April 17, 2017

There's nothing substantial to read about the series finale episode of "Girls"...

... so I'll just make a list of my thoughts on the subject.

1. I laughed when Hannah (the Lena Dunham character) got mad at Marnie (the Allison Williams character) for letting the song "Fast Car" play on the car radio and singing along. "Fast Car" is that 1988 Tracy Chapman recording that — in my experience — comes on the "Coffeehouse"-type channels of satellite radio far too often. The Wikipedia article on the song suggests why XM programmers think that's what will work on listeners who hang out on that part of the dial:
According to Metro Weekly critic Chris Gerard, "Fast Car" tells a grittily realistic story of a working poor woman trying to escape the cycle of poverty, set to folk rock music. The song's arrangement was described by Orlando Sentinel writer Thom Duffy as "subtle folk-rock," while Billboard magazine's Gary Trust deemed the record a "folk/pop" song. Dave Marsh said it was perhaps an "optimistic folk-rock narrative," whose characters are in a homeless shelter. American culture critic Jim Cullen believed that with songs like "Fast Car", Chapman brought a uniquely Black and feminist perspective to acoustic folk-rock's generally White, middle-class audience.
When I hear the song, which I've heard way too many times over the last 30 years, I think of the well-off white people who love themselves too much for loving it. So I delighted at Hannah's annoyance at Marnie's loving the song. And I was crushed when absolutely the last thing that happened in the series was Hannah — as she got her baby to breastfeed at last — manifesting her long-awaited ascendance into adulthood by softly singing "Fast Car." My favorite thing about the episode — Hannah's irritation at Marnie's lame self-love at loving "Fast Car" — got ruined.

2. Meade — who tends to sit with me when I watch one of my shows — had a different reaction to "Fast Car." He thought it meant that Marnie — who was driving the car — was going to crash and kill them all. I said: "That's how they're going to end the series — just randomly kill everybody?!"

3. The story arc of the last season has been: Hannah got pregnant. In the final episode, the baby has arrived. We were spared having to endure an episode with labor pains, getting-to-the-hospital high jinks, pushing and screaming, umbilical cord twirling — all the theater of childbirth. But perhaps that was only because an earlier season had already given us a childbirth episode. We had many episodes of pregnant Hannah, and now, in the final episode, the baby is suddenly here. The drama/comedy is all about breastfeeding — the mechanics of breastfeeding and breastfeeding to represent everything about mother-and-child bonding. The story is really about the end of Hannah's life as the child to the recognition of herself as the mother. If the breasts repurpose themselves as milk dispensers — voila!

4. The baby appears to be black. Here's a picture of Hannah and Paul-Louis, the father of the baby. The actor playing the role is Riz Ahmed, a British man of Pakistani descent. It's as if the show's producers see race in terms of white and nonwhite. I suspect they thought it was racially enlightened to give the white main character a dark-skinned baby, but I found it distracting. How did the baby come out much darker than either parent? Maybe there's a scientific answer to how that could happen. I'm just saying it's distracting, and not just because I had to drift off into contemplating genetics. It's that I'm trying to imagine what they were thinking and how it related to the perennial criticism of the show that it is too much about the little problems of white people. Now, a little nonwhite baby comes into the world and saves Hannah. There's a lot of racial politics there to analyze, but the show didn't analyze it. My mind ran way off the track they wanted me to pay attention to. It was like the fast car in Meade's ideation.

5. The baby's name is Grover. That was the name Paul-Louis suggested over the telephone, when Hannah told him he was going to be a father and he wished her good luck. Why accept the absent father's weird name suggestion? She doesn't even know if the guy was thinking of President Grover Cleveland or Grover on "Sesame Street." Maybe there's some idea that if you don't get the last name from the father — the baby gets Hannah's last name (Horvath) — you should get the first name from the father. Some kind of feminist compromise. Grover's as good as any other name, isn't it? You can, for short, call him Gro, pronounced "grow."  If you take out the verhorva, you've got gro[w]th. This series has been all about growth... and the lack of it. 6 seasons of lack of growth, and a final episode with a big magical growth spurt. Because: baby!

