The Characters In 'Girls' Haven't Really Grown Up & That's A Good Thing For Season 5
"Girls grow up," the new trailer for Season 5 of HBO's Girls attests in bold letters. Which is funny and ironic, and therefore a completely appropriate wink to its faithful audience, as they (we) quickly learn that the girls of Girls don't appear to have grown up at all. Not in this trailer anyway, which opens with Hannah and her topless, gay best friend Elijah making out in front of Hannah's new boyfriend, Fran. As they catch Fran looking at them, Elijah asks: "What, are we supposed to not do this now that you're around?" His question, though hilarious, makes me think that this must be exactly how the characters in Girls feel. What, are they not supposed to be their flawed selves, now that the spotlight of adulthood is pointed on them? They might be "25 and a half years old" — as Marnie says in the trailer — but that's not how this adult thing works. At least, not for Girls. Maybe change and growing up are overrated, and maybe that's not such a bad thing for the show.
Where Season 4 was all about personal and professional triumphs for the girls and their gang — Marnie got engaged, Shosh landed a job in Japan, Jessa decided that she would become a therapist, Hannah told Adam that they didn't have a future together, Ray won the election, even Hannah's father had a moment when he came out to his family — Season 5 appears to relish in the aftermath of that supposed change. As if to tell us that it was all too much, too soon, and that we can't forget who we are dealing with here. A group of 20-somethings with Peter Pan syndrome. Even though Hannah — who's arguably had the worst go of things but left the show at a good place last season — confessed to "faking everything."
And while Season 4 was well-received and applauded (according to a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 90% from critics and 73% from fans), I have to say: Hannah has a point. At times, it felt like the characters were trying to grow up just so they could tell each other they had — just so they could show the audience that it was possible.
Fast-forward to the new trailer for Season 5, where the facade of Season 4's optimism seems to have faded. We hear Shosh say: "You know when people say that you can't run away from your problems? Well, I moved away from mine, and it worked, so people are so wrong." We hear Hannah ask Jessa "Why are you being so mean to me?" before Jessa retorts, "I'm always mean to you." Both instances in the trailer remind me of the girls from earlier seasons. When they weren't so easily palatable. Something that seemed to not entirely disappear, but become a bit muffled in Season 4.
Personally, I think this is a good thing. The trailer for Season 5 reminds us why we all flocked to this show in the first place. It wasn't to watch these young woman get it right, it was to watch them be unabashedly themselves — contradictory, stunted, snappy, sometimes hard to watch humans. It's this kind of candidness that doesn't come around in television history often, especially when the subject matter is young woman.
Though one might argue this as a bit harsh, Ray's sardonic sentiment at the end of the trailer, "settle in" and "just let the nightmare wash over you," could be an accurate assessment of where we are headed with Girls,and I for one, am happy about that.
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