To be completely honest, Girls was one of those shows I “hate-watched” at the beginning. Now that I’ve watched the four oblivious twenty-somethings blunder through life for three seasons, Girls has become one of my favorite shows. In the fourth season, the game has changed for the quirky main characters. Season four’s tagline is “Nowhere to grow but up,” and after three seasons of some frustratingly immature antics, it’s exciting to see an inkling of growth in the show’s leading ladies.
The end of the third season led all four main characters down a new paths. Marnie started a singing career, Hannah decided to leave New York for Iowa, Shoshanna’s carefully planned life derailed and Jessa started on the path to sobriety.
The most recent episode in the series was one of the the show’s best yet. The plot line sounds like something out of the “Tonight On Girls” Twitter account: Shoshanna fakes an interview at Ann Taylor Loft, Elijah discovers the art of the reverse selfie and Hannah gets a ride home from a Mennonite in a horse and buggy. “Female Author” had some genuinely hilarious moments mixed in with some strikingly relatable moments.
Marnie, the character that everyone loves to hate, has found some direction in her singing career. However, the qualities that make her so easy to dislike are still very present. As out of touch with reality and self-centered as ever, she initiates an affair with her singing partner, Desi. While talking with Ray about said relationship, Ray calls her out saying, “You are one-thousand percent the mistress.” Yet she continues to act as if her actions have no consequences. Instead of breaking off her ill-fated relationship (Desi calls monogamy “a very culturally specific idea”), Marnie asks Desi to leave Clementine, his current girlfriend. Hopefully by the end of the season Marnie will get the huge reality check she so seriously needs.
After three seasons of floundering but never taking action, Hannah has become the most relatable of the four main characters. At the end of last season, she packed up and relocated to Iowa for a prestigious writing program, a daring move forward in her career as a writer. Unfortunately, upon her arrival in the new season, Hannah cannot get a firm hold on her new life. All of her classmates hate both her and her writing, and a visit fromElijah , a now series regular, has proved how little she’s done with her time in Iowa. In a particularly entertaining scene, Hannah decides to stand up to each and every one of her overly self-serious classmates in a deeply satisfying and cringeworthy Hannah way. After calling one of them a “tragically hip gaisan” (to be fair he was wearing a Beyonce “Surfboard” sweatshirt) and asking for the criminal record of the class golden boy, she slides herself over the back of the couch in a hilarious and horrendously awkward exit.
Aside from social issues, Hannah lacks the inspiration to write. Unlike previous episodes Hannah’s struggle seems real and understandable. She struggles with her newfound freedom and time to write, asking Elijah, “How come all I want to do is Google the one month were Woody Harrelson and Glenn Close were a couple?” She has trouble taking ownership of her own future, even though Hannah is right where she wants to be.
In an interesting turn of events, a seemingly unflappable Jessa has shown some vulnerability. Jessa has always been disturbingly reassured about her very, very questionable actions. She’s the type of person to flippantly say “I’m basically the only thing standing between him and a crack pipe” and be completely serious. Her confidence has been effectively shaken after botching an ailing artist’s assisted suicide last season. Jessa admits her vulnerability to Adam, whom she’s becomes closer to because of their shared, weekly A.A. meetings. After Jessa gets both of them arrested because she insists on peeing in the street in broad daylight (ew), Adam doesn’t want to deal with her destructive tendencies. At first, she glibly brushes off his anger in typical Jessa fashion, then admits to Adam, “I need a friend.” Jessa always seems to be spiraling, barely avoiding the fall to rock bottom. Perhaps her new relationship with Adam, friendly or otherwise, will be a way for her to pick herself up for good.
Season four of Girls started off by forming new relationships and beginnings for it’s characters. The beginning of the season has set up some interesting dynamics going forward. As the season unfolds, all of the main characters will have to own their decisions and be an adult for once. Hannah must push herself to seize the opportunity in front of her, Marnie will most definitely have to answer for her deceit and Jessa will hopefully face her demons head on. It looks like the girls really are growing up, or at least they’re headed in that direction.