Humor Magazine

Girls Season Three: Can’t One Thing Ever Be Easy With You?

By Katie Hoffman @katienotholmes

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the season finale of Girls yet, please stop reading here. I’m going to ruin everything.

TRIGGER WARNING: If you like Hannah Horvath’s wardrobe, please stop reading here, because your feelings might get hurt. This is not a place for you.


The season three finale of Girls aired this past Sunday, and it was pretty heavy. Overall, I thought this season was a lot more compelling than season two.

Season three solidified my revulsion of Jessa and my annoyance of Shoshanna and made me want to give Marnie the verbal beat down and subsequent, “there, there” she desperately needed all season. Season three also hit a little too close to home with respect to Hannah’s creative/professional struggles. Let’s break this down one girl at a time.


To no one’s surprise the season begins with Jessa in rehab, and after seeing how bitchy she is during group therapy and how she manipulates a patient who’s struggling with her sexuality into allowing Jessa to perform oral sex on her, everyone (myself included) remembered how much better the show was without her annoyingly free-spirited character around. After some creepy flirting with an old dude who’s actively taking drugs while in the rehab facility, Jessa gets kicked out of rehab for her forbidden cunnilingus and gets rescued by Hannah, Shosh, and Adam.


Jessa moves in with Shoshanna (in her million dollar apartment she somehow affords while going to college and seemingly holding down no job whatsoever), and becomes an annoying, mopey distraction for Shosh. We find out some things about Jessa, like how her favorite former friend faked her own death just to save herself from being collateral damage of Jessa’s irresponsibility. Seeing her actually-not-deceased friend with a baby prompts Jessa to want a baby for half an episode, so she gets a job at a children’s clothing store. Eventually, creepy old dude from rehab crawls out from a sewer, and the two of them steal some money from the children’s store and do a bunch of coke together.

Apparently it took all season for Shoshanna to get sick of Jessa’s bullshitty behavior, so she stages an intervention for creepy dude with his psoriasis-ridden daughter, which actually works and makes Jessa totes sadsies—until the next day when she visits Marnie and gets a random archiving job from a wheelchair-bound photographer named Beadie, who ultimately wants Jessa to score her some drugs so she can kill herself.


Instead of saying, “What the fuck? I’m not facilitating your suicide, lady I just met!” Jessa gets the pills and helps pour them down the woman’s throat. Needless to say, Beadie changes her mind and wants to live, and we’re left with a conflicted Jessa calling 911.

While it might seem shocking for the rest of us to consider agreeing to assist the suicide of someone we just met, I think Jessa sees a lot of herself in Beadie. Jessa’s recklessness and drug use is motivated by a near-masochistic need to escape everyday life. It only makes sense that the hopelessness and despair Beadie tearfully conveys to Jessa would resonate with her, so much so that she agrees to put her out of her misery.

I’m totally ready for Jessa to get her comeuppance for all her reckless behavior, but we never actually see her on the phone with 911 dispatchers, so who knows if she’ll actually make the call. In her situation, it would probably be better to just let Beadie die. If she actually calls the cops, I don’t think anyone will be able to save Jessa from the fallout, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens next season. We’ll either have a guilt-ridden Jessa on our hands or serious legal trouble Jessa. Either way, one thing’s for certain: she’ll still be infuriating to watch.


During the third season of Girls, Shoshanna’s downward spiral is really subtle, and that’s owed to the fact that most of the season (and series) her character’s role pales in comparison to Hannah, Jessa, and Marnie. Like the two preceding seasons, we see Shoshanna sporting a number of hairstyles typically reserved for a woman’s first menstrual cycle day spent homebound, but unlike season one and two, Shosh’s doe-eyed innocence is replaced by promiscuity, cigarettes, and partying. For the first time, we really get to see a little depth from Shoshanna’s character, especially in the “Beach House” episode, (which I think was one of the most well-written episodes of the season and series) where she finally shows genuine anger instead of watered-down annoyance.


