It’s a funny old feeling when a TV show lasts longer than the life you thought was permanent. You know, actual proper things. Whole universes. Whole lives.
GIRLS first aired in 2012. Funnily enough, I commented to a friend the other day that I think the last time I was uncomplicatedly happy was in 2012. Sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. That year, I lived in a sunny top-floor flat and went on holiday with my nan. It was the year of the London Olympics and I swear the world was a nicer place back then.
In the interim, there has been death and divorce. I have been forced to wonder if I have had a particularly shit run of it, or if this is simply what being a grown-up over 30 looks like.
Of course, a million other tiny things have happened. I have met new friends and in some cases not seen enough of old friends. On the good side, my best friendships feel a million times stronger than they ever have.
My hair has grown. I have new tattoos. I have had new jobs, a new house (now not even new any more). I have written a few books. I have read a lot of books.
I don’t know if the science holds up – that’s not really my thing – but I’m sure I once read somewhere that our cells fully regenerate every seven years. In that case, I am almost a completely different person. My hair has grown, my face definitely looks older.
So... To the end of GIRLS. A show I loved so whole-heartedly when it began, that I actually felt like it changed my life a tiny bit. I wrote about how exciting it was to see girls like me on television, in a mainstream show (while reflecting on what a small demographic this may represent). I enthused about the cleverness of Lena Dunham’s writing and basically everything to do with the show (especially Jessa, obv).
It was genuinely exciting to me. Even (maybe especially) when I lived with a boy who insisted on referring to it as ‘Sad Sack and the Fellas’. He once walked into the room, took one look at the television screen, said ‘oh, ugly people having depressing sex – great, must be Sad Sack and the Fellas’ and walked out again.
My friends and I discussed it at length, passionately. When season 2 was released, my friend Ruth and I preordered the DVD and cleared an entire weekend so we could watch in one go, together. Season 2 may in fact remain my favourite – when my love for GIRLS was at its strongest. I still think the episode with Jessa’s dad remains one of the most affecting pieces of television I have ever seen. It may be purely personal, but I tear up even thinking about the moment when Jessa says ‘BUT I’M THE CHILD’.
Like so many relationships, it has become more problematic as it has gone on. GIRLS is problematic. My relationship with Lena Dunham is not as unquestioningly positive as it was, to say the least. But that’s because we have all changed and (I hope) grown. That’s what should happen over the course of six years.
I have watched this final series with a fond nostalgia, even while it has been happening. It’s time for it to end, and in the most part it’s done so pretty well. I will say: I know I’m in the minority but I love Jessa and Adam together. No matter what anybody else says, I refuse to think that Marnie is the worst. I will never not love Ray.
I also don’t mind saying that chief of my Many Feelings about the whole thing is: I can’t believe we are ending this with Hannah having a baby and not me. But it’s OK – sounds trite, but it’s all a lesson that anything can happen in six years. Who the fuck knows how it will end?