Last time I wrote about Girls I gushed over how ‘real’ it was. I think most people’s initial reaction to the show was similar. That mood probably peaked with the Robyn moment at the close of episode three, and if someone had told me at that moment that the show would conclude with a surprise, sham(ish) marriage, then I would’ve been really, really concerned.
As it is, the gradual shift of the show from a naturalistic drama into a gently reflexive dramedy that had as much to do with authenticity, invention and writing as it did STDs, Twitter and relationships really impressed me. This was a show that went from people losing their shit when it got minor details of Brooklyn geography wrong, to people readily accepting Hannah drawing on eyebrows and trying to fuck her gross, pervy boss for her writing. Probably for the best.
Unless the show falls down some Lynchian wormhole at the end of Season 8, it’s still too naturalistic by far to suggest that all of the character’s experiences are being filtered through Hannah as this kind of mischievous, unreliable narrator - and, by extension, opening a ‘Heisenbergian trap door’ under Dunham herself - but the show does deconstruct that naturalism to make you aware of how atypical any story told by a self-aspiring writer must be. Hannah has a knack - ‘so much potential’ - for getting to the truth of a matter as evidenced in her role in Marnie and Charlie’s break-up, but how she gets to it, how she actively seeks it out, is something that gives the show a little more leeway with its storylines, and viewers something deeper to chew on.
A neat bit of completeness I missed: Slate’s great round-up of the finale (one of many Girls pieces on the site that I’ve been wading through in the last week) pointed out that Hannah ends up on the beach at Coney Island with the dessert that was denied to her by parents in the first episode. Also, inspired by a thoughtful comment in under that piece, and floating my meta/reflexive/art about art Woody Allen point, Coney Island is one of many places (already tied strongly with childhood and the imagination) in Annie Hall where Alvy Singer’s fictionalised biography runs away with itself. An intentional nod, maybe? Or do hungover New Yorkers generally wash up at Coney Island? Is it in the Ealing Broadway of New York?
Turns out Shoshanna wasn’t initially intended as a central character, which hopefully explains why her character didn’t have much in the way of a narrative arc this season. It could be that a lot of her character and charm will disappear along with her virginity, but her relationship with Ray, if it lasts the season break, will hopefully give her something more substantial - and hopefully just as funny - to do in season 2. If not, we’ll always have her looking like an adorable, snuggie-rocking Buddha watching Baggage on the Gameshow Network.