Being roommates with Jessa (and spending so much time braiding her hair) takes its toll on Shoshanna’s GPA, and when she goes to collect her cap and gown at the end of the season, she learns she won’t be able to graduate, prompting a temper tantrum that has her flinging all her personal belongings all over the gorgeous apartment no undergraduate student in New York could ever afford. Then, after finding out Marnie has been banging Ray, she suddenly decides to beg Ray to take her back.

What’s fascinating about Shoshanna as a character is how tragic she is without her (or the viewer) even realizing it until she has a purse-flinging meltdown. Shosh wants to live an exciting life and have professional success, but she struggles to find a balance between the two. Ironically, the friends that inspire Shoshanna’s sense of adventure and push her to succeed (because she doesn’t want to end up like them) are often the anchors that drag her down. Shoshanna’s unexpected relationship with Ray was really the only independent decision she’s made on the series, and that’s why it worked—it was the first time she did something for herself instead of floating in the current created by the more powerful Hannah, Marnie, and Jessa.

When Shosh broke Ray’s heart it was super shitty overall, but the silver lining of her selfishness was that she gave Ray the motivation to work harder and better himself. Initially, his efforts were driven by the prospect of impressing Shoshanna and winning her back (weird hair buns and all), but eventually his priorities changed, and he became confident enough to work hard solely for himself. When Shoshanna tries to get back together with Ray in the finale of season three, the tables have turned, and this time Ray has the self-esteem to recognize what he wants: someone whose life has direction, the very thing Shoshanna broke up with him for in the first place. Say what you want about Old Man Ray, but he’s probably the least pretentious, most genuine of the Girls gents, even though hooking up with Marnie wasn’t the greatest decision.


Marnie, Marnie, Marnie. I often wonder if her character was destined for the same pathetic fate had Charlie (Christopher Abbott) not quit the show. As someone who has a major girl crush on Allison Williams (did you know she graduated from Yale with an English degree in 2010?) and who is hardcore fan of Marnie’s wardrobe, the desperation and incessant whining of Marnie this season wounded me profoundly. Oddly enough, both Ray, Marnie, and the other girls verbally identified the Sparknotes version of Marnie’s overwhelming baggage: she’s uptight, insecure, and compulsively seeks the approval of others. Maybe I see a little of myself in Marnie. Maybe I just really want my hair to look like hers. But I love Marnie despite her many mistakes.


Marnie had an eventful season, starting with moving out of Hannah’s place and into her own apartment (which we’re supposed to believe she can afford on the money she earns working a brief stint at Ray’s coffee shop…). The recurring justification Marnie keeps reminding us (and everyone) of for her questionable decisions is that her heart was broken. I really think the fact we never got see the fallout between Marnie and Charlie (because of the alleged fallout between Lena Dunham and Christopher Abbott) made it somewhat difficult to feel pity for Marnie. I’d go as far as to say Marnie is really set up as the villain of season three, especially when you consider how opportunistic she was: singing the Rent song at Hannah’s birthday party, using Ray with seemingly no thought for Shoshanna, exploiting Desi and his acoustic guitar and hipster, actorly charms while potentially destroying his relationship with Clementine (who I personally have a hard time pitying because of her awful name).

Whatever pedestal Marnie’s been putting herself on was shattered with that crazy music video, which actually functions as an interesting recurring symbol of Marnie’s insecurity. When’s poor Marn going to stop putting herself in these shitty situations? When will she realize that playing the victim may be easier than being brave and independent, but it never ends well? Everyone else in the Girls fandom may hate you, Marn, but I’d totally be the best frenemy you’d ever have.


Hannah’s main sources of tension this season volley between her professional endeavors and her relationship with Adam. For a while this season, Hannah seems to be making strides with getting her e-book published, but that all goes out the window when her editor David dies the night of her birthday party, an event at which he got in a fight with Ray. I’m a little disappointed David’s death was cast off so easily and only used as a vehicle to explore how Hannah grieves—I was really hoping Ray was behind it or that he’d somehow get framed. I guess that’s not what Girls is, though, but it would have been a cool twist.

