After six seasons, the final episode of Girls graced our screens this week in a rather ordinary fashion.
My relationship with the television show Girls was complicated at best, a sentiment expressed by many. The show itself can evoke almost every emotion possible in just one episode, as I am sure viewers of the HBO production would know.
Season six itself was really the Hannah-Elijah-Marnie show, with the characters of Jessa and Shoshanna dwindling into the background. Nonetheless, as conveyed in the second-last episode, there was a reason to this; it signified an ending to a friendship group. But in reality, the show was never about a friendship shared between four girls, it was about four individual girls who some times hang out – indeed the group only shared the screen 12 times over 62 episodes.
The final season began with Hannah establishing herself as a writer. Over six seasons viewers have watched Hannah embark on an array of missions from writing school to waitressing to being a teacher.
A writing task takes Hannah to a surfing camp where she sleeps with her instructor, resulting in a pregnancy. The rest of the season follows Hannah dealing with this and an array of subplots, mostly consisting of Marnie and Elijah. The Elijah subplot was the highlight of the season with his greater screen time contributing to a rather dull season.
The last three episodes – eight, nine and ten – all ultimately contributed to ending this show. With a final close to the Hannah-Adam relationship in episode eight – a relationship which has plagued the show since the pilot. I say plagued because Adam is a terrible person and their relationship was toxic.
In episode nine, Hannah receives a job offer as a professor and the episode follows her decision-making process. It entails her reaching out to friends, whom she realises are no longer there for her, in particular Shoshanna, who is engaged and immersed in a new friendship group. In this episode, Shoshanna basically calls an end to the foursome, which never really existed in the first place.
Episode ten, the final episode, only had four characters – Hannah, Marnie, Loreen (Hannah’s mother) and Hannah’s son, Grover (yes, really). It provided a look into Hannah’s new life as a mother in the suburbs with Marnie in tow.
Arguably, the penultimate episode served as the finale for all the characters, and the last episode was merely a glimpse into Hannah’s new life. Whilst it makes for an underwhelming finale, it conveys reality. Hannah is only twenty-seven, she has an entire lifetime ahead of her so a strong sense of finality is unnecessary.
Upon viewing the final episode, Hannah and Marnie appear to have changed very little. Throughout the episode they exhibit their most annoying traits and continue to be incredibly selfish.
Image via HBO
There is some symbolism to having Marnie in the final episode. She was there in the beginning and although Hannah and Marnie have had their differences, they are all that each other have. Whilst there is consensus Marnie is the worst, she is good friend for Hannah and likewise Hannah a friend for her. The two are both incredibly flawed people who are incredibly self-absorbed but they care for each other and that is what is important.
A main storyline throughout the show was that each of the characters had epiphanies of sorts and for a brief moment one felt hope that they would change for better. But that is real life. Whilst we do grow and develop, our annoying characteristics remain and life is cyclical, not linear.
We may think we have met the love of our life – as was conveyed to viewers with the Marnie-Ray subplot at the end of season five – however, it can all fall apart and we find ourselves in the same predicament as before. Epiphanies can have a short life span.
A strength of Girls wasits portrayal of reality in everyday life, and how it showed the awkward and unglamorous moments. The four girls themselves were not very likeable people. However, not in the sense that they were villains wreaking havoc, but shown as normal people with perfectly normal flaws.
Nevertheless, whilst Girls did a better job than most TV in portraying the reality of 20-somethings, it was still narrow-minded and only exhibited a very rare, white, and privileged reality.
Indeed, there are times when the show was so infuriating in conveying a reality. The fact that when the show begun Hannah believed it was perfectly reasonable for her parents to support her financially and whilst she very lazily follows a dream to write. Then you have Marnie, who randomly decided to embark on a singing career in the third season, something she does with apathy. Jessa and Shoshanna, who are cousins, have a rich grandmother who happily provides for them.
There are marriages and subsequent divorces, crazy parents, and over-the-top relationships all adding to this absurdity.
“Girls also represents a very privileged existence—one where young women’s New York lifestyles can be subsidized by their parents, where these young women can think about art and internships and finding themselves and writing memoirs at twenty-four. Many people are privileged and, again, it’s easy to resent that because the level of privilege expressed in the show reminds us that sometimes, success really starts with where you come from. Girls is a fine example of someone writing what they know and the painful limitations of doing so.” – ‘Bad Feminist’
It’s sad to think this is one of the better representations of life of the silver screen.
One could argue that the show served as a creative outlet for Lena Dunham‘s ego, and indeed there are many parallels between Hannah and her creator.
In the first episode Hannah proclaims to her parents she will be the “voice of her generation”, something which I believe Dunham tries to do. The pregnancy plot is also significant. In her memoir Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham expresses her desire to be pregnant and used Girls as an outlet to achieve this end.
This show is one I both loved and loathed, but I am sad to see it ending.