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HBO'S Girls

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EricMontreal22
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joined:10/31/11
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 04:56pm
Fair enough. I find it funny, but it's certainly the kind of show I can pretty easily understand why some wouldn't.

MrMidwest--I really appreciated, and agree with the piece from The Atlantic you posted. I think where the discussion should be directed at is getting more diversity behind the scenes. One reason I feel Girls is unfairly singled out, and I admit I still haven't really made up my mind on this, is when Dunham was hired by HBO they knew what they were getting. She cast and hired friends and people she had worked with before, and over a year back when I first heard about the development process she made that clear.

That's why I don't really get the point of the second link you posted--sure the woman who wrote it went to her school, had similar experiences, and isn't white. But Dunham, in her defence, has always said that this reflects her personal experience, and nepotism or not, it quite literally does. I found some of the discussion under the post hysterical--there's a thread of people praising what Seinfeld did when they had an episode that owned up to the show's overtly white-ness by having an episode where George constantly tries to prove he has black friends, and doesn't. That episode was done in typical Seinfeld fashion as a reaction to the white criticism--and came after YEARS of the criticism (and didn't exactly cause the show to have more lead characters who weren't white in later episodes). Just bizarre.
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strummergirl
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joined:12/8/09
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 05:44pm
HBO is a network not really known for its diversity. Heck, I am trying to remember if it ever had a female creator, show-runner rather than just a female-led show which itself is not too often. The Wire that was by far the most diverse show done by HBO came from David Simon, a white guy, who had worked in the business of reporting on the life experiences of those across Baltimore.

Lena Dunham did get a question about diversity on the show and responded in a chat:
julesdwit
"As NYC is such a diverse place, are there plans to introduce more people of color in lead or secondary roles?"
SHARE THIS


A:Lena Dunham
"It was a complete accident that it happened this way, I wish that we were representing the population of New York in a more accurate way - and hopefully if we get to do a second season we will. "

http://connect.hbo.com/conversations/girls/lena-dunham



Updated On: 4/20/12 at 05:44 PM
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 06:58pm
Female show runners are actually one of the goals for future shows from HBO I read--and it sounds like when Alan Ball steps down from True Blood his second in command will take over (I can't remember her name...). But I agree with your point--let's face it female created shows are pretty much a recent thing in general--annoyingly when there are so many strong female tv writers.

I read that quote too--and on another blog it got a ton of nasty replies basically saying she was a liar, she should have represented the city better now, etc. I dunno, at this point I think she's in a no win situation on the subject
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Jordan Catalano
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 07:05pm
This is such a ridiculous argument. Seriously, this is one of those "we have nothing better to bitch and moan about right this minute so we might as well invent something" arguments. So what if this show is about four white friends? Even in this city with such a diverse population (and omg my best friend is totally Indian so I know. Like, from India Indian not like the feather kind) there are still groups of white friends. I know it's hard to believe but it's actually true!
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 07:33pm
The Atlantic writer mentioned that-- and it is the kind of situation that if they threw in a token ethnic friend I could see people complaining either that it was obvious a white woman wrote her, or that she was turned into an ethnic stereotype.
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iflitifloat
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 09:51pm
So have things changed since Sex and the City or Friends, where it was okay for a group of friends to all be white? Some of the judgements against this series strike me as pretty harsh, especially since only one episode has aired.

It feels like reverse racism of sorts when anything written and performed is required to be racially balanced.

And for the record, I took Lesley Arfan's message to be an unfortunate attempt at satire that could easily be taken out of context in print.
Sueleen Gay: "Here you go, Bitch, now go make some fukcing lemonade." 10/28/10
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 10:10pm
That's exactly how I saw Arfan's retorts. Really after her first comment landed like a ton of bricks she should have just dropped it though...

I think what instigated this was that the show has had overwhelmingly positive reviews (it has an 87% on Metacritic), and many of the critics went on about how it speaks to the current young generation in the way nothing else does, bla bla. This also has caused the backlash from people who just find them annoying, over-priviledged characters as well, but that seems to be what most people criticizing the show are refering to. And it's not really fair because I don't get the impression the creators ever set out to write something that spoke to some whole generation.
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strummergirl
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 10:25pm
A lot about this show was taken out of context. Namely the scene where Lena's character Hannah tells her parents she 'is A voice of A generation'. Even the previews had her parents flummoxed by this statement. People keep on saying the character promotes this or that the network, reviews have promoted this notion that she is indeed 'the voice/representative of her generation' because of that clip that was shown. Only recently, such as the ONTD post, has there been context mentioned about that scene, namely that Hannah was high as a kite on opium when she makes that 'voice' statement. I really question if people actually watched the show if they think Hannah's character is a spoiled rich girl (her parents are both college professors who have cut her off partly because of how taxing it is for them financially) or that they somehow missed the context of her 'voice' statement.

I think I reached a breaking point on reading anymore controversy about this show (though that Atlantic piece was good, as I would expect from the author of it) when I read a post who cites a source who says 'Lena totally knew black people, I went to her high school!', in supporting this notion that Girls is putting a 'white-wash' on New York City and her own life experience.
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 10:39pm
COmpletely agreed. So she went to the same school as a woman who is black and apparently only vaguely recognized her at the school due to her tattoos, was not her friend, and is not writing a TV show. Ummm... and that means she should have had a black woman amongst the leads?

