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Thread: Lena Dunham's Girls

  1. #31
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Isn't the English language wonderful? You can use like, words and sometimes people react to them! You learn deep, clever person shit like that at college, you know. PS. Not a racist. Fag. Tranny. GAY.

    /edgy humourous rich girl insight

    My god, if this is the level of insight and breadth of talent turned out by (checks biography) Hampshire College and immediately afterwards interns at Vice Magazine' (uh oh, over-privileged kiddie alert!) you can burn said college of higher education to the ground.

  2. #32
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    She doesn't have any credits and is likely just a staff writer. Meaning she is a low ranking writer and has fuck all to do with the creative direction of the show. Can't believe I'm defending GIRLS on this, but her idiocy on the internet shouldn't be held against the show.

  3. #33
    fluid, affectionate, chaste, mature Mackerel's Avatar
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    I think I'm just turned off by the premise of the show, probably because for myriad personal reasons I'm just, as ya'll said, triggered. Also I look at that blog entry and irrationally all I can see is a nightmarish table around which skinny white girls drop Sarah Silverman-esque jokes and smugly titter. all of this being an invention in my head, obvs. Dunham is apparently aware of the criticism and is working on it... maybe?

    Are you concerned that people might just think "Girls" is another example of white people problems?
    Definitely. We really tried to be aware and bring in characters whose job it was to go "Hashtag white people problems, guys." I think that's really important to be aware of. Because it can seem really rarified. When I get a tweet from a girl who's like, "I'd love to watch the show, but I wish there were more women of color." You know what? I do, too, and if we have the opportunity to do a second season, I'll address that.
    I like that she's self-aware, though I get the nagging feeling that if women of color were really a big priority for her she would have built it into the first season. sidenote: why is it that the genre stuff I've seen always seems to be way more inclusive in their roles and casting choices?

  4. #34
    The Drama Queen of Pretentiousness! Ms. Shart O'Nay's Avatar
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    I don't even know that I want to step into this thread because I feel like it's already a foregone conclusion that one must react to this show with some kind of extremist bent (and I don't mean just unforumzed, but The Internet in general): either it's the most hype-able show to come along in years or it's the bastion of all things evil, hipster, white, privileged, &co. I actually think the discussion here is a bit more nuanced than a lot that I've seen, but with the hubbub over the "racist" staffwriter, it's still a bit unnerving to admit that, uh, I *like* the show? I don't love it, but then, I've seen an episode. I can't think of a single television series where I was able to say after one episode that I had any really strong feelings either way for it. Pilots are frequently the space where a show attempts to get its footing--and many fail, and many others end up feeling very little like their pilots. I watched Tiny Furniture earlier this week and was interested in it, if not particularly gaga over it, because it seemed to capture that sense of concentrated but incomprehensible anxiety that I think a lot of people ("my generation"!!!~~) feel post-college. The growing pains of transitioning into a world you're entirely unprepared for, having gone into college with a sense of promise and come out the other side realizing that there's actually just a real shitstorm in America that's non-navigable for the majority of people, particularly those with little pragmatic skills (i.e., those of us who studied the humanities). Of course, I'm Lena Dunham's age, so I'm not saying this is applicable to everyone, nor am I saying it's even applicable to everyone our age. And in a lot of respects, I'm nothing at all like her. I come from a very working-class background and put myself through college (half on scholarships/half on loans)--I don't have any economic support from my family, so that whole "what will I do without mommy and daddy's credit card/rent payment/etc., is foreign to me.

