Season 1 ends with Hannah chasing Adam away and him asking her, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" Season 2 ends with him running to her rescue after she has a bad OCD relapse. Season 3 leaves them in a more ambiguous place, where he's obviously not happy that she told him this news on opening night, and that she might be moving away, but where we close the season on the image of Hannah smiling and looking very pleased with the possibility of going to Iowa for this MFA program. What were you trying to accomplish with that closing sequence? 

Judd Apatow: I don't know if we have all of the answers to that. She's trying to figure out what's right for her. And in this moment, or on that specific day, making the decision to go to graduate school feels right. But I feel like at that age, one's opinion about things can change every half an hour. So it remains to be seen, the significance of all of those moments. But she's definitely out of sync with Adam. I think that happens to a lot of couples. People's ups and downs aren't always perfectly in sync, and they're having a big problem with that.

How different was it this year doing 12 episodes instead of 10? You had more story to work with. Was that ultimately more satisfying, or more difficult?

Judd Apatow: I am a big fan of doing more episodes. Unfortunately, most of the shows on HBO are 10 episodes, so I think we will be doing 10 next year. We don't line up with anybody when we do 12. That's why we double-pumped episodes at the beginning of the season and it's why there's no one around us (at the end). I am a fan of shows being on the air for a long time so we can talk about them every week and are part of our lives. The idea that they pop up and disappear very quickly, I find disturbing. I think we'll go back to 10 episodes next season, but I think this season benefited from having more. You can go deeper into the ideas you're expressing.

The show is called "Girls," but Hannah is very much the main character and her story takes precedence over the others. This year, you had Jessa have a problem with substance abuse, and you had Shoshana fall off a different sort of wagon with how she blew things at college, but those stories didn't get as much play as what was happening with Hannah. Do you feel satisfied with how you told some of those supporting character arcs?
 

Judd Apatow: Every season is different. I haven't looked at the season to think about math. I'm very happy with what we've done with all of the characters, but I don't really have an opinion about it, because I haven't watched probably it in the way you watched it. I watched it separately and over long periods of time, so I don't have a sense of how it all added up.

Finally, you know as well as I do that this is a show that gets an insanely strong reaction. It's just about the only show I write about where it's not enough that the people who don't like it don't like it, but that they get angry that it even exists. They get angry at Hannah and everything she does, and compared to so many of the other leading characters on cable of this period, Hannah is held up as the worst of the worst. What do you think it is about this show you're making that inspires that kind of reaction?

Judd Apatow: I think that's good, because it shows that it's hitting people's buttons in a very personal place. Look, you don't get mad about somebody being naked unless you have some issues with your own nakedness or your own sexuality. You don't get mad if you think people are spoiled or self-entitled unless something has happened to you in your life that makes that an issue. I think people sometimes forget that we know what happens in this show, and we're very aware of the reactions it elicits, and most of the time, it's on purpose. It's supposed to be about people making mistakes and learning how to navigate their lives, and a lot of it is cringe-y, but if you followed me around all day long, it would be a cringe festival that you would not believe. I think it affects people both positively and negatively because it feels very familiar. These aren't people living in a fantasy world. They're having similar lives to an enormous amount of people. People think, "That could never happen, 'cause it didn't happen to me!" But that just means people care. Even if they're attacking it, they're paying attention to it. It reminds me when people thought Seth Rogen could never get a woman like Katherine Heigl. You walk down the street, and almost every beautiful woman you see is with guys who look like me and Seth. At the time, that really bothered some people. So it usually is more of a litmus test for the viewer than it is about the show.

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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