Our Girls are moving up in the world. They’re following their passions, righting their wrongs and becoming genuine adults. Well, they’re trying, at least, and isn’t that half the battle?
Look at Shoshanna for example: she’s out of college and at her first big job interview. She nails her interview and is told that the job is hers if she wants it. She’d be a Junior Accessories Buyer, and even contribute to their cardigan collection. She and the interviewer are already bonding, but when she’s offered the job Shoshanna turns it down, because she’s using this interview as a trial run and she wants to wait for a job that she’s really passionate about. It’s at this point that Shosh is frozen out, despite her best intentions of “being honest, even when it’s difficult”. Despite her best attempts, Shoshanna Shapiro still has a lot of growing up to do. She hasn’t yet realised that being adult sometimes means making a choice to do the thing you don’t want to do, especially when entering the job market. Shosh better learn that quick smart, especially if she doesn’t want to end up in a similar position as her friends.
Jessa is trying to stay sober and become a responsible adult, but it’s plain to see that there’s a hole in Jessa Johannsen that needs to be filled. Adam sees it; After Jessa gets both of them arrested he calls her out, asking her why she still does so many stupid, reckless things on her path to long-term sobriety. “What are you trying to provoke?” he asks her, and in that short scene Adam manages to pin Jessa down more than her friends ever have. He calls her out on her manipulation of Hannah, her irresponsibility, her inability to stay still. The strange thing is that Jessa actually listens. She doesn’t fight him. She admits that she needs a friend, and she needs someone like Adam to be her friend. Jessa’s arrest – for public urination, incidentally – could be the last push she needs to straighten up. I’ve always had a soft spot for Jessa – despite her self-destructiveness, she has always seemed like the most realistic character in the show. Lena Dunham based Jessa heavily on Jemima Kirke, the actress who plays her, and perhaps that’s why she feels so real – Kirke understands her character better than any other actor on the show, even more than Dunham herself.
Marnie finally admits to Desi, and to herself, that their relationship is what she wants, but not what she deserves. Ray makes her realise that she is “1000 percent the mistress” in Desi and Clementine’s relationship, and that although Marnie and Desi have a great musical partnership, he doesn’t deserve her romantically. This minor compliment causes Marnie to promptly leap on top of Ray, and they rekindle their physical relationship. Later, in a meeting with a record company, Marnie’s anger towards Desi and his refusal to break up with Clementine brings her to breaking point, and she tanks the interview by asking the record executive if she can steal a cigarette or two. Afterwards, when Desi asks why she ruined the meeting, Marnie finally stands up to Desi and tells him that she knows what she wants. The disappointing thing is that he’s not offering to her.
As a side note, Ray has become my favourite character. He seems to be the only character to have made an attempt at growing up: he has a stable job and a business to run, he has money in the bank, a great apartment and a sense of responsibility – that’s certainly a change from the Ray we met back in season one.
Finally, we have Hannah. Despite showing such promise at the start of the season, Hannah is finding school in Iowa harder than she imagined. She’s suffering from writer’s block and is questioning if that’s even what she wants to do with her life. Elijah, however, is thriving in his new environment, despite not actually being at college anymore. Despite his attempts to get Hannah back in the saddle, Hannah Horvath pushes the self-destruct button and manages to alienate her entire class in one evening. Was Hannah spot on about every one of her classmates? Absolutely, but she let her deep-seeded insecurities get the better of her and berated each and every one of them, just because they didn’t like one of her stories. She ends up going home alone, hitching a ride home with a Mennonite because her bike had been stolen for the second time. Hannah has gone from top to bottom in the blink of an eye. But she’s trying. She’s really, really trying.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Season 4 of Girls is screening weekly on Showcase, 7.30pm Mondays (Express from the US)