Season three of Girls sees Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) try to bring their outside lives into the relationship with mostly disastrous consequences. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) leaves rehab anything but rehabilitated. Soshanna (Zosia Mamet) starts to wonder about what life will bring after she graduates. And Marnie (Allison Williams) attempts to embark on a music career.
In this season there is a lot of focus on the theme of selfishness and following your “art” and how that manifests in different personalities.
Hannah is so zoned in on completing her book deal that she is unable to see how insensitive her ruthlessness is after her editor dies suddenly. This behaviour to some extent changes Adam’s perception of her and it’s interesting to watch how one incident can reframe a whole relationship. Adam, however, is not immune to selfish behaviour and his first acting role leads to him making demands for space that could be considered unreasonable. For the first time Hannah has a job that actually pays the bills but the stifling elements of the corporate world and the idea that she might get stuck are enough to derail any hope of a comfortable future.
Marnie’s creative process takes a leap forward when she meets Adam’s co-star, Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) but her drive to succeed manifests in making literally every situation about her. Her inability to deal with the harsher elements of the “showbiz” world are quite painful to watch and show how contradictory her approach to herself is to her approach to others.
Jessa gets embroiled into an odd relationship with a fellow rehab patient (Richard E. Grant) who enables her total lack of boundaries or consideration, giving her an unpleasant view of what the future might hold.
Again there are several hilarious moments. Soshanna trying to negotiate relationship rules in the middle of sex stands out. As does Hannah’s attempt to manage a therapy session between Adam and his somewhat unhinged sister, Caroline (Gaby Hoffman). The best episode though is the one where Marnie attempts to bring the group back together with a trip to the Hamptons. Her rigidity in wanting to plan every moment for maximum joy is in stark contrast with Hannah’s live in the moment ethos and the result is a beautiful car crash.
Yet again my favourite character ended up being Ray and seeing him start to succeed while also being the moral heart of the show was lovely.
I think many will continue to find this series frustrating, particularly Hannah’s self-righteousness and lack of practicality when it comes to her perception of herself as a writer. I love the willingness to push the boundaries and the fact that the series obviously understands that its characters are a bit ridiculous, letting us join in in poking fun at them.