As writers and producers on the show, what space did you hope to carve out with Girls?
When I saw Lena [Dunham]’s film Tiny Furniture, I thought, no one has been able to capture this vibe on television. She found a way to be more accessible and funnier than any commercial piece. It’s the type of indie comedy I love so much, and I wanted there to be a series in that style.
Do you view Girls as a continuation of Tiny Furniture?
Judd and I always said we were going to push the comedy harder. We said it’s going to be like Tiny Furniture, but with more comedy and more girls. I think one of the reasons Girls worked so well and happened so quickly is because we had the movie as a template. One of the problems with the pilot system is that you are pitching this story to people, and even if it winds up being great, it’s going to look different than the way it looked in their imagination. Because of Tiny Furniture, we knew who the lead was and we knew what the tone would be.
It’s also shocking that the pilot came out so well because almost nothing happens. I mean, really, Hannah asks her parents to support her and we meet her friends.
By the way, in the first draft nothing happened in the pilot and Judd was like, “Your parents have to cut you off.” [Laughs]
If the series began with the girls trying to figure their s**t out, where would you say it ends for them?
The girls trying to figure their s**t out at an older age and a higher level. [Laughs] Marnie is almost the opposite of when she started in the beginning. She was the one with her life together in the pilot. By the end, Shoshanna has the clearest sense of who she is. She’s very on brand. She’s had hard times, but she knows who she is and what she wants.
They’ve all matured in different ways, some more than others. You know, Hannah is setting off in this new phase where she has a baby. Marnie is completely lost. Shoshanna probably has it together the most. She’s the strongest. And Jessa is with Adam--and all that implies.
What’s the story behind the last track in the series finale, where Hannah sings to baby Grover?
Lena did it on her phone and sent it to us. We are going to ask her to re-record it for real, and Judd was like, “Leave it!” It will never be as good again.
Jenni, is there a particular episode or storyline you are most proud of?
Lena, Judd and I wrote the beach house episode [Season 3 Episode 7] together. We’ve written a bunch together, but we had a really good time with that one. It’s like the longest most expensive episode we’ve ever made (including going to Japan) because we kept having to shut down. But having the four girls together, teaching them a dance; it was a very collaborative, fun feeling. We also got Shoshana giving her read on them all for the first time.
Judd, which episode or storyline stands out most to you?
With “Role-Play” [Season 3, Episode 10], Lena and I decided to try to write a really funny episode. I don’t think it is actually a super funny one. It got more intense in the writing. There is a funny moment when she’s pretending to be a cheerleader and Adam is, like, the freak. And she starts describing him in their role play, and attacks him, thinking it’s sexy. Then they get in this massive fight. I’ve always loved that scene, it’s a really bizarre and revealing thing that comes out of nowhere. [Laughs]
How did the idea for Hannah’s pregnancy come about?
During the second season, Lena came up with the idea that the series would end with Hannah having a baby alone.
I didn’t quite understand what she was going for, for awhile.
Well, Judd also likes options. So he was like, “We gotta try everything.”
A lot of people get pregnant on shows, and I was nervous: What’s the unique way to do this? What does it mean? And as everyone started talking about it, I began to see what Lena was discussing.
What were the writing room sessions like for the final episode of Girls? How did you want to bring Hannah’s story to a close?
We were talking about postpartum depression and that having a baby would challenge Hannah’s mental stability. How would it affect her OCD issues and narcissism? It’s hard to let go of your self-involvement when a child arrives. We were talking about that, and then this idea came up about the metaphor of breastfeeding. You need to let go of your narcissism to be a good parent. Hannah feels rejected by her baby and she’s treating the baby like boyfriend.
One of our fears with the breastfeeding storyline was that we didn’t want to come down on either side. We were not trying to be like, “Now she’s a good mom, because she can breastfeed.” It was more Hannah getting out of her own head and entering an area of relaxation. We tried to show both sides of breastfeeding, with Loreen saying, “I was brought up on formula. You were brought up on formula.”
We hope people get that Hannah is about to learn a lot really fast.