Yet, five years and six seasons and Girls still rarely surprised me in how it maintained investments in white womanhood through its privileging of naïveté and innocence. I recall how in the pilot the white ladies were the only ones who could earnestly discuss why working at McDonald’s was not a viable job option while waiting on a cup of opium with Jay Z playing in the background without remotely considering the juxtaposition of all those ideas. Five years later, little would have to change to make that scene work outside of subtracting the Jay Z and adding a reference to the time Shoshanna accidentally tried crack. This is the work of Girls: to have its characters (mostly unsuccessfully) navigate the world but be enshrined in enough innocence and empty hope that their failures come with few enough stakes to still be viewed as quasi-aspirational. Season six girls still believe they can make it to the top of their respective games, when in fact, as Elijah Krantz so elegantly shouted in the premiere, it’s probably best to hope they can at least, “fuck [their] way to the middle.”
Kristen Warner is associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media at the University of Alabama.