Did the Girls finale live up to the hype?Save
By Karl Puschmann
Because breaking up is hard to do it took Girls two attempts to say its final goodbyes. For a series that has so often struggled with consistency its exit - both of them - can only be labelled a total success.
As regular viewers of the show could attest, this was by no means guaranteed. Just like its central characters Girls has displayed flashes of brilliance over the years while wrestling with its flaws and occasionally succumbing to its worst instincts .
But over the past two weeks creator/writer/star Lena Dunham orchestrated a satisfying and confident conclusion to her show. Each character, including the increasingly stellar supporting cast, got their goodbyes, wrapped their arcs and ended up in their right place.
Even Dunham's character Hannah, who, at the very end of it all, had done the unthinkable and left New York, a city where "people literally shit in the streets", for a responsible teaching position at a pastoral out of town university.
Is it a cop out that they all lived happily ever after? Girls prided itself on its messy realism, its insistence that life was not something neat and tidy and easily understood. Its characters were chasing that naive ideal because, at heart, they all believed they were special and deserved it.
So yeah... I guess it is a bit. But it offered closure and besides, who really wanted to see them ride off miserably into the sunset. Better to go out dancing.
These two final episodes both served as very separate and distinct farewells. The first, fittingly titled Goodbye Tour was more traditional and upbeat and would have felt very familiar to fans of Girls producer/writer Judd Apatow.
The four girls, Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna burned their friendship to the ground with another blazing row. The power of everyone's self-involved righteousness obliterating any hopes of reconciliation. As they squared off in the bathroom at Shoshanna's engagement party. Words were said. The sort of which there is no coming back from.
"I have come to realize how exhausting and narcissistic and ultimately boring this whole dynamic is," spat Shoshanna with barely contained venom. "I think we should all just agree to call it."
Was that Dunham taking a thinly veiled swipe at her critics? Most likely. But it worked and the girls stormed out then stalked out a separate corner of the party in which to skulk and sulk in.
They continued to party separately; Hannah doing her bad robot dancing, Marnie flirting with the suits, Jessa laughing it off with some brand new pals and Shosh draping herself across her fiancé.
But through the healing powers of booze and dance some small reconciliations were made; a touching moment between Jessa and Hannah sealed their season long rift and a brief dance between Hannah and Marnie patched things up there.
But as the editing skewered time and separated the girls off from each other we zoomed slowly in on Hannah's dawning realisation this really was the end. That this group of friends who had all gone through a pivotal part of their lives together, who'd been there, helped, supported and caused trouble with each other, was done.
Hannah, one of the most exhausting and narcissistic characters to ever grace the small screen, finally achieved a level of growth and self-awareness that she had seemed wilfully incapable of achieving at any point previously over the past six years.
It was a bittersweet moment. Everyone smiling and happy caught up in their own worlds as opposed to each others.
And if it had ended there it would have been a great way to go. But it didn't.
Latching, the final episode, felt more like an epilogue. We jumped five months into the future and joined Hannah, her baby Grover, and Marnie upstate.
This episode focused on this family unit, mainly struggling together and kept a tight focus.
Marnie, acting as a stand-in for Grover's absent surfer-dude dad, was getting on Hannah's tits with her "helping". Grover wasn't getting on Hannah's tits, causing her to stress out because she thought his refusal to breastfeed must mean he hated her. As her Mum would later point out, a baby is incapable of hate.
Where the previous episode saw Hannah realising people grow apart and friendships don't last forever, this one focused on her accepting her new role as a parent. This mainly revolved around a very funny chance encounter/confrontation with a hysterical, pants-less, teenage girl.
Its closing moments however were tender and quiet. Just Hannah and her baby, rocking gently together in the dark, both accepting of the other. The girl all grown up.