THE SERIES “Girls”
WHEN | WHERE Sixth and final season begins Sunday at 10 p.m. on HBO
WHAT IT’S ABOUT Hannah (Lena Dunham) finally gets her name in print, specifically in the “Modern Love” section of The New York Times. The story is titled, “Losing My Best Friend to My Ex-Boyfriend.” That leads to another writing gig that takes her to Montauk — scenes were shot at Ruschmeyer’s, the Atlantic Terrace, and there’s an exterior shot of Memory Motel, immortalized by the Stones — where she meets surfer dude/water ski instructor Paul-Louis (Riz Ahmed). Meanwhile, expect some cooling between Marnie (Allison Williams) and Ray (Alex Karpovsky). This is the sixth and final season.
MY SAY George Carlin once told a famous joke about the futility of giving anyone the time of day if they asked for it because “there’s no present, only the immediate future and recent past.” All this means is that when you tell them the time it’s already wrong because you’re already in the future.
This also happens to explain why “Girls” will end this season, and pretty much has to.
Fans of the series that launched a thousand think pieces surely can’t hope to escape one more in these final hours, so as you watch the first few episodes, I submit that “Girls” has always been about the illusion of the present. The future is already here — or there — and you will soon witness the dawning realization of that cold, hard fact on faces, and especially in the eyes. Like Shosh’s (Zosia Mamet), for example, when she stares balefully at Jessa (Jemima Kirke), who challenges her to “grow up” in the Feb. 19 episode.
“Girls’ ” resident Peter Pan, Elijah (Andrew Rannells), then yells at Jess, “Grow up? Who the [expletive] are you to say ‘grow up.’ I am a grown up.”
Spoiler alert: This is one of the funniest, saddest lines of the new season.
“Girls” launched April 15, 2012, and the very first words out of Hannah’s mouth were these: “I’m a growing girl.” Good writers — and Dunham is certainly one — establish their themes immediately and economically. You can’t get anymore immediate or economical than that. Good writers also know when to wrap, and “Girls” isn’t “Friends,” after all, intent on squeezing out one more season for the enrichment of stars, networks and crews. “Girls” was “Girls,” and girls become women. Tempus fugit, ladies, tempus fugit.
In fact, “Girls” was always about time, or specifically that magical gossamer moment that some people are lucky (or privileged) enough to experience when they are young and unencumbered. All the world’s their stage, its props aligned for their pleasure. (Brooklyn so memorably played that role here). Narcissism was always the running joke, absence of self-awareness the other. The illusion that the moment lasts forever is another joke.
The jokes began to fray by the end of the fifth season. They may have died at the Moth open mic story slam in the finale. “Jealousy” was the theme for all those of would-be authors that night. As Hannah told the crowd, she had written her own account of jealousy — about Jessa and Adam (Adam Driver), of course — but realized she didn’t have an ending. Then after delivering a “not cheap basket of fruit” to their door, she says she heard a terrific row in the apartment. Suddenly, she had her ending, and a revelation: “I’m Hannah. That’s a fact. I’m Hannah forever, no matter what I do . . . I can only control the mayhem I create around me.”
With this epiphany, that gossamer moment for Hannah started to wane. When she has another revelation this season — “Nobody knows [expletive] anything” — you can actually start to see it fade away altogether.
“Girls” was always about the future too, specifically in the form of adults, who were mostly projections of Hannah/Marnie/Shosh/Jessa in the future. Either that, or they were cautionary figures, because with the exception of 30-something Ray, these adults were tragic, arrested, pathetic or infantile.
Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) was and remains Exhibit A this season, but you’ll also meet Chuck Palmer (Matthew Rhys), a successful author who was once admired by Hannah until she learns he’s a world-class creep. At least the reprobate does ask Hannah about her “dreams for the next five years.”
“I want to write,” says the person who once wanted to be the voice of her generation, and is now a woman with other hopes and dreams. “I want to write stories that make people feel less alone than I did, to laugh about the things that are painful in life.”
“Girls’ ” moment is almost up, but this lovely, gossamer line reminds us why that moment was so special.
BOTTOM LINE Of course you’ll love it. What else would you expect me to say?