The hot mess of a group is back, with even more tangled webs and that same desire to achieve balance in the rough edges of this generation’s realities. This time things are more uncomfortable. Yes, even more than the last seasons.
When the first season of HBO’s Girls, created by Lena Dunham, was released on April 15th of 2012 it became an apparent game changer for a multitude of reasons: it was honest, it was unapologetic, it was both figuratively and literally naked, and it created a sense of comfort with the idea that it was okay not to have your life together in your twenties. There was something so refreshing about seeing these young women go through life in such a naïve way and create such a mess, only to see them tirelessly try to pick up the broken pieces over and over again.
TV shows such as Sex and the City, also a HBO hit, paved such an important path for others to continue this open conversation on the shamelessness of exploring sexual identity. Girls sets out to depict this for the current generation, rendering it painfully relatable to so many.
The fifth season of Girls, “Wedding Day”, opens on Marnie’ s (Allison Williams)… you guessed it: wedding day. Dunham’s talent for characterization is evident as we witness the gang prepare for the ceremony. We see the cast resume their positions as the narcissist, the laid—back eccentric, the comically animated, and the controlling perfectionist.
Hannah (Dunham) selfishly insists on the presence of her boyfriend Fran (Jake Lacey), in the intimacy of the lady’s cabin while make up is applied and bridesmaids’ dresses are steamed. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) tries to dismiss some seemingly unwanted attention from Adam (Adam Driver) while handling the wedding chaos in her typical absurdist way. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is in full bridesmaid mode while hinting of her time abroad, peaking our curiosity, which is more than satisfied in later episodes set in Japan. Meanwhile Marnie tries poorly to suppress her inner Bridezilla. Keep in mind that this is only the first episode, and only half of the bridal party. The boys indulge in plenty of drama of their own this season.
Between the navigation through some cold feet, some awkward encounters between ex’s and new love interests, a heck load of tension, and the sight of Dunham’s breasts, it was the rain that started to pour midway which sealed the deal. Hate it or love it, we are in for what Girls does best.
The episodes to follow are a roller coaster for the bunch as Hannah settles in her job as a teacher. Shoshanna is enjoying her new life in Japan. Jessa, is attending AA meetings and attending school to become a therapist. Marnie seems to ease into married life. However, in the true nature of the series, things start to unravel when Hannah discovers a secret that Adam (her ex-boyfriend) and Jessa have been hiding. Shoshanna faces troubles with her job in Japan that could potentially ruin her stay. Everything under the sun seems to try to keep Jessa from staying on the right track and Marnie faces a huge crack in her marriage that causes her to spiral in a way we’ve not seen before.
This particular season was both brilliant and frustrating at the same time. The acting was phenomenal as always. As a whole, Dunham maintains the same ambience of that kind of honesty which spills over and mixes into a concoction of cheap morals, narcissism, naivety, and hilarity. This ensemble brings out the best and worst of each other which is what matches the discomfort of real life so well. These are the elements, which make a fan out of anybody who can even slightly relate with these characters, and feel like they are a little less alone in their own mess. The frustrating parts of this season is watching the same mistakes being played out over again by all of the characters. It almost makes it seem arc-less. Out of all of the seasons of Girls, I found this one to be the most sobering. You can feel as though the season finale is looming and suddenly you realise that everyone may be finally growing up, and here is your cue.