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Thinking About the Ending of Girls

Television
by Melissa Silverstein
June 22, 2012 10:31 AM
3 Comments
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I've been on the road so I didn't have a chance to comment on the finale of Girls.  First thing I want to report on is that every single meeting I have had during the run of the show no matter who it was with, no matter what their age, the show has come up.  The question was - so, what do you think about Girls?  I always immediately said - I love Girls.  Many times I saw relief of people's faces because they too like Girls and for some reason didn't want to say so. 

I watched the finale at my friend's house late on Monday after a full day in LA on no sleep with a bad case of jet lag.  Not the best way to watch a season finale.  So I've watched it again. 

But the last scene of show stuck with me and at my meeting throughout the week we all talked about the ending.

That ending.  Oh boy.  You watch your best friend move out and decide to get her groove on (cool kinky hair from Marnie) at the surprise wedding of the flakiest friend of the group.  I see that marriage lasting just through the hiatus.  And just when Hannah is starting to doubt Adam after wanting him more than he wanted her, he lays out his soul to her and then in the same moment tells her to fuck off. 

So she's alone, on the subway exhausted with a piece of cake.  She falls asleep and winds up someplace at the end of the line with her purse gone.  (Tell me any woman who rides the NY subway who hasn't had this nightmare and I will show you a liar.)  All she has is her cake.

Turns out she's at Coney Island so she makes her way to the beach for sunrise.  Then she eats her piece of cake with great passion.  That cake is her only friend at that moment.  She licks her fingers and makes sure to get every last drop because she is sitting by the beach, half awake, with no money to get home, no boyfriend, no job and a precarious relationship with her best friend.  She's all alone - except for the cake.

I have to hand it to Lena Dunham who also wrote and directed this episode.  Her television debut this season has been one of the most exciting things that has happened in a while.  Women don't do all the different pieces that Dunham was able to accomplish like she has been doing this her whole life.  I can't wait to see what she does next.

Any thoughts on the ending?  What would be your cake on the beach?  Mine would either be a bagel or a pint of choclate fudge brownie ice cream.

Here are some other people's thoughts of the ending

The “Girls” Finale and the Limits of Television (New Yorker)

Girls Watch: She Takes the Cake (Time)

HBO's Girls season one finale: our favorite critics reflect (The Guardian)

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3 Comments

  • Heathe | June 23, 2012 4:38 PMReply

    I also immensely enjoy this show. It's different and there is something real and imperfect about it that I am drawn to. I don't think that Hanna, as a character, changed much (if any) from its first episode and that the majority of the transformation over the arc of the show is embodied in the males (and Marnie, perhaps as indicated in the last episode). I actually thought the subway ending was the most we've seen of the landscape of NYC that was in the non-traditional SATC formula. It was a nice change and very different than spanning the skyline and the heads of high-rises. I also loved that the closing was dismally brilliant in a sense, it was absent from dialogue and that made it powerful. I think that Hanna's cluelessness after she gets off the subway and just retreating to the beach, sinking into the sand and eating her leftover wedding cake was pretty perfect. Agreed though that alot of the episode felt out of left field in that strange and subversive curve some of the storylines can take. I actually like that Hanna hasn't learned anything. It feels so much more real and analgous to actual life and how we change and grow. Despite wanting so much from Adam at the beginning of the season she pushes back when he calls her out on her doubts and conflicting behavior. I remember that ambivalence of my mid-twenties, wanting so badly to have (for me) male companionship, but not knowing how to hold onto my self. Additionally, I love how Hanna's character is selfish in that self-pitying, insecure and marinating in my own self-hate sort of way and using it as a sort of shield to criticism. There are so few characters like this on television. They are very self-centered, but it impossible to acknowledge because it's obscured by such deep satisfication with themselves that they a oblivious to the effects it has on those around them.

  • anne qh | June 22, 2012 7:01 PMReply

    I loved it! I loved that she's such a flawed character. I especially like the storyline with her and her boyfriend - that she turned out to be the one who couldn't show up after all. I think GIRLS is brave and rings so very true for all of us that have lived through our 20s - an equal mix of freedom, self-loathing, fear and excitement.

  • Ben R | June 22, 2012 11:37 AMReply

    Seen the ending twice now, and can 'hand on heart' conclude that it is hands down one of the best TV shows in recent years.
    For me, it is nothing more than a constant balancing of different forms of drama, I think it was Annette Benning who said: 'the best dramas are made when the audiences can love and hate each character'. This has exactly what Girls has felt throughout, at moments you wish they were your friends, and at others you are shocked by the lot of them.
    Can't wait to see what's in store in Season 2, and whatever Dunham goes on to do - lets not forget Tiny Furniture!

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