For whoever exalts herself will be humbled

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lenaYou can kind of feel the (next) Lena Dunham backlash building.

Just this week, you’ve got an old-time comedy writer finding Lena’s eff-ups uninspiring, the false claim that she didn’t vote,  and a sharp critique (OK, that was last week) from Kareem Abdul Jabbar (??).

I’m a little interested in all this because Dunham this week bailed on a Connecticut Forum gig in May, also featuring John Hodgman, and moderated by me. The Forum folks have done some nifty scrambling and will soon be announcing some very cool added panelists.  I think we’re going to wind up with a better conversation (which is my whole thing) even as we bid adieu to the undisputed Girl of the Moment. Let it be.

The struggle (for me) would have been the potential devolution of the forum into a conversation about Lena (yes, she’s right on the verge of becoming one of those first-name celebrities.)  Rarely has a a young TV series generated so much …stuff. Let’s look at just the Atlantic. There’s the weekly discussion by millennials. There’s an essay about the “race problem.”  Oh, wait, that’s just one of them! And a nudity piece. Aaaaannd…prodigy envy. Most of the major sites are in a comparable lather.  There is not just one set of writers or one kind of piece assigned for “Girls.”

I’ve been watching Season 2 with great interest, especially when I sill thought I needed to be kind of an expert about Lena. I actually like it better this year. (I think that puts me in a minority.)  The writing seems tighter and more focused. I like the idea of turning Allison Williams into kind of a sexual slapstick actress. She’s so elegantly beautiful that her sexual pratfalls and social face-plants make for funny dissonance. “Girls” is, I think, often viewed with kind of edgy suspicion because of all the initial hype about it being some kind of massive take on a whole generation. Dunham was clear about this. In one of the first episodes, here character babbled, “I think I might be the voice of my generation …or a voice in a generation.” It was a joke. This is comedy. Let it be.








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4 thoughts on “For whoever exalts herself will be humbled

  1. Richard

    ‘Girls’ is ‘Slackers’ for the food service crowd. Let’s just say ‘Taxi’ did a better job showing the aspirations and misfortunes that the crew had in common and was better written.

    Yes Dunham is hot: what happens to liberal arts grads in a recession? What happens to a girl after a quickie with a lead guitarist in the bathroom stall? Where do the lower echelon sorority girls go when the music stops and Starbucks isn’t hiring?

  2. Laura

    Say what you want about Lena and “Girls” but she is a unique and honest voice in the television world. Viewers may not like the depiction of her generation and her women in particular but even at my age (50+), I have experienced more “been there” moments watching the “Girls” than I care to admit. It is refreshing to me to see it all put out there – the shallowness, low self-esteem, confusion, delusion, and ultimately quest to define oneself and one’s life. Granted I spent my 20s in NYC, but I think we can all look back on our youth and relate to how one can be strong and ambitious, and a hot mess all at the same time.

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