6. Each of Hannah's friends had made a pitch to be the baby's co-parent. (The show is not realistic.) In the final episode, Marnie is the one living in the charming upstate house with Hannah and the magical baby. She exults that she won — she is the best friend. As for that perfect house: Don't get distracted wondering how do these people get these houses? The show is not realistic.

7. But Marnie's only going to be in that house for a while. The stories of the other girls of "Girls" were wrapped up in the second-to-last episode, and this episode is concentrated on resolving the story of Hannah. But Marnie needs a send off too. We're prompted to understand that she won't stay in that house co-parenting with Hannah throughout Grover's childhood. That's Hannah's story to complete, which we're supposed to believe will happen because in the end the baby latches onto the nipple — the episode is titled "Latching" — and the screen goes black, the credits roll over sucking sounds, and Hannah is heard singing "Fast Car." The prompt for where Marnie's life story will go is her musing that she's always wanted to go to law school.

8. Law school! So this is the end of Marnie, going to law school?! Well, she was into reading those books about breastfeeding and she did swaddle the baby effectively. And then she proclaimed — right after saying law school was her heart's desire — that she loved rules. Ah, is that what drives people to law school, a love for rules? Maybe that's why I had a nightmare last night about being a terrible law professor. The students hate me because I won't stop all the nonsense and just tell them what the damned rules are already.

I'm stopping now. I started this list as my first post at about 6 a.m., but it was taking too long and wrote 4 other posts before coming back to this. And I think now the title of the post may be inapt. Surely, somebody else is opining on line, dealing with some of these themes — feminism, racial politics, names, law school. It's time to release this blog post out into the world — let it live a life of its own. I can't be coddling and swaddling this forever. Yes, there are only 8 points, and I could tweak it up to 10 for a round number. In fact, I could break up a couple points and get it up to 10 — or 3 and get it up to 11 — but I don't care. That would be Marnie-ish of me, and I'm not the Marnie....

83 comments:

Saint Croix said...

The baby's name is Grover.

At least they didn't go with Kermit.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Maybe because there's nothing of substance in the show...

Will Cate said...

The house thing bugged me too. Nice houses in college towns are quite pricey, because all the modest homes have become shitty student-rentals. At least that's been our experience here in Clemson. Had to remind myself "meh... it's just TV"

Really quite a low-key denouement to the series... for all practical purposes it really ended w/ episode 9 rather than episode 10. Glad I stuck with it, though... my wife bailed after three seasons.

Ann Althouse said...

The 5th season was the best.

If you don't know the show and have stayed away, I would recommend just watching season 5.

The second episode of season 6 is also very special, like its own little movie. I'd watch that too. That's the one with Tracey Ullman in a sequence at the beginning that is short but I consider it to be the best acting performance I've ever seen on TV.

Rick said...

Maybe 4 and 5 go together. Grover was a character in the YA series which started with the Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson is the main character). He was played by black actor Brandon T Jackson.

JTR said...

I'm a suburban white person and I liked fast car because my dad drank. Never even thought of it as ghetto or black exclusive.

What's funny is my dad liked it.

Ann Althouse said...

The flat, factual style of Wikipedia amuses me.

Will anyone join me in finding this sentence funny: "The song's arrangement was described by Orlando Sentinel writer Thom Duffy as "subtle folk-rock," while Billboard magazine's Gary Trust deemed the record a "folk/pop" song."

Henry said...

2. Meade — who tends to sit with me when I watch one of my shows — had a different reaction to "Fast Car." He thought it meant that Marnie — who was driving the car — was going to crash and kill them all. I said: "That's how they're going to end the series — just randomly kill everybody?!"

That would be the Christopher Walken version of Annie Hall.

Henry said...

Hannah is a Woody Allen kind of name.

Steve said...

"That's how they're going to end the series — just randomly kill everybody?!"

Still better than the Seinfeld finale.

Gahrie said...

At last our long national nightmare is over......

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

Lists and counting are good.

Let's count how many comments can exist before someone jabbers, in the predictable and often repeated way, re that main gal's body.

Saint Croix said...

6 seasons of lack of growth, and a final episode with a big magical growth spurt. Because: baby!

To me this is very realistic.

Adults don't make babies. Babies make adults.

It's kind of weird how our left-cult obsesses about youth so much. We abort our babies because we are not "ready" to be an adult. It's an institutionalized childishness.

As for that perfect house: Don't get distracted wondering how do these people get these houses? The show is not realistic.

You get houses through work. Often provided by fathers.

Each of Hannah's friends had made a pitch to be the baby's co-parent. (The show is not realistic.)

You get co-parents through recognition of a biological necessity called fatherhood.

Not a watcher of the show, and so I am not sure how self-aware Lena Dunham is. People talk about the narcissism and self-absorption. But the vibe I get (from afar) is that the show is a profoundly negative engagement with what feminism has wrought. These aren't women. They are girls. And apparently they need a man and a baby to grow up and be a woman. But since feminism has done so much damage to that man-baby-family scenario, we end the series with rich single mom fantasies and pretend-mates-that-don't-exist.

themightypuck said...

I remember the zombies in class who just took notes and wanted to know the rules. That stuff bored me to death. All I really cared about was Socratic interaction. Needless to say I knew I was in the wrong career halfway through my 2nd year and finally pulled the plug after 6 months at a mid sized firm. Luckily tuition was much cheaper back then.

AReasonableMan said...

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...
Let's count how many comments can exist before someone jabbers, in the predictable and often repeated way, re that main gal's body.


I hear she's lost a lot of weight.

MayBee said...

Ha! Yes!
Good episode, but the darkness of the baby threw me off- is that Hannah's baby? I thought at first. And then, "is the father someone else?" Distracting.
And that house! And how long was her paid leave, that she could pay for that house?

MayBee said...

The only thing I'll say about her body is how very much she loves to be naked.

Jason said...

Loved "Fast Car." Brilliant song, performed with terrific restraint by Tracy Chapman.

The reason it gets played so much, after so many years, is because it's a great song, and today's youngsters can relate to it just as much as when it came out in 1988. Maybe more so. Fuck the haters.

There's a reason "Royals" was a monster hit, too. And yes, white kids can have the same kind of problems.

You've been hanging out on a college campus for too many years.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Still better than the Seinfeld finale."

-- Cheers is still the best finale.

Bill said...

I've never thought of "Fast Car" in those snide terms. It's just a great song, beautifully rendered. I don't care who else loves it.

Charles Kramer said...

I laughed at the last bit about law students who want to know what the rules are. I think all law students are that way. I took me until after law school to realize that the most interesting questions are where the rules are unsettled or conflict so that there is no good answer to the question.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

Sure, the living situations seem unrealistic, but OTOH they really bring innovative tube realism re gals using the toilet.

Presumably the exposed cocks and Liv raping a dude makes HBO's Leftovers even more edgy.

AReasonableMan said...

This guy Nathan Damigo doesn't seem be good boyfriend material. Too much short man syndrome.

William said...

I watched the first two seasons, then lost interest. On your recommendation, I watched season five. It was okay. The plot line about the girl awash in Japan was funny and unusual. Also the story about the gay newscaster and the young man trying to elevate himself from groupie status was likewise unusual and interesting. The show was watchable but vaguely irritating. Has there ever been a less likable cast ensemble?.........I don't think Lena Dunham is ugly, but I could never figure out the point of all those nude scenes. Was she making some kind of Lucien Freud statement about the bounds of corpulence dragging us to the earth, or was this some feminist comment about, not the ugliness of heavy women but rather the uglinesss of the male gaze. Apparently though, looking at Lena Dunham naked was supposed to make you a better person and complaining about her unsuitability for nude scenes was a marker of your sexism. Also, watching gay nude scenes makes you a better person......I didnt get it, but she did at least find someone to be her ideal audience member.

Gerard Grosso said...

Much ado about nothing.
And sometimes a song about a fast car is just a great song with no need for endless deconstruction .

holdfast said...

"Winning" the right to be Hannah Horvath's best friend seems like the ultimate booby prize - I mean, really?

