The ‘Girls’ guys, and why Ray, Elijah and the other men best their counterparts

In a show focused on four women, the guys hold it together.

Lena Dunham’s “Girls” may be about four women stumbling through adulting in New York City, but the guys are arguably the most important characters in the show.

When Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna are in need of reality checks, it’s Ray, Adam, Elijah, Desi, Charlie and Fran who swoop in just at the right moment. Ahead of the sixth and final season, we caught up with Alex Karpovsky (Ray), Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Desi) and Andrew Rannells (Elijah), to chat about the defining roles the men have in the show.

The guys “tease out different elements in their personalities,” Karpovsky said. “Really, they’re just sort of like gallivanting forces for us to be able to more fully appreciate the weirdness, absurdity and complexity of those four women in the center.”

Rannells said Elijah’s role of “gay boyfriend” is particularly important for Hannah’s development. Who else would have blurted out “your dad is gay” in the middle of a bar without further explanation?

“I get to call the girls out on acting like assholes,” he said. “I feel like my job is sort of to be the voice of the audience sometimes, which I really enjoy.”

If Elijah is the voice of reason, does that make Desi the comic relief? Moss-Bachrach said he’s glad his character offers a bit of a break from the negativity the girls create — especially in the fifth season, which left the group at odds.

“These girls are so mean to each other sometimes, even though they love each other. They’re especially very mean to Marnie,” he said. “I felt really happy to be able to get to play somebody that was supportive of her and not just laughing at her behind her back.”

If HBO ever decides to revisit the show sometime after the sixth season’s end, perhaps they should consider a “Guys” spinoff instead.

“I would be like the Carrie Bradshaw [of that show],” Rannells said.

Meghan Giannotta