    BUT to give the girl/the show the benefit of the doubt...the whole "white girl problems" thing is so clearly part of the joke. I'm baffled as to why everyone's railing on the premise of the show as if there's some dark, horrible blindness to privilege. Which isn't to say that it shouldn't be examined, but we don't even know where the show's going, and how that privilege might be tackled later on. I find the nepotism charge a bit ridiculous too--as if (a) this is some novel event in Hollywood; and (b) simply because these girls have famous parents means they aren't actually equipped for, or the best for, the job. My biggest concern is that the show is becoming a kind of dumping ground for white and class-guilt in general, because god knows the large majority of commenters out there trying to crucify the show over its racial and class homogeneity are themselves white, straight, college-educated people with at least a modicum of economic stability (I'm looking at you, Jezebel.com). It feels a bit like a stoning scene. And I think we all know what they say about throwing stones.

    I wonder to what extent some of the backlash/hype about this show has to due with the fact that not only is it being authorized by a woman and about her experiences (scars and all), but that that woman is not some Hollywood beauty. Again, this isn't to say that gender-politics should be privileged over any other (and how could gender not be intertwined with other sorts anyhow), but that it seems like it may be easier to play the "we're so diverse" card when the minority-marker is more readily available (Modern Family and Glee immediately come to mind).

    Sorry, just thinking out loud here. I honestly can't believe so much has been said about a half-an-hour of screentime. (Myself & my sad verbosity incl.)

  5. #35
    fluid, affectionate, chaste, mature Mackerel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Shart O'Nay View Post
    My biggest concern is that the show is becoming a kind of dumping ground for white and class-guilt in general, because god knows the large majority of commenters out there trying to crucify the show over its racial and class homogeneity are themselves white, straight, college-educated people with at least a modicum of economic stability (I'm looking at you, Jezebel.com). It feels a bit like a stoning scene. And I think we all know what they say about throwing stones.

    I wonder to what extent some of the backlash/hype about this show has to due with the fact that not only is it being authorized by a woman and about her experiences (scars and all), but that that woman is not some Hollywood beauty.
    From what I've read, I don't think the backlash has to do at all with Dunham's looks - if anything, there's a sense of frustration that their progressive attitude towards hiring nonconventional body types doesn't also extend toward diversifying the cast a little more. The reason people are scrutinizing the show so closely is because the show is marketing itself (and critics are lauding it) as an unusually edgy, progressive, modern take on the lives of young middle class professionals. When certain aspects of it fail to live up to its own promise, people are going to call it out more aggressively than if it were just some watered down sitcom on ABC.

    I don’t want to be part of a stoning scene, but at the same time try and see it from my perspective as a non-white person: this is the umpteenth critically lauded show set in NYC revolving around a conspicuously all-white cast. I like to think that I try to take things in context – if a show is set in the Midwest then of course I don’t expect diversity. What pisses me off so much about these shows is that they're set in a city that’s so ethnically diverse that creating an all-white cast is not a politically incorrect, insensitive move as much as it is just literally going out of your way to misrepresent the reality around you. An all-white social circle in NYC is a baffling distortion from the perspective of any young twentysomething living here. It's not that diversity isn't a priority for most tv shows - I already expect that. It's that they just shamelessly piss all over easy, appropriate opportunities for it on top of everything else.

    Just watched the first ep - bleh. I chuckled at a few lines, and Shart I totally don't hold it against you (or anyone else) for liking the show, but I'll openly admit that I don't think I can form an objective rational opinion on it because it stirs up too much personal shit for me. When I moved to NYC I naively explored the idea of working in the media industry, and all I'll say is that my outcome was very different than the girl's for obvious reasons.

    ETA

    The growing pains of transitioning into a world you're entirely unprepared for, having gone into college with a sense of promise and come out the other side realizing that there's actually just a real shitstorm in America that's non-navigable for the majority of people, particularly those with little pragmatic skills
    Here is the thing: if you have the resources to accrue two years of post-college experience interning at a prestigious publishing house in NYC, by most standards you have already won. You are miles ahead of your peers. You are more likely to be considered for other prestigious artsy jobs. The arts/media industries here are built on unpaid internships, which means that the difference between having the kind of parents who send you 2000 a month for two years versus having parents who don't is the difference between working your way up to an editorial assistant position at Vice Magazine versus being stuck as an administrative assistant for a real estate firm. I do empathize with her being blindsided by the economy, but the idea that her struggles somehow mirror the average college grad's is totally absurd.

