Gone Girls: The ending of a polarizing era in television

Chad White

After six years, sixty-two episodes, and a whole lot of butts, boobs and vaginas, Girls ended its illustrious career on HBO. Whether you liked it or hated its guts, the show has proven to be a powerhouse for female voices on television.

Girls isn’t for everyone. Not many can bring themselves to enjoy the self-effacing nature of Hannah Horvath and her cohorts. They live in a part of Brooklyn with very little minorities (see case 1, case 2, and case 3) and always find themselves delivering lines of bitter angst to random passersby. But, for some odd reason, viewers returned to enjoy the lives of and sometimes cry for the four leading characters. We watched them grow up from the titular girls into mature women. They might not have their best faces on display a large percentage of the time but that’s just a part of life. While they may be leaving our airwaves, these girls have a lot more growing up to do; as do we.

Girls isn’t for everyone.

For a show airing on the same network that previously aired its contemporary Sex and the City, the new female series was bound to attract comparison. There are four main ladies in both half hour series that deal with heavy dramatic elements of life. But Girls is much more that a rip off or homage. It’s a beautiful love letter to growing up as a woman, finding your own voice in a manly society trying to silence you. Girls is an expression of so many things at once, it’s hard to completely categorize it.

Just this season, there was a bottle episode dedicated to an author’s (presumed) unwanted sexual advances on unsuspecting women. Hannah wrote about it on a small feminist website and he invited her over to discuss the issue, choosing Hannah because the way she wrote was smart as opposed to the other, bigger outlets that covered the issue who had seemingly less educated writers. As Joshua Alston of The A.V. Club puts it, the writer, Chuck, went to the ends of the Earth to make himself the one in charge of the situation. HE chose where the conversation was held (his home); HE lead the conversation; and HE ended up pulling his probable samey moves on Hannah (pulling his dick out as they share a quiet lie down). The dozens of women – all out of focus -- walking into Chucks apartment as Hannah leaves is just icing on the cake.

HBO’s leading show about “millennials” is a home of artistic nature. Director Richard Shepard did well with “American Bitch” by making a big issue feel intimate and, by episode’s end, immediately blowing it up. The same goes for a season two episode titled “One Man’s Trash” that excels in both writing by Dunham and Shepard’s direction that has young Hannah and Ray’s neighbor spending two days together on a sex vacation. Or the season five episode “Japan” from series executive producer Jenni Konner and director Jesse Peretz that follows Shoshanna’s exploits in Tokyo.

What Girls also brought to the table is a sense of fashion that no human should be proud of. Each woman had to boast a number of…spectacular outfits whether it was Jessa’s bohemian blouses, Marnie’s upscale and color adult attire, Shoshanna’s Japanese aesthetic, or literally anything Hannah wore. She was the worst offender.

Guest stars also added to the lore of the show. Various people from all types of acting backgrounds left their marks on many episodes. Some – like Corey Stoll and Gaby Hoffman – played major roles that helped or hindered the story in their own ways. And, over the course of the 62 episodes, there were almost 90 of them that graced our screens. 90! That’s, like, three an episode!

Girls is not for the average viewer. It takes a dedicated party to understand all of the happy instances, the frustrations, the decisions (good and bad) that these girls undertake. It’s not perfect nor is it the sweetest or the most truthful but Girls has managed to create conversations. Lena Dunham may not be the voice of a generation but she doesn’t have to be. She’s a generational voice that just happens to be louder than others. You don’t have to agree with everything she’s ever said or done but, you have to admit that what she has done has been more daring than what many others have attempted.

I will miss Girls. I’ll miss Marnie being a self-centered jerk who can’t learn from her lessons. I’ll always think of Jessa whenever I hear a British accent. Shosh’s quick speaking voice will be a flutter when I’m watching a video at warp speed. Adam’s strong acting choices will inspire me to be more real. I’ll find a gay friend like Elijah. I’ll try to be as mature as Ray (someday). And maybe I can be the (very lucky) writer that Hannah was.