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Lena Dunham’s bourgeois white millennial opus is back for its final season. Any discussion of Girls should begin with the disclaimer that yes, Lena Dunham is very problematic, as is the show. But with that in mind, Girls can be enjoyed for what it is — an entertaining half hour very much of its time.
Thus far into season six, it seems the show would like us to believe that Hannah is maturing. At the risk of sounding corny, I guess it would make sense that the story of Girls would end with them as “women”. In the season opener, “All I Ever Wanted”, Hannah starts off as whiny and self-involved as ever. As part of a freelance assignment for a trendy magazine, she gets to attend a surf club, expenses paid. So what does she do? Pack a sad about how the beach isn’t fun and sulks in her hotel room. This really is Hannah at her most grating. Of course, this being Girls, there is an insanely attractive man (Riz Ahmed!) on hand to teach her about herself, a surf instructor who shows her how to relax and enjoy things instead of instantly finding all the things to hate. It is nice to see Hannah learn about “chill” from a surf instructor in an open relationship, but it is hard to figure out why he would spend all that time and energy on such a killjoy.
In the second episode, “Hostage Situation”, great pains are taken to draw attention to how Hannah’s newfound chill has changed her enough that she barely notices when her brand new tea set is smashed by a raging Desi. But a lack of material attachment plus performative self awareness (Hannah calling Marnie out for being self-involved while acknowledging her own black-kettle status, repeatedly claiming that she is “done judging”) can only go so far; it feels less earned by the show and more forced. And Marnie! God, Marnie is just the worst. Yes, smash up the only oxycontin available to your drug-addicted ex-husband because withdrawal definitely isn’t a thing. It’s absolutely a Marnie move, but I’m alarmed (though unsurprised) the show didn’t touch on that. Girls wants to be a drama when it comes to someone’s dad being gay or someone’s friend hooking up with their boyfriend, but has consistently eschewed any meaningful engagement with addiction despite having so many afflicted characters.
Shoshanna, despite her more overtly “girlish” taste and squeaky adderall-Barbie speaking voice, has been the frontrunner in the Girls maturity contest for a while. This time, she asserts herself over her messy cousin Jessa after the latter crashes “W.E.M.U.N.”, a meet-up for women entrepreneurs (“For those of you asking on our Facebook if the group is open to trans women, the answer is… we don’t know, okay?”). I’ve had enough dramatic friend break-ups however, and I don’t feel I learned anything about either of them except that they don’t like each other now.
It was a difficult episode for me as a long-term Jessa fan, with her behaviour getting more difficult to excuse. Although, the image of her in “Wanted” nonchalantly talking to Ray, while naked on a couch eating yoghurt, is enough to get me through to next week. I still feel that the way Jessa handled things with Hannah, while shitty, was slightly justified, but I don’t think that many viewers, or the show itself, would agree with me, so we’ll have to see how that pans out when the girls inevitably run into each other. Unless they don’t, and Jessa and Adam get a spin-off where they move to California so Adam can further his acting career and Jessa learns to become a midwife specialising in dolphin-assisted birth. One can hope.