  6. #36
    Are you concerned that people might just think "Girls" is another example of white people problems?
    Definitely. We really tried to be aware and bring in characters whose job it was to go "Hashtag white people problems, guys." I think that's really important to be aware of. Because it can seem really rarified. When I get a tweet from a girl who's like, "I'd love to watch the show, but I wish there were more women of color." You know what? I do, too, and if we have the opportunity to do a second season, I'll address that.
    Ha! Reminds me of Darren Star on Sex & The City.
    “It can’t be called Sex and the City without a little color—it’s just wrong," he said to applause. “Women are very nice when they figure out who I am. And the only negative comment I ever got about the series was every now and then, some woman of color—whether it’d be Latina or an African-American—they’d stop and say, ‘Where are the sisters?’ in my ear, and I was like, ‘Yeah, where are they?’"
    Remedied, of course, by Jennifer Hudson, a trip to Mehico where all of "the sisters" work for the hotel (don't drink the water!), and a trip to Abu Dhabi. Hashtag white people diversity, guys!

  7. #37
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carhole View Post

    Just watched the first ep - bleh. I chuckled at a few lines, and Shart I totally don't hold it against you (or anyone else) for liking the show, but I'll openly admit that I don't think I can form an objective rational opinion on it because it stirs up too much personal shit for me. When I moved to NYC I naively explored the idea of working in the media industry, and all I'll say is that my outcome was very different than the girl's for obvious reasons.

    ETA



    Here is the thing: if you have the resources to accrue two years of post-college experience interning at a prestigious publishing house in NYC, by most standards you have already won. You are miles ahead of your peers. You are more likely to be considered for other prestigious artsy jobs. The arts/media industries here are built on unpaid internships, which means that the difference between having the kind of parents who send you 2000 a month for two years versus having parents who don't is the difference between working your way up to an editorial assistant position at Vice Magazine versus being stuck as an administrative assistant for a real estate firm. I do empathize with her being blindsided by the economy, but the idea that her struggles somehow mirror the average college grad's is totally absurd.
    Exactly.

    I have many and big and loud opinions on this problem. It's why much media content is false, shallow and too often feels like an echo chamber. The same few people and their spawn and their spawn's spawn (etc) feed almost all the content to the media, and these people get their "experience" of the real world from other TV shows, magazines, movies. People like us who have had to support ourselves and make our own opportunities face such barriers to entry that in order to break in we have to be almost insane with ambition and tenacity. Unfortunately, it means a lot of really good writers give up trying.

  8. #38
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Fucking hell. Someone duct-tape her mouth. And her nose.

  9. #39
    The Drama Queen of Pretentiousness! Ms. Shart O'Nay's Avatar
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    Oh, jesus, come on. It's not like this chick was saying "Look at those disgusting poor people and their quaint, disgusting jobs! How high-larious! Can you imagine someone as rich and beautiful as me doing that???!!!" She was suggesting, though with little tact, that she has a curiosity about a more 'regular' job. I have that same curiosity sometimes--but I'm a poor graduate student, who misses being able to totally check out of my job as soon as I leave the office/restaurant/whatever, rather than the kid of someone famous and artsy-fartsy.

    I just can't fathom why The Internet seems so vitriolically invested in ripping this show to shreds. Again, it's not that it's not problematic--but why not spend the time and energy on a more dangerous purveyor of these same problems? "Girls" may have a troubling premise and be led by a number of people who have foot-in-mouth syndrome, but it's still an HBO show written, directed, and acted by young women who are not plucked & plumped glamazons, and I think that shouldn't go unacknowledged. But, you know, maybe I should just do my time and ensure that such HORRIFIC THINGS are NEVER allowed in Hollywood or mainstream media again. Because this show is obviously the only criminal in that cultural bubble. I just find it really disturbing that this of all things is being treated as the disease rather than as one potential symptom of the larger issue--seems that breaking this down to nothing is an insidiously easy method of making certain that women aren't able to get their foot in the door again, if you ask me. Particularly when we have no idea in which direction the show is heading--I actually found the second episode to be far more emotionally appealing and smart than the first.

