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Judd Apatow Says HBO Worried That 'Girls' Sex Scenes Could Cost Their License; 6 Seasons Planned

by Kevin Jagernauth
March 19, 2014 4:20 PM
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As the third season gets ready to close out for "Girls," Lena Dunham's show has already made the kind of waves you might expect from a program that has been on the air twice as long. Right out of the gate, Dunham presented the world with a series that, among many other things, was unapologetic about sex, kinks and the human body no matter what shape it comes in (and we're not just talking Dunham's; Alex Karpovsky's bare ass as he grinded on Allison Williams is still seared in our memory). And while it seems there's no boundary that can't be crossed on cable, that's not necessarily true.

Producer Judd Apatow recently visited Loyola Marymount University (via THR) to chat with students, and during the conversation he revealed that HBO had them pull back on some more risque scenes out of genuine concern they would get yanked off the air. "There have been things on 'Girls' where HBO has said to us, 'If we put this on TV, we literally could lose our license to broadcast,' " Apatow said, adding, "Let's just say it's something you see in adult film. Elements of sexual intercourse. The high points of sexual intercourse."

Considering that the show already featured Adam (Adam Driver) ejaculating on the breasts of a former girlfriend, perhaps we can imagine what the XXX version of that scene might be like. But, there will be more opportunity to make HBO suits sweat, as Apatow reveals that Dunham and the gang will be around for a while yet. 

"We've talked about doing six seasons. I guess that could change, it's not set. I think we're all committed that we'll do six," he said about the future of "Girls." And there has been even been some about what a finale might look like, but nothing is set in stone. "...we've talked about it. It makes you respect the ending of 'The Sopranos' though. When you're part of a show and you think about, how do you end a series, the idea that you just stop and leave people there is so genius, it's such a great idea," Apatow explained. "It's such a great way of saying, it doesn't matter. This is their life and now we're just going to leave them to it."

Of course, no conversation with Apatow is ever complete without the inevitable "Freaks & Geeks" question, and one came up here too—just don't hold your breath for the gang to come back together. "I think it's too late. 'Freaks and Geeks' would probably have a really sad reunion show," he stated. "It would have to happen at a prison or at a hospital. We didn't think much of those people would do very well. We thought Lindsay might escape but for the most part, it probably wouldn't be a pretty picture. So we've never taken that seriously. Whenever you see those reunion shows, there's something that feels wrong about that."

In a way though, you might've already seen a "Freaks & Geeks" followup and just didn't know it. " 'Superbad' feels like an extension of 'Freaks and Geeks,' and 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' feels like an extension," Apatow said. "In a way we continue to tell those types of stories, so I don't feel like it's open ended. And I like the ending. That Lindsay goes off to follow the Dead. We did talk about what would happen second season. Paul [Feig] had a lot of ideas about Lindsay having very serious drug problems. She loved acid. She loved it."

Well, with Jessa becoming a junkie in "Girls," perhaps the circle is complete. Thoughts on sex scenes in "Girls?" You know where to go.

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  • bugs | March 19, 2014 8:23 PMReply

    Cable networks don't have licenses. The only real danger to HBO's existence is loss of subscribers or local cable providers choosing not to carry the channel. Either Apatow doesn't understand that (very unlikely), he was simplifying it or his audience (probably necessary considering it was an audience of kids attending their 3rd choice college), or the article is incorrect (most likely). Either way, it is kinda embarrassing that you put it in the headline.

  • spoilerdirector | March 20, 2014 9:18 AM

    I'm sure Apatow was exaggerating for comedic effect. These days every off the cuff comment is reported as fact and news and he was probably just joking around.

  • Slen | March 19, 2014 5:58 PMReply

    I'm more interested in the story of Freaks and Geeks the fact that they wanted Lindsey to be addicted to acid is almost disheartening. But I would kill just to hear the entire synopsis of season 2.

  • Dryer | March 19, 2014 5:24 PMReply

    This show is chore to watch-there are moments of comedic brilliance but you have to sludge through antics of girl and man child like characters. If HBO is cutting throats of Boardwalk & Newsroom to pay for GIRLS it's getting close to the end of its rope.

  • robb | March 20, 2014 12:47 PM

    Boardwalk is dying because the creative staff wants out and onto a different show for HBO. Newsroom is how best to say it, unsuccessful on the metrics they measure and 3 seasons at that cost is a pretty good outcome. trust me its not about money. also newsroom didnt really sell well internationally, outside of their output deals.

  • Anonymouse | March 19, 2014 8:58 PM

    agreed. i think the comedic moments of brilliance are farther and fewer between since the first season. adam driver's a great presence and talent and the one of the few reasons i continue watching.

  • terry | March 19, 2014 4:35 PMReply

    did you mean to say "lunch" or license?

  • cooltothetouch | March 21, 2014 9:21 AM


  • yer | March 19, 2014 4:46 PM

    hahah that was actually a good one.

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