So the Pakistani (presumably Muslim) man knocks up the stereotypically Jewish American girl and then just bails? What about the politics of that?

Also, his character in Rogue One was insipid and clearly just there to lend more "diversity".

exiledonmainstreet said...

Sorry, ARM, given that the woman in question is a proud empowered feminist commie who bragged on twitter she wanted "100 nazi scalps" from the protest - I don't care if she got punched. She wanted to be violent herself but thought her gender would protect her? She demands chivalry from men while behaving like a vicious bitch? Sorry, if you're going to be out there playing your stupid antifa games, that's gonna happen eventually...

Bay Area Guy said...

I remember watching the last episode of "Hee-Haw" - it had a similar story arc, only better.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely hated this episode and thought it was a bizarre send-off for a suposedly feminist show. I'm a mother of three who were all exclusively formula-fed by my choice. Formula allows fathers to be more involved in infant care. It allows mothers freedom to get out of the house and away from their babies for a few hours. Formula is a feminist force. And the latest studies shows it has LITERALLY ZERO negative effects on babies/children. Children fed formula are intellectually and physically the equals of breast-fed children. So this is how Lena sends off girls!? Hannah grows up and becomes an adult when she commits to bodily feeding her baby? When she accepts that she can't leave the house? When she equates motherhood with feeding-by-boob? Surprised and disappointed. -- Jessica

exiledonmainstreet said...

What about this, ARM?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Edmonton/comments/5pkxlx/reporter_punched_at_edmonton_womens_march/

A leftist pajama boy punched a female reporter and was sheltered by all the pussy hated bitches who approved of what he did.

Oh, I know.

"It's OK when we do it."

Fernandinande said...

Here's a picture of a funny-looking Boxer+Basset Girl dog.

Freeman Hunt said...

Will anyone join me in finding this sentence funny: "The song's arrangement was described by Orlando Sentinel writer Thom Duffy as "subtle folk-rock," while Billboard magazine's Gary Trust deemed the record a "folk/pop" song."

Yes. The style turns Wikipedia into a generator of great temptation to write false, fantastical things in the same style.

TosaGuy said...

"The show is not realistic."

That is exactly what is wrong with this show and why it is destructive.

Regular people who want to emulate those lifestyles or characters cannot survive in an emotional or fiscal sense the decisions these characters make.

Clark said...

Jessica - isn't feminism supposed to be about choice? Why can't Hannah choose that? It seems you wish to conflate motherhood with prison. Fine. Have at it. But must every woman do that? I am the father of three boys, all of whom were breast fed. It was completely my wife's choice. I did not have, nor did I want or expect a say in the matter. I suppose I should have demanded she bottle feed so that...um...she had more freedom...or something.

wwww said...

@11:19

As in Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA?


Breastfeeding. The ending is about lactation? Breast vs. bottle debate? I bet Hannah is getting neurotic about this instead of enjoying her baby.


Slightly ashamed to admit I'd never heard of the song Fast Train. Googled it. Couldn't finish the song.


I watched 1 episode of Girls, but couldn't finish it. I'm not clear on the appeal of the show, but maybe I just want to watch my Brooklyn 99 and laugh.

AReasonableMan said...

Gerard Grosso said...
And sometimes a song about a fast car is just a great song with no need for endless deconstruction .


Couldn't agree more. Chapman is a class act, here with Buddy Guy.

Yancey Ward said...

Fast Car is a great song- that is why it gets played a lot on the station you wrote about, Ann, and young people even today can relate to the message it contains.

However, on Sirius I listen to channel 8 more than any other, and I can't even remember the last time I heard Fast Car on that channel- it sort of only struck me when reading your post- I don't think I have heard the song in more than 20 years.

I don't watch Girls, but it occurs to me that the message of the baby's skin color is that the father isn't who Hannah claims it is.

Freeman Hunt said...

"The show is not realistic."

That is exactly what is wrong with this show and why it is destructive.

Regular people who want to emulate those lifestyles or characters cannot survive in an emotional or fiscal sense the decisions these characters make.