  10. #40
    The Drama Queen of Pretentiousness! Ms. Shart O'Nay's Avatar
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    ^ You're right that I'm being a little bit reactionary. I'm also venting here, when most of my problems stem from other sites I read but don't comment at. And believe me, I know about waiting tables--I did it for 7 years while I was in high school and putting myself through college. I'm about to be doing it again to get through my final years of grad school. There's nothing glamorous about it in the slightest--but there is something relieving about not being totally accountable at all times for a job like that (in the sense that your personality, your sense of self, isn't really at stake there). I would go in some days and pretend to be someone totally different from myself, and so long as I got drinks out in a timely manner and didn't go off the handle at fucking dbags, no one would know any different. As soon as I was off the clock I could go out and get trashed and not think about the stupid restaurant until I put on my apron the next day. So I can relate to what this girl is saying in that respect. You aren't special as a waiter, and I don't see how saying that makes her awful. No one gives a fuck about you as a server, particularly those you're impressing for your money--and that can be shit, too, but it has its benefits.

    I do think the show appears to be setting up certain conflicts that it's beginning to work through, though still in slightly microcosmic ways (the conversation about Lena Dunham's bf's shitty behavior; the gynecologist and the interviewer calling her on her offensive jokes about rape and AIDS). I really loved the whole "Ladies, Listen Up!" thing--it was funny and (I think) a smart way of acknowledging that this show isn't about All Girls, but about very particular ones who may not have very much in common at all. Anyway, I thought it was successful, and I hope the show does well and continues to grow and work through the issues it's being critiqued for, rather than simply becoming dismissed outright or a failure because of them. It's important to have ongoing dialogue about issues of privilege and racism and classism in this country, but I suppose the baseline of why I find the conversation around the show troubling is that it seems more likely to sweep those issues under the rug of snarkiness or disdain than attempt to handle them constructively.

    Of course, again, disclaimer: I'm talking in here, but a lot of the trouble I have is coming from other sites. Jezebel is one of the primary culprits for me, but then, I nearly always find that site to be profoundly hypocritical.

  11. #41
    a little more time, endless time Savannah's Avatar
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    I really liked a few things about this ep.

    Loved the sex scene. I thought showing the dude bursting into grotesque stream-of-consciousness roleplay without warning her first (or talking about it with her later) was a perfect way to demonstrate that particular type of heedless YouPorn-era attitude. I'm kind of obsessed with kink, also, so to me it's interesting as a glaring example of What Not To Do if you want to introduce kink into sex. I've never seen any sex scenes quite like these-- I hope a lot of girls are watching them and going, "Oh my god, so that's not okay and it's all right that it totally squicked me out." I think these days you have so many more ways that guys are disrespectful to women (besides old-fashioned objectification and harassment) because they're watching today's increasingly dumb, violent, and casually fetishist DIY Internet porn.

    I liked the ending, although it was the exact same technique she used in Tiny Furniture.

    I also liked the AIDS thing. IDK, I'm fascinated with the Hannah character and how she's too caught up in her own sense of uselessness and her own cluelessness to be a productive member of society. I think it's possible that's supposed to be a moment of enlightenment for Hannah, i.e. I'm obsessing over this disease because my sense of self-loathing is so deep that I actually kind of want to have it and oh god I'm so pathetic.

    I could have lived without the silly bar scene. "Oh how crazy and irresponsible, having random anonymous sex while you're supposed to be having an abortion!"

