Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh Lena Dunham, I love you so hard.

I have mixed feelings about the mainstream success of Lena Dunham and her brilliant TV show, "Girls." On one hand, I think it's awesome that such an edgy and authentic program with an unconventional (and occasionally unlikable) female lead character has caught on with the public. On the other hand, I worry that its popularity could cause the show's writing and storylines to take a more conventional, "safe" direction over time. It's like when you sort of "discover" and fall in love with the work of a quirky author or a singer or band completely on your own, without anyone else's endorsement or recommendation--you just find them and you're like "YES! This is what I've been looking for! THIS speaks to me!" and then six months (or six years) down the line "your" band (or singer, author, etc.) becomes HUGE and you're happy and excited, but it's also a letdown, because they're not "yours" anymore and now everyone knows about them and things are never the same.

I'd rather be happy about it, though. I'm definitely happy for Lena Dunham, because I really love her work and what she's doing with "Girls." Perhaps I am blinded by my love and (as a writer) I could be dissecting the series too much, but one of the things that delights me about "Girls" is that it's like a big metaphorical middle finger to all the cliched crap Hollywood keeps pooping out that's supposedly aimed at women. One of the things that drives me nuts about romantic comedies these days is that they'll take a beautiful size-2 actress like Katherine Heigl and give her an impossibly gigantic apartment and a high-powered career and an expensive wardrobe and then they're like--"Wait, she needs some sort of flaw so that she's 'relatable.' Let's see....Oooh, I got it! Make her clumsy! Holy shit, that's genius!" Seriously, have the Hollywood committees who crank out that kind of bullshit ever actually met any women, or any human beings for that matter?

It's bad enough that they made her act with Ashton Kutcher
Then you have Dunham's "Girls" protagonist Hannah Horvath, a disheveled, tattooed ball of not-size-2 insecure awesomeness who can't keep a job, drinks too much, says things like, "My shoes match my dress! Kind of!" and seeks solace in awkward sex with her odd, emotionally distant sort-of-boyfriend/hookup who "treats (her) heart like it's monkey meat."

And did I mention that she's a frustrated writer?
Yeah, I have no idea why this character resonates so much with me.
I can't wait for season two. I sincerely hope that "Girls" (and Dunham, since she is also the show's creator, writer, director and executive producer) stays true to Hannah and the supporting characters, resisting any pressure to sweeten them up and make them more palatable to mainstream audiences. Seriously, I've had it up to my ass with palatable heroines.

Change we can believe in.



Ms Sparrow said...

Sometimes actors become tainted by their real-life image. Like Ashton Kutcher can never pretend to be young and goofy enough again to rise above the sleazy aftermath of leaving Demi and going on Two and A Half Men. The charm is gone. Tom Cruise can never play young and vulnerable again, he's an oddball control freak over 50. His charm is gone. I hope your Lena Dunham can maintain her charm and avoid turning into Snooki or one of the many other skanks on TV. It's a tough business.

andiepants said...

Yeah, something about Ashton Kutcher has always bugged me, even pre-Demi Moore. Can't quite put my finger on it.

I want to like Tom Cruise, but his weird $cientology crap gets in the way. The only role I ever really enjoyed of his was "Interview With the Vampire," when he was intentionally creepy (and not creepy on accident).

As for Lena Dunham, I don't think she'll turn all Snooki on us. She's too indie for that. :-)