Gather round, ladies and gents! Strap on your beanies and your sturdiest boots, because shit is about to get MESSY. Make sure you have a snack in your canvas tote (I suggest a Kind bar or one of those hummus/pretzel packs), some Tullamore Dew in your flask with the ironic phrase engraved on it, and don’t forget your phone charger because you’re going to want to IG the shit out of this.
The Shit Out of What?
Why, the GIRLS Season Finale! Or as I like to call it: A BEAUTIFUL MESS. The hysterics! The theatrics! The awkward cheek kisses in front of a step-and-repeat! This finale was jam-packed with emotion, heartbreak, longing, and more angst that you’d find in a Hot Topic on a Saturday afternoon.
Where Will You Begin?
Excellent question – I think the best way to wrap up this up-down-every-which-way rollercoaster of a season is to do it on a character-by-character basis.
Cool. Let’s start with Hannah, the “authentic” Iowan.
I’m gonna stop you right there and tell you the character we have to talk about FIRST and FOREMOST and possibly FOREVER is…..wait for it….drumroll please:
ADAM’S MISSING SISTER CAROLINE AKA LAIRDS BABYMAMA AKA HEY NABE AKA OMGMYBRAINJUSTMELTEDOUTOF MY EAR.
She’s….downstairs….the whole time….folic acid…just getting the mail…feel my bump…I…lacy nightgown…the Iced Tea shelf….I. I can’t.
[falls to the floor]
[Shaky] I think so.
Can we talk about Hannah, now? The star of the show?
Fine, fine, let’s do it. Hannah, you sly dog! Look at you, acting like a total cray cray last episode and then applying to grad school on the sly! Iowa Writers Workshop is indeed the #1 writing MFA in the country (though it’s absolutely impossible that Marnie knew that unless it was written on the bottom of her Pinkberry cup). And Nutballs Horvath just snuck off an application sometime between pulling splinters out of her butt last season and stealing free snacks from her advertorial gig this one. Gussied up her writing portfolio, scrubbed “E-book Author” off her resume, and got herself a one-way ticket to Pretentious Literary Book Deal World! You go, Corn Husker!
No, but seriously – Hannah, who seemed to be spirally WILDLY out of control these last few episodes, is back on top. Good for her. And though her big news – and the timing with which she told her sort-of-boyfriend about it – is going to turn her life upside-down, it’s a life that needs exactly this sort of shakeup.
Her parents were insanely cute about it, though I’m confused what her dad was in the middle of doing when she called? Checking the expiration date on the entire contents of their pantry? Looking for the one piece of snack food that doesn’t have partially hydrogenated cornseed oilstarch in it? Good luck, Tadbert. And even self-absorbed songbird Marnie was genuinely stoked for her. Everyone was. Well, everyone except My Fair Non-Boyfriend, your favorite Cockney and mine, Major Adam.
You Don’t Think His Rage Was Justified?
Eh, I’m torn. Hannah didn’t tell him her news before the big show to throw him off, she did it to express a “Hey look, I’ve got something good going on too and that’s going to be good for both of us! We’re that cool artist couple who refurbs a three-story brownstone in Greenpoint but tries to stay humble about our crazy expensive antique furniture that’s all made from recycled bowling alley lanes!”
And yet, a tiny piece of me wonders if she – at least subconsciously – told Adam before the play so that she could watch his triumph and feel like she, a lowly audience member, had her own starring role somewhere too. The push-pull of their tenuous relationship has been building to exactly the showdown that ensued outside the theater (Elijah’s awkward exit was perfect), but the ongoing battle between them will rage on until one of them finally, officially pulls the plug. Or is the Midwest going to do that for them??
Hannah and Adam are each narcissists, but two different strains – the extrovert and the introvert. The ego-sparring and territory claiming these two lovebirds constantly feel the need to do is happening because they’re each naturally evolving, but not accepting that they may be evolving away from each other. It happens. It sucks, but it happens. Hannah seems to have the wherewithal, though, to finally recognize this. She collects herself and walks away from Adam’s greasy-haired rage. She goes back to her apartment, which doesn’t feel quite so empty now that it’s filled with her, that acceptance letter, and her future.
PS- Does this mean we’ll be splitting our time between Iowa and Brooklyn next season? Think of all the hot, corn-fed TAs she can have trysts with! The Writers In Residence she can strip down for! The cornfields she can merrily prance naked through!
PPS – Adam’s play looked godawful. Sorry, George Bernard Shaw fans (all two of you). I tried to read the Wikipedia synopsis of it and woke up three hours later with laptop keyboard imprints on my cheek and a vague recollection of bidding on trombones on eBay. But according to my email, I just won a kazoo auction, so I’m confused. Anyway, the dark lighting, the horrible British accents (especially Adam’s. Pleez, govna. Eym a-beggin ye! Nevah speak ageeeeeeeen!), the fact that Denim Desi somehow managed to guarantee his costume would be – yup – OVERALLS. In early 1900s England? Overalls were all the rage? Hmm. Desi definitely banged the production’s costume designer.
Speaking of The CW’s Finest Romeo, What About His Lady In Waiting, aka Marnie?
Marnie, Marnie, Marnie! (please refer to that infamous BRADY BUNCH episode for proper reading of the previous line). Marn. Shitbox Gal. Toothy Fairy. What’s up? I started you a new Instagram account. It’s called @StalkerStyle. I filled it with pictures of Desi sleeping, showering, popping some zits in the mirror, making coffee, buying flowers for his lady, etc. All your favorite little moments to look at on your phone instead of creepily hovering behind wrought-iron fences! If you pay Desi’s doorman $15 bucks, I bet he’ll text you whenever D-Man leaves the apartment so you can get your stalk on! Who am I kidding, Desi doesn’t live in a doorman building. But I digress.
