Lena Dunham Explains the Finale of Girls' Second Season

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
March 25 2013 5:41 PM

Lena Dunham Explains the Finale of Girls' Second Season

Since the surprising finale to Girls' second season, debate has raged back and forth about how we were supposed to interpret the reunions of Marnie and Charlie and of Hannah and Adam. Was Lena Dunham attempting a dark satire of the belief that these obviously mismatched couples should be together? Or was she nodding to the power of love, recognizing that even broken people can be lifted up by the very act of surrendering to each other?

In an "Inside The Episode" video Lena Dunham filmed for HBO, she seems to confirm the former interpretation for Marnie and Charlie—and the latter for Hannah and Adam:

Advertisement

Dunham says she hopes that Marnie won't be read as a gold digger, even though that seems like an obvious interpretation. She "liked the idea of having two people get back together and not really be sure it's the right move."

And even though she'd spent much of the season upping Adam’s creep quotient, Dunham endorses a romantic vision of the finale’s closing image, which found Adam cradling Hannah after breaking down her door. "He just takes off, it's like animal instinct takes over, and he just needs to, like, I mean, this word grosses me out, this set of words, but he needs to get his woman," she explains. Hannah's admitting her brokenness and reaching out to Adam is "her first step of showing up for him, which is something she wasn't really able to do for him in the first round of their relationship," Dunham says. "So I hope, knock on wood, in the future, we'll be able to see them have something that's a little more two-sided, and to see them really give it a go and try to be on the same page at the same time."

That might be her ambition. But I’m not convinced that Adam’s “rescue” of Hannah represents anything more than the same kind of boundary violation he’s been committing all season. And after 10 episodes of watching Adam and Hannah fall apart individually, Girls has a ways to go to make their coming together feel like a triumph for both of them, rather than a collective admission of defeat.

Alyssa Rosenberg writes about culture and television for Slate’s “XX Factor” blog. She also contributes to ThinkProgress and theatlantic.com.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.