This Sunday marks the finale of Girls, Lena Dunham’s hit HBO show about a millennial foursome of friends chasing their New York dreams post-college. The series debuted five years ago, in 2012, and was considered the first of its kind for portraying the “real” trials and tribulations of contemporary 20-something female life—in many ways in direct opposition to the sort of unerringly glamorous fictional characters captured by that other HBO show anchored by four female New Yorkers, Sex and the City. Though Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna have wavered in public popularity over the years—particularly in later seasons, during which Dunham received significant criticism around issues of diversity and privilege—in the final season, the girls have finally stumbled, however messily, into their own.
In its last episodes, the show has managed to ably tie up loose ends without seeming contrived, and with a good deal of nuance. During the penultimate segment, the four friends meet for likely the last time together on screen before parting ways: a very pregnant Hannah, about to go off to teach at a liberal arts school upstate; Shoshanna, newly engaged, having set up house and entered a different social circle; Marnie, continuing to attempt to step out from under the weight of her own narcissistic personality after breaking from her drug-addled ex-husband and musical partner, Desi; and Jessa, regaining some measure of her free spirit.
Regardless of your feelings for the show, its creator, or its content, in the history of television, there will be a “before Girls” and an after, with its influence (and audience) reaching into all corners of culture for years to come. And for now, here are five things you didn’t know about Girls.
1. For the main characters, it was never about looking good.
“The overall theme of the show is the mistakes we go through when we’re trying to find our footing,” Girls costume designer Jennifer Rogien told the New York Times: “We wanted to embrace all those factors—the youth, the first job, the insecurity in relationships, both romantic and friendship—and see if we could reflect that through the clothing.” The outfits were meant to make you squirm, with Dunham admitting she took inspiration from, in broad strokes, “that outfit you can’t believe you wore but you know spent three days dreaming up.” In between the crazier sartorial one-hit-wonders, Rogien repeated pieces often and kept mostly affordable brands on set, peppered with still comparatively modest designers like Tibi and Theory for the more upscale looks. “We were really concerned about realism, verisimilitude,” said Dunham, also noting that the show's executive producer Jenni Konner was always quick to point out if something fit “a little too well.”
2. Jessa and Adam were fated to be together from the first season.
Adam and Hannah were never meant to work out long-term. Konner and Dunham saw Jessa as a more suitable partner for Adam from the first time the two appeared in a scene together. “We realized, ‘These two weirdos had to spend time together and bang bits,’” Dunham said in an interview in February. It was not an easy decision, though, and came to be a point of stress for both Dunham and Konner as they toiled over how to properly end Adam-and-Hannah. “I can’t say the first day I directed them making out that it wasn’t difficult,” said Dunham. “I was like, ‘I’m not mad at you guys, but I’m kind of mad at you guys.”
3. Jemima Kirke wanted to quit the show after the first season.
During a candid conversation with her costars, Kirke revealed that her extended relationship with Dunham—which began as a friendship that harkens back to high school at Saint Ann’s in Brooklyn—hit a rough patch during a time of personal hardship during the second season of the show. “That was the season where you said I had to get out of your dressing room or you were going to punch me,” Dunham reminded her. “I remember being in a cab and Jemima called me. She was like, ‘I have to tell you something. It’s not a big deal. I don't want you to freak out. I want toquit the show.’” In an episode of Dunham’s Women of the Hour podcast, Kirke explained that as Girls went into its second season, she had become uncomfortable with the portrayal of her character. “You created this character for me and I feel like at times maybe I felt like I was being turned into a caricature, because I know you write from life a lot,” Kirke told Dunham. “Sometimes I felt like, ‘Is this who she thinks I am?’” It's all water under the bridge now, though—especially after Kirke added that the fighting apparently made their relationship a lot “nicer.”
4. Malia Obama was a great intern.
The former first daughter was a summer intern in 2015, which Dunham and Konner recently recalled on The Howard Stern Show. Unsurprisingly for fans of the Obama family, Malia had a great attitude, and felt no task was beneath her. “She's an angel,” said Dunham. “Obviously we weren't making her go get our coffee, but she wanted to do all the jobs. That was the cool thing.” President Obama‘s eldest daughter worked under the writer's assistant, “taking down the improv,” so the actors could use it in their upcoming scenes.
5. Shoshanna could have been portrayed by Amy Schumer.
Amy Schumer tried out for the part of Shoshanna, something that first came to light in Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny Letter, last fall. In an interview, the two discussed their first meeting, which was actually on set during the show’s casting. “Everyone in the room was stunned by the detail and skill of her improv, the wild talent radiating off her (and I was personally intrigued by her breasts),” Dunham wrote. “It was clear Amy wasn’t meant to play an innocent Juicy Couture lover obsessed with emoji—even if her Meatpacking District club lingo was the funniest shit I had ever heard. But when she left the room, the vibe was very, ‘Someone give that lady a show, STAT!’”
This story originally appeared on Vogue.
More from Vogue: