Allison Williams Says 'the Point' of 'Girls' "Got Missed" During Its Original Run

The actress who played Marnie on the HBO comedy created by Lena Dunham opened up about the show's recent critical reevaluation.

allison williams at the 2024 met gala
(Image credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

As critically acclaimed as HBO's Girls was during its run from 2012 to 2017, it was also rather misunderstood by some audiences.

Now that the show created by Lena Dunham has been widely reappraised by Gen Z and recognized as the comical look at flawed individuals coming of age that it is, Allison Williams—who starred as perhaps one of the most reviled characters, Marnie—would like to have a word.

Williams appeared in an interview for Vanity Fair with her former costar Ebon Moss-Bachrach, who played her musical partner/secret boyfriend/eventual husband/toxic ex, in which they reflected on the series. During the conversation, she reasoned that "the point" of Girls "got missed a little bit" when it originally aired and now audiences "are just getting it."

"The whole show got a lot of flack when it was airing for everyone being too selfish and self-centered and blah blah blah," Williams said.

"I think that it's actually a bunch of girls trying to create the best environment for each of them to survive and thrive and being wrong, but still trying and caring," she continued. "I think that’s a pursuit that is resonant in a new way, whereas before it just looked like we didn’t know that other countries existed or that anyone had lives that were less fortunate than ours, but that was sort of the point. It just got missed a little bit."

The actress similarly shared how fans who may have discovered the show from clips on social media or are now rewatching it seem to better understand Marnie, who was notorious for being tone-deaf and self-serving. (How could anyone ever forget the scene of her singing a stripped-down version of "Stronger" by Kanye West at her ex's work party?)

She explained, "My theory is what was coded as selfishness among millennials is now coded as self-care. Just being aware of what you need and advocating for your needs and standing up for yourself, and so Gen Z is like, ‘No, we get her. She makes sense to us. I guess she was just before her time."

desi and marnie on girls

Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Desi and Allison Williams as Marnie on Girls.

(Image credit: HBO)

Williams also opened up about where she thought her character might be today: living outside of Boston, "still trying to have a singing career, in addition to other jobs," having been married twice and considering "to have a baby on her own."

Moss-Bachrach, who is gearing up to star in The Bear season 3, also shared where he thought his destructive, tortured artist character Desi might have gone. According to the actor, he would've left New York City to be doing hosting tours out West, in Arizona perhaps.

marnie singing stronger on girls

Allison Williams as Marnie on Girls.

(Image credit: HBO)

Those two aren't the only former Girls stars who have reflected on the show's recent reevaluation and embrace.

Dunham, who helmed the series and starred as aspiring writer Hannah, has also spoken candidly about the series' recent embrace.

In an early 2024 interview with Variety, the filmmaker/actress shared, "It’s crazy and wild and not something I expected. The cast and I, when we get sent a funny meme by someone, we’re sharing them. I’m going to be 38 in May; I started writing this show when I was 23. I felt like, 'If I make a pilot, wow, what a life experience.' So the fact that there’s anyone—I mean, people are still watching a show that came out before Instagram was invented?! What the heck?"

She added, "So to anyone who’s leading the revival: I see your TikTok mashups. I feel grateful for them, even though I’m technologically incompetent and not really on Instagram. I’m getting the love and it’s very felt and appreciated."

Sadie Bell
Senior Culture Editor

Sadie Bell is the Senior Culture Editor at Marie Claire, where she edits, writes, and helps to ideate stories across movies, TV, books, and music, from interviews with talent to pop culture features and trend stories. She has a passion for uplifting rising stars, and a special interest in cult-classic movies, emerging arts scenes, and music. She has over eight years of experience covering pop culture and her byline has appeared in Billboard, Interview Magazine, NYLON, PEOPLE, Rolling Stone, Thrillist and other outlets.