March 19, 2013

girls the finale. my 2p.

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There’s no denying it. The finale episode of the second series of GIRLS was different, much different. It didn’t stray from Lena Dunham’s utterly candid, bordering on inappropriate displays of twenty-somethings having bizarre relationships and LOLworthy one-liners, but it just had a completely different tone.

My mind was torn: was this Lena expressing a darker side to her bubbly characters (as we know she likes to delve very deep) or was she breaking her own tradition and adhering to the conventional “happy ending” that perhaps she knows we all secretly want to see?

TV shows that represent a strong group of female friends normally leave us in a mournful state of mind when it ends. And I hate to directly compare the two, but shows such as Sex and the City are proof points for how we can be left seriously bereft once our on-screen pals leave us to face the real world alone. We actually grow quite attached to these characters. That gutted feeling when a season ends is because you get used to hearing about these people’s lives and it seems a bit sad to suddenly be cut off from it.

Lena’s script-writing is brave and the way she holds herself in interviews is interesting because intentionally or unintentionally as mere viewers we can’t see a massive difference right now between Lena  and Hannah.

In GIRLS-world we invest a lot of our own emotional energy in Hannah. I guess she was the one of the first uber modern female protagonists to really give a lot of young girls that extra bit of inspiration that they were missing. Magazines definitely weren’t filling that void. “Oh YAY,” we cried, “we don’t have to fit inside a perfect equilateral triangle, we can be the oddest shape in the box and people will still like us for our brain and wit.”

She paved the way for non-stick-thin girls to wear short floral romper suits in the middle of Winter and for that I personally want to thank her.

So, I wonder, WHY did Lena decided to turn Hannah into a shivering wreck at the end of the final episode? As much as I swooned and oohed and aahed at the final romance scene of a shirtless Adam dodging speeding taxis and perspiring enough to give a little shine on camera, it was all a bit too Fairy tale for me. Lena’s storyline’s were hard to watch due to it’s awkward realism and ultimate cringe-factor. We LIKED it being weird, and we are just starting to get used to it. “Life’s not fair but let’s just ride life like a pony” was the key message from GIRLS HBO HQ.

So why, when Adam ran to Hannah’s flat was it like watching the last 5 minutes of a Hollywood Rom-Com with Channing Tatum?

Her character, for me, was centred around the fact that she was hilarious, weird and doing cool stuff like writing books with no money. That was realistic and inspiring and plus she had cool friends and like to go out to dance to cringe 90’s R&B. I’m not saying Lena was wrong to have shown a weaker, darker side of Hannah, but it did seem a bit text book.

Was this an empowering message? Ringing her Dad to ask for money before then making her boyfriend run all the way to her apartment whilst giving puppy dog eyes into her FaceTime app?

It doesn’t scream independent woman to me? Or is that the point: that sometimes we don’t face up to our own insecurities. What all the “GIRLS” do in this final episode is exactly that: they stare their most prominent insecurities right square in the eye. Marni admits she wants to grow old with Charlie whilst always trying to be the one ‘on top’, Shoshanna actually raises her voice for the first time and admits she’s unhappy with Ray and Hannah finally admits she is far from OK and cannot do it alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I still respect Lena Dunham’s creativity and thank the lord she wrote the show.

But my only remaining question is a selfish one: who am I going to look up to as a strong fearless female now, if it’s not Hannah Horvath?

  • YES!! The season two finale left me incredibly frustrated.

    Whereas some of the tales throughout the first two series related scarily close (at times) to my own life, this seemed like a crazy departure from the ‘norm’. Marnie and Charlie I got, and I could even cope with Shoshanna (my personal favourite) breaking up with Ray. But Hannah?

    Oh that really annoyed me. Reinforcing the view that as a woman you NEED a man to get through the difficult parts of life. What would have been so wrong with Hannah realising that she, alone, was enough?

    So annoying.

  • I have yet to watch an episode of Girls and not be left with a dozen questions by the end credits, every single episode has created discussion between myself and friends, usually about how bloody weird the whole thing is, but never in a bad way.
    I love that Lena Dunham has answered every challenge from social media etc with a kind of middle finger (the blatant flaunting of the race issue at the start of the second series being the perfect example) but it has always remained painfully honest to the writer and her audience. I think that honesty has to include the whole white knight rescue because yes women are as strong and independent and fierce as any Beyonce/Destiny Child song suggests, but most of the women I know, strong and independent as they are, have still been rescued at one point or another, not necessarily by a white knight, but by friends or parents.
    We all get to a point where we just need someone to pull us out of spells of self-pity or despair or just being down in the dumps. Yes Adam kicking in the apartment door sweaty and shirtless was a tad over dramatic but from the Dunham’s perspective, if we can assume that this is another autobiographical moment, it probably felt that dramatic considering the mental state she portrays at the time.
    I completely get what you mean about it kind of feeling like a let down to a dedicated feminist fan base, but I think as a series finale it works. You can guarantee that series three will open with something suitably catastrophic to bring us back down to earth!

