Girls, the cultural phenomenon that first aired in 2012, concluded last night with the tenth episode of its sixth season. The show has always taken a lot of flak for its smattering of self-involved, entitled, and endlessly whinny characters while also getting praise for making those same characters enjoyable to watch and worth investing in.

Lena Dunham, the shows creator and star, used the entire sixth season as a finale of sorts – a choice that seems necessary when each episode is 25-30 minutes long. Hannah (Dunham), the shows’ anchor, finds out that she is pregnant early in the season, and spends most of her time preparing for her son’s birth – this means notifying the father, figuring out where and with whom she will raise the child, and squashing feuds that may distract her from being the best mother she can be.

The series’ final episode, titled “Latching,” serves as an epilogue of sorts. A brief flash forward of several months brings us to the days directly after Hannah’s son, Grover, has been born. Still in the same state of shock that has consumed her from the moment she found out she was with child, Hannah struggles to breastfeed Grover – he, Hannah adds, is not the first man to be uninterested in her breasts.

With the help of her for-better-or-for-worse best friend, Marnie, (Allison Williams) Hannah attempts to adjust to her new life as a teacher at a college in upstate New York, while still struggling with Grover’s reluctance to latch.

Lacking the ability to help completely, Marnie calls Hannah’s mother, Loreen (Becky Ann Baker), to come and save her daughter from a melt-down.

Hannah’s illusion of her mother as a figure of stability and adulthood has slowly, and at times very quickly, shattered over the course of Girls and by last night’s finale, Hannah had accepted an idea central to the show – people never stop growing up. As such, she has come to respect her mother in a way far more meaningful than ever before.

Loreen, who has always been a fan of tough love, attempts to whip her daughter into shape, but as usual, Hannah needs to first reject all the advice she gets and discover it again on her own in order to truly learn.

On a nighttime walk, Hannah encounters a runaway teen. Assuming she has fled an abuser, Hannah offers her pants to the teen, who is without. After learning that the teen ran away because her mother told her to do her homework, Hannah has an epiphany. With the tone of any good mother, she scolds the runaway teen and demands she give her back the pants.

Still, deep in her own head, Hannah comes home to her mother, Marnie, and a crying Grover. The final shot of the series is centered completely on Hannah’s face. Grover finally latches. Hannah, in her own eyes, is now truly a mother but still always a girl.

After the show aired, Dunham tweeted, “Just watched here on east coast with Allison. Surreal. Love you all more than words, any words, can express.”

Over the course of the show’s six seasons, Girls won two Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.

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