'Girls' Is Back and Defining the Nature of Female Friendship

4 years ago

Girls is back. Now in its 3rd season, the show continues to explore the friendships between four 20-something women living in New York City. Now Hannah, played by Lena Dunham, is in a committed relationship with her on off again boyfriend, Adam, played by Adam Driver. The last time we saw her in season two, she was suffering a mental breakdown about to be saved by her ex-boyfriend who ran shirtless through the streets of Brooklyn to be by her side.  All it took was one phone call and he came.

She's now in therapy and is having regular revelations with her therapist: “My only limitation is my own mind. Like, I hold the keys to the prison that is my mind.” She knows she's complex and she knows the things in life that are important to her.

Image: HBO

Nora Ephron’s mother always told her, “Everything is copy.” Funnily enough, Dunham is notorious for being a huge fan of the late writer, and her character, Hannah, is a writer constantly looking for content. She’s the queen of drama and everything that goes on in her life is potential food for fodder, which can annoy Adam.  The editor who nearly fired her last season for not making her deadlines now loves her writing: "Why didn’t you tell me you were suffering from mental illness? That’s something we can work with."

That's why the opening scene in the first episode is so funny.  When Natalia, Adam’s ex-girlfriend from last season, approaches Adam in Ray's coffee shop and lambastes him for jilting her with no explanation (after realizing he now has a new girlfriend), she fights back hard: “I hope you two just enjoy your urine-soaked life f*cking like the two feral animals that you both know you are. You’re gonna end up with a baby that you don’t know how to care for. You’re gonna f*cking kill your kid. You’re gonna give it spoiled formula.” Her comments seem aimed at Hannah, who could possibly be thinking about using the conversation in the next chapter of her book. It's almost as though she's standing there taking it all in, word for word.

Lena Dunham is proclaimed "The New Queen of Comedy" on the cover of Vogue's February issue

But aside from all that, Hannah seems to have it more together than her friends. She’s smitten with Adam and happy that her life is going in a new direction, but she never once discounts her friendships with the girls who are all going through their own “stuff.”

Marnie, played by Allison Williams, is on her own after having being dumped by Charlie, who seemed very committed in the last episode of season two. She’s spending a lot of time with her mother (played by the fabulous Rita Wilson) and weeping to her friends every chance she gets about the break-up.

After hearing from Adam that he bumped into Charlie in Brooklyn, she starts to cry and he tells her how he got used and dumped by a girl.  “Then one day after being f’cked up for months, I realized that I didn’t know her.  She didn’t know me.  Really knowing someone is something else.  It’s a completely different thing and when it happens, you won’t miss it.” Surprisingly, it’s now Adam who consoles her. In the past, he was the boyfriend everyone opposed.

Shoshanna, played by Zosia Mamet, is having rampant flings after her breakup with Ray and is doing her best to finally graduate from college.  

Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke, is in rehab after having abandoned Hannah in a train station after a bad break-up last season, and is busy stirring things up there. She wants to help everyone but herself and seems to think that there is nothing wrong with her own life telling the group “I figured my sh*t out already when I was 5 years old. Heroin is really fun, but it can also kill you.” She causes so much havoc there that she is finally kicked out and calls Hannah, her old college friend, to come collect her.

Life goes on. Some of the girls have evolved; some have remained stagnant…just like real people. Ray tells Hannah early on the first episode, “Everything dies. What’s sad is that you’re still working here.”  The funny thing is that it’s Hannah who has changed the most since we last saw her.

We all change, but there is one things that remains steady on this show.  It’s the friendships that matter.  They’re all trying to pull it together and they lean on each other for support. Life in NYC is like that. You depend on others for support.  Friends become family.

When Jessa calls Hannah from rehab to come get her, there is no question of her loyalty toward her friend.  She gets Adam and Shoshanna to accompany her in a rental car to collect her asking him “How old do you have to be to rent a car?”

With a long ride ahead of them to get Jessa out of rehab, they have a lot of time to talk.  Adam isn’t so sure they should be the ones to bail Jessa out, to which Hannah replies, “I don’t think you understand the nature of female friendship.”

Adam’s response is, “You’re right, I don’t and I don’t want to if it involves ignoring all logic and being totally hysterical.”

That’s why we have Girls. To defy logic……To remind us of the complexities of being female…..

 ….and to pick up the phone to call our girlfriends.



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