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:

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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.

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