    Possibly nothing about this show is keeping my attention except Dunham's morbidly hypnotic style of confessionalism, but I'm okay with that.
    Last edited by Savannah; 04-24-2012 at 08:48 PM.

  12. #42
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    The nurse in the last scene was rightfully horrified with her AIDS monologue. I'm still deeply deeply ambivalent about this show but now I know at least that Dunham is knowingly self-deprecating. It's at least meant to be as much a criticism of these "girls" as it is an indulgence in their world of privilege.

    That sex scene that started the episode almost made me turn it off completely. It was SO painful. I really really hope they're setting up Hannah to find her spine and dump this guy or I just don't know if I can keep watching. Talk about bleak.

    Aside from a few Larry Craig -like moments of teh funny (which were good!), I thought the episode was tame and cowardly. Like the abortion story -- OH, I see, you can just let your character avoid the difficult choice by having a magical miscarriage minutes before the procedure! Taking note.

    But then the couplet that ended the episode was right the fuck on. Nurse: (inserting speculum) Does this hurt? Hannah: Not more than it's supposed to. (End credits roll)

    If Dunham can take this past the Sex and the City bs, past all "the ladies" talks and painfully passive and self-loathing sex scenes, then it could be good. Maybe my issue with the series is fundamental though (it's built right into the title) -- there is so much more to being a lost young adult than gender and who you're fucking.
    Last edited by devnull; 04-24-2012 at 08:48 PM.

  13. #43
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by white trash medicine View Post

    I liked the ending, although it was the exact same technique she used in Tiny Furniture.
    Hahah, really? I should watch it. Though I don't know anybody who liked it.

  14. #44
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Shart O'Nay View Post
    Oh, jesus, come on. It's not like this chick was saying "Look at those disgusting poor people and their quaint, disgusting jobs! How high-larious! Can you imagine someone as rich and beautiful as me doing that???!!!"
    Can you seriously not see how that sort of blithering on is gratingly annoying? She's like the girl in the lyrics to Pulp's song Common People. You know, the song where the rich girl wants to live like common people do? And how everybody hates a tourist, especially one who thinks it's all such a laugh? Essentially, that little fantasy of hers and the fact she actually shared it with a journalist epitomises the whole class issue at the root of a lot of the ire directed at this show. You can't claim to be a voice of a genration or everygirl then focus on the lives and concerns of a tiny percentage of the over-privileged. Her anecdote underscores how far she actually is from the lives and concerns of the average young person, who doesn't get to have little fantasies about what it's like to have to do certain types of shit, demeaning, low-paid, back-breaking job because they actually have to do them.

    Rich, pampered, Marie-Antoinette used to dress up as a shepherdess and prance around a specially-built farmyard to indulge her 'curiosity' about how the other half lived too, while the other half serfed away and occasionally starved to death. Amazingly, said other half found this so fucking annoying they eventually cut off her head.

    Look, nobody likes a clueless rich person of any gender spewing on naively about how exciting it must be to work in a poorly-paid, shit-arse service-sector job, especially when everyone knows she has absolutely no intention of ever indulging her curiousity. It's not as if service-sector work is off limits to budding actresses. Far from it. Essentially, she's banging on about slumming.

    I just can't fathom why The Internet seems so vitriolically invested in ripping this show to shreds. Again, it's not that it's not problematic--but why not spend the time and energy on a more dangerous purveyor of these same problems? "Girls" may have a troubling premise and be led by a number of people who have foot-in-mouth syndrome, but it's still an HBO show written, directed, and acted by young women who are not plucked & plumped glamazons
    Eh, they look standard indie-type 'glamazons' to me. Different aesthetic to the desperate housewives but still pretty much exactly what we've seen before in a hundred limp indie-chick comedies and dramas. The class divide pretty much erases any solidarity one might have anyway.

  15. #45
    I'm a creep I'm a weirdo
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    Is there anywhere Ep 2 can be streamed online for those who don't have HBO?

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