News

Allison Williams on How Girls Has Changed Modern TV for the Better

Marnie from the Emmy-winning HBO series talks to Rotten Tomatoes before the sixth and final season premieres.

by | February 11, 2017 | Comments

Girls (HBO)

It’s with a heavy heart that we bid adieu to the Girls girls we love to love and love to hate: Hannah Horvath, Marnie Michaels, Jessa Johansson, and Shoshanna Shapiro.

Luckily, we still have a whole 10-episodes of mishaps left to help ween us off our Sunday-night habit, starting this weekend, when the sixth and final season of the Emmy-winning series created by Lena Dunham premieres on HBO.

The latter half of season 5 featured some of the best episodes of the series — ever. And that’s in no small part thanks to Allison Williams as the indelible Marnie.

Last season saw Marnie ball-and-chained to an ill-fated marriage with her musician partner Desi before coming to in her unforgettable standalone episode, “The Panic in Central Park,” and calling for a divorce. It was a moment of growth for the oft floundering and emotionally guarded Marnie, and it’s one we hope to see continue through season 6 with Ray, who just may be the love of her life.

Alas, though, Williams tells Rotten Tomatoes it’s not all that simple. (Surprised?)

We caught up with Williams a few days before the season’s big premiere to get a taste of what’s to come and to see why she feels Girls has shifted today’s TV landscape.


Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Allison Williams in Girls (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

Benjamin Lindsay for Rotten Tomatoes: Going into this final season, how are things looking for Marnie? Is she still making music with Desi? How are things with Ray?
Allison Williams: So Marnie and Ray are trying to make it work. I think they both want it to work out, but Marnie is feeling a little claustrophobic about everything and is not the best communicator in terms of what she’s going through. So there’s a lot of that kind of classic Marnie talking-around something. And she’s trying to figure out what Marnie-and-Desi-the-band look like now that Marnie-and-Desi-the-couple are no more.


Alex Karpovsky, Allison Williams in Girls (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

RT: She definitely has a few balls in the air. Ray regards Marnie as the love of his life. Do you think that she’s capable of treating him right? Do you think they belong together?
Williams: I think it has more to do with how she treats herself. I don’t know that she’s ready to be treated well. I want her to feel worthy of love and commitment and respect, but I’m not sure she’s quite there yet because the self-love isn’t there yet. You know, I often feel like girls need to date the wrong person for a while — and guys, too—before they’re ready to be respected and loved adequately. So that’s kind of the phase that Marnie’s in. She’s having one last rebellion against her better angels.

RT: Dating aside, do you ever wish that she would just be single for a bit and be on her own?
Williams: I think that that’s a great idea. I just think that notion makes her a little nervous because she doesn’t feel like she knows who she is outside of the context of a relationship. But that would be so good for her. If I could prescribe her something, that’s what it would be.


Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Allison Williams in Girls (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

RT: Well, we’ll see what the rest of the season has in store then. Are you going to miss playing Marnie?
Williams: So much. It’s really hard to describe. I will miss knowing what’s going on in her life. I’ll miss getting to play her, which is really fun — even though it seems mostly cringe-y, it’s actually a blast. And I’ll miss just seeing her evolve, I guess. It sounds insane talking about it, but it’s going to be strange. I don’t yet know how to feel about it because it hasn’t happened, but it definitely hit me hard when we wrapped, and I expect it to hit me again when we never go back to filming.

RT: What do you think audiences can learn from Marnie’s journey these past few years?
Williams: I think that she’s really brave and she lives loudly, even when she doesn’t know it. And often, she makes big mistakes, but she doesn’t do anything small, which I cannot help but kind of respect because it’s a departure for me in a lot of ways. I also feel like I’ve learned a sense of carpe diem from her. She kind of just attacks life, and I try to take that from her as a useful piece of baggage to bring with me on my way. I have a lot of love for her. I totally get why she rubs people the wrong way and people are very willing to tell me all of their feelings about her. I will always have a soft spot for her, but I think that part of that is just because I have a very clear understanding of who she is and I know that at her best, she is incredibly supportive and loyal and loving, and at her worst, she’s the opposite of all of those things. But I don’t know anyone who only operates at her best, so she’s always felt really real and three-dimensional.


