I know lots of people hate-watched Girls. I know it drove people nuts with its narcissistic rants and sometimes grotesque kink. But I loved it. I loved it so much I couldn’t bear to watch the last several episodes and let them stack up on my DVR.
My life as I knew it started to unravel about the time this show came around. I was so grateful for this anti-Sex and the City where everything was gritty. Not only was it what I adored about New York, it was also real. Sex wasn’t in soft focus. The girls weren’t always pretty, in fact most of the time they weren’t. They weren’t always good to each other, either. Nothing about this show shied away from what is nasty about being a human. Shots on the toilet, plenty of thigh fat, mediocre relationship sex.
But, the connection between those girls was totally authentic. The dancing, the fighting, the dedication and flakiness. And the acceptance. For me, the best thing about my relationships to the women in my life, with all the ebbs and flows, is that. As my friend put it, “You can lift your skirt to those ladies.”
And (sharp intake of breath)…Elijah. Elijah, I think I will miss you most of all. You and your hot pants, your snark. How many nights did I watch that show flatlining with depression? How many nights did you say just the right thing to take the pain, if only for a second? I, Elijah, I will bring you a pizza whenever you have need of one.
Praise Lena Dunham for having it together enough to challenge everything we knew up ’til Girls, that sickening gloss that was slathered all over women and conditioned us all to strive for certain bodies and behaviors that were totally inauthentic. Praise Lena Dunham for embracing the full scope of femininity, of badassery, and for being honest enough not to give us answers she didn’t have, but only to boldly ask questions.
So I finally did watch the last three episodes. I cried my whole face off. I cried from the moment they went into the bathroom in the penultimate episode through the end. I know people didn’t much like that ending. They didn’t like that it ended out in the country instead of in the city, that it was about (ick) a baby, that weird Tracy Chapman singing. But you know what? She had an arc. She grew up a little bit even though she was a huge mess. She was ugly and beautiful in her newest incarnation as she had been the whole time.
I went to a party right after I finished watching, and every time I tried to tell people about it, I started crying again. Because Lena Dunham gave everyone permission to be ugly and bright and fleshy and horny and self-centered and enormously compassionate and wise. That’s what’s real. That’s what being a woman is.
Goodbye, Girls. I’m going to miss you, but I promise never to forget.