Girls Season 4 Preview: What Hannah's Iowa Departure Means for the Show

Ingela Ratledge
HBO

Girls

Break out the post-ironic Trapper Keepers: Girls is going back to school. When HBO's buzzy comedy about twentysomething narcissists in NYC returns for Season 4 on January 11, aspiring author Hannah (Lena Dunham) is bidding farewell to Brooklyn as she heads off to a Master's program at the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. Obviously, she would never dream of leaving her high-waisted short-eralls behind–but what about her tortured relationship with live-in boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver)? "They're trying to figure out if they can make the long-distance thing work," says executive producer Jenni Konner. "They didn't have the world's easiest time during the best of circumstances, so it's a mess trying to sort through this."

They're not the only ones attempting to chart a new course. Now sober, the aggressively free-spirited Jessa (Jemima Kirke) behaves as inappropriately as ever–"only now she doesn't have a bender to blame it on," says Konner. Recent graduate Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is ready to conquer the corporate ladder, but the feeling isn't necessarily mutual. And while folk singer Marnie (Allison Williams, fresh out of her Peter Pan Live! costume) is managing to make, ahem, sweet music with writing partner Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), his refusal to ditch his long-term girlfriend is creating a bittersweet symphony. Says Konner, "Marnie's heartbroken–as always!"

Later in the season, the action will bounce back and forth between Hannah's new life in the Hawkeye State–her gay ex, Elijah (Andrew Rannells), will arrive to bring some levity to the less-than-seamless transition–and the gang back home. "We live in a modern age, so Skype and iChat will be a big part of helping everyone keep in touch, but I think we're really establishing that it's OK to spend time with different characters alone," says Konner. "Hannah isn't always going to be at the center of the story." Of course, she might beg to differ.

Girls, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO

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