There’s a thing that happens a lot in independent, mumblecore-type movies where at the end of the main character’s struggle in their dysfunctional, sometimes abusive relationship (or another type of toxic relationship, with whatever), just when you think they’ve maybe escaped it, the character goes back to their significant other (or whatever) in what sometimes ends up being an overly cutesy scene. And then the movie ends. Hannah Takes the Stairs is a movie like that, ending with the main character and one of the men she’s been in-and-out of a bad relationship with playing saxophone in a bathtub, nude. (Greta Gerwig is too infrequently credited for being Lena Dunham before Lena was.) The explanation for disappointing endings like this is, I would guess, that this is often how reality is — a number of cycles we can’t break out of, even though any “viewer” would see that we desperately need to do just that. This is fine and appreciated, to a point. But there are times, including in the Girls season two finale (and including Hannah Takes the Stairs, not that it matters), when this struggle/surrender cycle seems less like a realistic cautionary tale and more like a glorification of beautiful, youthful drama. “This is what love is, this is what life is,” it seems to say. “Beautiful pain in the name of dysfunctional, human love.” Ugh. It was a disappointing end, for me. For a show that has done a lot for women — young, successful female creator and writer, normal bodies on television, etc. — its female characters are impossibly weak, manipulative, and dependent on (as well as overly focused on) their male partners. Isn’t there one well-adjusted female among them? Is Shoshana, whose well-warranted breakup speech itself wasn’t taken seriously enough by the writers, our only tiny hope? F’REAL? Are we really supposed to swoon when Adam runs back into the arms of the person who has manipulated and destroyed him and away from the only well-adjusted female character we’ve seen all season? (Who we’re now supposed to dislike because…why? Too specific during sex?) Are we supposed to be OK that Hannah isn’t left to pull herself up from her e-book related spiral? Would it not have been reasonable for Charlie to let Marnie walk away, haven’t we gone back and forth in that storyline enough times by now? Couldn’t “almost kind of getting it together” been more than an unfulfilled, forgotten promise?!?! Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. The season overall was mixed, but I certainly enjoyed and appreciated a fair amount of it. Ultimately, though, it has left me feeling exhausted. And I am always so tired anyway!! HOW ABOUT YOU, THOUGH?!