But it does not make their lives attractive. In fact, the little I saw made their lives look distinctly unattractive.

Birches said...

Jessica,

These aren't just feminists, they are progressives. Formula is evil. It is made by a corporation FOR PROFIT. A woman must feed a child with her own, natural milk, procured by a mechanical milking device so that the empowered feminist can enjoy her job AND feed the baby while he is with the nanny. Milking yourself three or four times throughout the workday is not stressful or inconvenient at all. It is the true way to female empowerment.

I formula fed my first three exclusively. Nursed the last two exclusively. I wouldn't touch a pump. There is no difference between them, in fact, the older kids might end up being the smarter ones. I happen to find nursing much more convenient, but I hate the "formula is poison" crowd. Dunham would have been a social pariah if she had advocated formula. Breastfeeding is the mark of our cultural and intellectual betters.

Birches said...

Interesting that the baby is so dark. I've heard black/mixed babies are often lighter and darken up as they get older.

Maya S said...

Ann, you are the best. This is the hands-down the most intelligent take on Girls finale on the Internet. Long live your glorious retirement.

I agree about the baby's skin color being a distraction. As it so happens, my parents were the same racial makeup as Grover's parents, but unlike Grover us kids looked halfway like our mom. The general rule for Indian-American kids seems to olive-skinned, dark haired.

Even in its facial features, that kid looked nothing like Lena Dunham (whose face, come to think of it, shouldn't be that hard to replicate in a baby).

Oh well. It was a great show, but even Homer (Grover?) nods.









Birches said...

Oh. And I will admit that I have sung along to "Fast Car."

J. Farmer said...

Isn't Fast Car about a woman with shitty parents who ends up with a louse? Not sure what's so "uniquely black" about that subject matter. The thing I've always wondered about Fast Car is whether the events discussed in the song actually happened to the persona or if they were merely an imagined life that running off with the guy with the fast car would entail? Guess it doesn't matter.

And, Ann, be lucky, as many times as you heard it on the radio, I guarantee I heard it twice as much from my father's guitar. It got where I should step on small children and shove little old ladies out of the way to change the dial if the song ever came on. Only rediscovering Chapman's stripped down, minimalist 1989 Grammy's performance brought me back to the song, and it's been in my playlist's rotation ever since. Here is the definitive edition, in my opinion.

Static Ping said...

Wikipedia requires citations so you get direct quotes from unimportant people trying to sound important, which then encourages the Wiki editors to sound important themselves. If you want to see a Wiki where the editors take themselves far less seriously, try TV Tropes.

I think "Fast Car" is an alright song. I like to hear it from time to time. More than once a couple of weeks would probably be too soon.

Unknown said...

" 6 seasons of lack of growth, and a final episode with a big magical growth spurt. Because: baby!"

That *would* do it, one should hope!

MayBee said...

I happen to find nursing much more convenient, but I hate the "formula is poison" crowd. Dunham would have been a social pariah if she had advocated formula. Breastfeeding is the mark of our cultural and intellectual betters.

But remember, Marnie was pushing Hannah to breastfeed. The Doctor said it might not happen. And at the end, Marnie gave in and gave Grover formula, admitting there was nothing wrong with the ingredients and that Grover fed well.

So Marnie learned something and grew, and Hannah learned something and grew. And neither feeding method came out on top.

Titus said...

I didn't watch last night but will tonight.

Can't wait. I am kind of devastated that it won't be on anymore. I will so miss Hannah most of all.

I am excited to see what Lena does next. She is an amazing writer.

The show it not for flyovers so it is expected the old goobers in here would hate it.

rcocean said...

Well, I got through a couple episodes, and it was Ok. Maybe, I'll watch some more. Its not really directed at my demographic and while there were some funny bits, mostly i kept thinking: "this would be a lot funnier with a more talented actor/actress" or "this would've been funnier/better if the writer had tightened it up, or slowed it down, or hadn't been so repetitious".

Like many comedy writers, she probably should've stayed behind the camera or given herself a minor, but funny, "Alan Brady" type role.

rcocean said...

