'Girls' stars talk about HBO comedy's 4th season

Lena Dunham in a scene from season 4 of "Girls."

NEW YORK - Sunday night, the girls of "Girls" return for a fourth season of wayward living in and out of New York.

Premiering at 9 p.m. on HBO, the new season of this hit comedy finds Jessa (Jemima Kirke) more adrift than ever; Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) going after her first grown-up job; Marnie (Allison Williams) in yet another ill-advised relationship; and Hannah (Lena Dunham, who is also the series' creator and a writer, producer and director) setting off for the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

The four "Girls" stars chatted about 20something obstacles, make-believe hanky-panky and other issues during a conversation stoked by news that "Girls" has been picked up for a fifth season.

"I'm excited," Dunham said, "because when you hear a show went for five seasons, it sounds like they really DID it! No matter how many more we do after that, if there were FIVE seasons you think, 'Wow, that show did OK.' "

Zosia Mamet: Creatively, it's even more rewarding now than when we first started. We've all gotten so close, so we can delve so much deeper. These characters all have a through-line, but every year we're like, "Who are they gonna be this year? What are they gonna do?"

Lena Dunham: It's fun to tell the girls at the beginning of the season, "Here's the basic gist." Everyone's job is to progress these characters. Our costume designer is a huge part of that. This year, Marnie is dressing for what she thinks her relationship with Desi is like: very Brooklyn. But she's so Type A she tries to do a PERFECT version of Brooklyn and it ends up looking cheesy. Shoshanna's going out on all these job interviews, so she has what she thinks is a professional wardrobe. But it's HER version of it: a weird Chanel boucle suit and a too-big barrette. Jessa used to dress eccentrically, like Helena Bonham Carter, but ...

Jemima Kirke: Now she's toning it down, dressing less to impress.

LD: Because she's in a more vulnerable place. So we get her in T-shirts and sundresses. And Hannah is trying to get together her academic gear.

Allison Williams: What you wear to class in the second episode. I cheered out loud!

LD: Hannah is trying so hard, and it's SO horrible! But there's no feeling I know better than thinking you've aced it, laying out your outfit, then waking up 20 minutes later than you should and having to rush out. The thing I admire so much about (her co-stars) is, everyone rolls with it: "OK, I'm gonna take a leap of faith." There are definitely shows where the actors go, "I'm not gonna do that." I'm not saying our guys aren't allowed to say that, but we've never heard that from them, because they have so much daring as performers and excitement about just going for it.

ZM: I've just never felt the need to say no to you. I know you would never write a scene, sexual or not, for us to play that wasn't essential to the story being moved forward.

LD: I hope it helps that I'm naked more than anybody.