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Friday, January 17, 2014

I Want to Talk About Lena Dunham for a Second

Posted by on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM


As soon as Breaking Bad ended, I realized that my favorite TV show on the air right now is Girls. It's hard to be a Girls fan and not continually want to do battle with the stuffy, self-important think-piece culture that's blossomed around it on the internet. Part of the reason I don't write about Girls is that I don't want to add to that conversation. I don't think it helps anything. I think the media comes across as stupid and diminishing when the best TV comedy writer in America has to keep answering inane questions about nudity and what an entire generation of young women wants.

Lena Dunham is a brilliant writer. She is also very, very funny. Dunham's characters are some of the best on television right now. On first blush, they feel like caricatures, or fools. But in a matter of minutes, they assert their humanity in subtle, important ways. The actors on Girls are all excellent at what they do—there's a reason why so many Girls actors were cast in the most recent Coen Brothers movie—but Dunham is deep in the DNA of every frame of the show. You couldn't remove Dunham from Girls any more than you could remove Charlie Chaplin from Modern Times.

Dunham doesn't need my defense, or any defense. She does just fine on her own. Her show has only gotten better as it's progressed, and she's only become more graceful in the public eye as her fame has grown. I just read about all the bullshit that she has to go through and I get so tired. I can't imagine that any normal person gives a shit about any of it—the dickish questions, the shameful publicity stunts for the sake of clickbait—and I just imagine the same media people clicking the links on the same boring articles over and over again and it just makes me so sad and so tired. Dunham deserves better than this. Hell, we all deserve better than this. Let's just move along and ignore the fucking idiots and devil's advocates and shameless sleaze merchants until they go away, okay? It's time for something better.

 

Comments (21) RSS

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TheMisanthrope 1
She might be referring to the Jezebel fellating Vogue thing.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Greenwood 2
Agree completely. After just reading some drivel on Slate, I was thinking the same thing. And the Coen Brothers comparison makes perfect sense.
Posted by Greenwood on January 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 3
Any actor who pretends they'd rather you not talk about them is full of shit.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 17, 2014 at 2:24 PM · Report this
4
Okay, I understand the unhappiness over comments made about her and her body; I applaud her courage which virtually no other actress (save Melissa McCarthy and Mindy Kaling) has. It's to say, "This is my body. I love it - get over it."

The show itself is a lot less impressive to me. I'm not wowed by it at all.

You have to separate the judgment of Dunham versus criticism of the show itself.
Posted by westello on January 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 5
the best TV comedy writer in America


This is a stretch. I wouldn't even say she's the best female comedy writer.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM · Report this
biffp 6
@3, ftw.
Posted by biffp on January 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
7
Girls is the Seinfeld of the 2010's. It about a bunch of nobodies doing nothing, and thinking they're cool, when they're not. Boooooring!
Posted by elbowman on January 17, 2014 at 2:55 PM · Report this
yelahneb 8
"Let's just move along and ignore the fucking idiots and devil's advocates and shameless sleaze merchants until they go away, okay? It's time for something better."

You're right,of course. Still - I will miss Slog.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on January 17, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 9
She's a treasure, and you write well here, sir. Thank you.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on January 17, 2014 at 3:30 PM · Report this
10
You got some on your chin there White Knight Paul.
Posted by hurrDurr on January 17, 2014 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Lissa 11
@3: She didn't tweet that. That's you projecting.

An actor who would rather have their work talked about rather than an endless parsing of their body parts (wrong shape? Shown too much? Not enough? Should be photoshopped? Shouldn't? Fuckable? Not fuckable?) to the exclusion of pretty much all else, and thinks engaging in that endless parsing of their body parts is rediculous is not full of shit.
Posted by Lissa on January 17, 2014 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Lissa 12
*Ridiculous*
Me spel gud.
Posted by Lissa on January 17, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 13
@11

Yeah, that's why she did a Voge photoshoot. To have a conversation about her Art.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 17, 2014 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Clara T 14
Totally agree - such a great show in the way Dunham precisely and mercilessly pins types to the wall like a butterfly collector. It's everything that flaming bag of shit Sex and the City might have been if it had the courage to be more than conventionally "edgy."

The tongue-clucking is latent Victorian hater-ism from people who are in one way or another threatened by young and/or women unapologetically controlling discourse without their permission. Fuck 'em - Dunham's a talent - they should just get out of the way.
Posted by Clara T on January 17, 2014 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Fnarf 15
@14, exactly right -- if SATC was more than just an extended shoe commercial or whatever it was. Girls is a terrific show. It's not entirely clear to me that Dunham knows WHY it's such a terrific show -- the characters are vastly more repellent (and sheltered and entitled) than she seems to think they are -- but they are alive and real and age-appropriate (I was repellent at that age myself) in a way that hasn't been seen before. And you can see them growing right before your eyes, which is also something you don't see on TV.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 17, 2014 at 5:05 PM · Report this
16
Dunham is brilliant. And paul is right there is whole heap of unfair baggage projected on to her.

Not just about her body but about her race (and by proxy the race of her cast), her class status, and the pressure for her to rep her species.

All of it is bullshit. She's only 27 years old for fuck sake. Let's wait until she's Louie Ck's age and see where she goes.

Girls is not my... well, it's not part of my cultural vernacular exactly... so I find it at times infuriating. But infuriating in a smart way. These last two episodes were a little disappointing, but overall it's infinitely better than 90% of everything in the oeuvre of her cohorts.

I'm excited for the Dunham of 2024.
Posted by tkc on January 17, 2014 at 5:41 PM · Report this
TVDinner 17
Oh god, the self-anointed devil's advocates. Is there anything on earth as pompous and tiresome?

Really, if I were the devil I'd politely decline all the pro bono representation.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 17, 2014 at 7:41 PM · Report this
18
Wait, Girls is supposed to be funny?
Posted by Reader01 on January 17, 2014 at 8:41 PM · Report this
19
This seems important to people who find the television to be an important means of communication.
Posted by treehugger on January 17, 2014 at 9:37 PM · Report this
Lissa 20
@13: George Clooney was on the cover of W and Justin Timberlake was on the cover of GQ. What's your point? They aren't artists? They don't want to talk about their work? All they care about is what people think of their bodies, and if they say that long and involved broo ha has in the media about their bodies are too ridiculous to engage in they're lying? Obama has been on the cover of Men's Health. More than once. I suppose all he wants people to talk about is his six pack?
Posted by Lissa on January 17, 2014 at 9:39 PM · Report this
21
Dunham's the real deal. I'd love Girls even if it didn't get morons all riled up, but the fact that it does makes it extra awesome.
Posted by Amanda on January 18, 2014 at 12:45 AM · Report this

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