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YMMV / Girls

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  • Awesome Music: This is HBO, so it's practically Once an Episode.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Jessa. Some find her the best and most interesting character on the show, enviable and full of one-liners and interesting arcs, while others consider her nothing deeper than an obnoxious, manipulative, Creator's Pet absolutely no one would tolerate in real life.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Most of the show's media attention is centered around Lena Dunham's penchant for nudity and its frequent, Cringe Comedy sex scenes.
  • Broken Base: Was the final season worse for all but shedding the show's ensemble attitude in favor of zeroing in on Hannah, or was it a starkly realistic way of watching a real group of friends slowly break up and drift apart? Some loved how it was tackled, while others complained that the other girls were too Out of Focus.
    • The final episode. Two of the girls didn't even appear, making it feel not quite like a Girls episode. Some enjoyed it and viewed the penultimate episode as the ending with the final episode as a new beginning for Hannah and her new baby, while others hated it and thought the show should have firmly ended with the penultimate episode.
      • Furthermore, was Shoshanna's ending the happy ending she had been working for and deserved, finally successful and surrounded by equally focused and mature women who treat her kindly, or was it a regression for her character, turning Shoshanna into a vapid, cruel woman only concerned with appearances and living an Instagram-perfect life? Did she get any character development at all, or the most out of any of the girls? Fans have taken her response to Abigail and Ray's question (that she'd rather live in an ugly house with a beautiful view or the opposite) to lean towards either conclusion — either that she's fine being flawed as long as everything else is nice, as Ray suggests, or that she can appreciate beauty even when mired in ugliness, as others argue.
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  • Critical Dissonance: The critics almost universally love the show, while the normal audience is split between absolutely hating it, and loving it along with the critics. Additionally, the show gets very poor ratings, with its highest rated episode getting just over 1 million and most episodes getting 0.8 million viewers, which is somewhat low even for HBO's standards; it's Adored by the Network despite the abysmal ratings due to having a lot of social buzz, even if it's of the "hate it" variety.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Ray, who began as just 'Charlie's friend' and grew into a popular character, to the point of being promoted to a series regular for season 2.
    • Adam, too, given his increased, sympathetic presence in Season 2.
    • Elijah, who went from being a seemingly expository character concerning Hannah's troubled romantic past to one of the gang's regular friends and the show's main comic relief, thanks to his many memorable one-liners often snarking about the flaws of the other main characters.
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  • Epileptic Trees: Some have theorized that the brunt of "What Will We Do This Time About Adam?" was All Just a Dream, a fantasy Hannah dreamed of to come to terms with the fact that she and Adam can't be together, and she has to move on.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: A lot of fans wanted Marnie and Jessa together, though they gradually stopped interacting as the show went on.
    • After Hannah and Adam break up for good and Adam stays with Jessa, the former became this for many fans of the show due to the couple still having great chemistry and the implication that Adam is essentially settling for Jessa, which she knows and happily accepts.
  • Flanderization: Marnie and Desi in particular. It's a bit jarring to see Season 1 Marnie, who was considerate and responsible with a narcissistic streak, be singularly defined by her self-absorption later on. Desi's also a lot more laid back in his introduction, but evolves into a total manchild.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: After learning that Elijah is gay (and has always been), an annoyed Hannah accuses him of putting on a Camp Gay voice and mannerisms, which he didn't have when they were together. The next episode proves that Elijah acted exactly the same when they were dating.
  • Hollywood Homely: Downplayed. Shoshanna and Ray tell Marnie that she's pretty, but quickly undercut it by adding that she's not pretty enough to be a model when Alison Williams is one of the most conventionally attractive women on the show.
