true love hates

All of the Couples on Girls Should Break Up

Photo: Jessica Miglio/HBO

I am always hoping for romantic pairings on TV. Nick and Jess on New Girl, Carrie and Brody on Homeland (though ultimately I think they need to go their separate ways), Sherlock and Watson on Elementary and Sherlock. I wish Scandal spent more time on David Rosen getting back together with Abby and that How I Met Your Mother would just let Robin, Ted, and Barney have a three-way once and for all. I like will-they-won’t-they subplots and long-awaited kisses, and I may or may not have recently purchased a locket that has pictures of Lisa Simpson and Milhouse in it because I believe in their ultimate love. I ‘ship everything.

But I just cannot root for any of the romantic pairings on Girls. You are all terrible for each other! Go join a club and meet some new people! Take a dating hiatus! Something, anything, that will put an end to these toxic, or the even-more-annoying boring, relationships.

I get that I’m in the minority here. Vulture’s own recapper called Adam a modern-day Prince Charming. But even if I thought Hannah and Adam could maybe have a healthy, functional relationship down the road, they certainly can’t have one now. You know what they say: Definitely start (or restart) romantic entanglements when you’re in the throes of a massive reemergence of childhood mental illness and in a relapse from addiction recovery! That’s just a great, great time to hook up.

Hannah’s someone who very much fetishizes her own weirdness, and being with the oddball Adam reinforces and glamorizes their individual pathologies. Hey, I was 24 once — I get it. But I wouldn’t wish it on someone else, let alone a character I’m (probably too) emotionally attached to. If Adam breaking down Hannah’s door was supposed to be some kind of happy ending, I didn’t see it as such one bit. I’ve seen Greenberg. Hurt people hurt people.

Speaking of hurting people, Charlie and Marnie! There’s a couple with absolutely no good reason to get back together. (And ugh, now the restaurant Roberta’s is tainted. Tainted!) Inertia can be incredibly powerful, as can jealousy, revenge, and the appetite for vindication. I’m not saying that I don’t believe that they’d get back together. I do believe it. I’m just not invested in it, on a story level and on a person level. We’ve already seen them get together and break up and rub their new relationships in each other’s faces and groins. I don’t really want to watch it happen again, nor do these characters bring out anything interesting in one another if they stay together. Go forth, young New Yorkers! Go groin-rub on some strangers for a while and discover that your college partner is a very nice person who deserves love and happiness but that you maybe have grown apart.

Growing apart, you say. Like Ray and Shoshanna. Call me cynical, but I was always skeptical about the longevity of a relationship between a thirtysomething cranky know-it-all and a college student. (Again, I believe it. I just don’t like it.) Their breakup was the best scene about their relationship, since Shosh did crack. I hope they don’t work it out and that their bickering is a backdrop to next season; they might always respect each other, but that doesn’t mean they’ll like each other again. Nor should they. Go, Shoshanna. Go make out with your Ken Cosgrove–y dudes at bars.

Finally, the absent Jessa. I briefly did root for her and Thomas John, partially because I love watching Chris O’Dowd struggle with an American accent, partially because I just enjoy him in general, and partially because theirs was the rom-com standard: Wacky free spirit falls for uptight jerk face, and they bring joy and stability to one another, whodathunkit? But in typical Girls’ fashion, of course things didn’t work out that way — right for the show, right for the story, but tough on my recommended daily allowance of ‘shipping.

My solution: I root for Marnie and Hannah. Not to hook up, though I assume there is some slash-fiction that covers this base, but to be real friends again. To be honest and open with each other, to ask for and accept help when they need it, to be okay with both being “the wound.” I don’t generally root for the person who has to break down the door; I like to root for the girl who has her own set of keys.

All of the Couples on Girls Should Break Up