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Girls Season Finale

Margaret Waickman | Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lena Dunham, star and creator of HBO’s award-winning TV show “Girls,” has been called the “voice of a generation” by viewers and critics alike. “Girls” follows the lives of four women in their early twenties trying to “find themselves” while navigating the perils of the NYC dating scene and attempting to make a living out of liberal arts degrees. I fell in love with “Girls” from the first episode, mostly because Dunham manages to simultaneously provide hilarious dialogue and an uncomfortably real look at the sometimes-bleak troubles of her characters. 

However, after watching this past Sunday’s Season 2 finale, I might have fallen out of love with the series. The show has shifted from a comedy to a depressingly close study of the different kinds of misery each character experiences (Spoiler Alert). 

In the Season 2 finale, we had to watch Hannah (still wearing the same “Life is Good” oversize tee from last episode) cut her own bangs and ask a previous coke addict to fix that carnage. We had to watch Shoshanna finally realize that she loves her boyfriend, “the way that, like, you feel sorry for a monkey, they need so much help and live in a cage”.  We had watch Marnie and Charlie get back together, mostly because Marnie wants Charlie for his money and Charlie wants Marnie for her looks. Oh, and Jessa is still oddly missing from the show.

The friendships which made “Girls” so fun to watch have disintegrated. Shoshana, Marnie, Jessa and Hannah are rarely in scenes together anymore, limiting the witty banter that I once loved, and making the title of the show questionable.

The finale didn’t just show the girls distancing themselves from each other. This finale showed each girl having the miseries in her life remedied by not the female companionship the show once knew and loved, but by the saving grace of a man. The “worst year” of Marnie’s life has finally been put back together when she gets back with Charlie. Shoshanna does dump her sorry boyfriend, but the victory she experiences isn’t complete until she hooks up with a hunky blonde stranger. 

Hannah, perhaps the most dysfunctional of them all, calls her creepy man-child ex-stalker when she doesn’t know what else to do. The episode concludes with Adam running shirtless through the streets of New York City to Hannah’s apartment. Once her gets there, he breaks down her door and picks her up to cradle her like a baby. The “Girls” I know and love is written by young women and for young women. The lesson that I learned from Sunday’s finale – young women should find a man to fix their mistakes.

There is the possibility that Dunham is setting us up for the reconciliation of the Girls in Season 3. We saw a shot of the beginning of Hannah’s book, which read, “A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance…” Hopefully this one line is an indicator that Season 3 will not be a continuation of the rom-com nature of the end to Season 2, but rather a move back to what the show is supposed to be about: the friendship between girls.

I am going to tune in to Season 3 just to see where the show goes. I have a hard time imagining that Dunham will allow it to continue much longer in this knight-in-shining armor direction, given her comments at the Globe that, “[this] award is for every woman who felt like there wasn’t a space for her.” “Girls” is a show about women, not about the men who save those women. While the Season 2 finale left a bad taste in my mouth, hopefully Season 3 will provide us with the restoration of the friendships and witty banter that I once fell in love with.

Contact Margaret Waickman at mwaickma@nd.edu