  • Informed Wrongness: Jessa begs her sister Minerva for money to pay for her graduate schooling, but Minerva refuses on the grounds that she knows how flaky and unreliable Jessa is, and refuses to sink her money into another whim that Jessa will likely fail to follow through on. Adam (despite only having been dating Jessa for a short while) argues that she doesn't know Jessa at all, and she'd make a perfect therapist, then offers to pay for her schooling. This is sent up in context as an Act of True Love, with Minerva looking worse in the end for denying Jessa's dream. Unsurprisingly, however, Jessa drops out in the end, making Minerva right all along.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Loreen Took a Level in Jerkass while divorcing her gay husband, but it's clear how betrayed and lonely she feels by the revelation, tells Marnie that she wasted her life supporting him when she could have been chasing her own dreams, and after a disastrous divorcee meetup where no one cares about her problems, she angrily dismisses Hannah's idea that she could ever find love again.
  • Les Yay: Between Marnie and Jessa, they make out during an attempted threesome in one episode (and seem a lot more into each other than the guy who propositioned them) and because of this some of their earlier fighting/dislike of each other seems more like UST.
    • Marnie and Hannah even though it's mostly friendly.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Chuck Palmer. After making genuinely good arguments for his side of the story, he seems to start to befriend and connect with Hannah. Then he essentially tricks her into touching his penis. Word of God confirmed that he wasn't sexually interested; he was just luring her into a cat-and-mouse game that would prevent her from ever writing about the encounter, in revenge for her piece about him, in the most uncomfortable way possible.
    • Ace, who openly is just using Jessa to get to Mimi-Rose.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I think I may be the voice of a generation." Though not in the best way, as it was widely misunderstood as an earnest statement by the show's creator through the character, when it's really ludicrous babbling while high on opium. Reception of the show ended up improving among some detractors when it became apparent that the show wasn't intended to be a end-all zeitgeist masterpiece as a straightforward take of the quote would imply, but rather a good, relatable dramedy; brought back in the penultimate episode, where Hannah concedes that she's not the voice, but still a voice.
  • Narm: Most sex scenes with Marnie; as Allison Williams is apparently refraining from nudity, most of her attention in those scenes is focused on maneuvering her arms and hands to keep herself covered, which can reach highly ludicrous levels at times.
    • Some hated the season two finale, with Adam rescuing Hannah and telling her that he's "always here" for being Hollywood cheese, especially when the show usually resists the idea of women being saved by men.
  • Nausea Fuel: You will never look at Q-Tips in quite the same way again.
    • Hannah and Cleo going to get frenulum piercings. Cleo goes up first and every gory detail of the piercing is shown. It's so bad that Hannah chickens out of getting hers.
    • Loreen vomiting weed gummies all over the front of herself.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Some critics paint the show as having all of its characters be irredeemable psychopaths as early as the first season, making some new viewers surprised to see how relatively normal and sympathetic the leads are (at least in the first few seasons of the show).
  • The Scrappy:
    • Marnie went from being a Base-Breaking Character like all of the main girls to this by season 3, as even many previous sympathetic fans saw her almost complete disregard to the thoughts and feelings of those around her reaching nearly sociopathic levels, especially noted in her severe (but brilliantly subverted) Break the Cutie moment with Shoshanna when she nonchalantly reveals she had a fling with Shoshanna's ex, Ray, who she immediately began to mistreat as soon as they were together.
    • While most of the girls still have defenders and fans despite their bursts of awfulness, Desi arguably takes the cake as the most universally despised character on the show. This is due in combination to how manipulative, pretentious and unabashedly selfish he is, surpassing most of the main characters in levels of sheer narcissism.
    • Mimi-Rose's ex-boyfriend Ace only appeared in two episodes and is even more hated than Desi for the same reasons but even douchier in execution, including making it blatantly clear to Adam and Jessa that he's playing mind games with them in order to get Mimi-Rose back. Unfortunately for him, his ploy fails as Jessa leaves him and Mimi-Rose refuses to get back with him while simultaneously dumping Adam as well.
