In the Girls episode entitled Homeward Bound, Hannah (Lena Dunham) does the stupidest thing a young woman can do. She gets into a car with a stranger on a deserted highway. Hannah is in upstate New York and has an hours long ride to get to NYC.
Hector (Guillermo Diaz) is the scary driver of the car. He is tough looking, has a Hispanic accent, and keeps a gun partially hidden under a blanket in the back seat. A bad guy right out of Hollywood casting.
But Lena Dunham does not take the cheap stereotypical shortcuts that other writers use. Instead of being a typical T.V. bad guy, Hector turns out to be a great guy. He is coming to New York to get away from an abusive girlfriend. The gun was one he took away from the girl so that she would not use it on him.
The beautiful part of the episode is when the car comes over a hill and Hector sees New York City for the first time. To him, New York City is the chance for whole new wonderful life. Guillermo Diaz gives a perfect performance at showing a young man’s pure joy as the endless possibilities stretch out before him.
Lena Dunhanm is one of the best writers when it comes to showing what Billy Joel called the “New York state of mind”. Despite all its faults, the overriding attitude of people coming to New York is one of optimism. They are not so much concerned with what they are now, but what they can be. They will become rich stock traders, or famous writers or great actors, or high fashion models or even misunderstood artists. It doesn’t matter that right now they are waiters or mechanics or janitors. The excitement of the City itself constantly reminds them that their dreams will come true.
The next season will be the last for Girls and we will be sorry to see it end. But New York City, and the dreams of people coming to it will live on.