My Love Hate Relationship with Girls

Girls on HBO ended its run last night and its finale showed once again why this show ultimately ended up being one I hated to love or loved to hate. I haven’t decided.

I tried though.

I tried a lot to love this show.

It’s about single women navigating life and love. It’s like Sex and the City for a younger generation. I understand that. I get the journey, the pain, the close calls professionally and personally. I get how you’re at the stage of your life where life has kicked you in balls many times but you can’t give up quite yet. It seemed like the perfect show. Perfectly relatable in every single way. Hannah. Marnie. Shosh. Jessa. They were Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha but a decade younger.

I soon realized that the women of Girls were the worst. Simply the worst. I know that’s an extreme statement to make but I stand by it. It was a far more self-indulgent version of Sex and the City with characters who seemed to just enjoy being naked because they could be, it’s on HBO.

Now, Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samatha did not always have their stuff together. They made mistakes, they said and did things that would make even the most devoted fan scratch their head and go, “wait….what?” They were not perfect BUT there was a sweetness to their friendship, there was emotional support.  For as different as those four women were, I could see how they could be friends. I never understood how Hannah, Marnie, Shosh, and Jessa were friends. They were consistently so awful to each other while constantly telling each other how they were friends as if to tell the audience that despite what they were seeing, they really were supposed to be best friends.

I’m not sure which episode it was where I just gave up. Was it the episode where Hannah was wearing a yellow mesh shirt, running through the streets of New York trying to find drugs? Or maybe it was the episode where she was held hostage for an entire weekend at some doctor’s house and she was playing naked ping pong?  There was often no point to the nakedness. It didn’t do anything to the show and it felt like she was naked because she could be and it’s her show.

It always felt like Lena Dunham was trying way too hard. She strikes me as someone who tries so hard to be different and edgy and when there’s controversy in a statement she makes like the time she said that she wished she could have had an abortion so she could relate to women who have had them or the time it was revealed in her book that she molested her little sister when they were kids….when the rest of us get offended, it apparently says more about us than her. She is evolved, we are not.

Throughout the seasons, I’ve attempted to give this show more chances. I’ve tried to tune in but each time left feeling angry. I was angry at their choices, angry at how self-absorbed they were. I just never got the appeal. Unlike the Sex and the City women, I’ve never heard anyone argue over whether or not they were a Hannah or a Marnie or a Jessa or a Shosh because I’m not sure anyone would want to be? This show just made me angry.

All that anger aside, I decided to binge the final season in preparation for the last episode. There were some great moments. One of the final episodes featured Hannah and Adam sitting in a diner, discussing Hannah’s surprise pregnancy that was the result of a fling with a guy she met at surf camp. After Adam and Hannah spent an entire day together, they ended up in a diner discussing the future and that moment was amazing. Lena Dunham is truly at her best when she’s not saying anything. She says so much without saying a word. It was a truly amazing moment between two characters who had had quite the tumultuous and volatile relationship. Adam was now with Jessa, Hannah’s former friend and Hannah was getting ready to move on. It was a moment that cemented the end for those two characters.

The second to last episode should have been the finale. It was called, Goodbye Tour and took place at an engagement party for Shosh and it was Shosh herself who laid down the friendship law. She no longer had any desire to be their friend. They were way too selfish. She had invited Marnie to her engagement party while Hannah and Jessa pretty much crashed it. The scenes in the bathroom were terrific. It was the four of them coming to terms with the end of their friendships, they were all changing in some way. Still struggling but it felt final, you could feel that pain, that relatable feeling of looking at someone who you had tried so hard to be friends with only to realize, it’s just easier to no longer try. It was an amazing episode.

And then came the finale.

We flash forward, Marnie is living with Hannah in order to help her take care of baby Grover and Marnie is a complete mess as is Hannah. Jessa, Adam, Shosh, Ray, Desi and Elijah who had been prominent characters in the show did not appear which frankly made no sense. What happened to them in the five months since Hannah moved out of the city? A series finale should feature the characters from the show unless they’ve been killed off. No, it doesn’t have to go the Seinfeld route and feature every single character that has ever appeared on the show but the main characters? They should appear.

The finale felt like a random episode and yes, of course, we saw Lena Dunham one last time with no pants because she had given them to a random teenager which is something always happens. Then when a cop drives by and sees her walking without pants, he just trails her home? Really, that happens? I grew up in a city and not a small town but if some random woman was walking around the streets at night with no pants, I think that would be cause for an arrest? That moment though seemed out of the blue. She had a fight with her mother whom Marnie had called because Hannah was flipping out and she also had a fight with Marnie so she’s storming around town, she encounters a bratty teen and ultimately gives the teen her pants. This all leads to some sort of epiphany.

There was no closure, no end, did Shosh get married? Are Jessa and Adam still together? Marnie isn’t planning on living with Hannah forever so what happens to her? Are we also supposed to believe that the father of Hannah’s child has truly vanished off the planet? Yes, when she called him in an earlier episode to tell him she was pregnant with his child, he did say he wasn’t ready and it was the evidence Hannah needed to know she’d be raising the child alone, but still. Oh, and can I please mention that scene where she tells the baby’s father? That scene felt so contrived and rushed like they just needed to put that there but it really just felt too easy, too cut and dry. In a world where every choice made by the four girls of Girls seems like a messy one, it didn’t strike me as true to the show that the father would just disappear completely.

The show ended the way it began, by bringing out all the anger feelings.  This felt very much in line with the How I Met Your Mother or Dexter finales….it felt pointless.

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