'Girls' producer Judd Apatow looks back on season 3
HBO's "Girls" concluded its third season last night. I reviewed the finale here, and I was able to get on the phone with executive producer Judd Apatow for a few minutes to talk about the finale and season 3 as a whole. Apatow's thoughts coming up just as soon as I have a credenza and a cactus plant...
Going into season 3, what were you trying to accomplish thematically in terms of Hannah's story?
Judd Apatow: We wanted to explore what happens when your life crashes while your boyfriend's life gets better and better. So we were interested in how the relationship would get more complicated as Adam begins to mature. Life always throws you big curveballs, and sometimes the person who believes in you as a writer dies, and you lose the right to the book you've been writing. We wanted to show what happens when she's given very real obstacles. The obstacle isn't just not being able to get a job, it's losing your mentor and having your path crumble before you. And sometimes that does happen when the person that you're in love with is having the best moment of their life.
Hannah has problems early and she has them again late, but there's a stretch in the middle of the season where things are going very well between her and Adam, and where she has this comfortable job at GQ, and compared to where her friends are at the moment, she's doing really well.
Judd Apatow: We wanted to have her be tempted by corporate America. She spends years trying to live a creative life, and often you get opportunities which take you off of your path. It's very easy in life to take the job with the great snack room and the good salary and not pursue your ambitious creative dreams. So we wanted to see what would happen when Hannah is offered money to not do what she wants to do.
Early in the season, you introduced Gaby Hoffmann as Adam's sister Caroline. She caused a lot of problems and exposed an ugly side in Hannah before she left. What was the purpose in that story arc?
Judd Apatow: As soon as you start a relationship, you are also starting a relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend's family. We thought it would be fun to see where Adam comes from. A lot of times, the person you care about has an insane relative that is not only hard to deal with but also makes you nervous, because you wonder what the significance of that is for your relationship. If that's how the sister acts, is that in him. Also, Hannah is an only child, and she has to deal with a sibling relationship, which she doesn't really understand, because she doesn't have that relationship. Also, it shows both positive and negative sides to Adam's character. Life is complicated. There are moral choices to be made. Adam has to decide how supportive to be to his sister when she's really erratic.
Near the end of Caroline's stay in the apartment, there's that scene where Hannah repeats her fake dead cousin story almost verbatim to Adam to get him to lay off her about not grieving enough. And the response to that from some viewers was that we were maybe seeing Hannah turning into a sociopath before our eyes. Was that the intention there?
Judd Apatow: I think that moment was about Hannah thinking, "I'm not gonna be what he wants me to be. The more he gets to know me, the less he's going to like me." It's really more about a self-esteem issue. She's very concerned about her future and her work, and for some reason, that is taking precedent over mourning the death of her publisher. She can sense that Adam does not think it's okay that she's not devastated by his death. She's self-involved, so she's really worried about losing Adam, and feels that she has to show this sensitive side of herself to him, or he's going to think there's something wrong with her. She's so in her head that she can't seem to feel anything at that moment. So it's not about being a sociopath than about having low self-esteem and feeling like your boyfriend is trying to get to know you and decide you're not good enough.