Girls has Achieved Greatness Without Being a Classic


Lena Dunham’s Girls will begin its final season in February, but it never quite hit classic status.

It would be fair to say that HBO is home to an inordinate amount of classics. We’re even going to go ahead and count Westworld among them, even though there are some that would disagree. Girls is something of a unique situation. The series, following several twenty-somethings, will being its sixth and final season next month. That’s a healthy amount of time for a show that wasn’t a hit for HBO. But it didn’t have to become a classic to achieve a sort of greatness.

Girls doesn’t have the best reputation right now. There are a few reasons for that, including its frustrating, self-sabotaging characters, but the main reason is Lena Dunham. Dunham’s notoriety has not done Girls any favors, but it terms of ratings that hasn’t proven to be all that important anyway. Regardless of whatever Dunham happens to say on social media or in the news, Girls has proven to be hugely influential to a new generation of female-focused shows.

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Part of the Girls experience is watching these characters continually shoot themselves in the foot. It’s difficult, then, to truly label that as a fault, but it is an understandable turn-off. It’s also another show about people who just aren’t that great in general, something which television is currently clogged with.

The success of shows like Insecure and Broad City can be lead directly back to Girls. It was the show that opened the doors, and that makes it important. That importance will only become more evident over time, after the series ends and has been off the air for a while.

Next: Did Westworld or Game of Thrones have the better season in 2016?

In terms of actual character development and story, there isn’t anything about Girls that screams “must watch.” It hasn’t achieved that status, and at this point it just isn’t going to. But it is worth watching if only to  see where a new wave of television got its start. The conversation about Girls’ place in the golden age of television is not winding down with the show; it’s only getting started.