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Girls EP Jenni Konner on Season Three, Writing Off Charlie, and Adam and Hannah

It feels like just yesterday we were talking about Q-tips and shirtless sprints to Greenpoint. But that happened during last season’s run of Girls episodes, and those days are gone; it’s time to start talking about season three, which has its two-part premiere this Sunday. With that in mind, Vulture called up executive producer Jenni Konner — who was in a car headed to the show's TCA Panel (which, it turned out, sent her into a “rage spiral”) — to talk Hannah and Adam, writing off Charlie, and coming up with an end to the series.

So far this seems much lighter, more comedic, to me than last season. Did you guys set out to make this one lighter?
No, we are never that organized. Creatively, I’m sure there are people who make choices like that. But we’re finding our season the whole time. Like, even though last year we knew we were going to end with the OCD, and we were building to that, we still didn’t know exactly what it was gonna feel like getting there. It’s not that premeditated. We generally tend to think about vaguely where we’ll wind up and what the first four [episodes] will be, and then we have these floating ideas of what the bottle episodes will be. But it all transforms a lot. You know, when we started breaking the season, Chris Abbott was still on the show.

How far into writing the season were you when he left the show? Had you written most of the season?
I can’t remember. I think we were kind of far. He left pretty late. I think we’d broken the season and had written a bunch of scripts. But, honestly, I know this sounds like bullshit, but it’s like when a bone breaks and grows back stronger. So I’m actually weirdly grateful to him, because I really like what we wound up doing.

It must have been a creative scramble, though, when it happened.
It was, definitely. It was a total creative scramble. It was fine. There was no bad blood, or anything. It was just, you know, we had to scramble a little bit. I’m so much happier with what we did, truthfully.

Where was Marnie’s character going to go, had Chris not quit?
I’m afraid if I talk about that — I don’t want anyone to be thinking about what it might have been. It was really different. It was significantly different. It was gonna start with them as a couple.

Adam and Hannah are a couple at the start of this season. Is that a good thing?
It’s very hard to classify anything as good or bad in the world of Girls. But it’s a really interesting thing to watch them trying to have a grown-up relationship. We’ve seen a lot of back-and-forth with them, and a lot of one person wanting one thing and one person wanting the other, and it’s kind of exciting to see them, at the beginning, both wanting the same thing.

It gives us a chance to see Hannah in a serious relationship.
And Adam, too. It’s fun to see him trying to balance spending time with her friends and doing what he wants to do.

What does he want to do, though? It comes up in the first two episodes that he has no friends, and it’s unclear where he's headed.
Well, he has a pretty important career arc in this season. Which I’m not gonna tell you [about]. It’s acting-related ... I literally feel like there’s a gun trained on my head from the car behind me. Like there’s a little dot on the back of my head. Like someone from HBO public relations is ready to shoot me if I say too much.

The guys seem to have become the more likable characters. I know you don’t like the word likable ...
Yes, likable’s not my favorite word, because I think flawed people are likable. So when I hear that I think, What does likable mean? I don’t even understand that. I mean, cartoons? Like, I’m not sure what that means. But, you know, I don’t think that they're more likable, I just think we’re just able to understand them better because we’ve seen more of them. The seventh episode of the first season is the first time we hear Adam’s point of view. He and Hannah get into a fight at the party and he’s like, [yells] “You never ask me anything about myself!” And all of a sudden you go, Oh, that’s right. She’s not a reliable narrator. He feels things, too. He’s not just this cold creep. And I think now the more we get to see Adam and now that Karpo [Alex Karpovsky, who plays Ray] is a series regular, now we get to spend more time with them. So I just think as you spend more time with people, you get to understand their behavior better.

We also get more insight into Adam through his sister [played by Gaby Hoffmann] this season.
It really was a thing of like, “How do you become Adam?” He’s very familiar to people we know, but he’s a really strange character. We start the season with him taking care of Hannah after rescuing her last year. So when you think about that, you think, What in this man’s character would have informed that? ... I’m literally getting out of the car now [for the Girls TCA panel].

Oh, real fast. Is Hannah’s e-book going to get resolved this season? Or is it going to be a series-long story line?
It gets resolved. But I won’t tell you how!

And do you have an end to the series in mind?
Yes, we do. It came out of a conversation between me and Judd and Lena about a month or two ago.

And that’s not going to change? You’re committed to it?
We sure are. We’re trying to build toward it in a realistic way.

Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com