a beginner’s guide to girls for those joining in season 4

Iowa, growing labia and the voice of a generation: here’s a Girls speed catch-up before season 4.

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Jan 12 2015, 7:30pm

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1. Who is Hannah Horvath?
Oft-naked protagonist, OCD-sufferer and alter-ego of show creator Lena Dunham, Hannah is an aspiring writer. Hannah sees herself as the voice of a generation. Hannah does not like writing advertorials. At the end of season three, she was offered a place at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

2. If Hannah goes to Iowa, that's a BIG deal
In much the same way as its predecessor Sex and the City, New York itself plays a major role in Girls. So shifting New Yorker Hannah's character away from the city and her life - even temporarily - will have a huge effect on the show.

3. Who is Marnie Michaels?
Hannah's beautiful former roommate, fan of inappropriately-timed public singing and general car crash of a human. After losing her job at an art gallery, is now pursuing her dual dreams of becoming a musician and stealing her singing partner Desi from his girlfriend.

4. Who is Adam Sackler?
Hannah's on-off boyfriend who morphed from unlikeable feral man with strange sexual proclivities in season one to - credit to the magnificent Adam Driver - a character most viewers now genuinely adore. Season three's finale was a mixed bag for Adam with his career, but also his girlfriend, taking off.

5. The first Girls baby is on its way
At the end of season three, we found out that Adam's sister Caroline is pregnant with Hannah's neighbour Laird's (keeping up?) baby. "I can feel the labia forming," Caroline told Hannah, "this is a woman."

6. Who is Jessa Johansson?
Shoshanna's British cousin, with a fancy accent and a proclivity for heroin, sudden marriages and Richard E Grant. Most recently seen helping her boss take an overdose then calling 911 when she changed her mind. This is the kind of thing that happens to Jessa.

7. Girls' big love story may be over
After Adam accused Hannah of ruining his opening night performance in Major Barbara with her selfishness (summary: "Good luck tonight… OH BY THE WAY I'M MOVING TO IOWA"), the pair fought in a way that, when added to a geographical divide of (*scans a map of the US*)... a good few states, looked potentially relationship-ending.

8. Who is Shoshanna Shapiro?
Often the voice of likeability amidst Marnie's whining, Hannah's self-aggrandised monologues and Jessa's drug-fuelled rants, we left Shoshanna in a bad place in season three when she didn't graduate, then got knocked back by her ex Ray. Everyone wants more Shosh (you're a viewer now, you can call her Shosh) this season.

9. Marnie and Shoshanna are no longer friends
One of the major tropes of Girls is the dynamic of the female friendships. When Marnie admitted to Shoshanna that she'd been sleeping with Ray last season, we witnessed a Shosh rage that no-one knew existed. Expect the fallout to still be being felt in season four.

10. Marnie is in borderline stalker territory
Though Marnie ended season three ostensibly happy after kissing Desi, expect that to be short-lived. On the basis that she was last seen spying on Desi and his girlfriend over a fence. And with Hannah moving and Shosh mad at her, there is no-one around to tell Marnie that stalking is not generally considered ok.

The new season of Girls is on Sky Atlantic at 10pm on 12 January.

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Text Caroline Corcoran