TV

Hard to say goodbye for Girls

Lena Dunham and Allison Williams share their thoughts as Girls enters its final season

American actresses Lena Dunham, 30, and Allison Williams, 28, look back at their six-year relationship with Girls, the Emmy-winning HBO TV comedy series which made them famous.

Now in its sixth and final season, it continues to look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of four 20-something female friends in New York City - narcissistic aspiring writer Hannah (Dunham), pretty musician wannabe Marnie (Williams), bubble-headed Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) and free spirit Jessa (Jemima Kirke).

It airs on Mondays at 10am and 10pm on HBO (StarHub Ch 601).

LENA DUNHAM

You started writing Girls when you were just 24 and recently out of college. How are you coping with the prospect of waving goodbye to your creation?

There's no way it won't be grief. It's your life, friends, identity - it is so many things wrapped up into one. It's like leaving college, high school and getting divorced - it's a lot at once.

I turned 30 when we were finishing the show, so there was a lot of symbolism in there. I just loved turning 30. I know that age is nothing but a number, but so much of the show is about how exhausting your 20s are.

There is just something about being 30 where suddenly you are a respected member of your dialogue in the room and you can say, 'No, no, I have a little life experience' or 'I object to that'.

There’s no way it won’t be grief. It’s your life, friends, identity – it is so many things wrapped up into one Lena Dunham

I know it has also been incredibly hard work - was there any sense of relief tempering the grief?

I think there was... the workload was a lot, but then you get used to it and then once it stops, you realise, oh, this is what it is like to live at a humane pace.

(Fellow executive producer) Jenni (Konner) and I were definitely operating on adrenaline for a full six years.

I will miss all the healthy aspects of the show - the connection and the creativity - but I will also miss the part where you don't get enough sleep; the part where you are constantly stressed.

While Girls has always been a post-recession show, and its characters have struggled with limited opportunities because of that, it always felt very hopeful, and in many ways, carefree. Do you think, given the current political climate, that it would be possible to sit down and write Girls now?

No. I don't. We got to make the whole show in this world where we had this safe father figure in the form of (former US President Barack) Obama.

At the end of the day, we really felt like what was right would be protected.

I think being shocked by (US President) Donald Trump's election is a big privilege.

If you talk to people of colour, trans people, queer people, immigrants, they're like, yeah - welcome to the systems that have defined my life.

As white people, we got to feel safe in a Democratic bubble.

Donald Trump isn't new, he's just a reminder of what's been going on. He's a horrifying reminder of what's always been the case for so many Americans.

I also think that I would be too afraid to write Girls now. I think if I were a young person who was observing Internet culture; it would be too deep in my brain for me to feel free to write that.

I would not be able to feel like I wasn't trying to represent everybody and I wouldn't - ignorance was bliss, even if it didn't strike everyone the right way.

How does the dramatic change in these external circumstances affect how you feel about the next projects you choose to pursue?

I've said this to a lot of friends and I think that it's really important to keep making your art... in a way that feels private and sacred.

It doesn't all have to be political or making a statement - just making art is a radical act. It doesn't all have to be designed to dethrone Trump.

It's great if that's the accidental effect of it, but I think we just have to make the work that feels important to us, and let it speak to the times that we live in.

Then engage and share our resources, to the best of our abilities.

After six years, Lena Dunham and Allison Willliams (above) are trying to get used to life without Girls.PHOTOS: HBO

ALLISON WILLIAMS

How are you coping with Girls coming to an end?

I haven't really allowed myself to think about it yet.

We wrapped the stage and the set. That was weird to say goodbye... I wrapped, which was horrible and sad, and Lena wrapped, and then the show was over. That was just… bizarre.

I think it won't really set in until... our bodies feel like we should start going back to work and our calendars are like, no. You got nothing.

...But I'm very thrilled to have this time and to be able to start striking out on my own.

Yet again, Marnie seems unmoored and going through a lot at the start of the season.

When is she not? I will say, by the end of the season we have a good idea she's going to be okay.

Was it strange playing Marnie, whose personal life is so messy, when you were a newlywed and in a much more stable place?

I am the biggest fan of stability and boring. My tiny version of instability... was college.

The December after I graduated from college, I met (my US entrepreneur-husband) Ricky (Van Veen), when we were still waiting to hear if the pilot (for Girls) had gotten picked up.

From the minute I met him, I was like, well, this happened earlier than I thought...

I love that my personal life has hardly changed since the show began, because it makes me feel really comfortable.

We've all lived older decades than we are... Marnie, Jessa, Hannah and Shosh got to have their 20s, while Allison, Zosia, Lena and Jemima lived some other decade. We learnt from their mistakes, I hope.

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