I haven’t watched an episode of HBO’s Girls since the end of season one. After that wonderful first year, my HBO subscription ran out and other TV series grabbed my interest. Short of getting access to a friend’s HBOGo account, I never had a chance to get reacquainted with the Lena Dunham’s award winning show until this opportunity to review season 4 on Digital HD. Since the Digital HD release comes with the same features as the Blu-ray, I was able to get updated on season three events thanks to the recap video that is included.
Season four opens with Dunham’s Hannah set to leave New York and begin a prestigious writers workshop at the University of Iowa. While her parents (played by Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari) are thrilled that she’s pursuing this great opportunity, her friends are mostly distracted, all of them preoccupied with their own lives. Shoshanna (Zoisa Mamet) has graduated from college and is beginning a job search, Marnie (Allison Williams) is trying to make it as a musician while carrying on an affair with her singing partner, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) continues her attempt to bring some semblance of order to her chaotic existence. Hannah’s boyfriend, Adam (Adam Driver), seems saddened by Hannah’s leaving, although, that could be that he’s just angry that his latest acting gig didn’t go the way he planned.
If you’re at all familiar with Girls, even if you’re two seasons removed like I was, you know that the main characters have a way of placing themselves in situations that will lead to self-destruction and heartbreak by season’s end. Hannah is the perfect example of this, as she struggles to make the transition between New York and Iowa. She hates the quiet and sedate atmosphere of Iowa. Even the sudden appearance of her friend Elijah (Andrew Rannells) can’t lift her spirits. It doesn’t take long before she’s offended most of her peers and has to decide whether to stick it out or return to New York. Even though Hannah’s story always has a plethora of cringe-worthy moments, I always find myself rooting for her, as well as the other characters on the show.
What attracted me four years ago, and still hold true about Girls, is its uncanny ability to pull you into the lives of these four women and quickly care for them. They are selfish, mean, and frustrating to watch, yet they’re so human. The writing, by Dunham and her co-writers, and the direction is so exceptional that I can’t help but hope for the best for these characters. Even Jessa, who does stupid shit like tearing up a $50 citation for peeing in the street (in broad daylight and in front of the police) only to wind up in jail and $3000 further in debt, has a quality about her that makes her endearing.
Praise must be given to the entire cast, both lead and supporting. Anyone who steps in front of the camera on Girls makes their characters breathe with authenticity and sincerity, making the performances on this show rank near the top of anything HBO produces. Guest stars this season include Gillian Jacobs (Community) as Adam’s new girlfriend, and an excellent Maude Apatow (daughter of Judd and scene stealer in This is 40) as one of Hannah’s students.
As I said, the Digital HD release of Girls includes all of the bonus features of the Blu-ray release, minus the clutter in your office (something I’ve begun to appreciate as I get overwhelmed with everything I own). Besides the season three recap, other bonus features include behind the scenes footage on the Girls set and a trailer for the fourth season.
Girls Season Four on Digital HD is available now on iTunes and Amazon.