It should be obvious, but Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls is not about the guys — it's about the young women, the "girls," navigating their way through the often hellish (and sometimes amazing) time that is their early 20s. But though the show may not be about guys, there are certainly enough of them who show up to stir the pot. And as with everyone on the series, the love interests of Jessa, Shoshanna, Marnie and Hannah are terribly, fantastically flawed — and some are far worse than others. It's difficult to rank these guys by actual quality, so I'm just going to rank them by which ones suck less. Here's the official ranking of the guys of Girls, from the absolute worst to... well, not the absolute worst.
#11 Booth Jonathan
Who He Is: An ex (ish?) of Marnie’s.
Oh my God, what a tool. Booth is an artist that Marnie feels chemistry with during her zero-chemistry time with Charlie, so he gains a few points for actually making Marnie feel alive. At the same time, OH MY GOD WHAT A TOOL. He’s a pretentious jerk who treats Marnie like an object to be conquered, only to toss her aside when she develops actual feelings for him. Spending time with his Lower East Side faux-artist friends would be hell.
Who He Is: A rehab friend-turned-boyfriend of Jessa’s.
Almost the worst, but it’s not entirely his own fault. Jasper is a drug addict who enabled Jessa to relapse, which is pretty low. He eventually allows his daughter to help him get sober, ditching Jessa in the process — which was probably the best thing for both of them.
Who He Is: Hannah’s ex-boyfriend who also happened to hook up with Marnie. And yes, he’s gay. Mostly.
Elijah is so fun to watch, but I would never want to be in a relationship with this guy — even a friendship would make me perpetually uneasy. I don’t think that Hannah had the right to get as angry as she did over the Marnie/Elijah hookup — Hannah put Elijah in the friend zone well before that — but the fact that Elijah would hookup with Marnie believing that it would hurt Hannah just proves that he’s kind of a jerk deep down.
Who He Is: Hannah’s boyfriend.
It always weirded me out that Girls made Adam into the romantic hero of the story (I mean, just watch the Season 2 finale) because I always found his behavior incredibly unsettling. Adam’s odd behavior can often teeter on the edge of abuse — I found the forceful sex scene between Adam and his girlfriend in Season 2 particularly disturbing — and while the show doesn’t want to frame him as a “bad guy,” I don’t know how comfortable I would be if one of my own friends described a guy she was seeing in the way that Hannah can describe Adam. He’s often emotionally manipulative and controlling, and though he loves Hannah, i worry that it often overshadows some of his more dubious behavioral patterns.
Who He Is: A one-day fling of Shoshanna’s. They bonded at camp years earlier.
I would love to rank Matt higher, if only because he is played by the adorable Skylar Astin of Pitch Perfect. Alas, I cannot. He was thrilled to hookup with Shosh until he learned she was a virgin, which might be okay if he weren’t such a huge tool about it.
Who He Is: Jessa’s ex-husband and a one-time potential threesome buddy of Jessa and Marnie.
Thomas-John was kind of crazy when we first met him in the middle of the first season. He’s got some seriously pent up misogynistic anger going on, which was why it was odd that Jessa fell for him at the end of that same season. Thomas-John gets points for caring about Jessa, which I really do believe that he did, albeit briefly.
Who Is He: The object of Marnie’s affection and her singing partner. They made out, briefly.
Desi isn’t a bad person as much as he’s just a very aloof one. He doesn’t seem to care that he’s making Marnie fall for him with every sultry song or that making out with her will move their relationship into dangerous territory. I imagine Desi floating through the world blissfully unaware of his effect on people, which isn’t great, but it’s far better than being a manipulative sociopath who does the same things to get those reactions from people.
Who He Is: Marnie’s on again/off again boyfriend. He’s permanently off now, as Christopher Abbott bailed on the HBO series before Season 3.
It’s very hard for me not to rank Charlie on attractiveness alone (I find him so, so beautiful — sue me) but he also wasn’t THE WORST, so I feel comfortable ranking him relatively high on this list. Season 1 Charlie was a great boyfriend, and I firmly believe that Marnie did not respect him an ounce of his worth — everyone gets comfortable in relationships, and Charlie shouldn’t have been faulted for wanting something stable. Season 2 Charlie was a bit more of a challenge — he pined for Marnie while dating a new girl, and played entirely too many mind games — but his declaration for love at the end of the season made up for most of his problem areas. Charlie was written off the show after Season 2, having dumped Marnie in the coldest way possible, which I still don’t think rings true for his character. Had Abbott stayed on the series, I have a feeling Charlie would have made his way to the top of this list — alas, we’ll never know.
Who He Is: Hannah’s boyfriend for about a minute.
I liked Sandy. I really did! He was stable and smart and seemed to genuinely care about Hannah. All of Hannah’s friends may have been put off by the fact that he was a Republican, but at least he wasn’t terribly obnoxious about his politics. In fact, Sandy was a pretty mild-mannered guy until he was forced to tell Hannah that he didn’t like her writing.
Who He Is: Shoshanna’s ex-boyfriend and Marnie’s occasional hookup buddy.
I love Ray. He’s so cynical and sad, but at least he attempts to get his life together. He genuinely cared about Shoshanna when they were together, and attempted to care about Marnie for at least a little while. Ultimately I appreciate Ray’s honesty in absolutely everything that he does, because at the end of the day, the only thing you can do is you, right?
Who He Is: A weekend fling of Hannah’s.
Joshua was no boy — he was a man, with an actual job and everything! He had a fun and sexy weekend with Hannah, which ended somewhat abruptly. Still, we can’t really fault Joshua with not pursuing a relationship with a girl almost half his age. Sometimes a fling is just a fling, and if you’re going to have one, might as well have one with someone with an amazing apartment.