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....