When Hannah finds out her publisher won’t be moving forward with her e-book, and learns the rights to the content still belong to them for several years, she takes a corporate job doing advertising copywriting for Neiman-Marcus. Despite the company offering a comfortable salary, free snacks, and supportive coworkers that clean up her puke, Hannah blames her steady job for forcing her to sacrifice her creativity to do something practical to pay the bills.

As someone who identities as a writer but also works in a less-than-creative environment, I empathized with the sell-out factor and genuine fear Hannah was grappling with, but all that empathy disappeared when Hannah ultimately got fired from that job after calling her employer a “sweatshop for puns” and insulting all of her coworkers simply for working there instead of eating ramen noodles and following their writerly aspirations.


In the midst of all this, Adam has been cast in a Broadway play, because it really is that easy! To focus on his acting, he’s been staying at Ray’s, which leaves Hannah feeling lonely and insecure. Apparently, during one of those nights alone, Hannah applied to graduate school at Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and in the finale of this season, she finds out she’s been accepted. Hannah pretends to be unsure about packing up and moving to Iowa, but it’s pretty obvious that this opportunity is the first thing she’s truly been excited since her book was killed. Hannah’s good news happens to coincide perfectly with opening night of Adam’s play, so of course Hannah had to tell him she might be moving to another state while he’s in his dressing room preparing for his Broadway debut! Adam later blames the timing of Hannah’s news for his sucky acting, despite the fact everyone else seemed to love him in the play (I was impressed, too, because I thought Adam was only capable of talking unnecessarily loudly with odd enunciations).


After the play is over, Adam and Lena get into a serious argument in an alley outside the theater (how New York of them!) which leaves the future of their relationship in jeopardy. I think what’s finally come to a head in this moment is the reality that Adam and Hannah are both ambitious people who are navigating their first meaningful, real relationship together–and at times, they’re not so good at it. We see the tension of that manifesting itself throughout the season, like when marriage comes up when Hannah’s grandmother is dying or in the weird roleplay scenario Hannah set up to reconnect with Adam. Neither Adam nor Hannah seem to understand how to let their relationship grow and evolve, and the result of that is they end up hurting each other during the moments when they think they’re doing the right thing.

What sucked about where this season ended is that it was hard to figure out whose side to take. I didn’t agree with Adam’s attitude toward the end of this season or with his choice to go live with Ray to avoid the real implications of his relationship with Hannah, but I also think regardless of her excitement, Hannah should have waited until after the play was over to share her graduate school acceptance with Adam. Considering this is the guy who claimed “the world would blur” if she died, she should have known he would take their separation pretty hard. I think the strides both Adam and Hannah made in their professional lives made them realize they could be independent, but it seems co-dependency has been such a staple in their relationship, they don’t know how to be complete on their own and still be together. Is this but the latest shift in their relationship, or have both of their priorities changed? I guess we’ll see.


A few final thoughts:

  • That visual of Adam’s sister in the bathroom will never leave my brain. Do we really think she’s pregnant with Laird’s baby? What purpose did she even serve on the show, aside from being a new person for me to hate?
  • I’m still having trouble figuring the logistics of how exactly Jessa’s friend Season faked her own death without Jessa finding out. Then again, Jessa is so clueless, it probably wasn’t that hard.
  • Am I the only person who thought Clementine looked a little pregnant when she bitched Marnie out in the bathroom at the play? Her potential baby bump was never addressed, so I feel guilty saying anything.
  • How many fruit-printed shirts does Hannah Horvath own? Seriously. I swear she wore a different one in each episode.
  • Thanks in part to Marnie, “Bitter Rivals” is now one of my go-to workout songs.

Do you watch Girls? What were your thoughts on the season three and the finale? Who’s your favorite girl?

Filed under: Opinion, Pop Culture, Reviews Tagged: Girls, girls season 3, hbo, humor, humor, lena dunham
Girls Season Three: Can’t One Thing Ever Be Easy With You?
Girls Season Three: Can’t One Thing Ever Be Easy With You?
Girls Season Three: Can’t One Thing Ever Be Easy With You?

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