Today, Girls, the controversial TV show ended. I’ve taken some flack by being a fan of the show, from my boyfriend who strongly opposes Lena Dunham’s political and personal openness and by friends who I’ve recommended the show to who just ‘could not get into it’. I get that the show isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but something about it spoke to me.
When I first started watching the show I was 19 and after reading one of the AV Club’s (among other) reviews I decided to begin my conflicting journey watching four privileged New Yorkers make a multitude of bad decisions. I was amazed at how I could relate to the show and the awkward journey 20-somethings endure. I felt like a terrible combination of all four main characters. Jessa’s addictive selfishness, Shosh’s awkward optimism, Marnie’s fixation with deluded fame and Hannah’s lack of direction and refusal to conform. I hated, albeit loved these women.
There have been times where I’ve contemplated binning the show. As a viewer I’ve desperately wanted to route for these characters. However, by enduring the frustration that comes with Girls I’ve been able to enjoy the dizzying heights of Marnie’s central episode, the witty dialogue, the touching moments, the powerful directing and the sublime performances. (Personal highlight Shosh going rouge in Tokyo).
I felt underwhelmed by the finale. A part of me longed for the conventional happy ending I’ve been entitled by shows to believe I deserve! Six years I put up with this show! However, I didn’t feel the sting Lost left me with, instead I left the episode appreciative of the realism. Hannah didn’t get what she wanted, but she got what she needed. I was left with unanswered questions, but I was not left feeling cheated. A lot of women go through life saying that they didn’t know what love was until they had a baby, that their life didn’t begin until motherhood forced them to stand up and fight. Having witnessed my own sister struggle through the beginning of motherhood I could understand Hannah’s own crisis. Being a mother is HARD! Although as Hannah’s face shows us at the end, it is becoming.
I’ve recently cut out a toxic friendship from my life. I understand how hard it is to reflect on something that was once ideal and to realise you are your own individual. I was obsessed by this relationship and once I saw the negative effect it was having on my sense of wealth I opted out aka ‘blocked’ the person from my life and I’ve been okay since. The idea that some people in your life just do not stay the course is okay with me now. Beforehand I thought hard to make it work, but like Shosh I put myself first and the world didn’t end. I’ll always look back on that friendship fondly, I grew and learnt a lot from that person, but that person wasn’t willing to live up to the expectations I selfishly placed on that relationship.
Shosh’s scene returning to America expressed the frustration of losing a journey and returning to a grim reality. Her interview scenes were cringe worthy as I felt I was watching myself go through the dismal process of trying to prove my worth.
Jessa’s own struggle with substance abuse rings alarm bells in my head. My 20s were/are a time of trying to be someone else, trying to feel that high constantly. I acted selfish and put a lot of people through some troubling times for the sake of my own ego. I wasn’t willing to let reality in, rather I loved the sense of the other.
I know a lot of people hated Jessa, dating your friends ex? A big no from me. However, I felt the show reflected that Jessa has strong skepticism from the beginning going into that relationship. Jessa’s impromptu wedding was a highlight for the character showing that good ideas can come crumbling down when the honeymoon period fades.
Marnie very much latches onto Hannah in the finale. She is unable to be alone so she projects her life onto Hannah’s, which she justifies by stating that Hannah ‘needs’ her. This inability to perhaps move on and grow as an individual is one of my falters in life. Recently I learnt of a friends journey to live in a different country for a year, my first reaction? What about me? Instead of being happy for this person and supportive I wanted to follow this person into the unknown. Life is a journey we create for ourselves and like the scene where Marnie plays her music solo and crushes it we need to understand that the only person we need to accomplish things in life is staring right at us when we look in the mirror.
Hannah is messy, childish and a true sex fanatic. Yet she’s driven to find herself, to not settle, to put herself in difficult situations and be fiercely independent. I love Dunham’s portrayal of a neurotic and unapologetic woman trying to find herself by relentlessly being herself. Her breakup scene with Fran will always stay with me as there are many instances in relationships where I’ve wanted to run away and escape from the situation.
Hannah is grumpy and flawed, yet a perfect depiction of 21st century life as an entitled individual who wants their voice to be heard and echoed back.
I’ll miss Girls for it’s realism, where every episode feels like an indie film schools wet dream. The life lessons thrown at me and the ability to depict journeys as a zig zag rather than a glamorous straight line. Life is awkward, tragic, uncomfortable, fun. Life is life, deal with it.