Allison Williams, Lena Dunham in Girls (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

RT: Right — everyone has their own contradictions. Do you think you’ll ever work with Lena Dunham again?
Williams: I would love to. I mean, she’s one of those people that, I’m sure the more I do in my career the more I will appreciate how talented she is and what a gift it was to work with her so early on in my career. But, I mean, it is a standing reality that when she calls, I will go. I will just do what is asked of me. I trust her so much — it would be impossible to do this work if I didn’t — and I’m very excited as a consumer to see what her attentions turn to next. I just love the world she creates, and I can’t wait to see more.


Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham in Girls (Mark Schafer/HBO)

RT: Do you think Girls has lived up to the sort of meta-promise to be “the voice of a generation”?
Williams: I think the second thing [Hannah] says where she says, “Or a voice of a generation,” is probably more — I think [Lena] is the voice of a group of people in our generation. I think it’s narrower than it is portrayed to be in the show, but I’m very comfortable saying that I think she’s been a very valuable voice of our generation. I understand that it is not a voice that represents everybody, but that was never her intention, and that line was of course delivered in kind of self-aware jest. I don’t know how content would be different without her, and I’m just glad that I don’t ever have to know how it would be.


Allison Williams in Girls (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

RT: But you do see an influence? Do you see a shift in the TV landscape after Girls?
Williams: I definitely do. I feel like I see shows where I have a feeling this pitch went like, “It’s Girls, but ‘blank.’” You know what I mean? And that is fantastic because that usually just means it’ll be really honest and not too aspirational. And that’s, like, maybe not total escapist entertainment, but at the very least, it will be valuable and relatable. I think we’re all just hoping to feel a little less isolated in our daily issues, and shows like Girls and Insecure definitely work towards that goal because you watch them and you think, “Oh, I’m so not alone. There are a bunch of other people going through what I’m going through.”

