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Can Girls Be a Game Changer?

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by Melissa Silverstein
February 3, 2012 10:13 AM
9 Comments
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I found this brief behind the scenes one minute and forty two second piece from the upcoming HBO series Girls created by Lena Dunham and after I watched it I could not help but think that this show could be a game changer.

For anyone who saw Tiny Furniture (and if you haven't wait the hell are you waiting for?) you know that Lena is a huge talent.  She's got a great voice, she clearly has vision as a director, and she does not hesitate to put herself in the mix as an actor too.

Based on the success of her tiny movie which I'm pretty sure was made for $25,000 she got an HBO deal to create her own show with Judd Apatow as her executive producer.

Now the show is ready to roll out on April 15 and we are starting to get glimpses.  I really like what I see.  The reason why I think this could be a game changer is that we are so ready for an HBO show that features women.  We are ready for a show about real women and while everyone was so excited about the new shows about women last fall on network TV, I found them all to be disappointing and several completely unwatchable.  I gave up Whitney in week 3.  I had 8 episodes of 2 Broke Girls -- which became a show of one liners for Kat Dennings -- in my DVR and dumped them.  The only one that I can still handle in the New Girl.  My hands down favorite new comedy of the season is Up All Night and for all of NBC's troubles they have awesome lady friendly shows in Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and now Up All Night.

But Girls will be different because it is HBO, and HBO let's you talk about vaginas and sex and you don't have to count how many times you say it.  You can just go for it.  That's why it is the perfect format for Dunham who takes the rawness of life, the misery we all go through and makes it fucking funny.

And Girls is different because it is the vision of a 25 year old woman who says in this short clip that she created the series because she did not see a "pop culture mirror reflecting girls my age experiencing the trials and tribulations of being female at this specific time."  And let's face it.  Dunham is not the typical sitcom star and that's what I love about this too. 

And Judd Apatow is taking another step toward feminist redemption by championing Lena and figuring out a way for her to have the freedom to make the show she needed to make.  Here's what he says in the piece.  Lena is the "star, the writer of much of it, the director of a lot of it- there's a pure vision to what is happening on screen."

Think about it.  How cool is it that HBO is trusting a 25 year old woman's vision.  This is a big deal.   So just like Bridesmaids we all need to spread the word about this show.  Cause the better it does the better it will be for all of us.

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9 Comments

  • Vino | February 8, 2012 6:09 PMReply

    25 year olds are not "girls." In NYC, they're deep into career progress.
    Series is really about teenies, hey!

  • JeanLouise | February 8, 2012 3:43 PMReply

    Twenty-five-year old females are women, not girls. In that brief clip, Judd Apatow described the show as "dirty and perverted" and a male character was screaming about genital warts. I'm far from a prude but I'm also more than a piece of ass. It doesn't appear that Dunham has had that epiphany yet.

    Sadly, I see nothing in this production that appeals to me.

  • Murray | February 6, 2012 1:32 PMReply

    I went to a screening of Tiny Furniture with Q/A with Dunham, and I do think that she "gets it" to a certain extent, she does know the ol' feminism word, she knows that Tiny Furniture was a VERY specific class/racial/privileged post-college demographic, etc, but my guess is to some extent she was brought in for Girls as a Tiny-Furniture-Now-A-TV-Show rather than as something completely different.

    That being said, since her well known works are now BOTH as Tinfoil Hattie put it about "beautiful white women of a specific economic demographic", she's going to be very open to this critique (though she does get a +1 for fat acceptance from Tiny Furniture imo), and we all know it. But I think the original post makes the important point that while yes HBO is trusting a white woman to make a project gee-that-never-happens, the news is that they're trusting a YOUNG person to make a project, a woman at that, and said young woman has her hands in the writing of it, the directing of it, and the acting of it, and how did she get there? She made a movie with her family on a still-image camera and it impressed people.

    Even if her background and her subject matter are rather Hollywood-normal, part of the reason the number of women directing is so atrocious is because execs are terrified of doing things without precedent, and there's much less precedent for young women and women in general to be directing or writing their own shows. And yes Apatow's involvement in this-and-Bridesmaids and him trying to be some sort of king-of-lady-comedy is weird, but to some extent we've got to take what we can get. And also push for more. I still think this helps women in Hollywood though, particularly if the show does well.

  • tinfoil hattie | February 6, 2012 9:14 AMReply

    Sure, if by "girls" you mean "women," WOW - what a great idea!

    Also, if by "'"pop culture mirror reflecting girls my age experiencing the trials and tribulations of being female at this specific time,'" Dunham means beautiful white women of a specific economic demographic, then HELL YEAH, let's tell the story! Especially because Official Woman-Approver, Apatow, has given it his gushing blessing! If HE says it's good, then it's GOOD!

  • samsmom | February 6, 2012 7:31 AMReply

    You lost me at "Judd Apatow". Why not a TV show for and about women where the women talk about things other than vaginas and breasts? Oh, yea, we wouldn't find Apatow's name on that, would we?

  • Bes | February 5, 2012 12:04 PMReply

    It occurs to me that you don't need to be grateful for anything on TV or in movies. Women are the majority and make 80% of all purchasing decisions and are completely under served by Corporate Media. Seriously if this attempt fails to attract young female viewers then they supposedly won't try again?! That would be a breathtakingly stupid business decision. They try the SOS which is created by males over and over and over in spite of their failure to appeal to women. At some point men will have to step away and let women tell their own stories in their own way if they want to make money from media because their cable monopoly is breaking down and they won't be able to gate-keep our voices out of the market place much longer. Media men waste their time trying to sell women their place in male fantasies never realizing that women have their own fantasy life they like to indulge and are not interested in how to fit into men's world.

  • Bonnie Simmons | February 4, 2012 9:06 PMReply

    I see these "girls" all over nyc...I see the other ones as well but they don't interest me. Many of us were Hannah; I was.

  • Bes | February 4, 2012 2:06 PMReply

    I don't really think that not talking enough about vaginas in what makes TV and movie women characters inauthentic and off. I don't remember the last time my women friends and I talked about vaginas and yet we always have plenty to say. I would have to say that the reason movie and TV female characters are off is because they are written, cast, costumed, directed, filmed, and edited by men. If at any point a woman is sneaked into this manhandling she is creating for the purpose of gaining male approval of her work, not for the purpose of creating an authentic female character. But who knows maybe they can accommodate their male keepers need to hear women say "vagina, vagina, breast, vagina, big breasts, vagina" and still create something authentic. I wouldn't bet on it myself.

  • Simmy | February 4, 2012 11:05 AMReply

    This looks really good, thanks for posting it.I'll certainly pass the word on and write about it on my blog. I agree that Hollywood needs more high profile women screen-writers like Diablo Cody and it's interesting that it's being backed by someone like Judd Apatow.

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