After being highly praised for its first season in it’s overly honest portrayal of young women maneuvering their way in the city and facing the struggles of modern life, Girls appeared to enter a slump in its subsequent seasons. While season two seemed to amp-up the more unlikable aspects of its characters to almost caricature levels, season three decided to separate all the girls for most of its run, resulting in almost forgetting that these girls were friends in the first place.
Yet, in its fourth season, Girls seems to finally be back on track by allowing characters to not only interact, but by also taking a much-needed step back from the more narcissistic and damaging elements of their personalities. Hannah (Lena Dunham) finds herself moving from the city to Iowa to undertake her MFA, with hopes of continuing in a long distance relationship with boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) although with little foresight into how they will make it work. To make matters worse, her new writing group are less than thrilled with her work and seem to find her stories to be more shallow and half-baked than the emotional masterpieces that Hannah believes them to be.
Meanwhile in the city, Marnie (Allison Williams) begins an unapologetic affair with her musical partner, Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), which turns out to be sickly perfect except for the fact that he still has a girlfriend. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) on the other hand, finds herself going to AA meetings and being mostly miserable, refusing to admit or heal her wounds with Hannah, and while Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) finally begins to embrace life beyond college, it’s apparent that the world may not be as embracing.
The biggest focus of the season seems to be just how quickly life can change as the girls find their worlds being respectively shaken up throughout many episodes. While the show has always made a point to relay the ‘real’ life of city millennials, (in particular the lives of fairly well-off white women, something the show has come under fire for repeatedly) there’s nothing truer than just how quickly life can flip in one’s mid-twenties. University forms an almost incubator for those in their early twenties, and while their confidence in the adult world begins to flourish slowly over time, it isn’t until approaching the appropriate time for a quarter-life crisis that it begins to become truly clear just how little life tends to follow projected plans and dreams.
Most importantly though, is that by seasons end, it’s apparent that every character has learnt a lesson and that they actually grow as a result, something not necessarily found in the previous seasons. And while perhaps not matching up entirely to the calibre of its freshman year, it’s the closest Girls has been in a long time.