Girlsfinal season premieres Sunday, February 12 at 10 p.m. on HBO


Tag Cloud

cops news Quiz Sci-Fi based on movie Marvel Studios ViacomCBS Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Discovery Channel Pop Nickelodeon technology Mary Poppins Returns TV renewals Pixar nature obituary latino Sneak Peek remakes kong spy thriller quibi AMC Biopics Paramount Network Thanksgiving Pet Sematary cancelled television sports Fox Searchlight book Dark Horse Comics Rock spain Bravo DirecTV Character Guide popular Super Bowl vampires Turner Classic Movies New York Comic Con Hallmark Fall TV witnail Pride Month ITV BBC japanese Superheroe Polls and Games HBO Max robots Elton John hidden camera Tomatazos WarnerMedia Star Trek romantic comedy name the review APB 21st Century Fox documentaries 4/20 TCA Awards 24 frames Fantasy Year in Review trailers award winner cancelled Spectrum Originals 71st Emmy Awards Amazon Prime TCA 2017 Reality Competition Photos Crackle spinoff Tumblr YouTube Premium crime thriller docuseries indie jurassic park Esquire social media Tarantino Arrowverse Lifetime Creative Arts Emmys Paramount Summer satire NYCC slashers Kids & Family Podcast E3 ghosts History YouTube Red Nat Geo The Walt Disney Company Action comic books medical drama biography crime drama Trivia festivals ID monster movies rotten movies we love Disney streaming service Sundance Now Mary poppins Hulu supernatural pirates of the caribbean Baby Yoda dark talk show scary movies nbcuniversal blockbusters BBC One french Star Wars First Reviews cancelled TV shows comic DGA TCA Winter 2020 Lifetime Christmas movies The Walking Dead prank Paramount Plus BBC America mission: impossible Trailer Black Mirror political drama Christmas Set visit halloween Classic Film IFC Films Toys Logo Red Carpet parents golden globe awards dragons war canceled TV shows travel series TV One Film Festival children's TV child's play Holiday Nominations twilight Election true crime deadpool rotten a nightmare on elm street Apple TV+ archives Comic Book BET Awards fresh Marvel Television SXSW TLC toy story Hear Us Out See It Skip It Starz YA Country crime Film kaiju USA justice league television Marathons Britbox Television Critics Association Certified Fresh james bond Amazon Studios CBS All Access 2020 comiccon LGBTQ The Academy American Society of Cinematographers sag awards PlayStation Showtime adventure christmas movies razzies rt archives zombies blaxploitation Anna Paquin VICE National Geographic reviews Warner Bros. sequel Superheroes independent Television Academy HBO YouTube werewolf Drama documentary doctor who Funimation critics Marvel IFC Extras TruTV criterion breaking bad X-Men Horror Box Office romance E! Amazon Winter TV finale 2019 Trophy Talk Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Awards hispanic Comedy CNN period drama A&E new star wars movies Family GLAAD stoner 93rd Oscars dceu comedies 2015 Shudder FXX book adaptation Stephen King RT21 Adult Swim movies Ghostbusters Netflix Infographic Turner directors Black History Month TV Land zombie psychological thriller king kong The CW Rocketman Song of Ice and Fire ratings A24 TBS binge Amazon Prime Video politics transformers screenings Musical spider-man Reality crossover 2016 ESPN LGBT video on demand strong female leads adaptation worst fast and furious Watching Series Avengers elevated horror die hard Oscars MSNBC Emmy Nominations facebook composers BET disaster Travel Channel First Look cults SundanceTV versus worst movies DC Universe saw Writers Guild of America FX on Hulu Martial Arts Sony Pictures emmy awards telelvision dogs 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Best and Worst San Diego Comic-Con Winners theme song aliens singing competition MTV batman Shondaland Animation Walt Disney Pictures franchise El Rey concert godzilla The Witch CW Seed WGN zero dark thirty superhero movie Lionsgate ABC Family superman Lucasfilm festival mutant screen actors guild Calendar Interview Opinion 45 blockbuster Teen Valentine's Day comics Cannes Comics on TV Tubi canceled video TCA The Purge Freeform serial killer Spring TV Mary Tyler Moore anthology Ovation miniseries Masterpiece all-time asian-american streaming DC streaming service Crunchyroll rom-coms 20th Century Fox historical drama green book Universal tv talk NBC Brie Larson cartoon 007 Academy Awards Hallmark Christmas movies Mystery science fiction Apple anime Apple TV Plus cancelled TV series animated Mindy Kaling Peacock Countdown Rom-Com TIFF Endgame foreign Mudbound Syfy toronto women Heroines Disney Musicals cinemax MCU Schedule Women's History Month Rocky DC Comics black CMT Emmys football ABC Signature Spike reboot Chernobyl casting high school scorecard revenge sequels Grammys stand-up comedy Video Games best BAFTA chucky 2018 Western spanish language cooking jamie lee curtis TV docudrama VH1 President kids PBS Legendary richard e. Grant dramedy GoT spanish TCM cars OWN harry potter Fox News teaser films The Arrangement unscripted FOX 2017 cats south america GIFs Vudu Premiere Dates boxing RT History classics police drama venice what to watch Comedy Central laika Netflix Christmas movies sitcom boxoffice australia thriller nfl Disney Plus psycho Ellie Kemper Broadway Epix Columbia Pictures hollywood Sundance Alien halloween tv CBS OneApp TNT Sundance TV FX dc hist Binge Guide free movies golden globes 72 Emmy Awards joker heist movie 2021 renewed TV shows Pop TV Cartoon Network indiana jones PaleyFest Exclusive Video ABC Acorn TV Awards Tour italian HBO Go 99% USA Network Music Holidays Cosplay Food Network SDCC Disney+ Disney Plus game of thrones diversity Captain marvel Disney Channel space game show discovery Pirates universal monsters natural history mockumentary VOD stop motion