'Girls' HBO Season 1 Finale: The 'Voice of Our Generation' Ends the Season With Romance and Hope

The season finale of Girls aired on HBO last night—a truly jam-packed episode entitled “She Did” that, much like the nine episodes before it, was a stylistic hybrid, part-comedy, part-drama, part-sitcom, part-indie and a couple of parts like, tone poem or something. (Yes, the show is still finding itself, much like its main characters. And that’s totally okay by me). 

This was by far the most romantic episode to date. Between Jessa and Thomas-John's surprise wedding, Adam declaring his love and suggesting he and Hannah move in together, and Ray and Shoshanna going home together for him to deflower her (but in the most romantic way, I swear!) it was, all in all, full of a hell-of-a-lot of hope. If we can believe for even a second that Jessa and Thomas-John really are in love, which we probably can’t but let’s pretend for a second that that’s even remotely possible, well—how sweet are Thomas-John’s vows: “I promised myself that if I ever saw that fucking bitch again, I’d make her my wife.” 

Maybe those aren’t the exact words you want to hear on the happiest day of your life. But Jessa does seem genuinely happy when she’s sitting on the can telling best friend Hannah that she does feel like maybe she’s finally kind of an adult. And Adam’s turn in this episode—finally stepping up to truly be the boyfriend Hannah thought she wanted—was I the only one, or did he suddenly seem way more sexy and lovable than the guy who peed on her in the shower? And Ray—wow. For a guy who’s always seemed to spout a lot of nonsense ... he’s gonna pull through for Shosh and help her lose her virginity (something she seems to need to do to move on with her life)—and he’s not even doing it in a douchey way. Maybe chivalry isn’t dead, at least not in Williamsburg, anyway.

So what does this “romantic” end to the season all add up to? And—if Girls is in some way a commentary on modern relationships—where does it leave us, and our main characters? The show is, at its heart, an exploration and, as cliched as it sounds, a true “coming-of-age” journey. These girls have no clue who they are, who they want to be, or how they’re going to get there, and we’re along for that (possibly freakishly long) ride. Yes, there are men in their lives (Adam, Charlie, et al) and those men are stuck in the same position we are: they want to be fixtures in the lives of these girls, and yet they’ll always be forced to the sidelines, never quite infiltrating the inner circle. Because Girls is really a show about a couple of twenty-somethings and their relationships to each other—and, more importantly—to themselves. Sure, it’s crazy-romantic that Adam wants to move in and commit and be Hannah’s one-and-only. But Hannah isn’t ready to move in with her boyfriend. Hannah barely has a job. Hannah hasn’t dealt with her weight issues or her jealousy issues, or her total, mind-bending fear that she’ll never amount to anything as a writer. Hannah is envious of Tally because her boyfriend’s suicide was a “big break” that Tally couldn’t have penned herself if she’d tried. (Anyone notice the irony of Adam getting hit by a car, but not hard enough to actually kill him? Poor, poor Hannah).

Let’s not forget the title of the show. This isn’t a series about women. It’s about girls. And girls they are, with a lot of growing up (and finding themselves) to do. Jessa commits in the hugest way, and her (sham of a) marriage provides a really nice framework for us to think about where these girls are on their journey to “adulthood,” and how far they have to go until they’ll be comfortable in their own Toms. And the final image of the show, of a bereft Hannah, purse-less, metro card-less, possibly boyfriend-less and best friend-slash-roommate-less sitting on the beach at Coney Island eating wedding cake: did anyone else feel like maybe it wasn’t all that sad? Like maybe it, much like the whole episode and even the season, was actually full of hope? Because Hannah’s got growing to do. And dealing to do. And learning to accept and love herself to do. And maybe you can only do that at the crack of dawn, barefoot in the sand in your twenties in New York after you’ve gotten your purse stolen, scraping last night’s icing from a piece of crumpled aluminum foil. Because the true love story—between Hannah and Hannah—has only just begun.

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Rebecca Hanover

Rebecca Hanover is a TV writer, novelist and Harry Potter connoisseur. She studied drama and creative writing at Stanford University before moving to NYC but now resides in the wilds of San Francisco. Check out more of Rebecca's writing on her blog, www.rebeccahanover.com.

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