"Fast Cars" - good God, it went on for 5 minutes! I enjoyed the first minutes, started to lose interest, and started skipping around after 2 1/2.

Is this one of those songs, like the 12 days of Christmas, where people remember the first couple verses and then hum the rest?

J. Farmer said...

@Titus:

The show it not for flyovers so it is expected the old goobers in here would hate it.

Speaking of old goobers, here is the incomparable Camille Paglia on l'affaire Dunham:

"Well, Lena Dunham to me is a symbol of a certain kind of neuroticism that masquerades as feminism. Lena Dunham has a lot of problems that have to do with body image. I call her the Andrea Dworkin of today. This exposure of the body as something ugly and as something repugnant and yet somehow as sexual and the implied blame that if you find me ugly, then you don't understand that I am woman as she is, and you are a sexist. Well, I'm sorry, no. You are just a big pile of pudding."

exiledonmainstreet said...

@Titus:

The show it not for flyovers so it is expected the old goobers in here would hate it."

Nah, we just don't like looking at "big piles of pudding."

Jim Gust said...

"How did the baby come out much darker than either parent? Maybe there's a scientific answer to how that could happen."

There was a somewhat notorious case in New Haven some years ago, in which a dark-skinned baby was born to two white parents. The husband accused the wife of infidelity. It turned out that the wife had some black ancestry. A paternity test revealed that they were the baby's parents.

They divorced anyway.

Don't know about the genetics, but it is possible for some features to skip a generation or two.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't think "Fast Car" is a bad song. I'm just annoyrf by people who over-like it. There's something off about the liking of it, something un-self-aware about it.

AReasonableMan said...

Is it possible to 'over-like' Dylan songs? Would there be something 'un-self-aware' about someone who did this?

Ann Althouse said...

"Dunham would have been a social pariah if she had advocated formula. Breastfeeding is the mark of our cultural and intellectual betters."

But she did accept formula. She had it in the house, presumably as a backup, Her mother got it out and talked about it with Marnie, and then when Hannah went out on her crazy walk, Marnie and Hannah's mother gave the baby formula. When they later informed Hannah, Hannah said it was okay. There was an acceptance of formula.

J. Farmer said...

I'm just annoyrf by people who over-like it. There's something off about the liking of it, something un-self-aware about it.

That's how I feel about Frank Zappa songs.

Todd Galle said...

The whole 'Girls' thing is way out of my orbit. When I saw "Fast Car", my mind went to Agent Orange's 'Bloodstains'. My past has more in common with that outlook than anything probably ever seen on 'Girls'.

Birches said...

Is it possible to 'over-like' Dylan songs? Would there be something 'un-self-aware' about someone who did this?

You're flying a little too close to the sun, ARM. Ha ha

MountainMan said...

I never understood the appeal of this show. Tried to watch it once but I just couldn't get into it. About the only thing I watch on HBO is "Game of Thrones."

There's lots of good TV on right now, both on cable and streaming. "Better Call Saul" just started its 3rd season. Can't believe how good this show is. Vince Gilligan is a great show runner. I didn't expect much from this show but it is a just about the perfect prequel to "Breaking Bad."

I binged watch the first two seasons of "Narcos" on Netflix a few weeks ago. It far exceeded my expectations. I know they took a lot of liberties with the facts - all "based on true events" shows do - but it was pretty darn good. The two DEA agents who were the featured characters were interviewed in the Atlanta paper today and they agreed the show captured the essence of what happened in Colombia, even taking the liberties into account.

And the third season of "Fargo" is about to start on FX, "The American"s is in mid-season, and the third season of "Bosch" is about to start streaming on Amazon. Don't know if I can stand all this great TV.

Also, for Netflix users with an interest in history, be sure to watch the Netflix-produced documentary "Five Came Back", based on the book of the same name. It covers the WWII work for the military of five great directors - John Ford, John Huston, William Wyler, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Very well done, and Netflix is also making available quite a few of the great documentaries they produced, including at least one, by Huston, that the military held back at the time.

I can assure all of these are far superior to "Girls", at least from my perspective.

Birches said...

