The second season of the hit HBO show, Girls, premiered this past Sunday with great success raking in 3.8 million viewers after encore airings and On Demand/DVR viewings were tallied. Lena Dunham is the mastermind behind the show filling the roles of the writer, the star, the creator and more times than not, the director and the executive producer. The storyline revolves around four post-college girls who are each uniquely different while desperately trying to find their own roadmaps to life. Loving and living in pricey New York City seems to be quite the
challenge, even for the over educated witty girls. Dunham’s show portrays dramatic, unflinching humor and honesty.
The show naturally attacks detractors for its raw and sometimes crude form. Executive producer Judd Apatow is extremely supportive of Dunham and is quoted in the media for defending her constantly. It takes a certain amount of talent to attract someone with Apatow’s stature, and Dunham has definitely got it. Most of the criticisms stem from the fact that Dunham fearlessly shows her non-Hollywood, tattooed body in an intimate and shocking way. These close-minded critics are blind to the fact that the entire nature of the show is to portray the truisms of a young woman. Another one of the show’s criticisms is that the show is unrealistic due to the fact that it takes place in New York City and there is no cultural diversity. This certainly changed with the premier of the second season; Hannah’s new love interest is African American and appears within the first 30 seconds of the show.
In addition, Howard Stern was even quoted as referring to Dunham as “a little fat girl who looks like Jonah Hill”. This created quite the stir that greatly insulted Dunham. An article in AskMen even stated that Dunham is the unlikeliest sex symbol Hollywood has ever seen. She’s creating ripples in an industry that isn’t accepting or welcoming to imperfections. Dunham is pushing the limits farther and farther as she continues to break the rules.
Dunham’s bio is short of predictable for someone as young and successful in the television industry as she has become. The twenty-six year old New Yorker graduated from Oberlin College with a major in creative writing. In addition to being the star and creator of the HBO series Girls, Dunham was the director and writer of the independent film Tiny Furniture (2010) that won Best Narrative Feature at South by Southwest Music and Media Conference. In 2012, she won two Golden Globes and was nominated for four Emmy Awards. On October 8, 2012, Dunham signed a 3.5 million dollar deal with Random House to publish her first book, an essay entitled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned. Her career began with the creation of the web series Delusional Downtown Divas (2009), which actually gained a cult following along with her first feature film Creative Nonfiction (2009). Letting her imperfections shine, Dunham has become an overnight celebrity with an extremely bright future ahead.
Television also plays an under examined role in our everyday routine as Mittell declares. Many scenes in girls focus on the small details, the mundane routines of everyday life, which makes the show extremely profound. Dunham is able to successfully conduct scenes in bathrooms (which may even be the most pivotal scene of the episode) and gives an accurate interpretation of how young women talk about important details in their lives. Girls focuses more on the raw details of life, which are at times awkward and uncomfortable; however, this is Dunham’s intention. In an article written on Nymag, an author states, “Dunham films herself nude, with her skin breaking out, her belly in folds, chin doubled, or flat on her back with her feet in the gynecologist’s stirrups. These scenes shouldn’t shock, but they do, if only because in a culture soaked in Photoshop and Botox, few powerful women open themselves up so aggressively to the judgment of voyeurs”. This is a great depiction of where the criticisms about the show stem from. The sex scenes are very raw and extremely awkward, which is what Dunham was aiming for. It has been said that these scenes aren’t a reward, they’re a revelation; they captivate the actors in the moment in a unique and unconventional way.
Lena Dunham hit it big on Sunday at this year’s Golden Globes taking home the award for Best Television Series and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series. While Dunham was on stage, the premier of Girls season 2 aired in a very appropriate, timely fashion. Dunham also appeared in an advertisement supporting President Barak Obama’s reelection, delivering a monologue in front of the camera. The purpose was to try to get youth votes by comparing voting for the first time to having sex for the first time.
In addition, Girls and Urban Outfitters have just launched a “sweet sweepstakes” which will end with a lucky girl receiving free rent for one year and an apartment makeover worth up to $5,000. Contestants apply by taking a picture of themselves in their apartment and uploading it directly to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #OUXGIRLS. The collaboration was just in time for the premier of the second season. This joint venture is ironic seeing as how Dunham mocks girls who shop at stores like Urban Outfitters. Perhaps she sold out for a chunk of change. All that we know is this talented star, writer, director and creator will go far, and we’re interested to see just how far she goes.
Official Trailer of Season 2
Photos credited to:
Jill Stanek, Jojo Whilden, Jessica, Miglio, HBO