By Laura Bradley. Photos: Courtesy of HBO.
When Girls first premiered back in 2012, it was popular practice to compare it to another HBO property: Sex and the City, which went off the air eight years before its younger, rougher progeny would debut. But from the very beginning, Girls actually proved to have very little in common with its older, posher predecessor. Hannah Horvath and her fellow Girls dwelled in Brooklyn—most of the time, anyway—on the same streets Carrie and her gang refused to tread until Miranda moved there, holding her nose the whole time. The world that Lena Dunham and executive producer Judd Apatow created is younger and grungier than that of Sex and the City: Carrie and Miranda might have popularized Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, but Hannah and co. were more likely to nosh on them while naked in the bathtub. And perhaps most importantly, unlike the women of Sex and the City, the girls in Girls—with a few temporary exceptions—are not actually friends. That key distinction is precisely why the show's decision to feature just two of its ostensible title characters—Hannah and Marnie—in its upcoming series finale makes perfect sense.
Dunham broke the news in an Instagram post, applauding Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet's "Hepburn/Tracy Laverne/Shirley" dynamic throughout the show's six seasons on HBO. Neither actress, evidently, will appear in the final episode of Girls, airing next Sunday.
And neither one should, either! Seriously: Have the Girls ever really been friends? Hannah and Marnie's relationship has been fraught since Season 1, when Marnie moved out of their shared apartment in a huff. Shoshanna and Jessa—who are cousins, not friends—are prone to fighting, and Jessa has always been a flight risk. Shoshanna moved to Japan for a while, and said in Sunday's penultimate Girls episode that she wants out of the foursome—if she was ever in it to begin with. And let's not even start with Jessa and Hannah, whose relationship has always been majorly complicated at best. The ties that bind these young women have been more happenstance than anything else for literally years; no wonder Dunham says that over the course of six seasons, the four main Girls have appeared onscreen together just 12 times. Perhaps the best summation of the series came when Hannah and Elijah discussed Hannah's possible move upstate in the show's penultimate episode: "Hannah, you've made so many wonderful friendships here," Elijah quipped. Then both burst out laughing, as Elijah sighed, "That's not a thing!"
Fans have also already seen the last of Elijah, Adam, and Ray—all of whom got relatively satisfying endings: Elijah's got a role in a musical, Adam has decided to be with Jessa, and Ray has found love with Abigail (Aidy Bryant). Some fans might be left a little unsatisfied, comparatively, with how Jessa and Shosh signed off. What the grumblers don't seem to understand, though, is that whatever relationship these young women have had over the years, it isn't the kind viewers typically see on TV—the warm, unconditional, unbreakable ties that bind, say, the characters on Friends, or, yes, Sex and the City. Moreover, Girls has never been a touchy-feely, wrap-everything-with-a-bow kind of show. And so while Jessa and Shoshanna's exit might not feel as emotionally satisfying as it could have been—Jessa and Hannah's tearful reconciliation notwithstanding—the decision to axe them from the series finale ultimately feels pretty perfect.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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