Alex Karpovksy’s irascible, endearing Ray is the moral center of “Girls,” the elder in the friend group who offers a critical take on their narcissism. Ahead of the show’s final season, the 41-year-old Newton, Mass. native tells us what Ray’s doing back with Marnie and how his conscientious — albeit existentially conflicted — character would have found his calling as an activist post Trump’s election.
Ray is back with Marnie. What’s the attraction for him there?
One [reason] is that he sees her as an outsider to some degree; she’s someone who’s been marginalized, who’s desperately trying to fit in and be accepted, adhere to some convention of normalcy. Another answer — and this is a little more crass — he’s getting the girl he was never able to get before. So, there’s an insecurity that’s just being preyed on that he can’t fully deny.
Sometimes I wonder why he’s even spending time with these people.
He’s a difficult person. He’s not a very social person. I don’t know if he would have very many friends if he ditched this group. I think he has a really special connection with Shoshanna and I think he wants to be near her. And part of the tax you sometimes have to pay, in his mind, is dealing with Hannah and Marnie and Adam: collateral damage.
Where do you see Ray in five, 10 years?
It changes a little bit based on my mood and blood sugar levels. Obviously this was all shot and written before Trump was elected. I think Ray would flip the f—k out in the wake of the election and I can’t imagine he would just do nothing. Maybe he would be one of these guys who’s organizing these JFK-type protests. Maybe he would drive to Montgomery, Al. and get on a soapbox there. He’d probably also have a podcast about the history of Brooklyn, just to keep things interesting.
Are you still in Greenpoint?
Nope, I moved to L.A. I’m 41, I’ve been [in Brooklyn] for 16 years. I love it and it’s obviously a big part of my life, but I didn’t like what was happening to the neighborhood. And I personally needed a change. A lot of my friends have moved there. I’m an old Jew, I need to be in the sun more.
We actually bring up [gentrification] in the show, Ray starts interviewing elderly people to try to make a chronicle of what exactly we’re losing and how fast we’re losing it. He feels he needs to do something.