Girls is the novel that Hannah Horvath was born to write and yet most likely never will.
The arrival of the sixth and final season of HBO’s landmark series is bound to provoke such thoughts for anyone who loves the show.
A further example: Seinfeld, with its diamond surface and happy cynicism, was the New York comedy about nothing. Girls, with both its often melancholy insight and its messiness, is the New York comedy about everything.
Also: No series has ever dramatized, with such humor and irony, the ability of a young (or youngish) mind to adapt to unwelcome, unexpected truths while refusing to throw cherished delusions under the bus.
As Hannah used to say: Oh-kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay…?
The first two episodes of the new season are terrific: Hannah (Lena Dunham), settling into an odd mix of Nora Efron and Erica Jong, writes a magazine piece on Hamptons women infatuated with their surf instructor (Rogue One’s Riz Ahmed). He and Hannah enjoy vigorous, sloppy sex.
Meanwhile, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), who seems as disoriented as she did in Japan, can’t find a job to match her business drive: She still has that blank, blinking stare that can make her seem childish, almost doll-like, or merely very, very angry. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is losing her ethereal charm while remaining curiously unmotivated — she’s like an unsuccessful “It” girl — and Marnie (Allison Williams) treats the men she loves with a cruelty that’s not softened by her obliviousness to the fact.
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“How did I end up here,” she moans after another romantic fiasco.
If she doesn’t know, we do. Girls’ genius (and that’s the right word) is that we’re always surprised by these characters’ choices, good or bad, yet everything they do seems inevitable.
As a philosopher said, “Become what you are.” Girls, you’ve become.
Girls‘ sixth season premieres Sunday (10 p.m. ET) on HBO.