Allison Williams Says Marnie Has Been Redeemed by Gen Z: She’s Not ‘Selfish,’ It’s ‘Self-Care’

Allison Williams is reclaiming the infamous legacy of her loved-to-be-hated “Girls” character Marnie.

During a video for Vanity Fair alongside former co-star Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Williams credited the resurgence of the HBO series for putting a new light on her character. “Girls” ran for six seasons from 2012 to 2017 and has recently become a viral TikTok rewatch.

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“The whole show got a lot of flak when it was airing for everyone being too selfish and self-centered,” Williams said. “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.'”

Instead of viewing Marnie as a cringey villain, Williams reflected on how the series centered on “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,” with Marnie being one of them.

“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,” Williams said. “It just got missed a little bit.”

The actress previously told IndieWire at the 2023 Nantucket Film Festival that viewers first thought “Girls” was actually real.

“People kind of thought the four of us were in a documentary about girls in our 20s when we were actors acting in a show,” Williams said. “Whereas I think some of the men in our show got a lot of credit, as they deserved, for their performances, for playing characters as actors, whereas it took people a couple years to be like, ‘Oh, she’s not Marnie.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, no, I have a different name and identity.'”

She added, “When Gawker wrote articles about ‘Girls,’ they only referred to our characters as our names. So they’d be like, ‘Lena and Adam go into a coffee shop, and Lena, Adam Driver…’ No, I think maybe the boys got to be called their character’s names, but the rest of us were called our names. So I’ve gotten used to this, but yeah, it still happens. It’s fascinating. I mean, it’s deeply insulting, but instead, I use words like ‘fascinating.'”

Years later, though, Williams thinks of it as a “huge compliment” even if it did mean she was typecast at first.

“In one way that’s a huge compliment obviously if people start to think of you as your character so much,” Williams said. “But then in another way, on a professional level, I was getting movies that were just like ‘Marnie drives across the country,’ ‘Marnie goes to the ocean,’ ‘Marnie goes to the farmer’s market on a Tuesday or Saturday.’ It’s like that’s what I was getting for a while.”

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