Also, I always figured Tracy Chapman was a lesbian, so I always imagined the person with the fast car was a woman...

Anonymous said...

Clark - I don't think you understood my comment. My point was that acting as if formula is poison is a ridiculous anti-feminist anti-choice thing to do. I'm not anti-breastfeeding -- good for your wife that she had a great experience -- I'm anti-anti-formula. I'm sick of the ridiculous guilt and shame that accompanies formula feeding for many women. (Not me anymore. I could care less what people have to say about it since I know it is just as nutritious and healthful as breastfeeding.)

Birches -- Amen sister. The most recent study that compared siblings within families where one sibling was formula fed and one was breastfed showed ZERO difference. So either choice is acceptable and wonderful and you're living proof. Love your comment.
-- Jessica

Clark said...

Jessica - Got it. My misinterpretation. I'm also not anti-formula. I'm anti- people giving a shit how other people choose to live their lives across a broad spectrum of activities!

J. Farmer said...

@Birches:

Also, I always figured Tracy Chapman was a lesbian, so I always imagined the person with the fast car was a woman...

Chapman is a lesbian. It seems like years ago someone told me her girlfriend was Alice Walker, though I am not sure if that was true or not, since Walker should be quite a few years older than Chapman.

J. Farmer said...

@Jessica:

When she equates motherhood with feeding-by-boob? Surprised and disappointed.

A good friend of mine from high school went on to nursing school and now works as a lactation specialist at a hospital in Atlanta. She used to be breastfeeding evangelist, and her and I would often go 20 rounds over the topic when we'd meet for the occasional lunch. She has since become much more reasonable her views.

Personally, I think the anti-formula zeal comes from some of kind naturalism belief that sees nature as good and pure and right and "chemicals" as poisonous and polluting and putrid. They're the kinds of people that don't vaccinate their kids, only shop at whole foods, look down on people who get plastic bags at the grocery store, and they are always looking to rid their lives of all those mysterious "toxins."

Anonymous said...

We need to start pushing back on the ridiculous false narrative surrounding breastfeeding. Here's a start:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/everybody-calm-down-about-breastfeeding/

-- Jessica

walter said...

" I think of the well-off white people who love themselves too much for loving it."
Heh..I was a student working in a campus library when that came out and remember the female middle aged reference librarian gushing more about Chapman's brave appearance etc...struck me similarly.

Girls is for fab superstars..

I wonder if Lena ever got over the disgrace of being insufficiently fawned over by a black man that time. Ouch!

FullMoon said...

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

Lists and counting are good.

Let's count how many comments can exist before someone jabbers, in the predictable and often repeated way, re that main gal's body.
4/17/17, 10:33 AM


Yeah, predictably, you the first to bring it up

Ann Althouse said...

"Oh. And I will admit that I have sung along to "Fast Car.""

If I were in the car with someone I liked and I wanted to change the channel, but they started singing before I did, it would be like what I was talking about a few days ago with Meade starting to sing "It Don't Come Easy." But you would get stuck in a conversation with me about my opinions about people who are too attached to that song.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

4 is your typical white lady response, and all the black girls in Twitter.

I've only watched seasons 1 and 2, which is as far as I can get without paying extra for it.

Birches said...


If I were in the car with someone I liked and I wanted to change the channel, but they started singing before I did, it would be like what I was talking about a few days ago with Meade starting to sing "It Don't Come Easy." But you would get stuck in a conversation with me about my opinions about people who are too attached to that song.


Haha. My spouse changes the channel every time it comes on. He hates it. He also gives his opinion on his feelings about the song as he changes the channel.

EDH said...

I think a key to the script was Hannah's mother warning Marnie that she and Hannah risked ending up like herself -- Hannah's mother was married to a gay man she eventually grew to hate after many years.

Hannah's reaction to "Fast Car" was both a anti-PC comical set-up akin to John Belushi smashing a folk guiter ("Animal House") but also portended a growing rift between Hannah and Marnie -- her last link to the old group -- due to their own need to grow-up and apart so that they wouldn't eventually "hate" each other.

