The Girls Series Finale — A Forced Anti-‘Happily Ever After’?

Written by Jess Alaimo

Girls Series Finale
Photo Credit: HBO

The Girls Series Finale — A Forced Anti-‘Happily Ever After’?

My favorite movie is The Graduate. I absolutely love the film’s ending now, but when I was younger, I really hated it. The inconclusiveness of Ben and Elaine on the bus, finally together, but still so alone. What have they done? What happens now? Where was the happy ending? A few years later, I learned to appreciate it. That’s real. Not all great sagas end with a conclusive “happily ever after.” But was the finale of Girls a forced “anti-happily ever after,” or was it true to the fate of these characters we have watched grow for six years?

For the last six seasons, all the reasons I have loved Girls were, in fact, some of the reasons Girls is one of the most hated shows on television. The characters are often terrible friends to one another. They are impossible and self-centered.They are not likable.

But they aren’t supposed to be.

Often, these characters are a satire of our most selfish and vulnerable moments. Hannah (Lena Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams), Jessa (Jemima Kirke), and Shoshanna (Zoisa Mamet) have given us an overly-exaggerated, but ALWAYS witty, form of our own truth. Girls was often a fun-house mirror reflection to the love, heartache, and often undermined — even mocked — anguish of being a millennial, of being a woman.

Girls connected to its audience in a deep and meaningful way. Whether viewers loved or hated the characters, the writing was always unapologetic. That is why the finale feels a bit like a betrayal. In many ways, watching the conclusion of Girls felt like I was watching an artistic itch get scratched, despite the betterment of the series. At times, I wondered, “Did the writers ever watch their own show?” or “Am I watching Girls or Girl And Baby?”

There was a series-long build up of the relationship between Hannah and Adam (Adam Driver), which unraveled itself in a confusing, rushed, side-thought of a plot. But Hannah will be okay without Adam, as she has miraculously landed a job as a college professor. We come to find that Shoshanna is engaged to a man neither we, nor Hannah, have previously ever met. They met at a cupcake vending machine. The tension between Ray (Alex Karpovsky) and Shoshanna for the previous episodes seems all for naught, a waste of precious screen time in these last few diamond-like episodes. And what the hell happened to Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach)? It seemed the show was insistent on pushing this intolerable, abusive character down our throats for the last few seasons. They had finally given him some depth, and then he disappeared without another mention.

In the world of Girls, it’s not that people in love might not end up together. They definitely will not end up together, no matter how long the show has spent establishing their relationship and connection. Whether this is a statement from the writers to establish the anti-fairy tale, or whether this is just the story of Girls, I was left feeling robbed. Maybe, like my favorite movie, I will learn to appreciate it with time.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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