'Girls' EP Jenni Konner talks the season finale, snow, and Jake Lacy
The tail end of Sunday night’s Girls finale jumped ahead in time to reveal Hannah arm-in-arm with Fran (Jake Lacy). It also showed something unusual for the show: snow. “We kind of just wanted to say to the world, for a while this is goodbye to Hannah and Adam, this is Hannah moving on,” executive producer Jenni Konner told EW. “It was the cleanest way to do it, and we were just really excited to show what another season looks like.”
In her discussion with EW, Konner confirmed what that ending seemed to imply: that Lacy will be back as Fran. She also talked about Gaby Hoffmann’s pregnant, nude turn in the finale, how Adam will fit in going forward, and teased what we may be able to expect next season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you want to give us that little flash forward at the end of the episode?
JENNI KONNER: First of all, one of the things we thought was really exciting about it was it’s always summer in Girls, there’s no other season, which was just a choice we made. We really like it because, at least for me in my 20s, it’s as if I only lived in summer and like one famous snowstorm. I don’t know why, but those are like the key memories of my 20s in New York. There’s that and we knew we wanted to just have a change. We’ve ended a lot of Hannah and Adam, they’re on, they’re off, what will they be. We kind of just wanted to say to the world, for a while this is goodbye to Hannah and Adam, this is Hannah moving on. It was the cleanest way to do it, and we were just really excited to show what another season looks like. And we usually jump ahead a few weeks or a few months and this year we’re jumping ahead about six months because it was winter.
So the fifth season will be the summer after whenever that snowstorm was Hannah and Fran are walking through?
Yes, and by the way, knowing New York, that snowstorm was last week.
It seems like everyone is in a good place at the end of this episode, at least professionally—
Yeah! This is one of the seasons where it’s not especially cliffhanger-y. We always said this season was going to be about our girls actually trying to grow up. Even the poster says, “nowhere to grow but up” and so to end this season with people sort of knowing where they are going—you know these girls, and if you’ve watched the show, you know that it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be like that forever. They make extreme choices a lot, but we kind of wanted to end on this up note of at the end of the season everyone at least to themselves feels strongly about what they want and how they want to move forward. It does not mean it will work, this is Girls, after all, but they are going to try. It’s nice to see Shoshanna go, “I have a goal, and I’m going to do this,” and Jessa say, “well, I’m going to be a therapist,” and Hannah say, “well, Adam, this isn’t the right time for me.” People knowing what they want, Hannah getting a glimpse of teaching and being good at it, things like that.
There were a lot of new characters introduced. Is it fair to say we’re going to see a lot more of Jake Lacy?
Yeah, I mean, I guess this is a spoiler. If you never hear from me again, blame HBO. Yes, we are going see some more of Jake Lacy, he works at the school she teaches at, he’s her friend, and who knows what else. They are very sweet together. And he’s nothing like anyone Hannah knows, and that is always exciting for her because she’s always looking for a new experience, as we know. As always we like to see Gaby [Hoffmann] as much as we can and Jon Glaser as much as we can. Gaby was eight months pregnant when she shot that.
That was amazing.
I know. I would venture to say that there’s never been anything like that on TV. That’s not a documentary. Gaby is one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with, and she will do anything in service of good work. You see her on Transparent, you see her our show, you’ve seen her since she was a child. I’ve never said anything to Gaby that made sense as a piece of work that she said no to. She’s like, “yeah great. Do you you think I need a bigger stomach?” She’s just such a down girl and we’re so lucky, so lucky to work with her. And she was just so mindblowingly good and brave and clever. I just admire the shit out of her.
Obviously this season we saw the increased roles of Hannah’s parents Tad and Loreen. Is that something you want to continue to explore, to look at how Tad’s coming out is affecting Hannah? You jump ahead in time, so she might be a little more settled with the knowledge.
You’ve got to imagine it’s Hannah and Hannah has the incredible super power to make everything about her. Right? She can turn anything into being about her. They all do to a certain extent because they are young, and they haven’t experienced that much. The story’s not done for sure and we are just going to feel ourselves through it in the most realistic way possible. We have friends whose parents who have come out, who when they have come out it hasn’t been that clean. It’s not just like, oh, I’m out and now I’m out in the world. It can be terrifying to make that choice any time, but also at an older age. I think it’s a little bit one step forward two steps back always.
Looking back at season four, I almost felt there were two parts of the season. It starts out with this Iowa journey and then comes back. Is that how you envisioned it?
I don’t think it was that clear. I think the envisioning was, and this is why everyone should work with HBO, because in a network show if you say, oh, someone’s going to grad school, they can’t really go. It’s very rare that someone goes away and stays away. But we started the show in another place and they let us and they sort of let us see it through in a real way. So it wasn’t so much, this half will be about this or this half will be about that, but it was like how can we explore this in a truthful way where Hannah takes it seriously. She doesn’t quit the first day, which we’ve seen her do in many things, including, I don’t know if you’ve seen the brilliant Seth Meyers sketch. They nailed it so hard. It’s become satire, she quits if it gets one inch too hard. So this was us having Hannah really try to give it a shot, feel it out and see if she could make it work, and that’s just about how long it took.
Jumping forward in terms of going away, Shosh has made the decision to go to Tokyo. Does that mean we are going to see less of Shosh? Does that mean we are going to see Shosh interacting from afar?
I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you that, but I will say, take Iowa as an example of taking seriously when someone moves somewhere else. Trust us to do a true version of everything.
I wanted to ask about Adam’s relationship to the show going forward. Obviously, Adam Driver is off to become a movie star in Star Wars, and I was wondering how you see Adam’s place interacting with the rest of the show if he’s not with Hannah.
The good news is Adam Driver did Star Wars last year so that was him gone a lot, and he really kind of made it work. He’s back this summer, and so he’s going to be as much a part of the story as he’s always been just not necessarily in ways we’ve seen him. He’s a series regular, he’s one of the finest actors on our show, he’s a delight, we could not love him more. I will be heartbroken the day I don’t get to work with Adam Driver.
Do you want the audience to want them together?
I want the audience to feel however they want. We’re trying to just show a complex relationship of people in their 20s, which is young people. Some people are desperate for them to stay together. I got emails last night from friends saying, how dare you, this can’t really be over, and I have other people going, ugh, thank God she kicked that guy to the curb, he’s a mess… I want people to be conflicted about whether they should be together. The truth is not everyone’s rooting for the same thing in life so why here?
Going forward, coming up on the fifth season, how long do you see the show going for?
I don’t know. We don’t want to ride it until it’s, like, dead. We just want to see it through to its natural conclusion. I think when we really figure out what this season is it will be a lot clearer how much more we have left to tell. It can’t go forever, as much as it’s the most fun job we’ve ever had.
What is the state of Marnie’s engagement? Can you tease anything? Are we going to see Desi back?
I would say that there’s a very strong chance you will see Desi again. Marnie doesn’t walk quietly into her goodnight. Marnie takes things very seriously, she doesn’t let go of things, she held on to the Charlie thing for a long time. There’s at least going to be some confrontation.