As much as I was confused by season 2, I have fallen right back in love with Girls over the course of season 3. I resented the neat, picture-perfect way in which season 2 ended, especially with Adam running halfway across town to be Hannah’s Knight in Shining Armour. But season 3 brought back the crazy, the imperfection and the humour in it all. If you watched and loved the first two seasons, this one takes everything up a couple of notches. (And they still get their music right.)
Right form the start I have loved the level of detail, the nuances in each individual character. Even the secondary, but recurrent figures like Laird, the junkie who lives downstairs and Caroline, Adam’s crazy sister have such prominent facets to their personalities. It is especially interesting to see how the distinct edges of each character, down to their eccentricities, their habits and entire beings is not without a place in the overall story line, into which each of them fit perfectly. If Hannah dresses oddly, it is for a reason. If Laird has a perpetually leaky nose, it is for a reason. If Caroline has unkempt eyebrows, that too is not without reason.
Hannah is pretty much a big fuck-you to every single gender norm foisted upon any feminine character on TV ever. There’s little that’s really feminine or typically girly, about her, as one would normally expect from the protagonist of a show called Girls. She’s deliberately imperfect, dresses awkwardly, is self-centred, is not coy and sweet. There’s little Hannah really cares about, apart from herself. And yet carries it all off with a confidence that’s rare to find on TV.
Marnie on the other hand is physically everything Hannah is not. She’s near-perfect with her delicate features, always well-turned-out sense of style, perfect make up and hair. She’s positively sexy, and even I thought so when the show started out. She is as close to perfect as it gets as far as girls are meant to be. But man, I have not loathed a television character as much as I loathe her. Is there anyone out there who likes her? I know a couple of guys who do, but I’m not going to bother asking why.
This season had me really feeling a mix of negativity and pity towards Hannah and Marnie. Shoshanna is the ditz, but I love how headstrong she is. Jessa is made to look like the wayward, free-spirit, and somehow is always the one to drop these simple truths that have completely missed the other girls. Despite the dark and troubling undertones of their respective stories, Shoshanna and Jessa are uplifting and make me laugh out loud.
Seemingly socially dysfunctional, Adam is probably more centred than any of the Girls. He’s in your face, and almost always in a way that’s not pleasant, and I can’t help but stay and listen and like him a little. Ray is brutally honest, and I love that despite his insecurities he doesn’t lose that quality.
I am a big fan of writing that has a purpose and specific intention, because I believe that when things are done to design, and done with intention, they communicate that emotion, that thought perfectly. It’s probably why many mainstream Hindi films annoy me, or not all books by newbie writers stick with me, or trashy pop isn’t memorable. This is not to devalue the place of mainstream cinema, easy reading or pop music, but it definitely says a lot that every episode of Girls I watch, gets archived into my hard disk (much like I did with SATC when I went on a download-and-watch-the-whole-season binge 5 years ago) and every episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I continue to subject myself to is deleted the instant the episode ends. Sometimes even before it really ends.
My grandfather would say this about music — that it didn’t matter what language it was in, if the music was played/sung/performed with genuine emotion or purpose, there is no way it doesn’t communicate it or touch a chord in the audience. He believed it to be true of all forms of art.
This season I found the growing antsy vibe between Hannah and Marnie irritating, sometimes even insufferable. I almost feel like the show needed to grow out of just being a Hannah-Marnie Magnet. To be honest, as the show progresses it’s the boys that are growing on me. Ironic, I thought, that in a show titled Girls, it’s the boys I am rooting for. The finale made me realise that this too perhaps, is by design.