Girls Maturity Level Threat Watch: Season Finale

Hannah

After Adam broke down Hannah’s door and cartoonishly came to her rescue, there should’ve been a moment like the one at the end of The Graduate, where you see Ben and Elaine sitting on the bus together, already no longer sure that busting up Elaine’s wedding to run off together was the right idea, wordlessly contemplating whether it might in fact have been a terrible, irreparable mistake. Following the big grandiose gesture, after the speech that changes everything, after the hot makeup sex, there’s always a soul-crushing point when reality sets in. With evil quickness, life goes back to being tedious and mundane.

On the heels of the bleak penultimate episode, the last thing anyone expected from the finale was a fairy-tale ending for Hannah and Adam. I honestly got more excited about the potential rekindling of the Hannah and Laird flame. Hannah was intended to learn a lesson, the one that you actually do learn in your 20s, if not earlier: No one is going to take care of you except yourself. You have to respect yourself enough to clean up the broken glass without stepping on it, to do the dishes, to go to the health clinic. You also have to suck it up and realize that nobody wants to hear you whining about how hard it is just to be a regular person. Instead, Hannah’s dependence on other people was reinforced, with Adam of all people stepping into the position of caretaker. Hannah didn’t even really care who came to look after her as long as she didn’t have to do it herself. It’s exactly what Laird and her father both accused Hannah of; she treats human beings like accessories to her ego, which competes with her low self-esteem for dominance. She unconsciously manipulates people. Having rejected Adam for some really good reasons all year, Hannah reaches out to him because she literally has no one left to turn to. For the time being, even her parents are sick of her shit. She takes advantage of Adam’s feelings for her, which we are forced to take to mean it was never going to work out with Adam and Natalia, even though Natalia could have helped Adam to grow up. Adam and Hannah reuniting fixes nothing. It just provides the illusion of a resolution. She still hasn’t written her book. Her OCD is still back and severe. Between this and Silver Linings Playbook, it’s been an unstoppable year for romanticizing mental illness with happy endings that pretend you will be magically fixed as soon as you just find someone to love you. Even if Adam stays there and nurses her back to health, it’s only a stopgap. He’ll have to leave eventually. Hannah getting involved with Adam again just prevents the two of them from finding partners who could actually be suitable for them in the long term. You can’t have two Peter Pans in a relationship. Someone has to be the Wendy.

Maturity Level: Neverland

Marnie

Marnie and Charlie deserve each other. They are idiots, doing the same exact thing as Hannah and Adam and regressing into a familiar pattern that appears vividly dumb and destructive to everyone else. Charlie lacks the pride to give up whatever fantasies he had in college about ending up with Marnie in a yuppie brownstone with stupid built-ins and spoiled children with pretentious names. Marnie can change her life fantasy on a whim, depending on whose company’s stock is going public this week, which is why Charlie should be more wary and realize that Marnie is going to drop him like a cold app the minute she spots a shiny new Booth Jonathan.

Marnie is one of those people who likes to have a boyfriend so that she can blatantly flirt with other men without feeling so affected by the prospect of rejection. Also, in what world would Marnie and Charlie make “brown babies”? Between this and the “You can be my white Kate Moss tonight” in her Kanye cover, Marnie has been outing herself as cluelessly ignorant about race in addition to her other charming qualities of superficiality, narcissism, and greed. Maybe Marnie should look into being a “sugar baby” and find some old, rich guy to foot the bill for her frivolous lifestyle instead of trying to rope young playmakers like Booth and Charlie into her web of shiny hair, toothpaste smiles, and useless expensive things. Marnie is in danger of becoming a useless expensive thing herself, which she now might not find out until she and Charlie get divorced.

Maturity Level: FORBID

Shoshanna

Shoshanna had the strongest arc of the finale and made the most emotional progress. She was the only one who didn’t commit an act of blatant self-sabotage. Instead, she buckled down and did the mature uncomfortable thing, breaking up with Ray and not even really bullshitting him about why. Shosh is still so young that she is concerned with seeming adult, not realizing yet that in a few more years she’ll just be an adult by default, and will then become obsessed with seeming young. She always dreamed about settling down the way Marnie describes it, only to realize that she wasn’t quite ready to play house after a few too many nights at home with Ray. Shosh’s fantasies of a quiet domestic life, cultivated by a lifetime of ingesting media and posting on Pinterest wedding boards, didn’t match up with the boring reality of watching Ray watch Ally McBeal. While it may be true that Shoshanna wants a man to pay for her pastry-shaped purses, I’m not yet convinced that she wouldn’t want to find a way to pay for them herself. While she initially found Ray’s bitterness charmingly grown-up, she now finds it oppressive and wishes to remain willfully naive to the world’s unfairness for as long as she can. Ray found her pink bubble of innocence attractive, but he wormed his way inside and threatened to puncture it completely. Ray is right that after a few too many cocky blond guys break her heart, she might well come crawling back to him. It might even happen sooner, the first time she drinks too much at a party and goes home with the wrong person, but that’s something she has to find out for herself.

