Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

'Girls' producers go wild

Maybe you've wondered from time to time, while watching HBO's "Girls," why creator and star Lena Dunham so frequently chooses to have her character naked.

'Girls' producers go wild

Lena Dunham plays Hannah on the HBO series "Girls"
Lena Dunham plays Hannah on the HBO series "Girls"

Maybe you've wondered from time to time, while watching HBO's "Girls," why creator and star Lena Dunham so frequently chooses to have her character naked.

Maybe you haven't.

If you have, for God's sake, keep it to yourself.

Because the reporter (male) who had the temerity to ask Thursday, in what admittedly was a question more awkardly phrased than he probably intended, for Dunham's rationale, triggered the first mass hissy fit of the Television Critics Association's 2014 winter meetings. (We're in the first day of a  two-week event, so believe me, it won't be the last.).

Here's how it went:

Reporter: "I don’t get the purpose of all of the nudity on the show, by you particularly, and I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you go, 'Nobody complains about the nudity on ‘Game of Thrones,’ but I get why they are doing it. They are doing it to be salacious and, you know, titillate people. And your character is often naked just at random times for no reason."

Executive producer Jenni Konner:  "Just like humans."

Reporter:  "That’s true. Is that why?"

Konner: "Yeah."

Lena Dunham: "Yeah. It’s because it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that’s your problem, and you are going to have to kind of work that out with whatever professionals you've hired."

Executive producer Judd Apatow: "Do you have a girlfriend?"

Reporter: "Yeah."

Apatow: "Does she like you?"

 Reporter: "Sure."

Apatow: "OK. Let's  see how she likes you when you quote that with your question, and just write the whole question as you stated it."

I have no idea how the reporter's girlfriend feels about him, but I'm liking Apatow a bit less than before, and I say this as a woman who's not unhappy to see Dunham -- whose body looks more like mine than mine does, say, Heidi Klum's -- as comfortable in her own skin as she apparently is. She's so comfortable in fact, that I can't see why she needed Apatow answering the question she was asked (and that, let's face it, she must have heard a time or two before).

It didn't get any better after that. Later in the session, as I attempted to ask my own awkwardly phrased question of Dunham -- about how her possibly control freak creative process has changed over three seasons of a TV show where things like the unexpected departure of a cast member have forced shifts in plot -- Konner re-entered the fray as Dunham was trying to answer.

"I literally was spacing out because I’m in such a rage spiral about that guy that I literally could not hear," she told me. "I’m so sorry. I really don’t mean to disrespect you. I just was looking at him and going into this rage, this idea that you would talk to a woman like that and accuse a woman of showing her body too much. The idea, it just makes me sort of sick, and so I apologize to everyone. I’m going to try to focus now, but if I space out, it will be because of that guy."

"Girls" returns to HBO for its third season on Sunday at 10 with two back-to-back episodes. Konner and Apatow won't be in them and Dunham will get to finish all her own answers. And be naked any time she wants.


 

Read more Ellen Gray on Television

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
About this blog
As the TV critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, I've always believed my job is less about thumbs -- up or down -- and more about the conversation. Because the more choices we have, the fewer people in our lives know what we're talking about when we say, "Did you see that?" And that's when television really starts to get interesting. Reach Ellen at graye@phillynews.com.

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected