Characters: Girls

Characters from the HBO Dramedy Girls.

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    The Main Four 

Hannah Horvath

Played By: Lena Dunham

As close to a central character as the show has, though this is largely because much of it is told through her eyes, Hannah is an insecure, slightly overweight aspiring writer from Lansing, Michigan who has moved to New York to pursue her dreams. At the beginning of the show she's still receiving financial support from her parents, though that quickly changes. She lives in an apartment in Brooklyn with her best friend from college, Marnie.

  • Alliterative Name: Like all the main four.
  • Author Avatar: To an extent, though Dunham has denied that the character is a direct counterpart to herself.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
  • It's All About Me: She has a hard time talking about anything but her own problems and concerns. Several characters call her out on that during the whole series.
  • Last Het Romance: For Elijah and subverted as he later has sex with Marnie.
  • The Load: She spends the entire first season either not having a job or not having a job that pays any money, meaning Marnie has to pay her rent and other expenses.
  • Man Child: A rare female example. She's been mooching off her parents even when no longer living with them (and then she starts mooching off Marnie), she can barely sustain a job or relationship for a reasonable amount of time, and she frequently blames everybody else for her problems and mistakes. This is most evident in the episode "Leave Me Alone," where she becomes needlessly jealous of a former classmate for successfully launching her writing career, and then sabotages her chance at finally getting recognition for her writing during an essay read. This, among other things, finally pushes Marnie to her limit. And the two, after a nasty fight, break off their friendship... with Hannah still not realizing how childish her behavior has been.
    • In series 2 moreso than in series 1. Series 1 was mostly about the world from Hannah's perspective, Series 2 is mostly about Hannah from the world's persepective, which makes her seem like a much more stupid and arrogant person.
  • Most Writers Are Writers
  • Na´ve Everygirl
  • Never My Fault: She can't even write a proper apology letter without being hopelessly passive aggressive.
  • No Social Skills: She can be incredibly tactless at times.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: On her 25th birthday, she's very put together in her outfit and hair with nice make up. Her parents remark how well she's looking and Marnie lampshades that she'd look like this every day if she wanted to.
  • Super OCD: Hannah has had obsessive-compulsive disorder since her teens, and suffers a major relapse as a result of her breakup with Adam and her nervousness over her e-book deal.
  • This Loser Is You: She has definitely fallen into this trope, as the series has gone on.
  • Unreliable Narrator: lampshaded by Adam in Episode 7, and heralding a massive dose of Character Development for him as she realizes she has been writing him off.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Has a massive tendency to be this at times.
  • Weight Woe:
    ADAM: "You think because you're, what, eleven pounds overweight you know struggle?"
    HANNAH: "I am thirteen pounds overweight and it has been awful for me my whole life!"

Marnie Michaels

Played By: Allison Williams

Hannah's best friend from Oberlin, Marnie is a slightly prissy and uptight but responsible young woman who works at an art gallery. At the beginning of the series she is in a long-term relationship with Charlie, but feeling a bit bored with it. She and Hannah clash at times, but Marnie does care about Hannah despite her occasional Ice Queen tendencies.

Jessa Johanson

Played By: Jemima Kirke

A world-traveling, would-be Bohemian Brit, who arrives in New York in the first episode and moves in with Shoshanna. The most impulsive and free-spirited of the bunch, she tends to make things fun for the others but also gets them in trouble at times as well. She has a (well-deserved) reputation for being flaky and unreliable, and like Hannah, she lacks a job at the beginning of the series, though she soon gets one as a babysitter for a wealthy couple.

  • Alliterative Name: Sensing a trend yet?
  • Bi the Way: In Season 1 Marnie kisses her in front of Thomas John, she kisses back in a more sensual/sexual way and they dismiss his attempts to join in, and in Season 3 she goes down on closeted lesbian Laura at rehab.
  • British Stuffiness: Completely averted. Jessa is by far the most open-minded and adventurous of the four.
  • The Drifter: Formerly.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine.
  • Freudian Excuse: Gets one in the form of a troubled relationship with her father, who is just as flighty, irresponsible, and self-centered as she is.
  • Granola Girl: Though less into hippie-type philosophies than most examples.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Jemima Kirke was pregnant during the filming of season two, though this trope is slightly subverted because she wasn't showing as much as some other examples.
  • Informed Attractiveness: She's pretty and all, but the way people go on about her you'd think she was the most glamorous woman on Earth. Episode 4 is particularly over the top about it when the other babysitters just can't believe a stunner like Jessa is a babysitter and not a movie star.
  • Jerkass: Especially in season 4. First she sets up Adam, who is still kindasorta involved with her friend Hannah, up with Mimi-Rose, an artist acquintance of hers, so she could get closer with Mimi-Rose's ex, whom she has taken an interest in. She also takes pride in allegedly four men trying to commit suicide because of her as if this made her some supreme seductress and not just a terrible person to be with.
  • Like Father Like Daughter: Her father is a slight, unreliable manchild just like her.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: She seems to give off this vibe to men. Her boss, Jeff, wants her to be this for him. She declines. Thomas-John pursues and marries her because he views her as this. It doesn't end well.
  • Put on a Bus: During the middle of season two, most likely to accommodate Kirke's real-life pregnancy at the time.
  • Tsundere: With her husband Thomas-John. She marries him because she hates him so much.
    Jessa: [During her vows] Thomas-John, when you came to my house with flowers, I was prepared to call the special victims unit. Not only did I find you very creepy, but I also found you very boring. But for some reason, I decided to have dinner with you. You asked to move tables twice — and I was even more revolted. Then, you started talking about what you did — about travel and finance— and I thought, this man is brilliant in a way I've never known.
  • Going Cold Turkey: After rehab she is not shown drinking or using until Jasper hunts her down at her place of work and it doesn't take much convincing for her to join him in a cocaine binge that results in her stealing from her employer.

Shoshanna Shapiro

Played By: Zosia Mamet

Jessa's American cousin, Shoshanna is the youngest and least experienced of the group, and also the only one who's still a student. She's also still a virgin at the beginning of the series, a status about which she is extremely insecure.

     Other Characters 

Adam Sackler

Played By: Adam Driver

Hannah's friend with benefits at the beginning of the show, Adam is a part-time woodworker and aspiring actor who likes to work out, masturbate, and walk around without a shirt on. It's later shown that there's more to him than meets the eye, however.

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: He starts dating Mimi-Rose while Hannah is in Iowa. To be fair, he considered her moving away as a breakup.
  • Amusing Injuries: during a heated argument with Hannah, he gets clipped by a car. It's played completely straight (ambulance and everything), but it also breaks the tension.
  • The Alcoholic: It's revealed to Hannah's surprise that he has been attending AA meetings since he was 17.
  • Breakout Character: Most definitely.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Every character besides Hannah finds him bizarre. He wonders around Hannah's apartment and annoys Marnie because he doesn't understand the concept of personal space.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Frequently, at least one time only slightly off-camera.
  • Fag Hag: Gender-reversed, as Adam has a lot of lesbian friends.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Not "responsible" per se, but he comes off as being more functional than his sister Caroline (that isn't saying much).
  • Hidden Depths: Lampshaded and arguably subverted. Adam points out that his depths aren't so much hidden as that Hannah has never bothered to look for them before.
    • His acting skills stand out considerably here. During the first half of season 3, he is mentioned to be going to auditions, but it's mostly played for laughs since he says he mostly does it to get a rise out of people. However, when he finally reads some of his lines to Hannah, he pulls them off amazingly, almost changing into a different person in front of her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Reveals himself to be this later in Season One.
  • No Social Skills: More or less.
  • Off The Wagon: In the season two episode "On All Fours". The results aren't pretty.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Played for laughs, as he's not as attractive as he seems to think he is.

Charlie Dattolo

Played By: Christopher Abbott

Marnie's boyfriend, who at the beginning of the series has been with her since meeting her at an undergraduate party four years before. He's very kind and accommodating to her, but she's grown a bit bored of him. He's in a music duo with his friend Ray.

  • Gadgeteer Genius: Charlie made a lot of money and started a successful company after developing an app ("Forbid") that prevents you from calling someone (such as an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend) whom you are tempted to call but know that you shouldn't call.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: To Marnie's annoyance. Later shows that he can be just as big a Jerkass as any of the other characters.
  • Hidden Depths: As with Adam, there's a bit more to him than is initially presented.
  • Put on a Bus

Elijah Krantz

Played By: Andrew Rannells

Hannah's ex-boyfriend from college. Hannah tracks him down in season one to give him some news, only to find out that he has some news himself - he's gay, and now out of the closet. He later becomes a recurring character.

  • Berserk Button: "Berserk" is a tad strong, but he does not like people making fun of his singing voice.
  • Camp Gay
  • Gaydar: He knew about Mr. Horvath's sexuality before he did.
    (in season 1) "Your dad is gay!"
  • Incompatible Orientation: With Hannah, obviously. An unusual case as she only finds out after they've already broken up.
  • Jerkass: At times, though his reasons for being such are usually at least somewhat sympathetic.
  • No Bisexuals: Discussed after he has sex with Marnie.
  • Transparent Closet: Lampshaded by Elijah himself:
    "RENT rehearsal!"
  • Would Hit a Girl: He hits Marnie when she insults his singing voice, although it's more of a pissy slap than an actual attempt to harm her.

Ray Ploshansky

Played By: Alex Karpovsky

Charlie's bandmate and best friend, who is extremely protective of Charlie's feelings. Ray manages a coffee shop, at which Hannah eventually gets a job.

Booth Jonathan

Played By: Jorma Taccone

A conceptual artist whom Marnie meets at an art gallery in the first season, and later dates after her breakup with Charlie. Unlike most of the other characters, he's fairly successful at his job, and while Marnie admires him for it he isn't universally liked.

Thomas-John

Played By: Chris O'Dowd

A venture capitalist who meets Marnie and Jessa when the two are out drinking one night. He tries to put the moves on them, unsuccessfully, but later comes back into the picture when it's revealed that he's been seeing Jessa and the two of them have decided to get married.

  • Boring but Practical: The way he views his profession - it may not be as interesting as what Jessa and her friends do, but it pays the bills.
  • Straight Man: Of the mostly non-comic variety.

Sandy

Played By: Donald Glover

A black law student whom Hannah briefly dates after her breakup with Adam. Elijah dislikes him and Hannah is critical of him because of his conservative political beliefs, but he generally remains good-natured with them.

  • Strawman Political: Averted. In general he politely avoids discussing politics, and while he refuses to apologize for his beliefs to Hannah or Elijah he isn't presented as unreasonable in doing so.
  • Token Minority: To this point, the only non-white character to have much of a role on the show.

Caroline Sackler

Played By: Gaby Hoffman

Adam's emotionally unstable sister who briefly lives at Hannah's. According to Adam, she has a thing for driving a wedge between people.

Desi Harperin

Played by: Ebon Moss-Bachrach

An acting colleague of Adam who later becomes the other half of Marnie's singing duo as well as her lover and later fiancÚ.

  • Narcissist: Even worse than Marnie.
  • Your Cheating Heart: When he starts singing with Marnie, his girlfriend Clementine gets jealous of their chemistry right away, for which she later apologizes. Turns out her suspicions were more than justified.

Mimi-Rose Howard

Played By: Gillian Jacobs

An upcoming artist/writer and Adam's new girlfriend

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: According to her ex, her cordiality is just an act she puts on because it fits her public branding as an artist.
  • Nice Girl: She's really, really friendly.
  • Not So Different: From Hannah. In her first appearance, she's portrayed as a flawless Anti-Hannah. The more we get to know her, the more we find out that she's actually just as screwed up as the main four.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's difficult to bring her up without revealing that she is Adam's new girlfriend.

Tad & Loreen Horvath

Played By: Peter Scolari & Becky Ann Baker

Hannah's parents, who are university professors in Michigan. They had been supporting Hannah financially as she worked at her unpaid internship, but cut her off from further support in the initial episode.

  • Bumbling Dad: Hannah's father displays a degree of naivete, or at least lack of sophistication, that is surprising given that he's a college professor ("Can we get a hotel for $50 a night in Manhattan?")
  • Fiery Redhead: Loreen has short, flaming red hair and is often impatient with Hannah and her demands for money.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Loreen has two sisters with whom she has a rather....tenuous relationship with as seen in "Flo".
  • Hippie Parents: They display traces of that, as can be seen in the contrast between their wild shower sex and Hannah's more pedestrian romantic encounters.
  • Parental Obliviousness: They believe Hannah when she says that she's doing okay financially.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: After decades of marriage, Tad comes out as gay. Of course, Elijah called it way back in season 1.