The “Girls” Finale
I may have been unsure after the first episode, but by the end of the second episode I believed it was genius TV. The finale last night was of the sort that I had to keep pausing just to let the dialogue rest for a minute. Like a really great “30 Rock” episode, I felt like I was being spoiled rotten with the smart and the funny and I didn’t want any of it to be lost.
The fight in the street between Hannah and Adam was the centerpiece of the show. It led you to ask, “Is she unable to accept love from anyone or is this more Adam-specific?” He has basically been a ridiculous joke/jerk of a pseudo-boyfriend for the whole season. So I can forgive her for being confused about his new declarations of love. But the fight was at its core an attack on her security blanket of self-loathing that she holds so dear and expresses so loudly to anyone who’ll listen.
Adam: You’re eleven pounds overweight, you don’t know struggle!
Hannah: I’m thirteen pounds overweight and it’s been hell my whole life!
Hannah: I’m the most afraid person in the world!
Adam: You don’t get to be!
It was a continuation of the fight between Hannah and Marnie last week and is clearly the question Lena Dunham (as the writer and creator) is getting to as the core theme of the show: How much of the pain and struggle and anxiety that young adults feel right now is legitimate and how much is self-indulgent bullshit?
The actual plot of the episode was Jessa’s surprise wedding. Clearly this was her reaction to her boss telling her to grow up and find things to care about. Sadly, I don’t care enough about Jessa to question this decision. Thankfully the guy (wonderfully named Thomas-John) is just as awful, so the two of them screwing each other over (which is probably days away) doesn’t really bother me.
For me, the fault in the show is always found in the ancillary characters. Lena writes Hannah’s story so brilliantly. Her interactions with all of the characters are funny and relationship-specific (I especially like her interactions with Ray, the coffee shop manager.) But when the characters are acting independently from Hannah, the scenes often feel like filler until Hannah comes back. I’m still uninterested in anyone on the show outside of their relationship to her.
Regardless of what happens to the show next season, Lena Dunham did an amazing thing. She wrote 10 episodes of HBO that were entertaining, filled with unforgettable moments**, containing hilarious and smart dialogue and she in fact, to quote Hannah in Episode #1, might be the voice of her generation.
**Adam coaching Hannah through her jog, the scene at the women’s clinic, the HPV confrontation with her ex-boyfriend, the job interview that went south after she brought up date rape, and, of course, Peter Scolari’s penis.