I’m Not Buying Hannah’s New Personality On The Season Premiere Of Girls

Photo: Courtesy of HBO/Mark Schafer.
In preparation for the season six premiere of Girls, I spent my weekend rewatching every single episode of the series — so if you're wondering why my Instagram doesn't have any new posts, it's because I was "doing work" and definitely not because it was "cold outside" and I "wasn't invited anywhere." Regardless, by the time I actually watched the first episode of the final season, "All I Wanted," Lena Dunham's voice had commandeered my internal monologue, and her character's story had become, well, predictable. In the season six premiere, Hannah Horvath goes to a Montauk surf camp on assignment. There she meets Paul-Louis, her instructor played by Riz Ahmed. She has new sex in a new place with a new haircut, and on the surface this experience appears to turn over a new leaf, but my diligent research (read: binge-watching) leaves me skeptical. About once or twice a season, Lena Dunham uses this trope. She pulls her characters out of city life and into a specific, unfamiliar location where they purport to learn some kind of lesson. Take "One Man's Trash" from season two when Hannah holes up in a brownstone with Patrick Wilson, or "Beach House" from season three when the four friends have it out in Long Island, or even "Queen For Two Days" when Hannah joins her mom for a women-empowerment retreat and ends up having sex with a female instructor. These are all framed as life-changing moments when one or more characters has a realization that we ultimately never hear about again. By the next episode, we're back in the city. Hannah stays selfish, Marnie stays deluded, life goes on as if the previous story never happened. That's why I'm not inclined to believe this episode's newest epiphany. Thanks to Paul-Louis, Hannah decides to eschew the negativity of city life, to stop defining herself by what she hates, and to stay in Montauk and write. Yet somehow I know that in one or two episodes time, we'll be back in Greenpoint watching Hannah flash her superior and say something outlandish at a job interview. If anything, this whole episode was testament to the fact that nobody changes. We ended season five on an apartment destroyed by Adam and Jessa's hatred of each other, and last night they were side-by-side on the couch as if nothing had happened. Marnie wakes up with Ray and ends the episode with Desi, while Ray finds comfort in Shoshanna's "manic energy." A new emoji-laden title screen isn't enough to cover the fact that in most ways every character is still exactly where they started. But I have to give Lena Dunham credit, because maybe that's the point.

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