For over a year, I’ve been told by several people (especially my mom) to start watching HBO’s “Girls.” I was always hesitant to actually commit to the show since I was too preoccupied binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy and Parks and Recreation but I recently decided to suck it up and watch the first episode… and I am extremely glad that I did. Even though I’m a 17 year old girl living in Los Angeles watching a show about 20-something-year-olds in New York, I found myself relating to each character and the issues and struggles they have to deal with. The show centers on realistic characters dealing with realistic issues and I find it lovely and admirable. “Girls” is a show about friendship, love, loss, and acknowledging the things about us that make us special. The show is a funny and heart touching experience that knows just how to touch your heart and make you feel good…and sad…and angry…and happy. All at the same time.
“Girls” affected me in ways that I didn’t know a show could. The depiction of women and the way they handle their bodies and their sexuality is something that I think is very beneficial for girls my age to see. The characters don’t have the bodies of Victorias Secret models or most female actresses we see on TV, and it is very encouraging to see them confident in themselves, and finding true love regardless of their looks or their weight. Just like many girls my age, I look at myself in the mirror and I’m unhappy with what I see. “Girls” really helped me to accept the way I look and the way my body looks, which I will forever be grateful for. Watching Lena Dunham flaunt her body the way she does on “Girls” is so empowering and inspiring- she truly is a walking example of being confident in who you are and not changing the way you look for any person.
“Girls” also taught me that it is okay to lose things. It is okay to fall out of love with someone, and it is okay to grow apart from friendships. Not everything needs a happy ending, and not everything has an explanation. Just like in real life, things happen on the show that aren’t always explained. I realized that I need to stop spending so much time dwelling on past relationships that didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to, and to focus on my current ones. These four girls who in the beginning of the show seemed to be inseparable, drift apart and live their own lives. “Girls” isn’t afraid to leave things unexplained.
The show centers around the lives of four girls, Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna.
Hannah, the funny, quirky and all-too-relatable writer portrayed by Lena Dunham never fails to make me laugh, cry and smile. Her growth as a character is a heart-warming journey; We see her struggling financially after her parents cut her off, then becoming a GQ writer, a teacher, and going to and dropping out of graduate school. Hannah never fails to make me laugh and I still think the scene where she cuts her hair poorly and calls Jessa for help is one the funniest scenes in the show, and perfectly shows who Hannah is as a character.
Marnie, portrayed by Allison Williams comes across in the first season as an uptight, “basic white girl.” She starts off in a long term relationship with her boyfriend Charlie, that comes to an unfortunate end toward the end of the season. Throughout the show she finds herself in a series of failed relationships, including a failed marriage. She deals with frequent mental breakdowns and feelings of loneliness and helplessness. I find Marnie’s character so admirable, as I feel like we all know a “Marnie,” in our lives. She is always in some type of relationship, and we rarely see her as a strong, single woman. She is extremely vulnerable, and lonely and relies on her friends to keep her sane. Marnie wastes so much of her life dealing with a horrible streak of boyfriends, and in season 5 Charlie makes a comeback. I find Charlie’s comeback episode to be the most heart-breaking, emotionally draining episode so far. Just when we think that Marnie is finally going to be happy, the story turns and we see a broken Marnie crying for help.
Shoshanna played by Zosia Mamet is the innocent, quirky character who sees everything good in the world and only wants to be happy. She deals with being un-employed, jealousy over her ex-boyfriend, and moving to Tokyo and being homesick. She is a fun, spunky character that doesn’t care how others think of her. She puts herself first and wants to be successful and happy I find that very admirable about her.
Jessa played by Jemima Kirke is the worldly, rebellious character who finds herself in and out of rehab, in unhealthy relationships and deals with frequent personality crises- she is a free spirit and gives the impression that she doesn’t care about what others think of her. She challenges the comfort zones of those around her and is always surprising the audience with the trouble she gets herself into. Deep down, we see that Jessa is sensitive and broken. She wants to be loved and taken care of, but she seems to find herself in toxic relationships quite often. She falls in love with the wrong men, and when Adam comes back to Jessa after leaving her for Hannah, she lets him back into her life knowing that he really isn’t in love with her. This shows how broken and lonely she truly is.
The storyline I find the most emotional, is the relationship between Hannah and Adam. They have a strange connection and go through many stages in their relationship. They start off as the typical hook-up, and eventually start dating. Hannah and Adam bring out the best in each other and I really fell in love with their relationship and the way they are with each other. It was one of those “perfect television romances” that made it seem like they were so perfect and in love that nothing bad could happen to them. However when Hannah leaves to go to graduate school, Adam moves on. I found myself yelling at the T.V set angry at Adam for letting such a thing happen. Hannah was heart-broken and I was so angry at how quickly Adam seemed to forget about her and move on. In the second to last episode of the series, Adam tells her he wants to raise her baby with her. This came as a shock to everyone, since Adam was in a happy relationship with Jessa but I was so happy to see Hannah and Adam coming back together. Just as everything seems right and okay with the world again, Hannah rejects Adam in an emotional diner scene. Hannah wasn’t in love with Adam anymore, and she was ready to move on from this phase in her life. I was so heart-broken at first, yet I came to realize that this was a good move for Hannah. Adam caused too much heartbreak for her, and she deserved a chance to move on and find happiness elsewhere.
“It was really emotional to shoot because Adam’s been such an amazing acting partner and teacher to me, and I knew it was the last time we were going to do any performing together, so there was a real bittersweetness to the entire thing. And also, there’s a part of everyone that did kind of want Hannah and Adam to–it’s a real love story. like ‘No these people actually are not meant to be together’ and this complicated relationship he has with Jessa is where he’s supposed to be.”
I think that the way this relationship played out is something important for young women my age to see. Sometimes the thing we think is the best for us winds up not being everything we thought it was. Adam broke Hannah’s heart too many times, and Hannah was strong and did not let herself fall into the toxic relationship again. We might think something is right, or we might think that someone is “the one” for us, and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes we fall out of love with someone and it’s okay for that to happen.
I will forever be thankful to Lena Dunham for creating such a beautiful masterpiece of a show. “Girls” has taught me so many things that I can connect to my own life and I can’t think of another show that has affected me personally, the way this show has. Through all the laughs and tears, “Girls” has truly changed the way I view things. I highly recommend this show to anyone, but especially girls my age. It is such an emotional and empowering show, that has helped me and many others on our journey to accepting who we are and feeling confident in our bodies.