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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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I've seen three episodes and they made me crack up and cringe at the same time.  I think what got me the most was that the show feels so honest and it has a ton of heart.  And yes, there is a ton of sex, so parents if you think because it is named Girls that it is appropriate for your tween or teen daughters, don't be mistaken.  This is a show for adults.  This is a show for all of us who have been those girls who  were never able to articulate what we were feeling in this way.

One of the things I love most about this show is that is stars Dunham who we all know would never be cast as Hannah on a network.  In a Q and A with Time Magazine Dunham reveals that the week before the show started production even her agent was shocked that she was starring in it.   Here's what she said:

"I remember my agent, who’s incredibly supportive, was shocked. A week before we were going to shoot he went, “Wait, you’re acting in this, too?” like it hadn’t even occurred to him that HBO was going to let me do this.  He figured I was going to have to cast some sassy, thinner version of myself.  And he was excited but shocked." 

On network TV Allison Williams or someone like her would be Hannah.  But Dunham is the best part of the show -- even though all the women are fantastic.  When she sits on the bed of the guy she just had sex with who she really likes (at times) but treats her like shit (at times) in her underwear and lets him play with her stomach roll I just gasped.  First, that I saw a stomach roll on TV, and second because she is just so damn comfortable to write something like this that she knows she would have to act.  And because Lena has a normal body and shows it naked on TV this show has an opportunity to go places no other show has gone before. 

It's very lucky that HBO which for so long was a vast wasteland for shows about women has gotten on board with this show in a big way.  Because the HBO model will allow us to really see bodies and let us talk about issues about girls, about sex, about expectations and about life that can be presented in a way that will allow us to connect with in a different way than on network TV.

Bottom line is this.  You haven't seen a show like this before.  It is a show that makes a feminist who is a generation older than Lena smile because she has taken the conversation about women to a beautiful and messy and unclear place that shows how far feminism has come.  I am seriously in awe of this young woman -- and yes, she is a woman because while she might be a girl on the show -- only a smart woman would be able to pull off what she has.

Make sure to watch the show this Sunday at 10:30.

Here are some great pieces on the show

Lena Dunham Interview, Part One: What Girls Is Made Of (Time)

It’s Different for 'Girls' (NY Mag)

Lena Dunham's 'Girls': Still Sex, Still The City, Different Show (NPR - audio)

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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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