Every Time Allison Williams Sang On-Camera, Ranked
In case you haven't heard the Internet shouts today, Allison Williams will be playing Peter Pan on NBC's upcoming live show. Although I'm confused and nervous about Marnie donning green tights to fly across a stage, I sort of think this is the perfect role for her. Her on-screen persona vacillates between relatable and monstrous, but Williams always seems like a grounded, kind woman when she's not in character. And since there's an unofficial psychological disorder named after Peter Pan, he's far from perfect, too, just like Marnie Hmm. Williams and Pan? This could be a match made in Neverland.
But as much as her personality might fit the character, Williams' singing really seals the deal. She sounds like a Disney Princess had a kid with Sarah Bareilles, and no matter the circumstance, she can deliver. GIRLS has set Marnie up for some pretty embarrassing and cliche singing moments, but even if her character's singing career is simply a plot vehicle, her voice is real. Before she appeared on GIRLS Allison recorded her own covers and mashups, with influences ranging from Leonard Cohen to Mad Men. So here are my completely biased, somewhat true rankings of every time you can find Williams singing on camera.
#9 — The Heartbreaking White Girl "Stronger" Cover
To be fair to Williams, this Season 2 performance was rigged to embarrass. Her voice is beautiful, but the dirge-like rendition of Kanye's "Stronger" is too painfully out-of-touch to watch. Williams revealed in an interview on Late Night that she had originally intended to attempt to rap the track, only to have Lena Dunham tell her that they had slowed it down to a horrendous ballad. Only Dunham's direction could make such a palpably awkward moment out of such a lovely voice.
#8 — The Hilarious Harmonization with Pete Holmes
Williams tries really hard to harmonize a rendition of The Pete Holmes Show's "theme" with Pete, but ultimately, he's a little pitchy. It's still a great reminder that she can sing live, which will come in handy when she dons the green tights.
#7 — The Cliche Marnie Music Video
Marnie has spent most of Season 3 regretting this artistic misstep, but that doesn't make it hilarious. Like a millennial version of the Robin Sparkles videos on How I Met Your Mother, this video cracks me up every time. Apparently Williams warned Edie Brickell about the horrendous cover through Paul Simon, and she said she was on board. Thank goodness neither of these singing ladies take themselves as seriously as Marnie.
#6 — The Ironic "Tik Tok" Cover
While it's amazing that Williams will be playing Peter Pan, it almost seems like she'd be better suited to a Disney princess-themed live show, or the next princess film. Watching the "fun kinda ironic" cover of "Tik Tok," I wondered if Dunham used it as inspiration for the embarrassing "Stronger" performance.
#5 — The Cute HSM Duet
This is the point where choosing between Williams' heartfelt covers and beautiful impromptu moments gets difficult. This cover of High School Musical's main theme seems a bit dated now, but Williams' voice is undeniable. Her harmonies and flawless key change rival Vanessa Hudgens', and she did it all in one take.
#4 — The "Nature Boy" + Mad Men Remix
Williams' "Mad Men with a twist" takes a second to warm up, but once it does, it's perfect '60s glam. The combination of Nat King Cole and RJD2 seems so natural, and she is the perfect lounge lizard to deliver the tune.
#3 — The Heartfelt Cover of "Hallelujah"
I'll admit that I'm a sucker for Leonard Cohen, so the placement of this sit-and-deliver cover might be biased. If you're skeptical at first, wait until around 1:30, where Williams goes for the high bonus note and nails it. Flawless.
#2 — The Big Show with Desi
Although Marnie's relationship with Desi is well-trod territory for the tortured artists of GIRLS, their artistic partnership was at least interesting, in the beginning. Although their harmonies are perfect, the best moment of this scene is Shoshanna's question to Hannah: "I mean like, Adam's about to be on Broadway, and Marnie's clearly about to be a pop star, and I don't know, you were like supposed to be the famous artist in this group and now you're working in advertising, so..." Classic Shosh.
#1 — The Beautiful Moment with Ray
The episode that produced this scene wasn't one of Dunham's best. At the time, many critics questioned the idea of Marnie as a singer, and they've since seen her grow beyond a stereotype. Taken out of context, though, this is a great example of Williams' voice, which is stunning. Side note, "You can't dress like a magician's assistant for very much longer," is my favorite GIRLS quote of all time.