It’s no secret that all the characters in “Girls” (available to stream on Max) love being on the screen. Self-centered and egotistical, this group of friends loves attention and relishes the spotlight. Despite the tough competition, Elijah’s (Andrew Rannells) character somehow manages to steal scene after scene thanks to his unique and exuberant personality — as well as his interesting connection to Hannah (Lena Dunham).
The pair dated back when they were undergrads at Oberlin, but by the time we meet him on the show, Elijah is living openly as a gay man and plays occasional best friend to his former ex-girlfriend. Now that’s a character worthy of his own spinoff show. Here’s why Elijah is one of the hidden gems of this beloved show.
He’s (Mostly) a Gentleman
One of the many fascinating facts we learn about Elijah back in Season 2 is that he paid for all of Hannah’s burritos during junior year of college. His attraction to her might have been somewhat faked, but you can’t accuse Elijah of not being a gentleman. While the pair may not have worked out together in the end, a year of free burritos is not a loss at all, or at least not for Hannah.
Jokes aside, one of the best qualities about Elijah is that he’s very protective of his ex-girlfriend and constantly looks out after her. From buying her lunch to usually consoling her when she’s down, Elijah is a good shoulder to cry on and a voice of wisdom ready to dispense good advice. In fairness to Hannah, however, Elijah’s chivalry had some limits, such as when he stiffed her on rent. What can we say? Humans are full of contradictions.
He’s a Fun Roommate
This was a recipe for disaster right from the very beginning. After Hannah and Elijah reconnect back in Season 1, the two former lovers not only become best friends, but also decide to live together. While the roommate honeymoon doesn’t last long, the two of them have a lot of fun together and live a dreamy sleepover that doesn’t seem to end — until it turns into a nightmare for Hannah.
Chances are you have a horror roommate story. Dirty dishes in the sink, never-ending guests, the list could go on. With this in mind, then, you can understand how special it is that Hannah and Elijah can have such a fun, uncomplicated relationship living together. However, Elijah crosses a line when he hooks up with one of Hannah’s friends, and he’s quickly shown the door, at least for a while. Maybe the mythical perfect roommate doesn’t exist.
He’s a Dependable Wingman
All things considered, Elijah has a perfect record when it comes to being a wingman. When Hannah is assigned a story about partying on drugs, for example, Elijah happily obliges to partake in Hannah’s fieldwork. The two friends have a wild night out and make a few friends along the way in what is one of many unforgettable nights out in the town.
Despite their constant bickering and some serious errors in judgment, Hannah and Elijah have a beautiful relationship, sharing many special moments together. Elijah often reminds us that a friend is someone with whom we can let our guard down and laugh unbridled-ly — key features of our most fulfilling friendships. The perfect roommate might not exist, but it might just be possible for two exes to become good friends.
He Doesn’t Hold a Grudge
Elijah and Hannah fight more times than we can count, and their friendship is on and off for most of the series. But no matter how dead their relationship might seem at any given point, the two of them always manage to bounce back and can’t stay away. Their fun times are simply impossible to forget. Better yet, Elijah and Hannah can always pick up right where they left off, in true testament to the strength of their bond.
One of the reasons Elijah is such a highlight in the series is the fact that he doesn’t hold grudges. Most importantly, he admits when he’s wrong, even if it takes him a while to see his mistakes. His ability to turn the page and move on makes him a pleasure to have around.
He’s a Complex Character
It would’ve been easy to reduce Elijah’s character to a very reductive role as Hannah’s little sidekick. Thankfully, what we got instead was a layered and multifaceted character with interesting stories of his own and an organic capacity to move the plot along. Some of the best moments in the series undeniably involve Elijah in one way or another.
His relationship woes, for example, create a rich character with a compelling psychological depth. Elijah doesn’t just help with or add to Hannah’s problems; he has his own things to deal with. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say you should take everything he says seriously: With his finger ever on the pulse, Elijah is by far the most prophetic character on the show.
He’s a Fountain of Elijah-isms
Not to get too corny on main, but there are no characters that can compare to Elijah. Part of what makes him such a fan favorite is his wit and unique sense of humor. Case in point, Elijah is known for his memorable one-liners, including my personal favorite: “Hopefully, the woman who invented Spanx will be there, because I have a lot to thank her for!” That quote just about sums him up.
Unconditional honesty is at the heart of his wit and sense of humor. Elijah isn’t afraid to be himself or speak his mind, which often gets him in trouble but also makes him a great watch. Let’s hope we get more quality characters like him on our screens.