The cast and producers of “Girls” celebrated the legacy of the HBO series Thursday night at the New York premiere of the sixth and final season.
Not surprisingly, the party at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall also turned into a conversation of the impact “Girls” has had on women.
“I think this show introduced the television audience to a new kind of heroine who doesn’t look like the way that people aspired to look,” said Allison Williams, who stars as Marnie Michaels. “It’s been such a privilege to be a part of something that people had opinions about. Even if they were bad, they were from people consuming media that was made by women. This is such a girl party tonight.”
“Girls” garnered attention from the start thanks to auteur Lena Dunham’s feminist, outspoken and unapologetic approach to showing the good, the bad and the ugly of being a modern twenty-something woman. It spurred heated conversations about millennials, women, pushed boundaries of sex on television and reaped heaps of critical praise, and strong criticism.
Dunham, who also stars as Hannah Horvath, said she really feels the show’s impact when fans reach out to her.
“I just love how women approach me and say it has helped them feel more comfortable in their bodies or leave a challenging relationship. Even men come up to us and say it helped them understand their daughters or wives. If we can make those human connections with our work, then I don’t think there is anything better,” Dunham said.
Some of the actors couldn’t help but draw connections between the current political climate and recent Women’s March on Washington protests, and the message of “Girls” that Dunham championed early on.
“I am certain there are a lot of young people in these protests that love ‘Girls’ and that makes me feel good,” said Jemima Kirke, who plays Jessa Johansson. “In terms of writing, storytelling and acting, we have taken a lot of risks and tell things from a specific point of view. That is something we need more of in art. We’re going to need that now more than ever.”
Similarly, “Girls” exec producer Jenni Konner said that was focused on celebrating the show’s cultural legacy and the conversations it spurred.
“It’s a crazy climate in the world to be celebrating. But today we decided we wanted to focus on the joy…and we’ll be back marching tomorrow and writing tomorrow,” she said. “I like to think that we had an impact on more women being able to make shows and be showrunners and being creators.”
Zosia Mamet, who plays Shoshanna Shapiro, said “Girls’ ” legacy was showing that the full life of a young woman could draw an audience.
“We weren’t doing anything insanely new telling stories about this period of a young woman’s life,” said Mamet. “We show the beautiful joyous moments and we show the incredibly tragic, graphic and disgusting moments, and showing people that can be good television is the biggest punch that we packed.”
Also on hand to celebrate was exec producer Judd Apatow, and co-stars stars Andrew Rannells, Alex Karpovsky and Rita Wilson. Other guests included Gloria Steinem, MSNBC’s Brian Williams (Allison’s dad), author Zadie Smith, designer Jenna Lyons and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.
(Pictured: Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke)