The onward march of time is usually predictable. Among the middle classes of the West, young people’s lives are often uniform: college degrees are gained; first jobs are horrible; first boyfriends are even worse; and then, suddenly, Facebook is inundated with pictures of weddings and babies.
There is a vague sense that, throughout one’s twenties, as we pass these milestones, we are moving forward, heading towards a life of calm prosperity. We are on a journey of personal growth. That’s how it should go. That’s how it’s supposed to go.
But, of course, so often, there are obstacles. Recessions shrink salaries. Housing crises trap young professionals in shared accommodation. And people remain selfish, noncommittal and dysfunctional long past arbitrary deadlines.
The girls of Girls are just about to enter their sixth season and it’s clear that, although there have been personal journeys – marriages; sexual awakenings; career successes; artistic endeavours – they remain as stubbornly messy as ever.
At one point, Hannah asks Elijah: Why can’t someone tell me exactly what to do in a way that makes it seem like it’s my idea?'
In the full-length trailer for the last-ever season of the show, which landed on YouTube yesterday, Lena Dunham portrays Hannah as the same selfish brat we first got to know in 2012. And she’s right back where she started: in Brooklyn, surrounded by friends she simultaneously loves and resents, attempting to carve out a career as writer. Her twenties do not seem to have bestowed on her a sense of integrity. Indeed, it seems that the current climate for online journalism has only served to weaken her resolve. As she explains to an editor: “I don't give a shit about anything, yet I simultaneously have opinions about everything.”
Meanwhile, Shoshanna, who has gone from an ambitious college student to a confused young woman over the course of the show, still seems lost. “All those ladies out there, who, like, have jobs and purses and nice personalities – those are not my friends,” she declares and your heart breaks a little for her. Marnie has found herself in a love triangle with Ray and Desi; Adam and Jessa are still together.
It’s unclear whether we can expect more standalone instalments, like the devastating series five episode that focused entirely on Marnie and her erstwhile love, Charlie, but it seems safe to say that it won’t all be a neat descent towards a happy ending. At one point, Hannah asks Elijah: “Why can’t someone tell me exactly what to do in a way that makes it seem like it’s my idea?” It’s a line that says much about the creative process and finding an authentic way through your twenties.
Girls is a messy, flawed, but lovable show. And our girls are the same, right to the bitter end.
Girls season six is on Sky Atlantic and Now TV on February 13