Hannah needed to learn how be on her own, free of other girls and men. All of them, the whole gang. From Adam to Elijah, and everyone in between. (Even one of the show promos highlighted Elijah and Hannah bursting in laughter after he extolled all the "great relationships" NYC made possible.)

Marnie's pretensions aside, however, the show's ending was Hannah's admission that "Fast Car" is at heart a meaningful song about co-dependence. A woman who thought she found an escape from her taking care of her abandoned alcoholic father in another man who became a new trap for her.

You see my old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
His body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did

You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

So remember we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
We go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs...

You got a fast car
I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving


Next, I thought the very dark baby was just a visual exaggeration of Hannah's predicament.

Finally, anybody know why the Hannah and Adam reconnect failed last minute in the diner during the previous episode, and he went running back to Jessa?

MayBee said...

Finally, anybody know why the Hannah and Adam reconnect failed last minute in the diner during the previous episode, and he went running back to Jessa?

That was kind of odd, wasn't it? I wasn't even sure what had happened until I watched the After Show. I guess when he talked about getting married, we were supposed to see their hearts weren't really in it.

karlpopperghost said...

"Still better than the Seinfeld finale."

-- Cheers is still the best finale.


Newhart +++

"Fast Car" is an awful song. I'd rather listen to Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" and I don't like that song. But I'd need to listen to it to ear cleanse that Traci Chapman garbage out of my head.

2. Meade — who tends to sit with me when I watch one of my shows — had a different reaction to "Fast Car." He thought it meant that Marnie — who was driving the car — was going to crash and kill them all. I said: "That's how they're going to end the series — just randomly kill everybody?!"

Can't a man cling to his dreams!?!

4. The baby appears to be black. ... I suspect they thought it was racially enlightened to give the white main character a dark-skinned baby, but I found it distracting. .... It's that I'm trying to imagine what they were thinking and how it related to the perennial criticism of the show that it is too much about the little problems of white people. Now, a little nonwhite baby comes into the world and saves Hannah.

It's Barack!

Obama the president has died. And yet He is reborn, He is Risen!

Barack's mommy was a Dunham, Stanley Ann, and raised the baby without the dad. So now another Dunham gives birth to a black Redeemer and now at the end we have Hope....and change. Got to change them diapers. LOL.

5. The baby's name is Grover.....Grover's as good as any other name, isn't it?

Grover Washington's hit song "Just the Two of Us"!!

Her and the baby or her and he other friend.

RV Martinez said...

And here I am... I never watched a single episode of "Girls".
In retrospect I ask: What did I miss?

MayBee said...

karlpopperghost- hahahaha! I think you are on to something!

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry I wrote "annoyrf."

I have trouble seeing what I've written on the iPad. I can't enlarge the text in the compose window. I get so annoyrf.

Ann Althouse said...

"Haha. My spouse changes the channel every time it comes on. He hates it. He also gives his opinion on his feelings about the song as he changes the channel."

Hates "Fast Car" or "It Don't Come Easy"?

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

I gots me a idea.

Rather than continuing to waste time typing excuses, how about Meadehouse spends a minute to order an ipad pro?



You're welcome.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

To be clear: the one that's approx. 13".

Birches said...

He hates "Fast Car." He'd probably sing along to "It Don't Come Easy."

cathy said...

A story song can get old quick. And I don't like to remember what Fast Car is about. I hear the Pins Colada song more, which is hardly much, and though I don't much like it, it is pretty fun.

whitney said...

I've seen black newborns and they looked white. They got darker as they aged

Saint Croix said...

I absolutely hated this episode and thought it was a bizarre send-off for a suposedly feminist show. I'm a mother of three who were all exclusively formula-fed by my choice. Formula allows fathers to be more involved in infant care. It allows mothers freedom to get out of the house and away from their babies for a few hours. Formula is a feminist force.

The birth control pill and abortion are also feminist forces. I don't know if it's irony, coincidence, or some weird partisan battle, but all three have been linked to the rise in breast cancer in American women.

See, for instance the Komen website on the benefits of breast-feeding. Or this Yale article.