  • Seasonal Rot: A Broken Base about whether Season 3 was this or Growing the Beard, as while some decried some perceived flanderization of the main characters, less Cringe Comedy-type creative risks and excessive plot focus back on Hannah, some liked the more mature and subdued plot-lines and the overall more cohesive feel episode-to-episode. Season 4, however, was even more divisive, and Season 6 was mixed with a divisive finale and treatment of the leads.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The show has gone from being one of the most talked about shows of the early 2010's to this. When it first premiered in 2012, we were already used to sympathetic yet unlikeable male protagonists thanks to shows like The Sopranos and Mad Men. However, the idea of a female protagonist that we sympathized with but didn't actually like or respect was brand new territory for television (as, even on those aforementioned shows, women were often portrayed as the moral center or at least wiser of the two genders). Thus, throughout its run, Girls was among the most hotly debated shows on television, with people both loving and hating the show for its deliberately insufferable female lead and her equally insufferable circle of friends. Since then, however, shows like Killing Eve and Orange Is the New Black have followed in the show's footsteps and portrayed deeply flawed (or, in some cases, full on Villain Protagonist) female leads. To the point that, today, it's hard to see why Girls was so controversial during its run.
  • She Really Can Act: Alison Williams in Panic In Central Park and Lena Dunham in Hello Kitty; their performances have really impressed people (and in the case of Marnie, redeemed her in the eyes of many critics).
  • Strangled by the Red String: Downplayed. Ray starts off the show hating Marnie, and it essentially makes sense that his cynical, abrasive, down-to-earth nature would clash with Marnie's narcissistic Control Freak attitude. They end up getting together, and though Marnie never really loves Ray and more or less just uses him when she needs to get over Desi, Ray insists that Marnie is the love of his life and repeatedly defends and pines over her. To his credit, he ends up ending their relationship, twice.
  • Tearjerker: "Sit-In" is one big episode of this, as Hannah deals with the fact that Adam got a new girlfriend while she was in Iowa. Particularly heartbreaking is the conversation between Hannah and Adam at the end, when they manage to have an honest, heartbreaking conversation about their dead relationship.
    • "The Panic in Central Park." Marnie genuinely reconnects with Charlie by chance and sees him as a way out of her unhappy marriage, only to learn, after a romantic night together, that he's a heroin addict.
    • Hannah in Hello Kitty where she finds out that Jessa and Adam are going out and her boyfriend and Marnie are too obtuse and self-absorbed to be of any help. The look on her face, where she is Trying Not to Cry, is just heart-breaking.
    • Though she brought it on herself by letting down her friends and business partners at Jamba Jeans in order to chase a friendship with the cool, cultured Jessa, Shosanna's Trying Not to Cry expression is heartbreaking, after she realizes that she ruined her chances at the life she dreamed of for friends who don't care about her values or understand her at all (and a likely impetus for her absence from the following final season, where she does manage to find love, friendship and success by breaking away from the group).
    • The end of "What Will We Do This Time About Adam?" After a brief Hope Spot that the two will get back together again, Adam and Hannah break into quiet tears in a diner, realizing that there's just something missing and they're not going to get back together after everything they did to each other. Adam returns to Jessa, who's so lonely that she happily settles for being his second-best.
    • Hermie dying on Ray's couch, and Ray desperately trying to wake him up.
    • The final minutes of the penultimate episode, where after a cold speech by Shoshanna, Hannah cements her decision to leave New York and live her own life, and mutually ends her friendship with Jessa. Then crosses over into a Bittersweet Ending with the girls sharing one last happy moment with each other, dancing the night away at Shoshanna's engagement party with scenes intercut with Hannah finally growing up, moving out and setting up her new home for her baby.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Shoshanna's colder personality to the girls, finding new friends, and final, chilly "The Reason You Suck" Speech in the penultimate episode — the last time we see her character apart from in the background — makes her out to be pretty cruel, but many fans found her to be completely in the right in calling out the group, even considering her the true heroine of the final season.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • While a whole lot of Hannah's actions provoke this reaction, her impious behaviour at David's funeral stands out. She actually does try to act appropriately, but then she winds up expressing concern only for herself and her book project, in front of the widow, no less. Adam has to call her out several times during that story-arc.
    • Marnie getting engaged to Desi. They've only been together for a few months (to be fair, not counting the time when he cheated on his previous girfriend with her...), are far from being functional in any way whatsoever and getting married is one of the most stupid ways to fix that.

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