season 4 as a whole was just…meh. (see Season 4 review)
With that said, I still anxiously awaited Season 5 and was still willing to pledge my loyalties to this show that is and was more than just a show. I wish I could say that Season 5 was without its flaws, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. But what I can say about Season 5 – especially in contrast to past seasons – is that there is a new sense of maturity and humility in our characters; each character demonstrating a new kind of wisdom, paradoxically treated with their own unique kind of flailing (to err is human, right?). Hannah is still obnoxiously selfish, impulsive, and impatient, but I think what Hannah is beginning to realize in this season is that maybe she doesn’t know everything, and maybe that realization is the true happiness of life. Marnie (who is most like me) still wants to be Pinterest-perfect, but when her expectations fails to mirror her reality, Marnie comes to that oh-so-humbling realization that when you spend your whole life creating a character for the world’s liking (or in Marnie’s case, jealousy) all your left with is merely a shadow of your former self. Jessa, arguably the most beautiful and horrible character on the show, finds herself grappling with her own drug addiction recovery, and seems to be finally coming to the understanding that maybe she is “the bad friend” and has deserved many of the misfortunes of her past. And precious little Shosh, the overly ambitious planner, has discovered all her plannings and list-making was all for not as she realizes that maybe she isn’t meant to fulfill a Media, Culture, and Communications degree (is this even a real thing?). And without going into too much detail, all of the men of the show are grappling with their own new kind of struggles, but still with all the charm (Ray’s grouchiness, Adam’s broodiness, Elijah’s ‘elijahness’) that the men have consistently provided as the side characters of the show.
As the penultimate Season 5 comes to its close, I find myself wondering how each character’s story will wrap up. The beauty of Girls is that, like life (especially in one’s 20s), its messy and complicated and imperfect and charming and surprising and funny and scary and sad and transformative. There are many things I would like to see for each character and based on the Season 5 finale’s ‘on her way’ tone, I do believe Lena Dunham will – at the very least – provide closure for the show’s audience. The end of young adulthood is met with so many choices and I believe that these girls will inevitably have to come to the sad conclusion that the next stage of life is often met with new faces, new influences. Will Season 6 still strive to mirror the harsh reality of life or simply bend to the audience’s liking and provide a crowd-pleasing conclusion (I’m looking at you Friends)? Only time will tell…
RV: Girls is hard for me to review. Not because I’m a man, but because I just have a hard time empathizing with people like Hannah. She’s privileged and whining as fuck. Every time, I start wanting to like Hannah. She self-destructs and becomes the worst friend ever. Season 5 was par for the course and started with her super horrendous treatment of Fran, who despite her telling everyone how bad he was just never came off as a bad dude. She then proceeds to piss on everyone else, including my favorite character Ray. I can’t stand Hannah, and I don’t know how anyone could continue to be her friend. Perhaps the genius of Girls is just how flawed these characters, especially Hannah, really are. There are no happy endings, but rather a series of missteps and accomplishments that we all have to trudge through. Book deals aren’t made overnight, and life isn’t fixed with marriage or a new boyfriend. Friends, especially, shouldn’t be portrayed as static characters sitting at the same coffee shop every day. People change and move on, and Girls captures this movement very beautifully. I hope someday I will like the character of Hannah, but right now, I do appreciate the fact that I don’t like her. She’s flawed, and our flaws make us real and not just flimsy posters of ideals and characteristics that we don’t really have but were told long ago make up the perfect person.
4 Twizzlers: I will never turn my back on my Girls. #girlcode
3 Red Vines: Write a damn book, Hannah!