Jenni Konner. (Getty)

After 62 episodes filled with inappropriate sexual hookups, confusing dancing, and endless unlikely job opportunities, GIRLS ended its sixth season run on Sunday. The penultimate episode served as the more typical ending (with appearances from most of the core cast), which allowed the series finale to be an insular, Cassavetes-influenced peek at Hannah's future. Despite the unfamiliar setting and understated tone, it was ultimately GIRLS at its best: disarming, vulnerable, and filled with hilarious one-liners.

We got the chance to talk to showrunner Jenni Konner, who directed and cowrote the finale, about the end of the show after the episode aired. She told us about the buildup to the finale and reflected on the "triggering" nature of the show.

How are you feeling? We're so glad you could talk to us. Of course. Please, any time. I don't always sound like this. I have bronchitis.

Oh no! Yeah, yeah. This is my sexy Demi voice, but my face does not go with it.

I was just going to ask how your goodbye tour with Lena has been going since the finale. It has been from bed, and on the internet, but it's been pretty good. I feel very celebratory. I feel weird, but celebratory.

Has it been surreal watching all the reactions to the finale come out and everything play out while you're sidelined? It has been surreal. I kept thinking, "Oh, this is it, now I'm really feeling it," when we finished shooting [last year]. Then I'm like, "Now we really feel finished it," when the first episode [of season six] aired. And then the last one airs. Now I'm like, "Maybe I'll feel it when..." This last week has felt very sad and bittersweet, and Lena and Judd and I have been texting and talking a ton about it, which has just been really lovely. I was supposed to watch with Judd last night but I got bronchitis.

We just texted a ton, and FaceTimed, and it was just a very unusual feeling that I don't really know how to describe. I'm lucky to have friends who have gone through it before me, so I talk to them about it. I just feel so happy that the season has been well-received. I would hate to go out with a whimper.

Right. It definitely feels like you left people wanting a little bit more, if anything, which is probably the better way to go out. It almost feels like people have amnesia about how much they didn't like the show sometimes, which I'm great with.

Well, every year I think a few loud people went through a cycle of not appreciating and then re-appreciating what had come before. Right, right. I know, it'll be so interesting to see in the future, when people start watching it five years from now without all the noise, what the response will be.

What do you think the legacy of the show will be then? I don't know. I hope it's going to be really positive. I don't know, maybe they'll re-air it, and it will have all the think pieces again. But I wouldn't trade one thing. It's so much better to be a divisive show that people want to talk about than a show that bores people or that they are just like, "Yeah, my grandmother watches that."

What do you think people misunderstood about the show, and your artistic vision? Why do you think some people had such extreme reactions to it, more so than other similar shows on TV? I think it was triggering to people. It was a very truthy show. People really, really cared so much about the authenticity that it was almost like a constant stream of fact-checking the whole time, but these are fictional characters. There was so much, "They would never do that, this would never happen." There was a lot of that. I think that's only a result of people feeling close to the characters and feeling like they know them. That, to me, is all you can ask for.

Do you think the key line from the pilot, the "voice of a generation" line that was used in all the marketing, maybe set up some expectations for that... I definitely do. I think it's funny that it did, because the character says it on opium.

Everyone forgets that part. Yeah, everyone forgets that. Also, it was the character saying it, and everyone acted like Lena said it. But in many ways, she has grown to be an incredibly political voice in the world and uses her powers for good all the time. I don't know in this day and age what it means to be the voice of a generation, but I do think she has inspired so many other television and film projects and paved the way for a lot of young women to do things.

I remember one article when Jill Soloway, even before Transparent, I think she was in the New York Times talking about her first movie, Afternoon Delight, and she said, "I thought, if this 23-year-old girl Lena Dunham can do it, I can do it." I think that she makes a lot of people feel that way, which makes her job seem effortless, which it's not, but it's great.

For how long did you guys have the finale and the arc of the final season in mind? I think we really cemented it in the fourth season, when we agreed with [HBO president of programming] Michael Lombardo and [HBO Chairman and CEO] Richard Plepler, with their generosity, to let us decide when to end the show, and we all agreed together that it would be the sixth season. Then, it was the fourth season, and Judd, who had some experience in this area, was like, "Let's start going towards that end. Everything should be part of that end and how we're going to end it." I would say season four, but Lena's been fighting for Hannah to get knocked up for a long time.

Did you guys ever have any hesitations about going in that direction with the plot? I think Lena didn't. I think we all were open to other choices, but she really, really wanted to do it that way. For Judd and me, our whole job is to protect her creative vision. We weren't against it, we just were like, "Should we talk about anything else?" I think we may have come across some other thoughts, but it was basically written in stone.

I really loved the direction of the finale. Oh, thank you so much. It's only the second thing I've ever directed, so I appreciate that.

