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‘Girls’: Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner on the Penultimate Episode, and Why They Don’t Judge Their Characters Anymore

The executive producers of the HBO comedy also reveal what went into crafting Shoshanna's big bathroom moment.

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Mark Schafer/HBO

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for “Girls” Season 6, Episode 9, “Goodbye Tour.”] 

The first thing to know about the “Girls” confrontation that eventually brings Sunday’s episode, “Goodbye Tour,” to a cathartic climax is that the location was deliberate.

“It was very important to Jenni that it happen in the bathroom,” creator and star Lena Dunham said. Executive producer Jenni Konner confirmed the choice.

READ MORE: ‘Girls’ Review: Hannah’s Future Comes Faster Than She Expected As Her Past Gathers One More Time

“I feel like we’ve done more scenes in the bathroom than any other show — and proudly,” Konner said. “So we were [originally] planning to set it in the middle of a party, but in the end we decided that it would be much more ‘Girls’-like to set it in the bathroom.”

And in that bathroom — as well as in the penultimate installment of the iconic HBO comedy — Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) had a lot to say. After deliberately not inviting Hannah (Lena Dunham) to her engagement party, she told the erstwhile titular girls, including Marnie (Allison Williams) and Jessa (Jemima Kirke), exactly why they were no longer her friends.

While Shoshanna’s big moment might have been surprising for viewers, Dunham believes that the origins of Shoshanna’s big moment were rooted in events going back years. “In Season 3, when she told everybody she fucking hated them and never wanted to talk to them again — we kind of knew that you don’t really come back from that,” she said.

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“You may superficially come back from that. You may got to dinner — but my experience of friendship in your 20s is that after something like that, you can go, ‘we were drunk — we didn’t mean it.’ But the fact is the cat’s been let out of the bag, the hammer’s been dropped and that’s what’s happening.”

But if you’re thinking that Shoshanna’s teardown of the other girls was the show’s voice speaking through the character, Dunham might not agree. “I feel like we started a lot at the beginning of the series having these outside voices, whether it was Ray or a random boss, telling the girls what assholes they were,” she said. “But by the end of this season we released a lot of judgment. The girls had starting taking more accountability for themselves and when we saw that scene between them, it wasn’t like Shoshanna was the one telling the truth, she was just telling her truth.

READ MORE: Judd Apatow TV: How ‘Girls,’ ‘Crashing’ and ‘Love’ Mix His Comedy DNA with Other People’s Stories

“What’s amazing that you realize is that Shoshanna doesn’t give a shit if Hannah knows she’s engaged,” Dunham added. “She truly is living in her own pleasure and that’s sort of the most hurtful part of all is she’s not looking for Hannah to find out and be super jealous. She just wants to live her life.”

Dunham reflected on how “Girls” originally practiced so much moral superiority over its characters, but her outlook has changed over time.

“We’ve had so many people tell them what dicks they are,” she said. “At first, in the show, we really got a lot of pleasure out of letting people know we were in on the joke by having someone, often an older male, let people know you know there’s more to life than what you’re doing right now and you know you’re displaying your privilege.

“But as the show’s gone on, we’ve put these girls through a lot. They’ve experienced a lot and my interest — and I think Jenni feels the same way — my interest in judging them really evaporated.”

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On a technical note, shooting that confrontation in the bathroom made things harder for director Nisha Ganatra. “It’s the smallest, most impossible bathroom to shoot in — but Nisha did a great job,” Konner said.

It was Ganatra’s first time directing an episode of “Girls,” which could have been awkward, but Dunham saw it as a benefit for the show, given that the series has had long-standing relationships with most of its directors.

“She brought a really cool energy to it,” she said. “Most of the time when someone’s directing, they have a whole relationship to these characters, a relationship to these sets. But I remember being really excited to come to work and see what Nisha’s take on these relationships, that she’d only been watching, was going to be. It was really fresh and interesting.”

One specific moment Dunham loved from Ganatra’s direction was the choice to shoot Marnie (Allison Williams) and Hannah (Dunham) through the bathroom window. “It was just an angle we’d never played with before, and therefore an emotional angle we’d never played with before,” she said.

“It’s exciting to still be finding things on the 61st episode of your show.”

The series finale of “Girls” premieres Sunday, April 16 at 10 p.m. on HBO. 

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