Marnie started the season completely heartbroken about Charlie, shacked up with Old Man Ray in the interim, and now is FATAL ATTRACTION obsessed with Desi because of one yucky, smashed-up-against-a-wall backstage shirtless kiss? Oh, I forgot to add in that she sprung for a vintage James Taylor guitar pick. People are still selling those? Really? And she had this authenticated how? I popped on to eBay to suss this out and am disappointed Marnie only got him a pick, since it seems a whole electric guitar signed by the “Fire and Rain” dudebro (and trust me, I love the guy so Desi being a fanboy actually makes me respect him more) has starting bids at $150. Marnie could have gotten some tips from Jessa about how to rob your place of employment and totally sprung for that! Desi deserves it! He can play it when you record your album togeth- oh, what’s that? Sweet, sweet Clementine has turned into sour grapes and put the kibosh on you two totally-just-friends laying down some sweet tracks? Bumz City. Also what the F, Desi? How did you ALREADY have time to tell your GF that you cheated on her?! Weren’t you busy running around onstage in your overalls?
Anyhoo, Marnie is a scary, gross force of nature, much like the New York Winter, that cannot, will not, shall not be stopped. Clementine – who is very, very scary when she’s mad – basically tears her head off in the bathroom and Marnie continues to hold out hope that Desi will come to her? Read the signs, Marnie. Or maybe we should just eBay a vintage Ace of Base album for you so you can listen to “I Saw The Sign” on repeat. And then upload your cover of it to YouTube. Thirty-four hits, here we come!
Marnie is the series’ most unredeemable character who will hopefully have some sort of reckoning in Season 4…and also hopefully get laryngitis. Oh who am I kidding, I’m still rocking her Open Mic Night ditty! Who can’t stop won’t stop now, huh?!
What about Dr. KevorkiJess?
Talk about burying the lead (deathly double entendre intended)! FINALLY the “ex-junkie thief” gets a STORYLINE! And not just about “Rage dancing to inappropriate headbanging music,” but a meaty, weighty, debate-igniting storyline about assisted suicide and peoples’ right to choose and the power of friendship and all that. Jessa deciding if she’s going to help Beadie die could have filled up the whole season, let alone the whole episode, but instead this heavy storyline was relegated to about two and a half scenes. Though we’re supposed to assume only a week, maybe two, have passed since the penultimate ep, Jessa and Art World Darling Beadie’s relationship seems much more advanced than that.
Jessa started the season with drugs in her system and ended it shoving them into someone else’s. And then calling 911 so they could be pumped out. Is this the wake up call she needs? Not getting yelled at by her cousin, not getting dumped by a creepy, pink-sock wearing Daddy figure, not getting bailed out of rehab by her enabling friends. Not even finding out that an old pal actually pretended to be dead to avoid being friends with her. Perhaps what will bring Jessa back from the brink is bringing someone else back from their own. Jessa has always done her own thing, but maybe this will ground her a little more. Give her some space to live a life, not just numb herself through it.
Or maybe she and Beadie will go out to celebrate Beadie’s new lease on life and end up knocking over a bodega and taking off for Nova Scotia to evade the cops like some mismatched Thelma and Louise types. Then next season can be bi-coastal and bi-country! That’d be fun, eh?
Last but not least: the Mystical Bun Wearer, Miss Shoshonna.
Aw, Shosh. Lil Non Grad. Mizz Independent who went and banged around too hard her senior year and somehow forgot to attend/turn in papers for her WHAT class? Mysticism? Power Texting? She talks so fast sometimes, I miss deets. Anyway, no graduating equals no good, especially because she had such big plans after NYU commencement – I believe they involved going to business school, hopefully because she’s launching her own line of bun inserts that double as places to stash condoms for study break sessy times.
Shoshonna had a really rough go of it this episode, and the series’ ultimate truthteller was on the receiving end of not one but two hard ones this go around. The first was when she got the Bad News Bears update that Marn-dog and Old Man Ray have been doing the Nudie Times Tango. “More than once…a few times, actually,” as Marnie so delicately puts it. Twist the butter knife, why don’t you?
This revelation is enough to send Shoshy spinning right back into the flaccid arms of Old Man Ray himself. Unfortunately for our little non-post-grad, Ray’s arms aren’t open to catch her, but are folded firmly against his undefined chest. Seems that he’s grateful Shoshonna pushed him forward, but he’s deep in the throes of “Me Time” and even owns a potted plant so basically he’s next season’s The Bachelor. And Shoshonna is not being asked to accept his wilted rose.
Her teary face as Ray lays it out for her is truly heartbreaking and Mamet is STOKED she finally gets a scene that allows her to act instead of babble. On a related note, this episode was different than the eleven that preceded because its best moments were actually found in the silences, not the noise. Shosh listening to Ray rip her carefully-presented heart out of her chest. Adam listening to Hannah tell him about finally achieving her own dream. Marnie listening to an incensed Clementine rip her a new one. Hannah listening to her heart and deciding to move to Iowa (unless I’m mis-reading that ending beat…but I don’t think so). Being comfortable expressing the larger emotional moments without the crutch of words shows that GIRLS has matured, even if not all of its characters have.
So you’re saying GIRLS finally found its voice.
Yup, and it spoke the loudest in those quiet moments.
I see what you did there.
And that’s it, ladies and gents. The curtain call on GIRLS’ final episode for the season. It was a LOT: messy, squishy, exciting, uncomfortable, exhilarating, and even a little uplifting. You know, in light of all this, I’ve decided to amend the title to:
GIRLS EPISODE 12: A BEAUTIFUL MESS…AKA YOUR 20s.