Girls Season 2 Premiere: Are You a Hannah Or a Jessa?


Twenty-something is a delicate age. There is nothing glamorous about being penniless, still not fully aware of who you are or where you’ll be tomorrow. Not to mention the awkward moments that, even in retrospect, make you cringe at their memory. Twenty-something is an age where best friendships are formed and destroyed, paths change with the direction of the wind, and it just seems like everyone is out to get you. But, when HBO released their new series, Girls, it finally seemed like someone got us. We aren’t searching for answers to all of our questions – we may be young, but we aren’t stupid enough to expect that. All we want is for someone to understand that this is a testing and transitional time for us boys and (especially) girls, and that we should be handled with great care. HBO’s Girls presented us with a voice of a generation. Our generation.

Each of the four girls on the show represents a vital part of the millennial woman’s make-up. A part that, often times, it is difficult to admit that we even have. That’s what makes the show such a wonderful experience. Each scene is so painfully similar to at least one experience we’ve had in our lives, it becomes uncomfortable to watch such raw human truths on screen. When we look at those girls on screen, a Coldplay song plays in our hearts. In a funny way, these four "girls" represent four different sides of our womanhood..

1) Hannah Horvath; Our Huge Mistakes

Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, makes huge mistakes. The type of mistakes that, when you are a spectator watching them on screen, are blaringly obvious. But, gnawing in the back of your mind, you know you’ve made a similar mistake. She is the hardest to watch because she embodies this swinging pendulum of self-consciousness and self-absorption. Her rather unorthodox sexual experiences are often highlighted in the show. They make us laugh, they make us close our eyes but, and in the end, they remind us that we, as millennials, are just trying to discover who we are both physically and emotionally. Hannah represents our potential for greatness that is stuck in the rut of feeling helpless because everyone around us is constantly telling us this is a dismal world. She is the heroine we want to succeed because her mistakes are ours, and her feelings mirror our own.

Marnie is our deception. As twenty-something women we are expected to have this beautiful exterior with the most on-trend clothes and make-up that highlights our features just so. It’s often easy to forget that underneath the façade of youth and beauty is a young woman screaming in fear and uncertainty. Marnie pretends to be sure of herself, as we all do in an attempt to fool those around us into thinking we are okay. Well, sometimes we are simply not okay. We push away the people that love us most, we wallow in self-pity, we slam doors at other people’s (sexual) happiness. And that is perfectly fine! Marnie reminds us that we can be beautiful and lost and angry at the same time.

3) Jessa Johansson; Our Free Spirit

Jessa is our free-spirit. As millennials, we feel invincible. Despite this feeling of misdirection, we feel as though nothing can take us down. Drink six times a week? Sure. Pull all-nighters for no apparent reason? Of course. Hang around with people (read: men) who are clearly bad influences? Why the heck not! Jessa doesn’t give a rat’s ass about consequences or other people’s opinions of her. It’s all about the next cool Bushwick party. She is the careless creature that brings us to make mistakes but produces the best stories. She is the flake that is late to her own abortion. The recklessness that adults criticize millennials for stems from the Jessa inside of us and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

Shoshanna is my personal favorite. Perhaps stemming from the fact that I am a nice, Jewish girl from Long Island, too. She is deflowered, but not devalued. She is our rose-colored lens and naïveté. Shoshanna goes in with blind assuredness that often is paired with our recklessness. She is the reminder that, even though we may be living on our own or starting our post-graduate jobs, we are still young and immature and child-like. Millennial women still have a lot to learn (i.e., don’t accidentally smoke crack out of a stranger’s pipe) but we are enjoying the growing up process and gradual shedding of every last fiber of our innocence.

HBO returns with the second season of this hit show on Sunday, January 13. I know I will be waiting with baited breath, along with a lot of my female millennial peers, to see how the rest of our lives will pan out on screen.