The finale of Girls ended exactly how I wanted it to, with the complex, abusive and deeply flawed relationship that was the nucleus of the show, Hannah and Marnie. A partnership almost completely based on ignoring what the other was sharing in order to tackle the much more pressing issue of ‘you’ll never guess what happened to me today’. Two people held together by sporadic moments of complete devotion. Even after 6 years of lectures, fights and long periods of continental drift Hannah and Marnie still seem to have almost no understanding of how to have healthy interactions with each other. During the episode Marnie is trying to enforce a blog-worthy, inspiration board version of what it is to be a parent/co-parent, becoming increasingly frustrated by Hannah’s unwillingness to comply. Meanwhile Hannah feels suffocated by Marnie’s standards while simultaneously shunning the positivity Marnie is trying to bring to motherhood. The expressions Hannah and Marnie’s paint on their faces affirms that they aware that this is a completely dysfunctional set-up. They endure this set-up though, because they both want to be there for each other during their time of need. Neither of them willing to give up the much sought after title of ‘good friend’.
It’s the focus on these friendships that have set Girls have set itself so far apart from any other comedy, in fact the show deserves to be given it’s own genre, my suggestion would be ‘fiction-nonfiction comedy porno’. Many compare Girls to Sex and the City based on the fact that they saw an advert for it that had four females on it, ‘Is it like Loose Women?’, but if those people had taken the time to watch the show they would’ve have instantly realised they were suffering from a severe case of vagina blindness. In Sex and the City (I’m a Stanford/Magda/brownstone hybrid in case you were wondering) the relationships are a frayed tightrope that the characters are attempting to straddle, and the friendships are the safety net, at the ready to comfort you with a cosmo and a perfectly timed penis quip. Girls however takes a much more unforgiving approach, creating a world where the relationships are once again the tightrope however in this universe the friends are stood at the other side of the canyon hacking away at the rope, brandishing a machete that has all of the ways your fucking up neatly engraved on the blade. In the final series Ray breaks off his semi-relationship with Marnie, when Marnie informs Hannah of this news she is met with the damning statement ‘I mean, you’re, like, a horrible cunt to him, so…’ True words, simply put.
Although the sexual partners do play second fiddle in the show they are still essential. Nothing made me feel safer than knowing that there are other poor souls in this world who are also having sex so bleak they may need professional assistance to reintegrate back into society. The actors have to be commended for their commitment to the bizarre sex scene’s, of course there are cups and socks and cloth and glue and probably some sort of paper mache to create a barrier for the flesh, but there is no way to reenact ass eating without having somebody’s face nesting neatly in between your bum cheeks.
When I felt like one of girls was entering an encounter that would whittle away at their self-worth I found that it evoked the same emotions that I experience watching the final scene of Silence of the Lambs, where Clarice shakily hunts down Buffalo Bill, but instead of shouting ‘don’t go in there, he has a gun!’ I’m shouting ‘don’t go in there, he’s a massive d-bag!’ However even these relationships were portrayed in a completely new way, this was the first show I had ever seen where the protagonist was at times somebody else’s poor choice. In almost all TV programmes that have come before Girls the central characters have more often than not been the victims of drive-by romances. Gunned down by men that are ‘too good to be true’ or strung along by a temptress, who despite being intelligent, beautiful and have the ability to choose any man she wants, has chosen to dedicate her life to destroying the marriages of middle-aged dentists. Contrary to this formula Girls dared to show the main characters using others to fulfil their own personal agenda. Whether that be a dark fantasy, an ideal of what their partner should be or to kindly remind an ex that they have 100%, absolutely, positively (not) moved on.
Girls does have it’s critics, which is perfectly understandable. Many complained that the characters were entitled, selfish and achieve a level of narcissism usually reserved for serial killers or politicians. That is actually a fairly spot on analysis. I believe that the world had been starved of these characters for far too long. There are an abundance of TV idols for the viewer that wants to see a character who may make mistakes, but will regularly remind the audience that deep down they have a heart of gold, there are six of them on Friends (I’m a Gunther/Janice/coffee mug hybrid in case you were wondering). This show is doesn’t portray that person though, this show is for the people in the world that are sometimes so self involved that they begin to believe that they are trapped in some sort of Truman Show type scenario. The people who will read a heartbreaking story about an individual coping with a terminal illness and almost instantly think about how they would bravely cope with that very same illness. How they would tell their partner that they would ‘find someone else’ and sometimes even imagine the secret tape they would film before they passed, letting their loved ones how they made it all worth it. Girls is the show for that person, it’s about time we had our idols.
When I first began watching Girls I thought it would be a lesson in how to avoid doing shitty things, this was not what I learnt. What I did learn is that I am going to do shitty things, both to myself and others, but I can choose to become a slightly better person when I do. It is because of Girls I discovered that over time I will learn that my personal grievances are not those of the world, that I should be caring and compassionate towards my partners and maybe most importantly I can learn to be a ‘good friend’.