People who love Girls aren't just viewers of the show, we're often also cultural brokers and part-time Lena Dunham apologists. It's a small price to pay for a show that elicits a pathos for women so directly and so honestly.

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The strength of Girls has little to do with its mirroring of any person's specific experiences and very much to do with recognizing the modern circumstances and obstacles that can bring them about.

I, for one, have fawned over the show since watching main character Hannah Horvath's first terrible on-screen sexual encounter through to her closing lines of last season: "I'm Hannah forever, no matter what I do." And not because I "identify" or "relate," but because the show begets empathy—and over the years, in part thanks to these girls' stories, I've developed it correspondingly.

That Girls doesn't make false promises about the reliability of friendship or the promise of intimacy or the brightness of women's futures is what makes it a gift.

A gift with some baggage, however.

Approximately five minutes after the show became acclaimed, it was hit with criticism for lacking racial inclusion. While Dunham may not have erred much more than any other TV show creator, no one apologizes as empathetically as she does. By later adding characters of color and addressing cultural differences, Dunham has broadened and deepened the show over time.

To deny yourself Girls—to automatically throw it into the cultural silo that is Women Who Have Made Some Mistakes And Who Are Therefore Now Unforgivable—is to deny yourself sensitive, funny storytelling at the most and great sartorial suggestions at the least.

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I don't have precise plot-related expectations for the upcoming season. But in general, here's what I do want: relations among the girls to heal, the ongoing and messy romances of Marnie and Jessa to just end, and some kind of catharsis for Hannah's authorial frustration. recommended

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