The Girls from HBO's 'Girls' Ranked by Degrees of Hopelessness
The Girls from HBO's 'Girls' Ranked by Degrees of Hopelessness

The Girls from HBO’s “Girls” Ranked by Degrees of Hopelessness

Impressively, none of them have matured since 2012.
February 22, 2016
8 mins read

The Girls Girls and Their Relatable Foibles

Impressively, none of them have matured since 2012.

By Jenna Ramsey, Seattle University

The tagline for the newest season of HBO’s Girls is “Finally Piecing It Together,” which I find hard to believe.

Still, I’m hopeful that the Girls I’ve grown to tolerate will find a bit more stability in their lives by the time the show ends next year, so at least it won’t feel like I stuck around for nothing. Girls hooked me from episode one, and last night’s season premiere reminded me why.

Love her or hate her, Lena Dunham is a hugely talented writer. Sure, she writes unbearably egotistical characters that do essentially nothing but complain and screw up their own lives, but she writes these people really well. I challenge you to name a Girls character that doesn’t accurately reflect someone you know in real life. And I’m sure, like me, you see yourself in at least one of them.

Girls is a truth-teller—if an unglamorous one that just tells the truths of whiny twentysomethings. What I’ve always appreciated about the show is that none of the characters are given a break; their worst qualities drive the comedy more than anything else. It’s like Sex and the City, except horrible behavior actually has consequences.

Though none of the Girls have fully matured yet, some certainly show more promise than others for future success—both in love and in work. As we enter the last episodes, here is my ranking of the Girls from least to most hopeless:

4. Shoshanna 

Shosh is a go-getter; we’ve always known this. She’s aggressive, smart and her hairstyles are downright architectural.

Most of the mistakes she’s made in the course of the show—though they’ve been weighty—can be chalked up to the fact that she’s a recent college grad hanging around people much older than her. Understandably, she doesn’t always know how to handle herself.

Her storyline is the one I’m most excited to see develop this season, because after months of unsuccessful interviews, she’s finally landed her dream job in Tokyo. Hopefully she actually stays there for a while, unlike Hannah’s 3-episode stint in Iowa in season four.

Shoshanna’s personality is manic at its worst and childish at best, but she clearly has the most potential of these ladies to do something big.

Worst Moment: Failing a class and not graduating from NYU as planned.

3. Hannah

Some might argue that Hannah is the least likely of the Girls to achieve something meaningful before the show’s end. And there’s plenty to suggest that this is true: she isn’t particularly focused, she drops projects and jobs all the time and she refuses advice from anyone about anything.

Even so, I have hope for Hannah, especially after she ditched her plan to publish a best-selling memoir and settled for a teaching job that she seems to genuinely enjoy.

Sadly, in reinventing herself Hannah has left longtime weirdo-boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) for a more vanilla guy named Fran (Jake Lacy) who I’m sure we’ll learn soon is a freak for one reason or another. But my hope is that these last two seasons will focus less on Hannah’s romantic life and that we’ll finally see her come into her own.

Worst Moment: Going to the funeral for her late book editor and asking the editor’s widow if her memoir would still be published.

2. Jessa

Poor Jessa. She has been a mess from the beginning, and the carefree facade she puts on to mask her feelings is one of the darker parts of this show.

Of all of the screw-ups Girls characters have made over the years, hers have been the saddest—a hasty wedding that ended in a nasty divorce, getting kicked out of a drug rehabilitation center, and so on.

I want to believe that these last seasons will treat her kindly, especially since she’s been left to the wayside in terms of plot development in recent episodes.

Worst Moment: Urinating in the street and then yelling at the cops who caught her doing it. Yikes.

1. Marnie

Season one Marnie was a caring, independent and intelligent—if sometimes overbearing—young woman. She had a well-paid job as an art gallery assistant and owned an impressive number of skirt suits from Ann Taylor Loft in a variety of beige tones. She was the one Girl who seemed to have her life together.

Alas, her fairytale storyline was not to last. Marnie has since turned into a raging lunatic, albeit after getting fired and going through a pretty horrendous breakup with her college boyfriend Charlie—who was plenty horrible in his own right.

At the end of her long road to self-realization, Marnie has finally settled on the questionable goal of a singer-songwriter career alongside a bearded guitar player from the Pacific Northwest who says things like “Thank you, my brother.”

And now, after last night’s episode, she’s married to that guy. I’m beginning to question whether redemption for her character is an option anymore.

Marnie has made me cringe more often than any of the other Girls, and probably more than any other character on television. But her friendship with Hannah is more developed and poignant than any of the romantic ties on the show, and for that, I accept that her character at least has a point.

Worst Moment: Singing a slowed-down version of Kanye West’s “Stronger” at her ex-boyfriend’s company party.

Last season had a great quote from Hannah that I think works pretty nicely as a description of this show: “I can’t guarantee perfection, but I can guarantee intrigue.”

Here’s to more character development!

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