The Maturation of “Girls”

The fifth season of HBO’s Girls aired its two-part finale this past weekend, and rather than feeling like a show that had run its course, it demonstrated a renewed creative potential. Although Girls has remained a reliably interesting show for its duration, the last two seasons suffered from an occasional lack of direction. It wasn’t always clear what held the friends together aside from entropy, and the need to fit everyone into the story seemed strained. The triumph of Girls’s fifth season was realizing that this group of friends needs to be allowed to drift apart. Friendships end or are transmuted in real life, and the show reached a creative high when it committed to that reality.

The show’s protagonist, Hannah Horvath has been constantly evolving since the show’s inception. Originally hoping to be a writer (“a voice of a generation”), Hannah’s dream was scattered until a book deal forced actually forced her to focus. The stress of her new obligations led to a relapse of her mental health problems, but even after recovering, the deal was scuttled when her editor died unexpectedly. After that, Hannah lost focus, working in native advertising for a major men’s magazine, then trying to renew her talents at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, before giving up on her dream of writing and becoming a middle school teacher. Along with these creative and professional changes, Hannah started a relationship with Adam, broke up, got back together, broke up again, and then rejected his offer to get back together. Instead, she drifted toward her new colleague, the straight-laced Fran.

Hannah’s life runs on two different tracks, the professional and the personal. On the professional track, Hannah is constantly evolving, reassessing her strengths and abilities and trying out new careers until she gets closer to finding something that works for her.

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