'Girls' Season Three Ends with a Triumphant Moment of Earned Selfishness
I have not been a huge fan of this season of Girls, though even in those moments in which I despised most of the characters, I could still appreciate the series for what it has been trying to accomplish. It is hard for me to develop any real sympathy for the characters, though (especially if you watch it right after the anti-Girls, Shameless), but I think what’s important about Girls is not how much we hate the characters, but why we hate them.
If you hate them because Lena Dunham often reveals herself , or because Alison Williams is the daughter of Brian Williams, that makes you kind of a superficial dick. Personally, I don’t like them because I have an inherent bias against privilege, which makes me resent it when the characters throw away good opportunities for the hope of better opportunities. That’s as much my own issues as it is with the characters on Girls.
But last night, that f*ck-the-man mentality paid off for Hannah Horvath, and I actually felt a twinkling of pride for her in the closing seconds of the episode. Her relationship with Adam is falling apart because Adam is being a dick, though part of me could sympathize with Adam’s frustration with Hannah for messing with his mojo before his first Broadway performance by announcing that she’d been accepted into the Iowa Writer’s School.
But in this instance, I think my other instinct won out in thinking that this is what couple’s do. This is what Hannah does, and Adam knows this. A solid couple shares good news with each other, regardless of the timing. After all, Hannah was at Adam’s play to support him, because she loves him. He should’ve reciprocated. In fact, Hannah’s good news should’ve motivated him to do better, instead of the opposite. He should’ve recognized how much it meant to Hannah, and it should’ve energized him. Moreover, if he actually did have a lousy performance, he shouldn’t have taken that out on Hannah. That is something Hannah would do.
That’s why I was so impressed with Hannah’s reaction to her acceptance into the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the end of the episode, because she was able to put aside all of these other things that would have completely derailed her emotionally in the past, and enjoy a moment of pride in herself for the right reasons, because through actual effort and determination, Hannah achieved her own success.
There was also a nice ending for Shoshanna, too, even though it wasn’t exactly what she wanted. At least not yet. Ray didn’t take her back, but she at least realized that she’d rather have Ray, and that stability, and a relationship that makes her a better person, than to go against her own nature and be something she isn’t: Someone who wants to sleep around. That’s not Shosh, and she learned that right kind of lesson from her mistake. But it was also something she needed to discover on her own, and that discovery, I think, will ultimately make her someone more satisfied with who she is.
As for Marnie? It may be in service of a relationship that won’t materialize or, even if it does, one that will end in disaster, but the important thing about kissing Desi is that Marnie reclaimed the confidence she lost after Charlie dumped her. She’s got a job, she’s got a potential singing career, and she feels good about herself, which is light years ahead of where she was 12 episodes ago.
I don’t know what to make of Jessa’s arc this season. It felt rushed and unformed, and I have no idea what we’re supposed to take home from Jessa’s decision to help Beddie end her life, only to reverse that decision at the last moment. Will Jessa learn something about the value of life from that experience, or will she end up in prison or something for attempted assistance of suicide? I don’t know, and with the way things are going with Jessa this season, I don’t really care.
But I think the important thing to take away from this episode is that Hannah seems to have found some happiness that isn’t raveled up in someone else’s life or a relationship. She achieved a personal victory on her own volition, and if she can accept her own successes, maybe she will learn to take responsibility for her own failures, as well. There will no doubt be self-involved setbacks, but this is a promising step in the right direction. For once, I didn’t hate Hannah. I felt pride on her behalf.