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Thread: Lena Dunham's Girls

  1. #1
    a little more time, endless time Savannah's Avatar
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    Lena Dunham's Girls

    I have mixed feelings about Lena Dunham (director of Tiny Furniture), but I'm definitely planning on watching this. Anybody else? It premiers this Sunday on HBO.



    “When I first started kissing boys,” [Dunham] said, “I remember noticing things, certain behaviors, where I thought, ‘There’s no way you learned that anywhere but on YouPorn.com. There’s no way any teenage girl taught you and reinforced that behavior.”
    Naked in New York

    As a person who has followed, for more than twenty years, recurrent, maddening *debates about the lives of young women, the series felt to me like a gift. Girls was a bold defense (and a searing critique) of the so-called Millennial Generation by a person still in her twenties. It was a sex comedy from the female POV, taking on subjects like STDs and abortion with a radical savoir-faire as well as a visual grubbiness that was a statement in itself. It embraced digital culture, and daily confession, as a default setting. Even before the Republican candidates adopted The Handmaid’s Tale as a platform, Dunham’s sly, brazen, graphic comedy, with its stress on female friendships, its pleasure in the sick punch line, its compassion for the necessity of making mistakes, felt like a retort to a culture that pathologizes feminine adventure. As my younger colleague Willa Paskin put it, the show felt, to her peers, FUBU: “for us by us.”
    Lena Dunham’s new show is like nothing else on TV

    Some people are nice. Some people are like, “I love it, she’s fat.” I’m prepared for it. Every time there’s an adjective that’s not the word “obese” I feel fine. The dream is that we get to a point where people can write about the sex without talking about the shape of the bodies having it. But we’re not even close to there. And if I can open up the dialogue on this topic I’m perfectly pleased.
    Dunham: “Girls” sex scares men

  2. #2
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    I have mixed feelings about Dunham AND Apatow, but I am interested to see a critique of millenial women's lives and the sort of misguided shitshow it is to be a single woman in your 20's.

  3. #3
    proud saab owner Gale's Avatar
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    Did anyone catch the premiere? I don't have HBO, but I've been hearing a lot about the show through magazine and online reviews. It seems rather mixed. Being of the millenial generation, I thought the show would be my kind of thing, but now I'm not so sure. Sounds like the type of show that's filled with inside jokes about hipsters in NYC.

  4. #4
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    I did. I had mixed feelings. I am going to watch the next one before I form any concrete opinions.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mike_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SleepySweet View Post
    Did anyone catch the premiere? I don't have HBO, but I've been hearing a lot about the show through magazine and online reviews. It seems rather mixed. Being of the millenial generation, I thought the show would be my kind of thing, but now I'm not so sure. Sounds like the type of show that's filled with inside jokes about hipsters in NYC.
    That's exactly what it was! You can actually watch the first episode for free on YouTube if you're interested. I enjoyed the episode, I guess, but it wasn't what I was expecting really. I'm not sure what my thoughts are on it yet. The characters aren't particularly likeable and I was really kind of bothered by the main character eating a cupcake in the bathtub. The acting was great so I'm kind of drawn in by that. I'll have to see where the story goes and how the characters develop before I can decide if I like the show or not.

  6. #6
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    This show! Agh. I'm so ambivalent about it. On the one hand, I laughed and was charmed by the totally hateful and narcissistic main character. It's totally okay that she's a terrible person, most comedies are. BUT. I'm not convinced the writer-director-actress-producer-ITGIRL Lena Dunham knows just how terrible she is. The self deprecation feels like knee-jerk hipsterism instead of genuine and true self-loathing. Plus, I know this is totally unfair, but those girls (characters and talent) are all the girls I hated in college and all the girls I hated who floated through film school and cushy internships into priceless opportunities -- the ones who never really understand how hard it is for outsiders to do the same thing they are doing without the trust funds, rich parents, influential friends and the class entitlement.

    Then again, I've only watched one episode. But it's TRIGGERING!

