Girls: Season 6 created by Lena Dunham (HBO, Apatow Productions)
Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Adam Driver, Zosia Mamet, Alex Karpovsky, Andrew Rannells, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach.
A Voice of a Generation
It’s probably Girls’ own fault, but it sure has received backlash over the years. Search the series on Twitter and you’ll likely find numerous opinions on the subject. Perhaps people feel threatened by the confident form of feminism from its creator, Lena Dunham. Maybe people find the lack of diversity concerning. Some may argue about the backdrop, New York City, and the relative affluence of the cast push people away. And for some, the perception of Millennials, entitlement, and the overarching assumption behind the title to suggest a universality of this experience cause critique.
Certainly, Girls offers no favors with its marketing approach. For six seasons, the line most frequently connected to the Girls’ oeuvre is Hanna Horvath’s (Lena Dunham) statement to her parents, “I believe I am the voice of my generation. Or at least a generation.” In context, an under-the-influence character speaks these words with a humorous undertone; she’s out of her mind when she says it. But when the phrase links back to the marketing over and over again, society at large may find a different reading, one in which the character exhibits a pompous entitled attitude often attributed to the Millennial generation.
These conclusions are unfortunate, because taken for what it is—a comedy—the Girls run on HBO submits equal value in its writing, character development, and sense of humor.
You Can Write What You Want To
In its writing, Dunham presents a humorous realism of the post-collegiate years where young women enter adulthood and seek to understand the modern ways of life. Time and time again, Dunham transcends format in the “bottle episodes,” where a single, distinct story expands over the course of 30 minutes. To the end, Dunham subverts expectations, to the point of eschewing a standard finale and writing out characters as naturally fit during the final run.
Girls not Friends
From a character development standpoint, Girls represents its title with aplomb. On Twitter a couple of weeks ago, someone mentioned how the growing disillusionment of this specific friend group proves why the show is called Girls, not Friends. True to life, the post-collegiate years not only represent an opportunity to grow up and establish a career path, it also extracts relationships. The tightest groups of friends tend to not last long. Even when people remain amicable and “friends” in definition and reminiscence, the physical space—the life together—component of friendship dissipates. New jobs, marriages, children—they all push us toward the schisms in relationship. The weekly hangout becomes the monthly hangout becomes the yearly hangout. This end does not necessitate a falling out, although it sometimes might produce its tensions; instead, life moves on. Girls continues this thread, charting separations over the course of its seasons to illustrate the natural divorce of friendships when facing the battle of time.
So Let’s Laugh
Lastly, Girls offer a wry sense of humor to the end. Whether observational, rapt turns of phrase, or expressive acting, these characters would make you laugh, even in the most dramatic of episodes.
So three cheers for Girls. I enjoyed the run.
Verdict: 4 out of 5