What Girls has taught us about being ‘the ladies’

A review of the edgy female led television series. The second biggest disappointment of 2017 (you can’t trump the first- pun totally intended) is that the season finale of the painfully raw and relatable Girls has kicked off the final fling this year.

Due to this show being one of my obsessions I had to reflect on five seasons of laughter, honesty, tears and life experiences. To honour and celebrate a creation with so many feels it is fitting to look back on how the series held the hands of twenty and thirty somethings since 2012.

Girls and boys

Hannah and Adam, Charlie and Marnie, Shoshanna and Ray, and of course the ever evolving Jessa and whoever held her interest long enough (pre-Adam). Although we could write a dissertation on this theme we will just look at a couple of the dynamics.

The very first episode within season one had women all over biting a finger, hiding behind a cushion or laughing while shouting OMG that is SO ME. Hannah is so desperate to lock in Adam’s attention she allows him to take the lead all while trying to play it cool. For Hannah, this is all well and good until the door shuts and no text is received for days on end. Adam expects her to just roll over and take it-literally. This relationship portrayed all of the key stages of an initial fuck boy interaction which then progressed into a quirky, fragile and at times hopeful and hopeless relationship. The pendulum swung between the both of them in terms of commitment. The scenes of frustration and hurt when Adam had moved new gf Mimi –Rose into the apartment (team Hannah escalated times a million) cut a lot of hearts wide open alongside Hannah’s. Hannah then had Fran, they were a hoot to watch and pretty much sealed the deal for Hannah being allowed to flash her V jay jay whenever necessary after an argument outside the school the teacher couple worked at. It became clear as that break up that Adam still had Hannah’s heart at least up until Adam got with Jessa, how do you forgive a friend for that betrayal? Classic friendship v relationship battle.

Charlie and Marnie were a classic tale of young love in the early days. You have been together forever, there is a love there but sometimes love is simply not enough. What starts off as cute and safe turns into a routine of suffocation and disappointment. A realization that a person who dotes on you is really fucking irritating to the point where the thought of them touching you makes you want to move countries. At one point we see Marnie try and salvage the relationship after a public exposure of Hannah’s diary reveals just how over it Marnie is, only to try and win him back. After a very awkward to watch sexual encounter she utters the words ‘I want to break up.’ I have to add this was mid-thrust. This relationship connected again in a later series when she abandons husband Desi and bumps into Charlie, her Charlie but who now comes complete with a drug habit and chaotic lifestyle. The imagery of that episode is one which will remain poignant and be confronting for so many reasons. Your first love memories are sometimes best left at just that-memories.

Relationships are tough, everybody can attest to that. With Girls, the difference was the honesty. The characters are down to earth, independent and growing. What comes with that is self-discovery which coincides with trying to find love or intimacy or basically any type of company. Love is not necessarily enough, fuck boys may or may not end up with one of your best friends and not going on dates ‘because they are for lesbians’ is relevant advice (thanks, Jessa).

I don’t even want a boyfriend I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time and thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me. – Hannah

Fashion

Every episode is a complete delight due to the styling of our four female friends. From Hannah’s I have zero fucks to give about dressing appropriately vibe to Shoshanna’s work adventure in Japan where her uniqueness reached a whole new level including some Hello Kitty headphones.

Each outfit is a masterpiece showcasing the personalities of the girls and their development from season 1 to 5. Marnie who would insist she has more a demure appearance highlighted her own internal struggles in season 5. She is on the subway wearing sweat pants, hair tied up and a gloomy expression after another argument with Desi. During this episode, she then bumps into her ex Charlie and buys a red sequined dress to have dinner with him. The irony of this is the shiny sequined dress is gorgeous, Marnie looks stunning but also wears a pair of sneakers, an omen that there is something new with Desi but something old with Charlie – which one fits best, if any?

Jessa sweeps into Girls with a flowy European beauty that stays with her until later in the seasons. Usually loving the unemployed life because who wants to take orders or be on time for ANYTHING, Jessa then changes her appearance as she prepares to work and then study. A more adult Jessa appears which is still as beautiful and charming.

Individuality is one of the key messages when we look at the outfits on the show. Wear whatever you like when you like and embrace that. In the words of Hannah, ”I’m an individual. And I feel how I feel when I feel it.”

Adulting

Girls has portrayed a realness which women can relate to on one level or another. Whether that is body image, relationships in turmoil, sexuality and exploring what your life path will be and how to make those aspirations a reality. Every one of the characters has had a moment where they have no idea what they are doing which can hit home but also provide a comfort.

At other times you will find yourself in fits of laughter relishing at the partying scenes and the times where the girls forget they have any cares in the world which provides an escape. The angst of adulthood has been amplified with increased pressure brought about by social media, your peers or family which has all been explored by the writers. The fact that the show can still bring a shock factor even though it is basically holding a mirror up sets the bar high for any similar genre to compete.

I sure will miss those ladies.

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