Gina Florio
April 10, 2017 12:09 pm
HBO

Warning: Big spoilers ahead! (But you already knew that.)

There’s no way to say this nicely. Three out of the four main characters on the HBO hit series Girls are infuriatingly easy to dislike. Hannah, Marnie, and Jessa all harbor major character flaws that will simply not go away, no matter how many tribulations they endured that were supposed to give them at least a small semblance of self-awareness. As much as we’ve laughed and cried alongside them and cheered them on, six consecutive seasons of seeing these women trip over themselves — and deeply hurt others as a result — time after time again has gotten a little exhausting.

And yet. We watch every episode of Girls anyway, holding out hope that there will be some sort of sensible ending for each of these young women we’ve become invested in. Strangely enough, this sixth and final season of Girls has featured very little of Shoshanna. Sweet, adorable Shoshanna. The high-pitched, overly optimistic one of the group who is so innocent she doesn’t know what a butt plug is. The Sex and the City loving, croissant-bag wearing one who accidentally smoked crack that one time.

Where has she been?

Why isn’t she playing a more major role?! Because if you really think about it, Shoshanna is the only one out of the whole group who has been making tangible progress. She’s the only one who doesn’t make us want to bang our heads against the wall.

It’s easy to take Shoshanna at face value and write her off for being vapid. But very early on Ray fell in love with her “refreshing” authenticity just as much as we did, and she’s only grown on us ever since. Shoshanna has arguably taken the most respectable risks in her life when you compare her to the rest of the Girls characters.

She willingly confessed her affair with the doorman to Ray when they were together. She moved to Japan to chase a solid career, and even though she was hurt by being let go from the company, she still came back to New York with her dignity intact. She boldly stood up to Jessa after years of mistreatment from her (“Get out of my face!”), when nobody else ever had the guts to do the same.

Furthermore, Shoshanna has a moral compass that everyone else seems to wildly lack — and that really came to the forefront in this final season. She was Ray’s biggest emotional support when Hermie died, while his then-girlfriend Marnie was too busy trying to scoot off to some bougie workout class. Even her cold refusal to share a cab with Jessa in Episode 2 showed that she wasn’t cool with the way Jessa shacked up with Adam so quickly.

However, it’s estimated that Shoshanna has only spent 19 minutes on screen this entire season of Girls. Out of all the recurring characters, including Desi and Ray, she’s had the least amount of screen time. The last memorable thing to happen to Shoshanna in this season was when she went to the women’s mixer with Elijah, where she ran into her old roommates that she ditched years ago in order to spend (wasted) time with Jessa. Afterwards, she showed complete exhaustion at the dysfunctional dynamic of their whole friend group.

Last night’s episode of Girls showed us that Shoshanna’s absence in the last couple episodes hasn’t been in vain, though.

While the three other girls have spent the last few months flailing and continuing to participate in destructive behavior, she met someone, fell in love, and got engaged. Even more importantly, though, she cut people out of her life who she felt were no longer helping her move forward.

Hannah, who has “never been successful at a job” (her words, not ours), has been stalling on her decision making when it comes to her growing baby. She doesn’t have health insurance yet and she hasn’t even decided whether she’s going to leave or stay in the city. Although a pawn shop owner (and an online therapist) talked a little sense into Marnie’s thick skull, we have yet to see any improvements in her behavior, which has been so frustrating and hurtful that we find ourselves begging her to take a permanent seat. Finally, Jessa is doing the same thing she’s always done — whatever she wants with no regards to the people around her.

It may have seemed like a cold move for Shoshanna to not invite Hannah — or Jessa, who merely happened to call for a favor that morning —to her engagement party, but it’s perfectly understandable. Hannah had all but cut Shoshanna out of her life, not even telling her that she was about to become a mother. And Jessa has always treated her like a rug to walk all over.

Real talk: Shoshanna had every right to keep both Hannah and Jessa away from an event that was supposed to be full of love and celebration.

At the pinnacle of the episode, when all four of them are crammed into Shoshanna’s bathroom, it becomes abundantly clear that Shoshanna is the one with the most grown-up perspective on things.

That could not be more true. She said her fiancé Byron helped her realize “how exhausting and narcissistic and ultimately boring this whole dynamic is.” Is nobody else catching onto this? Sweet, adorable Shoshanna is the one preaching in this scenario, and the others are finally starting to realize how broken their friendships have become.

Of course, Shoshanna wouldn’t be Shoshanna if she didn’t also announce that her new friends “have jobs and purses and nice personalities.” As funny and seemingly ditzy as that phrase may be, it’s a claim she deserves to make. Shoshanna is choosing to surround herself with people who are giving, kind, and professionally driven. It’s not that she’s necessarily writing off Hannah, Jessa, and Marnie forever, but she’s definitely keeping them at arm’s length until they get their shit together.

From the get go, Girls was set to be the kind of show in which we would watch relatable young women grow into adulthood (or at least try to) in New York City. At this rate, Shoshanna is the only one who has shown any real progress in that department. Let’s hope she’s given more airtime in the final episode to whip the rest of the girls into shape, because, no matter what, we want a happy ending for all of them.

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