Entertainment » Television

HBO’s Girls :: The Final Three

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Tuesday Mar 19, 2013
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**EDITOR’S NOTE :: For all you DVR-watchers, this article contains spoilers.**

Much has been written about this season of HBO’s "Girls" - the naval-gazing show by creator and star Lena Dunham that has polarized audiences. But in its defense, this is a pretty original show that has captured a generation of young adults in all their self-involved insanity. While older watchers might find their insistent "me" conversations annoying, the fact of the matter is... this is the world right now and Dunham has managed to capture that and throw it back at her own group.

Further complaints have been Dunham’s constant need to be brave in showing her "normal" body in all its naked wonder. (It did get old.) As well as the fact that the four friends that this show revolves around weren’t communicating. But hey, this isn’t "Sex & The City" where four career gals seem to have endless amounts of time to have boyfriends and lengthy lunches and cocktails at every whim. This is a real look at young woman trying to find their way and as annoying as they can be at times, it’s pretty truthful.

That said, the last three episodes started to take a (sometimes) stranger turn. Not only did it delve a bit deeper into some pretty big issues, but it also found a tone that wasn’t as off-putting. Suddenly it has become a lot more relatable to people outside of the post-college years.

The first noticeable change was the addition of Hannah’s OCD. I’m not sure if it was really talked about before, but it did seem to come out of the blue; mostly because the problem is pretty extreme. She has become unbelievably twitchy and to such an extent it’s uncomfortable to watch, which I guess gives it its power. While it took a few episodes for me to be on board with this change, I felt it really did add a great layer to the character and I was suddenly intrigued to see how she dealt with it.

Meanwhile, Charlie (Christopher Abbott) has sold an "app" and has become a pretty wealthy hipster business owner, much to Marnie’s (Allison Williams) chagrin. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is realizing her relationship with Ray (Alex Karpovsky) is not fulfilling and even has a make-out fling with the security guy at the building of a party she attended. "Don’t be offended, but you’re really good looking for a door man." Adam (Adam Driver) is set up with Natalia (Shiri Appelby) after a run-in with her mother (Carole Kane) at an AA meeting and suddenly he’s full on with a girl he seems to connect with - but that also challenges him.

Soon enough, Hannah’s mental state is causing her to fall behind on the biggest break of her career - an e-book she’s been asked to write. To quote her new boss, "These pages. I have to admit I didn’t finish them. Not because I didn’t have the time, but because I didn’t want to." Then she sticks a Q-tip too far into her ear and scratches her eardrum causing her to end up in the hospital - further delaying her book and causing her parents to both worry and annoy her.

Marnie visits Charlie’s new offices and ingratiates herself to his guests at a celebration party. There she sings to him an inappropriate song in front of the entire office. Clearly not the best choice. But did I mention, Marnie wants to be a singer now? Thank God she can actually sing. (The problem is that this seems like a cheap plot to show off her talents while bringing in the American Idol crowd. But for twenty-somethings, being a singer seems to be the dream-career of choice, so... it’ll work.) Regardless, Charlie has sex with Marnie in his office and Marnie is full on smitten with him once again.

Sadly, in a huge city like New York, Hannah runs into Adam while on the way home from the hospital. There she discovers he has a new girlfriend and finally realizes things have changed; for real.

Yet it’s in the last episode of the season where everything really changes, in the series’ tone and in cementing the things to come.

Co-written with Judd Apatow, this episode seems to have really nailed what this show should be, while also making it accessible to those not going through what these girls are going through. Every character had a telling moment that could be related to and it was an episode that was satisfying on many levels.

Here’s why:

Hannah is clearly not in her right mind and is barely hanging on to her sanity. But she’s realizing that her off-putting "me me me" personality has infected even her parent’s feelings toward her. She’s finding herself alone and without anyone else to care for her. This is partly because she creates this scenario, but also because everyone in her peer group is too self-involved to give a shit. This is a feeling many of us can relate to. We just want someone to take care of us once in a while, but when you are an adult, people expect you should do it yourself. But sometimes it’s too hard and you need that care and understanding. And it’s a testament to their true feelings for each other when Adam comes running (literally) to make sure she’s okay. It’s a beautiful scene.

Charlie and Marnie, meanwhile, are stuck in a "are we dating or aren’t we" scenario only to have Charlie hint that they aren’t. We think their story has ended until he runs after her and she finally admits: "I want you. I know I’m a mess , but I want you. I want to see you every morning. And I want to make you snack every night! And eventually I want to have your little brown babies and I wanna’ watch you die." He replies: "That’s all I ever wanted to hear."

Shoshanna on the other hand finally grows some balls and tells Ray off. "You hate colors! You hate ribbons! You hate everything! I can’t be the only thing you like!" (Oh my, I’ve had boyfriends like this.) Ray thinks she wants someone who is more with it for his age, so he asks his boss to be allowed to go back to school, but instead finds he will be the manager of his own coffee franchise. Unfortunately, that’s still not enough for Shoshanna and she lets him go.

After a disastrous phone call with her father, Hanna goes a bit nuts and cuts her hair. Needing to fix it, she enlists the help of Laird from downstairs. That’s when she comes up with this pretty insightful statement that perfectly illustrates that moment when you realize you’re not a kid anymore.

"You know when you’re young and you drop a glass and your dad says, like, get out of the way so you can be safe while he cleans it up? Well, now, no one really cares if I clean it up myself. No one really cares if I get cut with glass. If I break something, no one says ’let me take care of that.’"

And as the episode winds down and Adam runs to save Hannah, Charlie and Marnie walk off happily arm in arm, and Shoshanna is finally letting herself be a free-spirited single gal, we like these people again. We want them to succeed and we want to see where they will go.

Speaking of: what the hell happened to Jessa???

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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