Maturity Level: Bunhead

Charlie

Marnie keeps giving Charlie the reins to their relationship, offering him the priceless opportunity to reject her and tell her how much she sucks. He always just thrusts them back into her hands, reverting to their old dynamic where she bosses him around and he looks like a sad kicked puppy as he takes it. You can’t even feel bad for him at this point, because he’s blown it so many times. He must really like her, even though we don’t. I guess he doesn’t find it annoying that she talks constantly while he’s giving her head, because seemingly every character on Girls is down with nonstop talk during foreplay and intercourse. I kept waiting for him to tell Marnie to please shut up, but that would have been too aggressive for him.

The whole problem with his relationship with Marnie the first hundred times was that she doesn’t respect him when he does everything she says, which he always attempts to fix by continuing to do everything she says. But again, you can’t feel any pity for him because it’s entirely his fault. He fucked things up with Audrey. He could be dating Mindy the web app designer (who clearly had the hots for him and definitely shouldn’t fuck that guy just for his beach house). He could have even continued to have sex with Marnie casually while playing the field, like she accused him of doing at brunch. But he can’t, because he’s just not that kind of guy. His heart is connected to his dick, which is unfortunately still connected to Marnie.

Maturity Level: Love Lockdown

Adam

When was Adam retconned into being a sweetheart again? I defend this character a lot as being complex, but he was all over the place last night. That he not only knows about Hannah’s mental illness but finds it endearing seems like as much of a 180 as when he went from being a guy who was clearly using Hannah for sex to one who was secretly in love with her all along. This was a real Mary Sue sitcom ending for a show that normally avoids fitting into overly neat narrative boxes. The whole season was so dark and messy, the finale felt like it was from a different show. Maybe this whole season was Hannah’s OCD fever dream, and she’ll wake up in a mental hospital next year under the care of handsome nurse Patrick Wilson.

Like Hannah, Adam stubbornly resists growth. Unlike Hannah, he hates taking direction from others. Natalia bravely continued to see Adam after last week’s incident, but he remained put off by her insistence on participating in the sex he was having with her. As charismatic and nuanced as Adam Driver is in the part, the character of Adam doesn’t really add up. He can seem very specific, but in the finale he was insanely broad. As funny as it was to see him Hulk out on his apartment and then Hannah’s, it wasn’t very satisfying as a follow-up to last week’s pitch-black journey within. He lacks the self-awareness to note that the discomfort he feels taking orders from Natalia in bed might be how girls feel about his specialized proclivities. The only kind of relationship he can apparently handle is with a girl who will let him control everything, which means he’ll most likely never respect her. His relationship with Hannah was always dysfunctional for that reason, as he made her exercise and watch him jack off. It never seemed like Hannah particularly enjoyed groveling for Adam’s sexual favors, just that she liked the attention he gave her and was willing to do whatever it took to keep him around.

Despite her incredibly low tolerance for pain, Hannah is still pretty masochistic. Adam might not be a purposeful sadist, but he clearly has no idea what to do with his excess testosterone. There might have been a middle ground between the type of sex Adam wanted to have with Natalia and the type she’d prefer to have with him, but he gave up on trying to communicate about it because he’s not ready to compromise or give up being selfish, and Hannah lets him be as selfish as he wants. All the characters on this show need to move out of New York (except possibly Shoshanna), but Adam especially should do it posthaste. There must be a fishing boat in Alaska with a need for tall, weird guys who are good at breaking stuff.

Maturity Level: No Service

Ray

Ray remains the incidental hero of Girls. If he’s a cynical realist with a dark worldview, can you really blame him? How else is he supposed to tolerate a life where he aspires to run a coffee shop he doesn’t even give a fuck about and gets dumped by a 21-year-old who he can sense is itching to explore more gentile pastures? Escapism is a luxury he actually can’t afford, unless Shosh is paying for it.

Also: We were robbed of a shot of Ray carrying the Andy Kaufman cutout through the streets of New York! I needed to see sad Ray carrying his outsize Andy on the subway, and we were all set up for it! Now for next season, cast Elliott Gould as Ray’s dad.

Maturity Level: Foreign Man

Natalia

Let’s set up Natalia and Ray! They can move to Forest Hills.

Maturity Level: Bear Down

Laird

GIVE LAIRD A SPIN-OFF CALLED LAIRD.

Maturity Level: Or LAIRDS

Jessa

Jessa has the right idea. Stay as far away from New York as you can get. Then you can waltz back in later and be blissfully unaware of all the bullshit your peers have been going through while you were gone. Not like Jessa ever actually listens to her friends when they talk about their problems. She watches their mouths move and then starts talking at some point in the process. She won’t have any answers for Hannah. At best, she’ll have a souvenir and some new crazy sex stories to share.

Maturity Level: Unwindulax

Colin Quinn

Happy day after St. Patrick’s Day! Colin Quinn is turning into Harvey Fierstein and I love it so much.

Maturity Level: Celtic Pride

Filed Under: Girls, Girls Talk, HBO, Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham

Photo on 2014-01-10 at 12.58 #3

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert

More from Molly Lambert

See all from Molly Lambert

More Girls

See all Girls

More Hollywood Prospectus

See all Hollywood Prospectus