'Girls': Zosia Mamet on Shoshanna's "New Lease on Life" in Japan, Episode's "F— It" Moment

The actress talks to THR about her character's romantic developments and the decision she makes in the episode's final seconds.
Courtesy of HBO
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) in 'Girls'

[Warning: The following story contains spoilers about Girls' fifth-season episode, "Japan"]

Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) loves Japan, and she's not coming home — even after getting fired from the job that made her move.

The third episode of Girls' fifth season took viewers to Japan, where Shoshanna has been happily working and living for several months after landing a job there at the end of the fourth season.

But midway through the episode, she finds out that she's been fired or, rather, "managed out" of her job. While she doesn't want to go back, Shoshanna seems to have resigned herself to returning, telling her friends that she can't afford to stay and packing her suitcase. But in the show's final seconds, standing out on the balcony of her colorful apartment, she changes her mind, turns around and starts unpacking. Meanwhile, her instant soup mogul boyfriend Scott (Jason Ritter), who'd been excitedly awaiting her return, is left standing alone at the airport until he realizes she's not coming.

Girls co-showrunner Jenni Konner said that she knew "immediately" that while Shoshanna would fit in perfectly in Japan, it wouldn't be an entirely pleasant trip.

Konner explained that she had the idea to send Shoshanna to Japan after she visited the country and kept sending Lena Dunham "pictures of Shoshannas."

"I was like, ‘We have to send her here. We have to see what it's like.’ So we had this idea that she can't find a job all year, and then she finally finds this gig and she has to move to Japan,” Konner says. “What's she going to do? She actually finds out that she loves it, and then she gets downsized, which is a real reality. So it becomes, now what do you do? We had to f— with her. There was no way we were just going to let her be happy there. This is Girls."

But apart from loving her new environment, what prompts her to stay?

Konner speculates, "I think that Shoshanna has a lot of pride and I think the idea of going back — like she's really judgmental of the rest of the girls, like she's always telling them what assholes they are and how flaky they are — and I think she would feel embarrassed to go back that quickly."

So what's next for Shoshanna, once again without a job, but in Japan? At the press day for Girls' fifth season Mamet was reluctant to talk about what's to come but she did offer some insight into why Shoshanna decides to stay; what's behind her romantic pursuit of her boss, Yoshi (Hiro Mizushima); how she feels about Scott; and more.

Why do you think Shoshanna loves Japan and responds really well to being there? I think she feels sort of akin to the culture and something about the way everyone is there and the aesthetics of the place sort of speaks to parts of her that are allowed to thrive while she's there.

In the season premiere, Shoshanna says something about not wanting to "rock the boat" by seeing Scott at Marnie's (Allison Williams) wedding. And she doesn't invite him to join her. Why doesn't she want to see him? I think she wants to break up with him, but she doesn't have the balls to do it. So she just doesn't tell him that she's home.

How much of that [her wanting to break up with Scott] is behind her pursuing things with Yoshi? I think that's all of it. I think when people want to break up with someone but they don't know how to, they'll cheat and sabotage the relationship and that breaks it up for them.

She says in the third episode that she's "moved away" from her problems to Japan. Is she just talking about Scott or is she talking about some other stuff too? I think she was having a real rough go at it at home for a while with the job search and with the other girls and with Scott and I think Japan feels like a new lease on life to her.

Do you think that's why she doesn't want to leave and return to everything back in New York when she's faced with that situation? I think part of it is she really loves it in Japan … And then I think also, yeah, coming back home is coming back to reality.

At the end of the episode, she's packed her bag and is standing on that balcony and she seems to decide in that moment to stay. What's going through her mind in that scene? I think getting fired and having to leave and come back home was like losing a battle, like being defeated, and I think in that moment, it's kind of like a 'f— it' moment where she's like, 'No, I'm not going to let losing my job make me leave this place that I love. I'm going to stay and I'm going to live it up and I'm going to make it work.' I think that's what that moment is for her.

What was it like filming in Japan? It was crazy. It was a really wild experience. We basically shot all day everyday and it was insanely hot and it was sort of a crash course in Tokyo while filming a TV show. It was pretty wild … I had to speak a little bit of Japanese for the show, but I learned it bit by bit and I've since forgotten all of it.

What did you think of "Japan," and what do you think Shoshanna will do next? Sound off in the comments.

comments powered by Disqus