Ranking the All-Time Personal Growth of the ‘Girls’

After six seasons of controversies, hot takes, empowering female nudity, depressing racial politics, and a few near-perfect bottle episodesGirls has finally taken its final bow. Girls grew immensely over the years, transforming from a tragically self-conscious drama about privileged brats into a slightly more self-aware and compassionate story about (still privileged) young women adulting for the first time. But while the show itself became vastly more mature, the same cannot be said for all of its protagonists. Here are our final personal growth rankings for all of the Girls characters, based on their respective farewells in the last three episodes. Continue reading →

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Personal Growth Rankings: Girls 6×05 “Gummies”

I have to say, I was definitely a naysayer about Adam and Jessa’s movie, but now I’m a believer. Not in the sense that I think the movie itself will be good; it still looks like a corny and even more twee version of 500 Days of Summer. It checks all the boxes of the worst kinds of indie movies: a manic pixie dream girl (because OF COURSE that’s how Hannah looks from Adam’s perspective), stereotypes about mental illness (“My head feels so noisy, I just want it to stop!!”), a dysfunctional relationship, and a cute yellow sundress.

But I’m on board with the movie as a plot device, if only because it gives us a hilariously meta spoof of Girls‘ early seasons. Hannah clumsily dancing half-naked to an ironically cheerful song, Hannah and Adam being ridiculously melodramatic about their relationship (“I don’t care if you ruin my life, at least you’ll have been in my life”), and Hannah wanting to be treated like shit by a guy, because that’s just so painfully edgy.

But anyway, let’s get to the personal growth rankings: Continue reading →

Personal Growth Rankings: Girls 6×04 “Painful Evacuation”

Well, that was unexpected. Girls‘ final season just took a completely different direction in its fourth episode, courtesy of a huge reveal that was surprising by virtue of being entirely too conventional. All we need now is a wedding, a funeral, and a tearful going away party, and we’ll have the perfect ending to a very un-Girls-like 90s sitcom.

All right, let’s get to the personal growth rankings: Continue reading →

“American Bitch” Is Girls’ Most Important Episode Yet

Girls has always been a divisive show, both among the general population and among feminists. I’ve always defended it as an important, if wildly imperfect, show, for all of the usual reasons. Girls portrays women as equally flawed, crass, and indelicate as men (and sometimes, nearly as entitled), and displays the nude female form in a refreshingly desexualized way. But, as many have noted, it is extremely lacking in racial diversity, and is outright racist when a POC does actually appear. And considering how horribly spoiled and myopic all of the characters are, the show often appears to be more concerned with capturing the voice of the stereotypical privileged millennial than that of oppressed women.

“American Bitch” doesn’t change any of that, exactly, but it did single-handedly justify the show’s existence. If you’re going to watch one episode of Girls, make it this one. Not only because it’s conveniently a standalone, but because it’s a damn near perfect half-hour of television that is essentially rape culture in a bottle. Continue reading →

Personal Growth Rankings: Girls 6×02 “Hostage Situation”

I can’t say enough good things about “Hostage Situation.” It was everything we love about Girls–dysfunctional coming-of-age moments, even-more-dysfunctional female friendships, hilarious one-liners about hipsters and the Pacific Northwest. And on top of all that, the entire episode took the form of a horror spoof that was simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. Not scary in the sense that you think Desi will actually kill anyone, but in the way that you can already imagine Hannah telling the story in hushed tones at writers’ conferences for the rest of her life.

Here’s a ranking of all of the Girls‘ character growth, and trust me, I was as surprised as anyone else by the winner: Continue reading →

One Step Forward, One Million Steps Back: Girls 6×01 “All I Ever Wanted”

For its first four seasons, the characters on Girls, much like the show itself, took pride in occupying the space between self-aware, snarky privilege and straight-up myopic narcissism. Then, in season five, new life was breathed into the show when almost every single one of the characters underwent some sort of growth. That growth may have been faltering and expressed in dysfunctional ways (Hannah breaking up with her terrible boyfriend by jumping out of the car during a road trip, Jessa going to school with Adam’s money when they had been dating for about two minutes, Marnie divorcing Desi after sleeping with her heroin-dealing ex), but it was there, and that was enough to convince me that the show had been worth watching. Continue reading →

Links We Loved This Week — 11/4/16

Watch Pixar’s adorable short about a baby sandpiper learning to find food: Piper.

The Beauty and the Beast pictures out on EW this week are ridiculously exciting for us.

At LA Review of Books‘ blog Avidly, there is a great piece on why Madame Merle is appealing to contemporary feminism. (To be clear, we are still Team Archer, all the way.)

The cast of Girls performed Emily Doe’s powerful essay about sexual assault in honor of her Woman of the Year award: