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The cast and crew of HBO’s Girls just finished filming the HBO series’ sixth and final season a month ago, an emotional period that they documented on Instagram, and co-showrunners Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner are still coming to terms with the fact that production has wrapped.
“I would say we’re still very confused, disoriented, perplexed, taking a lot of naps, more naps then I ever thought possible,” Konner and Dunham told The Hollywood Reporter, finishing each others thoughts, ahead of Thursday night’s New York TV Festival panel about the show.
In fact, the only thing keeping them going, they said is Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, of whom they are both ardent supporters.
“All I have to say is, ‘Thank God for Hillary Clinton or we would have no drive or motivation at all,’ ” Konner added of the Girls bosses’ emotional state. “She is why we’re getting out of bed everyday. Thank God for her for a million reasons but especially for a very selfish reason: We’re getting out of bed for Hillary.”
While an official trailer for Girls‘ last season has yet to be released, plenty of paparazzi photos of the cast filming popped up online over the summer, with numerous images showing lead character Hannah Horvath appearing to be pregnant.
When asked if there was more to those images than meets the eye, Dunham and Konner playfully dismissed the pregnancy speculation.
Dunham said, “You know, can’t a girl just eat a sandwich?”
“Yeah, as Jennifer Aniston would just say, I had some pasta that day,” Konner added, with Dunham concurring.
One person who has seen early cuts of the sixth season is HBO’s vp of originals Kathleen McCaffrey, who’s worked on the show from the start, and said the ending was “satisfying” and thought-provoking. “In my time now as an executive, I’ve seen a few shows end, and I’d say that the biggest thing that stands out about this season is that they found, and I knew this was coming, they found a beautiful way to close the story that feels both satisfying and I think leaves it open for the possibility for all of us to wonder what happens to each of them,” McCaffrey told THR. “I think it’s really well done, well-constructed and beautifully told.”
Later, on the panel moderated by Slate TV critic Willa Paskin, Dunham and Konner said McCaffrey made sure they stayed on track on the final leg of the Girls journey.
“We had a sense of conclusions that we had always imagined for these characters and Jenni and I had conversations really early on and Kat made us really stay faithful,” Dunham said.
Konner added, “I have to say if we started to go off track, because she knew our plan for the last couple of years (it did change a little), but when we did start to veer off track, it would be like, [McCaffrey would call and say,] ‘Can we just talk about this scene?’ Kat was really the ultimate master and caretaker of the relationships between the girls, which was a very lovely thing.”
Indeed, Konner said throughout the show’s run McCaffrey has consistently considered the main characters’ friendships as she’s given notes: “Kat is such a deeply romantic person and so committed to the female friendships on the show so I would say every note she gave us was really informed by that like, ‘But what if Marnie’s feelings are hurt?'”
“You really were tracking the characters and making sure that they didn’t take leaps that — you didn’t mind if they were doing something unlikeable — but you wanted to make sure that they were doing things that felt like things that they would do,” Dunham added.
The creator and star also said that she and Konner were far tougher on the show than HBO’s notes ever were. “Our final season’s not edited. We may feel insane. We may have done something horribly wrong,” Dunham said of their concerns with the final season.
She also suggested that fans hoping for a final season in which Hannah and Adam (Adam Driver) end up together might be disappointed.
“I have to say when anybody’s like, ‘Adam is my dream man.’ I’m like, ‘What hath we wrought?’ I love Adam Driver as an actor and I do think that character is really beautiful and complex but no one should be like, ‘Hannah and Adam, one true pair, belong together forever.’ These people have been abusing the shit out of each other for years,” Dunham said of unexpected feedback from viewers. “When people are like, ‘I hope Hannah and Adam end up together, they’re such a perfect couple,’ I worry that I’ve like glorified the relationships that destroyed me in my early 20s. Not properly projected to you.”
As might be expected less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election, some of the panel also focused on another man, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Paskin asked Dunham and Konner which episode of Girls they wished Donald Trump had seen.
“That’s an amazing question because I was going to say, weirdly, “One Man’s Trash” because I was going to bust open his idea of what a cool guy is and what a 10 is,” Dunham said of the controversial episode in which Hannah has a fling with a handsome stranger played by Patrick Wilson. “He’s operating with some weird idea about what makes women attracted to men and what makes men attracted to women and how the power balance of the universe works and I just want to f— with his mind.”
Konner, meanwhile, doesn’t think Trump even deserves to watch Girls. “I literally don’t want him to get to see any of Girls. I want him to live in a vacuum,” she said, with both her and Dunham adding that there’s “no way” the Republican presidential candidate has seen the HBO series.
Looking back over the show, Konner and Dunham also revealed some of their least favorite storylines, with both saying they weren’t fond of Hannah’s brief foray into writing advertorial copy for GQ in season three.
“We had the most incredible actors but I was slightly bored with an office scene. It felt the most kind of away from Girls,” Konner said.
Dunham agreed that she adored the people they cast for those scenes, including J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons and Daily Show alum Jessica Williams, but felt that the setting was odd. “It was kind of weird to act in that office all day, it was like. ‘Where are we?’ It just wasn’t the world of the show,” she explained. “Doing that story, even if it was part of Hannah’s growth and we needed it, it just felt outside of her world.”
Dunham also regrets the first season storyline in which Jessa (Jemima Kirke) has revenge sex with her ex. “There’s some stuff we did with Jessa in the first season when we were still finding her that was a little too, like she was a little too soulless,” Dunham said, referencing the fifth episode of season one in particular. “There was something about that that doesn’t ultimately speak to who that character really was and we were finding her and figuring out how to write for someone who was confident but had this dark side. So that’s not something I watch with joy.” In general, Konner says, looking back, “Unless it’s a bottle episode, every story that just had a one-off character feels the least like Girls.”
One element of the show that Dunham, Konner and McCaffrey remain overjoyed about is Peter Scolari’s guest actor Emmy win for his role as Hannah’s recently-out gay dad.
“That was the best thing that ever happened,” Dunham told THR of Scolari’s award.
Konner added, “It was literally the most heartwarming and incredible thing that ever — he worked so hard and he’s been working so hard for so many years and it was a really beautiful thing and an incredibly satisfying moment for all of us. He’s also maybe the kindest person who ever existed on the planet and the most well deserving.”
Scolari’s win was for the show’s only Emmy nomination for its fifth season, and McCaffrey says while she hopes the show gets some awards attention for its final season, she’s mostly concerned with whether the fans are happy.
“Sure, I think it would be nice to have one last hurrah in the last season because it is so beautiful,” she told THR. “But I think we started out strong and they have continued, in my opinion, to do a consistently high level of storytelling and I think that as long as the audience feels satisfied, we have a great devoted fanbase, and I think as long as they feel happy, we’re happy too.”
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