Girls: Then and now

2016-07-15 14:45

Johannesburg - Start your Girls marathon session this weekend. The first four seasons of Lena Dunham’s Girls are now available from ShowMax.

Hannah and her friends are navigating the quarterlife crisis years between 20 and 30. And when life doesn't go according to their plans, they can repackage those human-disaster-area moments into enviable Instagram snaps – the triumph of self acceptance over self improvement. 

But we’ve been watching their chaos unfold at ground level. When we step back, a lot has changed between seasons 1 of the dramedy Girls (2012-current) and season 4, which launches on ShowMax on Friday 15 July. The gap between who the girls are and who they want to be is slowly closing… 

Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham)

Where she started: publishing house intern Hannah was working on her memoir when her parents roadblocked her by removing their financial support, forcing her to get a paying job. She was also having terrible sex with out-of-work actor Adam (Adam Driver, now an evil Jedi in the Star Wars movies). 

By season 4: After failing spectacularly at six jobs, Hannah is returning to study in a writers workshop (season 3, episode 12). Her determination to write really could make her “a voice of a generation”! Sex with Adam is still terrible, but he treats her better and she might be 3% less self-absorbed now.

Marnie Michaels (Allison Williams)

Where she started: Hannah’s picky perfectionist best friend, roommate and payer of her bills, Marnie was treating her smothering boyfriend Charlie like a creepy uncle while skating by in life on being pretty.

By season 4: After having sex with quite a few artists, Marnie realised in season 2 episode 8 that she really wanted to be a musician. But it turns out that there’s something she does badly – sing (especially Kanye West songs). The season 3 finale reveals that she’s also becoming the kind of woman who gets an ego boost from poaching other people’s boyfriends. Perfection didn’t suit her anyway.  

Jessa Johansson (Jemima Kirke)

Where she started: Hannah’s childhood friend Jessa moved in with her cousin Shoshanna. A free spirit and world-traveller Jessa wasn’t even on Facebook (gasp!). And she was late for everything, from parties to abortions, with the kind of self-assurance that’s only possible when you don’t have to care where money comes from.

By season 4: Jessa’s aimlessness led to a marriage in the season 1 final that only lasted until episode 4 of season 2. Aside from a range of childcare-oriented jobs, she’s spent her time doing drugs and going to rehab. But in season 3 episode 4 she found out that one of her friends faked suicide to get away from her bad influence, so she’s been rethinking things. 

Shoshanna Shapiro (Zosia Mamet)

Where she started: Hard-working student Shosh believed that the answers to all life’s questions could be found in Sex And The City (1998-2004 – and you can see all six seasons on ShowMax). She had a Manifestation Board to remind herself of her dreams, and her Hey Ladies Bible to guide her to find a man worthy of her virginity. 

By season 4: The Shoshanna Express to success has run off the rails a bit. In the season 3 finale she found out that she’s still three credits short of graduating. Hannah has criticised her for being boring but she let fly spectacularly at her friends for being a “bunch of whiny nothings” in season 3 episode 7. Our baby is growing up!

Watch the first four seasons of Girls on ShowMax now. Sign up for a seven-day free trial at

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