girls talk

A Final Open Letter to Hannah Horvath of Girls

Photo-Illustration: HBO

Every week during the final season of Girls, Vulture TV columnist Jen Chaney will offer input or advice, usually unsolicited, to various characters on the HBO series. This week’s final recipient: Hannah Horvath.

Dear Hannah,

I’m not sure why I thought it made sense to offer advice to you or your friends throughout the final season of Girls. Seriously, when have any of you ever taken the advice that’s been given to you? And who am I to give advice to you anyway? I’m just an old(er) lady who doesn’t live in Brooklyn, hates being naked, and has never taken cocaine or surfing lessons for the purposes of a writing assignment. Our worlds are pretty different. Plus, as you told Marnie during that disastrous trip to Poughkeepsie, none of us knows anything, and I am no exception.

So now that Girls is over, I’m not here to offer advice anymore. For six years, you and all of your friends have been told by countless critics, writers, and bloggers that you’re self-involved, inconsiderate, coddled children. Sometimes those comments were more than justified. Sometimes they were unnecessarily harsh and felt like a pile-on, especially considering there are lots of self-involved, inconsiderate, coddled man- and woman-babies on television. You and your friends became convenient targets, and I have no energy to throw darts at you anymore. The fact that this is the fifth piece about Girls that I have written in the past week may have something to do with that. (Vulture: Where we go overboard on Girls and love reading your comments about just how overboard we have gone!) I also think Girls was, on the whole, a pretty good show, and at this point, I don’t see the purpose in playing the Let’s Dump on Hannah Horvath game anymore, even if there are legitimate issues to continue grappling with post-show.

Girls is over, and your life, Hannah Horvath, will go on in ways that we viewers will never see and no listicle can ever again attempt to analyze and rank. To borrow your words from the very first episode, you will no doubt continue to stay busy “trying to become who I am.” You will also continue to be inconsiderate and not think before you speak and say horrible things to your mother. You will struggle, at times, to be a good, patient mother yourself. You will, as you already suggested before even starting your job as a professor, probably have an ill-advised affair with a student.

At some point, I am guessing, you will publish a memoir — in print, not just an ebook — in which you describe all of the things we’ve seen on Girls and more, far more momentous things that will never air on HBO. You will host a reading of that book, maybe at the Strand, and Chuck Palmer will show up, sit in the back, and send you super-weird vibes.

You will screw up all the damn time, and you will try to run away from those screw-ups, sometimes while barefoot and without wearing pants. But you’ve grown enough to know that you should try harder not to make mistakes and to be a better, more forgiving, self-possessed individual. Sometimes you’ll even succeed at that and think, like Marnie, that you’ve finally won at life. Then life will punch you in the face again and remind you that it’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s about surviving and being mindful of others, and sometimes digging up enough inner joy to dance on your own.

Whatever you do, Hannah, you will do it out of public view now, in some fictional parallel universe with no fake advice columns or think pieces to provide commentary on your choices. This will probably be good for you, I think.

In conclusion, I’ve got no sage final words of wisdom to offer because you are who you are. All I will do is close out this final Girls open letter with the same words you once wrote to someone you loved, but to whom you had to say good-bye.

Good luck. I mean it sincerely.

In perpetuity,


A Final Open Letter to Hannah Horvath of Girls