In four years, we’ve seen Marnie, Hannah, Jessa and Shoshanna grow from relatively clueless Girls into similarly clueless young women; for all that’s changed over the years, the four are making the same types of mistakes. We’ve cringed at their hilariously awkward sex scenes, rolled our eyes at their self-entitlement and tutted at their lack of self-awareness and focus, only to look in the mirror and realise, in mild terror, that we were them once.
But now, they are older and wiser. And in Season 4, as the girls reach their mid-twenties, those traits we love to loathe have settled down to simply become the girls’ characters. Is this new level of acceptance going to result in them making smarter choices this time round?
It looks that way for Hannah, who, at the end of last season, was accepted to the college of her dreams to truly pursue her writing career. The episode opener, a more optimistic mirror image of the opening of the first season, serves to demonstrate just how far Hannah has managed to come in those few years. Certainly, her haircut – generally a good indicator of her mental state given her Britney-esque hair-chopping session at the end of Season 2 – has calmed down a little bit, as has Adam’s (a snippy insight into the demands of auditions gives us the indicator that Adam Driver’s Star Wars character might be clean-shaven). But what will Hannah next untidily cut out of her life? Will she and Adam be able to handle the New York-Iowa pressures of a long distance relationship? The end of Season 3 indicated that this would cause turmoil to both these tortured creative souls, so it will be interesting to see said turmoil unfold, and will likely see Hannah return to her old, neurotic (and, for many viewers, highly infuriating) tricks.
Meanwhile, Jessa – who thankfully isn’t facing any charges following last season’s mild cliffhanger – is in need of a new sense of purpose, following the arrival of her elderly charge’s daughter (Natasha Lyonne, channeling her furious Orange Is The New Black bluntness, but with her trademark wild hair under a baseball cap). Jessa has made her name in this series by, let’s face it, wrecking people, so with a clean slate in this new series. might she be able to use her powers for good?
Shoshanna has finally graduated (giving us the opportunity to finally meet her parents – entertainingly both called Mel) and is set to make her mark on the world. This important life stage, given the knockbacks on her route to success, is met with considerably fewer bells, whistles and tiny hats than a Shoshanna personal milestone once might have. How long will this new-found maturity (which finally allows her to maturely make peace with Ray) last?
And will Marnie, who had it all figured out in Season 2 only to have her life thrown in turmoil, and has since transformed from the loving girlfriend to the other woman, find the self-confidence she desperately needs? All “shippers” of the elicit Marnie/Desi union can comfortably rejoice; if their suitably graphic opening scene is anything to go by, the sexual connection definitely remains. But while Desi is certainly able to… erm… fill some of the emptiness inside Marnie, can he give her the creative kicks she craves? It’s early days, but our money’s on there being a few hurdles to overcome first.
Of course, there’s only one way to find out. Welcome back ladies. We’ve missed you.
Girls Season 4 is on Sky Atlantic 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. Seasons 1 to 3 are also available until the end of January 2015.
Photo: ©Girls SM, under licence from Home Box Office, Inc.