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The Marnie and Charlie plotline on Girls has been stretched beyond imagination over the past two seasons of HBO’s comedy, and when I first heard that actor Christopher Abbott was leaving the series, I hoped he would just get written out sometime during Season 3. Though that would have been ideal for fans and likely ideal for the show’s writers, those hopes were dashed quickly. It turns out that Abbott left the series before Season 3 began filming, reportedly due to differences the actor was having with the show’s creator Lena Dunham. Thus, he won’t be in any forthcoming episodes, but he has spoken out to explain his decision to leave the subscription cable network show.
I don’t imagine that it’s super easy to get along with a creative type like Dunham. However, people don’t typically quit jobs just because they aren’t huge fans of their bosses. They typically quit when better opportunities come along or when they want to try to break big in a new medium, like film. Since his departure from Girls, Abbott has signed on to perform in one of Lucy Thurber’s Hill Town Plays, which focus on a young woman growing up in an uneducated and poverty-filled area of Massachusetts. All five of the Hill Town Plays are currently being performed across New York City. I wouldn’t call the role the gig of a lifetime, but decent reviews indicate that Abbot is making some impact. The actor recently told the New York Times that it’s “the most important project [he’s] done.”
He also told the outlet that his reason for quitting girls stems less from problems with Dunham and more from problems he was having identifying with his Girls character. Eventually, it seems he reached a point where he just couldn’t take it anymore.
“The world that Lena wrote was very real, especially in New York. But it wasn’t as relatable for me on a personal level. It’s not that I only like to play roles I know to a T, but there’s something satisfying about playing parts where you really relate to the characters."
Whether or not disagreements between Dunham and Abbott were actually in play, it sounds like it’s best for everyone he moves on, whether fans are temporarily disappointed or not. Over the past year or so, some of the crazy buzz has warn off Girls, but there’s still every reason to think Season 3 has the potential to be some of the best writing we’ve seen from Dunham yet. The New York City world Abbott is referring to is so rich with detail and eccentricity that it would take many, many more seasons to properly explore the major elements without running into a creative wall.
Here’s hoping Abbott stumbles into a television project he can more properly related to sooner rather than later.