    And? Lena Dunham has a funny, strong voice. But oh my god she is not the Voice of Her Generation or the creator of a Revolutionary TV Show, etc. The praise for this show is ridiculously overblown.
    Last edited by devnull; 04-18-2012 at 06:59 AM.

  7. #7
    a little more time, endless time Savannah's Avatar
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    I liked it a lot!

    Maybe I just have too much faith in her, but I take all the pretentious shit she says as satire of people with that attitude and entitlement. Also, maybe I'm just secretly as much of a dirtbag as her, but I kind of always thought that any artist had that same sense of "voice of a generation" self-importance? I'm someone who's wanted to be a writer for a long time, and I always figured that you have to be at least a little bit conceited to think you have something to say that the world should hear. I thought it was less of a self-assertion and more of a go at immature artists--"Okay, I want to write for a living, how do I communicate that to people and get them to take it seriously? I guess by likening myself to Flaubert and explaining how I'm the voice of a generation."

    A few of her tweets that I've seen are pretty similar to the show, i.e. TMI confessions of her flaws. To me she seems really aware of her short-comings but totally willing to exploit, exaggerate, and laugh at them. It does feel a little manufactured, but it's also really refreshing to me. I do think a lot of the backlash seems to be from male critics who aren't used to leading women who aren't Hollywood-gorgeous and aren't apologetically trying to cover up as many imperfections as possible (I saw some dude's review that said she was like a "porn" actress because she's "playing herself," lol whut). Not saying that resembles anyone here, just an observation I've made of the buzz around the Interbutts.
    Last edited by Savannah; 04-18-2012 at 12:42 PM.

  8. #8
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devnull View Post
    This show! Agh. I'm so ambivalent about it. On the one hand, I laughed and was charmed by the totally hateful and narcissistic main character. It's totally okay that she's a terrible person, most comedies are. BUT. I'm not convinced the writer-director-actress-producer-ITGIRL Lena Dunham knows just how terrible she is. The self deprecation feels like knee-jerk hipsterism instead of genuine and true self-loathing. Plus, I know this is totally unfair, but those girls (characters and talent) are all the girls I hated in college and all the girls I hated who floated through film school and cushy internships into priceless opportunities -- the ones who never really understand how hard it is for outsiders to do the same thing they are doing without the trust funds, rich parents, influential friends and the class entitlement.
    YES YES YES. I have seen this show before! It's called EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE starring the Entitled Assholes I Deal With Daily. Maybe if I weren't an artisty type in NY I would relate more...

    Here's my major beef right now: it seems like she's making a show about her and her friends. That's fine. BUT - she is making a show about herself and her friends under the guise that they are not actually rich. Hannah, the main character, is being 100% supported by her presumably not-rich parents. They are both professors (LOL, yeah, sure they make enough money to fully support their 20-something year old daughter. Even in Brooklyn with a roomie), and they are clearly not supposed to be wealthy, thus the cutting her off. Here is the thing though - if your parents can actually fully support you into your twenties (as well as through school, presumably) - YOU ARE STILL WEALTHY. Are you "rich"? No - although I found out that a lot of people consider hundred-thousandaires to be rich, which is interesting- but you are plenty wealthy. IMO, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference whether you have a multi-million dollar trust fund or your folks are well-to-do upper middle: you are still speaking exclusively from a white privilege viewpoint, and pretending to speak for young women actually struggling (I realize I am somewhat projecting here) in the recession feels completely disingenous to me. Don't pretend like these girls are not actually wealthy. They are VERY wealthy. I admire that she wants to make Hannah unlikeable off the bat...and I'm giving it a chance, but holy shit. ALSO TRIGGERED. Plus, the casting nepotism is fucking barf worthy.

    white trash - I am a writer, and I sincerely truly hope that if the words "I am the Voice of a Generation" ever came out of my mouth in a way that was even 1% not joking, someone would smack me directly in the mouth. There is a difference between an irrepressible desire to express yourself through writing and being a conceited, self-important twat.

