The characters on HBO’s “Girls” have always been polarizing, perhaps because the writing makes them far too close for comfort — but type A Marnie Michaels might be the easiest target. And Allison Williams knows this.
“Marnie always tries to be better and do better, but never wants to get caught being the problem,” explains Williams from the Alabama set of her film “Get Out.” ”I think at her core she is a perfectionist, but she’s far, far less than perfect.
Season 5 opened with Marnie’s wedding to Desi, following a tumultuous — though ironically harmonious in a musical sense — courtship. Marnie fulfilled the bridezilla cliche we knew she would, while a panicked Desi is talked down from bailing by her unrequited paramour, Ray. The relationship unfolds to be as challenging as anyone might expect it to be, but Marnie soldiers on, determined to make it work. This weekend’s episode “The Panic in Central Park” is a special capsule centered on Williams’ character — the details are scarce, but the 27-year-old actress, insightful and charismatic and un-Marnie-like in every way, fills us in on what to expect.
(And possible spoiler alert: Christopher Abbott — Charlie — appears on the episode’s IMDB page. GASP.)
So this season started with a big life moment for Marnie that mirrors your own wedding last year. Was that weird for you?
It’s so funny because I didn’t know that was the direction Marnie was going in. She got engaged after I did, and I was lucky enough to have two very different weddings in one year. Thank God Marnie’s was [the crazy one] and it wasn’t the other way around.
Do you think she knew Desi was having second thoughts?
I don’t think so. She was well-insulated by the people in her life about it. Hanna finds out in the car with Fran that Desi’s been engaged so many times before and the ring wasn’t for her and this is just a thing he does and obviously she wants to tell [Marnie], but she thought better of it. Then Ray goes to retrieve [Desi] from a pond and keep him from leaving Marnie at the altar. In a show that’s so criticized for having friendships that are less than perfect, the way the characters help Marnie out to have the wedding she wants to have is really something. I think both Hanna and Ray understand what Marnie needs. She gains a lot from following things through.
We spoke to Alex Karpovsky [who plays Ray] a few weeks ago and he says that like his character, Marnie is also a true romantic. What do you think?
First of all — how great is Alex? And I think he’s probably right. She has, in many ways, the highest standards and hopes for what love could be. She’s gone back and forth between believing she deserves it or not. It’s so different from the marriage her parents have and the things she seen, but she still feels like great love is possible and she follows her instincts in that direction often. A lot of the decisions she makes are governed by that sense of romance. I think Ray is probably up there somewhere with the rest of them, too.
What do you think drives the Marnie and Ray relationship even after the romance is over?
Marnie needs a parent very badly and a lot of what she gets from her friendship with Ray is that he’s a source of the person who can provide the hard real truth of her life. She can tell [his criticisms come] from a place of love and anytime she’s needed to hear something uncomfortable about herself, that’s who she goes to. I think that as hard as it was for Ray to forego the opportunity to let Desi run away, and fly in for Marnie, it was a really sign of their friendship. It’s been there for a while now and it’s hard because Marnie seems a little bit blind to that, but knows that he’s got her back and [he’s] the closest thing she has to an authority figure.