And so it’s over for another year. The awkward sex scenes, the cringe-worthy public behaviour, the almost oppressive nudity (reaching new heights in this week’s finale) and the alien yet profoundly touching tender moments that cut through the surreal pretentiousness. Yes, Season 4 of Girls is behind us, with a whole raft of those experiences now under our four girls’ belts.
As finales go, it’s well-pitched – suitably teasing the next season, while closing off a few old stories (although in the Girls universe, nay the TV universe, old stories never stay closed) and setting up a few new ones. For Shoshanna and Jessa, those stories are affairs of the head, not the heart, with Jessa finally finding her calling and Shoshanna’s dreams coming true in a way she never imagined. As always, a chance encounter with a surreal supporting cast member helps steer the two on their separate paths. Lena Dunham warned us on Twitter that she believed that this episode gave audiences something they’d never before seen on television, and not just in terms of guest appearances. A warning to the curious: the episode’s title is Home Birth.
While we let that sink in, a few things have begun to sink in for Hannah as well. The strangeness of the last few episodes – the upending of her family unit following the coming out of her father – has manifested itself in the need for her to make different choices, as wisely dictated by her mother. As sad as these choices might be for us to watch (an audience who grew up on the Carrie and Big star-crossed romances), it’s a giant step for Hannah towards a happier, more adult and more supportive place. In theory.
And Marnie? Following Desi’s proposal, which pretty much followed the model of Chandler’s first proposal to Monica, we’ve waited for the fantasy to reach its climax. But would that be with a wedding or a reckoning? Is Ray lurking or waiting on the sidelines, a genuine nice guy or the proverbial nice guy? Will the outcome of her relationship showdown with Desi lead to the end of Marnie’s hopes at being the next She and Him, or will it give her a shot at being the next Norah Jones?
As we look forward to Season 5, with the characters having progressed from career crises to relationship crises to find themselves in different places, what have our cast learned and what have we? For us, we think that this season of Girls, with its high drama and deep, meaningful conversations, has been a perplexing, entertaining mix of tween-like anxiety and the ‘real’ concerns of adulthood. Based on each character’s final scenes, our Girls might just have become Women.
Girls Season 4 is on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 10pm. Not got Sky? You can stream it live – or catch up on-demand on NOW TV, as part of £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract.
Photo: Craig Blankenhorn / Girls SM, under licence from Home Box Office, Inc.