    ETA: I am happy, though, that Dunham is exploring the truly abysmal sexual experiences that a lot of my friends and 20 somethings experience. I hope its not ALL bad, because that's a lie, but a whole lot of it is. That scene made me CRINGE.

  9. #9
    a little more time, endless time Savannah's Avatar
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    To be clear, I'm not saying it's okay for anyone to seriously think or claim they are a Voice of My Generation (VoMG). I just think that scene is a funny depiction of the post-grad liberal arts thought process, especially in a stage of trying to figure out how to be an artist in 2012. No, not all or even most post-grad English majors are like that, I'm sure, but I worked with a guy who was similarly conceited about his writing, only he went with an unspoken "I'm the next Hunter S. Thompson/Jack Kerouac" instead of "I'm a VoMG." I don't think that guy was a total douchebag, I think he just didn't understand how to become or market himself as an artist in today's world. I'm hoping that, as the show goes on, Hannah slowly figures out how to be less of a privileged, clueless moron, or is at least confronted with that fact. But we'll see, I guess.

    I can see how some people find the whole thing undermined by the fact that Lena Dunham herself is artistically successful beyond all feasible possibility for an ordinary person. And I do think her sudden, totally unforeseen "canon-ness" is a bit weird.

    ETA: Maybe I'm willing to be so forgiving because it's the closest thing to my own personal experience that I've ever seen in mainstream media. I don't come from an affluent or even an educated background, but the fact that Hannah is not super sexy or tragically beautiful, does not have 50,000 virtues to make up for the fact that she's not hot, has an artistic goal she has no clue how to achieve, and may be the only person in the world besides her BFF who thinks she has talent-- that all hits home for me, enough that I guess I can ignore Dunham being a media darling ATM.
    Last edited by Savannah; 04-18-2012 at 02:38 PM.

  10. #10
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by white trash medicine View Post
    ETA: Maybe I'm willing to be so forgiving because it's the closest thing to my own personal experience that I've ever seen in mainstream media. I don't come from an affluent or even an educated background, but the fact that Hannah is not super sexy or tragically beautiful, does not have 50,000 virtues to make up for the fact that she's not hot, has an artistic goal she has no clue how to achieve, and may be the only person in the world besides her BFF who thinks she has talent-- that all hits home for me, enough that I guess I can ignore Dunham being a media darling ATM.
    Wouldn't that have all felt much easier if you came from money though? See, your show would be interesting to me. If Hannah were ACTUALLY broke, the show would be interesting. But she's not. I have to try to move past that.

  11. #11
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    Wouldn't that have all felt much easier if you came from money though? See, your show would be interesting to me. If Hannah were ACTUALLY broke, the show would be interesting. But she's not. I have to try to move past that.
    Don't move past it yet. Look at this first:



    OK, back to moving past our biases...

  12. #12
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    my friend posted that on fbook yesterday. I peed a little. I love "Adam Sandler's Roommate". Ugh. And don't even get me going on how Judd Apatow is using this and Bridesmaids to be like "LOOK! I really do like women! As long as they act exactly like my male characters do! HAHAHHA".

    /rant.

  13. #13
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    I thought the same thing about Judd Apatow's motives!

    Knocked Up, NEVER FORGET.

  14. #14
    so what if i like pretty things Bryan Alan's Avatar
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    I was really looking forward to this show and after the first episode, I think I want to like it more than I actually do. I'm going to give it a few more episodes before I form any concrete opinions. I thought parts of it were amusing. That sex scene reminded me of the movie Kids. None of the characters are especially likeable, but I guess that's the whole point? I don't know, we'll see. I have never heard of Lena Dunham prior to this show.
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  15. #15
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    That poster is priceless. I'm already seriously prejudiced against this series from all your descriptions. Thankfully I have so much good stuff to watch and catch up on at the moment that I feel entirely justifed in pretending it doesn't exist.

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