Once controversial, “Girls” (2012 – present) has now become a veteran show that is mostly forgotten by mainstream audiences. After surviving diversity criticisms, anti-feminist prejudice and hysteria towards Lena Dunham after the release of her book, the show is not garnering the attention it received two years ago. Whether you are a fan or not, “Girls” has so far managed to represent female camaraderie in an authentic and unique way. Furthermore, like “Sex & the City” (1998 – 2004), the show has given urban, independent and educated women a voice, something that is often neglected in TV perhaps out of intimidation. Intersectionality is a major problem, however, with the version of feminism put forth by “Girls” as all of the girls are white, upper-middle class and heterosexual. Nevertheless, “Girls” offers us a realistic look at what is like to be a twenty-something woman in a big city, which is unfortunately still regarded as brave in TV world.
Last season, “Girls” had its highs and lows. Overall, the girls were significantly more mature. Seeing Hannah finally landing a job she is good at and dating a nice guy, Shoshanna moving to Japan and Jessa deciding to become a psychologist (which is arguably the best path for her character) are all positive steps for the women as they grow into their twenties. Yet, season four also saw the show lose its edge. Aside from the painfully hilarious love triangle between Hannah, Adam and Mimi Rose and the awesome friendship between Jessa and Adam, the show often felt dull and trite. The new season, if anything, resembles the fourth season, which is both good and bad.
The first episode of season five centers on Marnie’s disastrous wedding. While other girls have enjoyed making smart decisions over the last season, Marnie has more or less remained the same. It seems as if creators of the show, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, truly hate the character and purposefully make her unlikeable. Not only is she clearly marrying the wrong person, but she is also a total control freak at her wedding. Marnie’s antagonism towards the other girls for not being there for her is wrong and misplaced. Hannah once again takes the blame as the self-involved friend; yet this time, her insensitivity seems plausible. For once, Hannah wants to get away from the drama and spend time with her genuinely nice boyfriend Fran. Yet Marnie dismisses Fran, forces Hannah to have a hairdo and bickers about how “inappropriate” she is.
On the boys’ side, things are worse. Ray is obviously depressed about the wedding, since he is still in love with Marnie. Clearly uncomfortable with each other, Adam and Fran have the most awkward interaction ever. It is also revealed that Desi has bailed out of eight engagements before, and now he is once again having cold feet. Predictably, Ray is the one who convinces him to marry Marnie.
The episode has some laugh out loud moments; yet, overall, it is much calmer than the episodes of the previous seasons. Aside from the marvelous pond scene between Desi and Ray and Marnie’s truly horrific makeup, the humor is tamer yet more subtle. In the end, Marnie and Desi get married despite bad weather, Marnie’s makeup and Desi’s breakdown. It is clear that Hannah is not particularly favoring the marriage, though she is supportive of Marnie. It is exciting to see Hannah and Marnie reconcile and support each other, considering their relationship has been quite rocky over the past few seasons.
“Girls” will end its run next year, and the fifth season premiere has given us the first signals of how things will unfold. Admittedly not as fun to watch, this new “adult” version of “Girls” is different, yet equally charming as the “Girls” we shamefully loved in its first season. While it is bittersweet, it is essential for the fans to see the girls grow up before letting the show go.