  • JClaireH

    Don’t you feel like Hannah got herself to a point of no return? Unlike the SATC girls, Lena seemed to appreciate that this was not an issue that could be swept away with a cosmo or a girls brunch. That’s why GIRLS reflects a truer life. Yes, Hannah has become a heroine to women across the globe, with accolades following the GIRLS writers, producers and actors. But Lena Dunham – Hannah in ‘real-life’ – she has faced huge personal attack. Physical criticism. Disgusted critics assuming she is somehow ramming herself down our throats. Don’t like her? Don’t watch? Just a suggestion. I absolutely agree, this series of GIRLS has been heart achingly inspirational. Issues were tackled, credits donned the screen when questioned burned behind my eyes. And I adored every minute. But actually this episode, for me, reflected certain truths that I felt fell in to some perfectly beautiful and – of course – apt conclusion. Adam was still in love with Hannah. Weird, chubby, real, quirky Hannah. He had a gorgeous girl, accepting him as long as he was conventional (sexually and otherwise;) but this reunion had been building. And I don’t feel let down. In her own, totally unique way, Hannah (who looked in this episode like an early member of the Beatles) was 100% consumed in her self-absorbed and OCD state. I wouldn’t have wanted Marnie to save her. Shoshona is just figuring out ‘how’ to be a grown-up (and I love her for that) and Jessa is so hugely into herself, it would’ve been unrealistic to assume she’s capable of helping anyone. Adam. Messed up, loved-up Adam. He needed to be saved as much as Hannah did. And that’s why she is a feminist icon. Even at the point of hitting rock bottom, in allowing Adam to ‘save her’, she was really saving him…

    Just as a side note – your blog is really fab. You’re funny and sincere and your branding is brilliant.

    Doesn’t 2014 sound like ages away? And yet I know it will be here in a heartbeat!! Roll on #GIRLSseries3

  • I know what you mean. This was my main frustration too – because Hannah seemed so strong and energetic right at the beginning and it was so sad to see her bringing brought down! I wanted her to ‘wear the trousers’ a bit more with Adam and finish her sodding book!
    e xx

  • Hey, thanks so much for leaving a comment, I totally get what you mean – this is why I was so torn, i agree with both points! It’s like Lena wanted to bring to attention that no girl can be super woman and be completely fine the whole time. Maybe if Hannah was completely invincible it wouldn’t be true to life & we’d question what was bubbling under the surface. It was a good finale episode, but maybe only because it was the big finale. If that was a mid-way episode I would have been totally confused! Know what you mean about how each episode asks millions of questions.. definitely a good thing, not enough tv shows inspire any original thought.. e xx

  • Thanks so MUCH for leaving this comment, seriously thank you! Really awesome to hear what you think of the episode. Some of your points didn’t even cross my mind. e.g: So true about Adam needing saving too, in hindsight it’s just so clear he just couldn’t be himself with anyone other than Hannah. I hear you on the Lena criticism, gosh I don’t really how anyone could critique her – if anything the first thing I thought after this episode was how clever and brilliant she is, for giving us something we didn’t expect. But, I just felt uncomfortable, if anything, with having to accept Hannah wasn’t invincible and weaker than I thought.
    AND I totally had the same reaction about 2014..my heart sank. SO far away. but I have a feeling it’ll be worth the wait 🙂 e xxxxx

  • I kind of agree and kind of disagree with you. On one hand I wanted Lena to be brave and show the reality that sometimes your boyfriend moves on and there is nothing you can do, on the other hand I think I would have felt cheated if Hannah had of spiralled into a meltdown with no return.

    I think Lena keeping Adam’s character written into the series was indicative that something further was going to happen with them so I am less surprised that they ended the way that they did.

    What has really annoyed me with this final episode is Marni. What was that? More proof that if you are thin an beautiful, no matter how badly your treat people you will get the guy in the end.

    I really enjoyed reading your critique – Thanks and I am also so sad that we will have to wait so long for the return of GIRLS. 🙁

  • Hi Nadine – thanks so much for commenting & reading 🙂

    i know what you mean about them prepping us for the next season, it would have been weird if we were left thinking that maybe they wouldn’t carry the relationship into future episodes, so from that point of view, it was cool that they got back together. not sure about the long-winded cheesy run to her flat, but that’s just my opinion 😉

    Definitely with you on the Marni bit – that was a bit strange plus the bit about her saying ‘i don’t love you for your money’ kind of ruined it for me, made her little speech feel less genuine i think.

    thanks for stopping by, can’t wait for next season, 2014 hurry up!

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