It felt a lot more stage-y, like a three-person play, than a lot of the rest of the series. I was curious whether you had any other TV show finales that you took inspiration from? Well, Judd was the one who was like, "We can't wrap it up all at once." It's almost like we did two finales, or three, or four. It was like, this is how we say goodbye to Adam, this is how we say goodbye to Shoshanna, this is how we say goodbye to Jessa, and this is how we say goodbye to Marnie and Loreen, who wound up being the primary people in Hannah's life.

Of course, there's [TV finales] we love dearly. Newhart was one of the great ones. St Elsewhere, by the great Bruce Paltrow. We all loved the Six Feet Under one. I love The Sopranos one so much. I think Mad Men did a great job. It's a very hard thing to do, and I think that's why we did it twice. Like, "Well, maybe you'll like this one, maybe you'll like this one," but also, I think we just felt like, "How can we keep Hannah pregnant all year and not show her trying to be a mother," because that's the struggle we wanted to know.

Yeah, and you were able to get there. I previously had never really thought of Marnie and Hannah as sort of an "endgame" relationship, but in the end, it really was. Yeah, it was. Marnie's very competitive. She was not going to let it go. She was NOT going to let it go. I think Marnie will move out soon [after the finale], just not that soon. I don't think they're going to have a Kate and Allie life, but I do think that they really, really mean something to each other, and they're the ones that'll be preserved.

In the end, is it fair to say that much of the final season, and the way it reflected back on the rest of the show, was an exploration of female relationships, female friendships, and how they do or do not stay together as people grow up? Absolutely. That is exactly what the premise is, but add on 'women in their 20s.' That's the specificity of this, and that's why it's so different from Sex In The City, for example. Those women met as adults and chose each other, and these guys got assigned the same hallway in a random dorm selection, or someone's cousin. I think the 20s are about figuring out who you do stay friends with, and your 30s are about more adult relationships.

Was that always the underlying intention from the start, or was that something that grew as you learned who the characters were? We always knew it... because the first season is really, really deeply about Marnie and Hannah's relationship, and Marnie starts on top, and Hannah starts on the bottom, but by the end, they're flipped. We always knew that that was a really volatile relationship. They just fought all the time, but they really loved each other. We knew in some way, but I don't think we knew, we didn't always know that they would not be friends. I think we found that at the end, that some of the characters wouldn't be friends.

Do you think people—especially those like myself, who complained about how the four leads weren't really a friend group—missed out on some clues? The thing is that, we hardly ever showed that. Until episode seven, I think, of the first season, they're not all in the same room together. We tried to make it a very realistic group of friends in that two of them would see each other, you'd see one or the other, maybe three, but they're only all together about 12 times in the whole series. I think that by just using that as a measure, you could have assumed that it might have been an ending like this.

Were there any stories for these characters that were left on the table, any ideas you had in mind but you weren't able to get to or find a place? There are lots of note cards left on the board of pitches, but nothing we went too deep into. I feel really satisfied with the final season.

There's not much else you could hope for, right? No, there really isn't, except for to not have bronchitis right now.

Over the years, did you have any preferences between the more standalone episodes and the episodes focused on the ongoing storylines where everyone was packed in? You know what's funny is that as a viewer, I always was really jarred by the standalone episodes of other people's shows. I didn't like it when The Facts of Life went to Paris. I like people on their sets doing their things. That being said, [the Girls standalone episodes were] some of my favorite episodes, and I'm so glad we got to do them. A lot of them were sort of written by Lena in a fever dream. It was nice to be able to show those.

Who came up with Grover [as Hannah's baby's name]? Lena did. She just walked into the writer's room one day and said, "Hey, I think his name should be Grover." We were like, "That sounds about right."

I love that you gave that line to Paul-Louis. [In episode seven, Paul-Louis mentioned that he thought that would be a good name] Yeah. We wanted him to have some connection with the baby without actually having to be in the baby's life. We thought it was very sweet that she took his suggestion.

Was there ever a moment where you thought about them making a go of it, or did you always want to end with Hannah on her own? No, no. That was always going to be Hannah as a single mom.

Have you and Lena talked about what project you might work on next? We have a couple things in the works. Lena and I have a newsletter together called Lenny Letter, and we're putting some energy towards that, and we're developing a doc series for HBO of that, so hopefully that'll work out. We're slowly looking at scripts and talking about what to do next, but we're definitely taking our time. We have a deal with HBO, and we'd love to keep making TV shows with them. It's heaven.

Is there anything more in the future for GIRLS? Is there any chance for an Elijah spin-off or a movie, I've heard there's been some talk... Yeah, if someone asks, probably. I don't know.

If enough people bring it up in interviews, is it going to happen? Exactly. I think that's the perfect note to end on.