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Lena Dunham's Show Girls - Yes, It Is That Good

by Melissa Silverstein
April 12, 2012 11:30 AM
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For those of you who don't have HBO this might be a good time to check it out. Not only does the new series Girls by Lena Dunham premiere this weekend, but next week we get Julia Louis Dreyfus in VEEP.  And of course there is the brilliant Game of Thrones which has such amazing female characters. 

HBO has done a great job with the promotion for this series.  Almost too good.  The show and Lena are everywhere.  They should thank their lucky stars that they have such an articulate spokesperson in the show's creator/writer/director/star - Lena Dunham.

I want to pause for a moment and note that it has been a long time since I saw a woman and such a young woman to boot have so many credits on a show.  Watching the credits roll after the first episode I literally had a flashback moment to when I saw Yentl as a teen and saw how many credits Barbra Streisand had at the end of the film.  While TV and film are different, seeing a woman take on this many roles behind and in front of the camera (I wonder if Lena sings?) is still quite striking almost 30 years later.

And I also love that this show is so clearly Lena's vision.  To see a young woman with such strong vision and to be able to defend it and speak about it in such a strong way almost makes me weep.  And while she wrote the first three shows herself, the writer's room is populated with other many other women.  This is a young woman who embraces other women, and loves other women which is so clear from the moment the show begins.  There is none of this competition crap.  This is a pure lovefest.

And the vision is about young women.  Granted, these are a certain type of young women.  Overeducated and underemployed and white.  People may have taken issue with calling 25 year olds girls.  What Lena says is that at 25 these are still girls because they are still trying to find their place in the world.  They don't feel like adults yet.  They don't act like adults yet.  So they are still girls.  Of course she enhances that with one early scene when the two best friends played by Lena (as Hannah) and Allison Williams (as Marnie) wind up falling asleep together because Marnie can't stand to be in bed with her adoring boyfriend.

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  • BES | April 18, 2012 2:01 PMReply

    Here is the thing. I can walk in any women's locker room in the city for free and watch women dress, undress and shower. I don't do that and either do other women because we find the idea creepy and boring. So showing me some malecentric view of women is not going to be entertaining to me or other women regardless of whether the company producing it employs a high percentage of women to write the show. It just doesn't work for entertainment from my perspective and my perspective is all I care about when I am deciding what to watch.

  • BES | April 18, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    "Because the HBO model will allow us to really see bodies"

    This is the problem for me. I don't want to see and criticize and analyze ANY women's bodies for entertainment I don't care if they are regular women or idealized typical media women. Sure this is a great opportunity for regular women who work in the business but I don't see it as an entertaining option for women viewers. I don't think that the interests of women working in media and women consumers of media have ever been the same thing. I expect to be entertained or informed when I watch media and the show just doesn't appeal to me mostly because I know of the HBOization of stories and have never found it appealing.

  • Maria | April 12, 2012 1:00 PMReply

    Awesome! I have been following Lena's career since Tiny Furniture, and I am very excited for her success with Girls. Cannot wait to see it! Thanks for posting this!

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