Some of the comments after that post are strange too--she makes a joke about how the casting calls for bit parts, to make it more ethnic probabkly said (I paraphrase) "the waitress at the restaurant should be played by a Muslim woman with a strong accent" etc. Even though it's a stupid joke, many of the people commenting on the blog read it as that was what the casting notices *actually said*. I don't know how you can even argue with that...
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Phyllis Rogers Stone
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Posted: 4/20/12 at 10:51pm
For what it's worth, Sex and the City and Friends were both often criticized for their homogeneous version of NYC life. It's not that it was okay for those too and it's not okay for Girls, it's more that it was that was twenty years ago, it was that way ten years ago and it's still kinda that way now.
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Phyllis Rogers Stone
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 12:02am
The tweet has since been deleted, but the internet has a way of preserving screenshots. Wow. Where to begin? Precious is about a woman who is, in every way, drastically underrepresented — ignored — in both the world and pop culture. Black, overweight, poor, illiterate. Girls is about white twentysomething women. Who are not overlooked in life, in TV, in movies. At all. But if the argument is: You can — and should be able to — enjoy a story about someone different from you, well, that is obvious. A movie about a goatherder in Tibet can touch your heart even if you have never seen a goat or been to Tibet, because you relate to human experiences and emotions. But as James questions: "Why are the only lives that can be mined for 'universal experiences' the lives of white women?" Girls was meant to be different from what we usually see on TV: Highly current, thoroughly modern. But the casting choices are not different. Not modern. To be clear: It's fine that the show is about spoiled, delusional, narcissists. The idea that "if a character isn't exactly like me, I can't relate" is bull****. But that doesn't mean we don't desperately need diversity in the stories being told, characters being explored and actors being hired.
Why We Need to Keep Talking About the White Girls on Girls
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 01:09am
This is what I find frustrating--I agree with the message of that fully. But really they need to be picking on the networks, not on this one show about it... The creator would bristle at the description that her show was meant to be this brave new different work. That was of course how it was marketed, but the creators in interviews never sold it as something like that--they never even said the equivalent of "We're trying to make something people have never seen on TV before" even though they would have been justified in doing so. It's starting to be a scapegoat merely because it shows something that's so prevalent. But all this arguing merely puts the focus on Girls--despite some comments on the greater problem, what the media is picking up on is the "Girls Backlash".
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Phyllis Rogers Stone
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 01:39am
This is another good one.


maybe we should call it "ironic racism." It's a distancing gesture, racism with the acknowledgment that I should know better and I don't care. Assiduously casual, meant to demonstrate a kind of worldliness or edginess, "hipster racism" acts like a behavioral flannel jacket or a trucker cap, a rejection of perceived upper-middle-class values, still wrapped in enough layers of irony to create a distance from the mythical rednecks or hillbillies it's thought to be emulating. Whether or not the hipster racist "actually believes" the bull**** he spouts (or thinks it's some kind of sophisticated satire) is immaterial; it's a posture, a performance, a middle finger to mom and dad and all the "McCarthyist hijackers" who won't let Benjamin Leo say the n-word, or whatever his beef is. (Sometimes, to be clear, it's just cluelessness.) The deep-down beliefs of the hipster racist are also immaterial, it goes without saying, to the subjects of his invective.
A Girls Writer’s Ironic Racism And Other ‘White People Problems
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Jordan Catalano
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 10:45am
This is the STUPIDEST argument over anything in the history of everything.
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FindingNamo
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 11:17am
Oh, I've definitely seen stupider. A little ditty called "Kate v. Meredith" springs instantly to mind.

When I first mentioned the racial component at the beginning of the thread, I was definitely intending it to be in the larger context of HBO programming. Sure, go ahead and push something as the "Sex & The City" of a new generation. Good idea, good pitch. But the minute I saw the first promo still I thought, "Really? Another pic of four white faces?" I'm sorry Dunham has so internalized "write what you know" that it wouldn't occur to her to mix things up because every single time we have a chance to do something that will reach an audience, we have a chance to do so. And she opted not to.

The defensiveness of the woman who feels nigger is such a terrificly powerful word basically takes a criticism about white writers and performers thinking white is the default that is universal and turns it into an indictment of actual racism. I find after reading all this that I am much less interested in watching the next episodes. They have every single right to make a series about a group of white people. I'm just surprised the networks haven't figured out that it might be better to reflect the real world.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
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Jordan Catalano
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 11:27am
I guess what strikes me as well, offensive, is the argument that four white friends doesn't reflect the "real world". Last week, I went to a dinner party with some really close friends. We were all white and it was most definitely "real". I understand that people want to see themselves reflected on TV, I'm the same way. But I don't need to see myself in every show I watch. And if I did, there are three and a half thousand channels. I'm sure I can find something on one of them that meets that criteria. But not every show is going to reflect every microcosm of society at all times. But that's what people seem to think it should do, nowadays.

If a show doesn't have a black character (LEADING black character that's in no way "stereotypical" and fits criteria A, B, C and D of what WE think the character should be like), an asian character (same criteria), a gay character (or two, actually. One stereotypical and one non stereotypical to show that we're not all the same) and elderly ACTIVE characters to show that just because you're over the age of 80, you don't just sit at home knitting...well then your show doesn't reflect society and real life and has no place IN MY HOME.

The argument comes down to the old "If you don't like it, don't watch it". This is a 30 minute show on SUNDAY NIGHT, the most saturated night of television of the week. You can SURELY find something else to watch on those three thousand channels that you can point to and yell at the top of your lungs "THAT'S ME ON THE TEE VEE!!!!!"
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Jane2
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 01:38pm
I agree with Jordan. This is one specific story about four white girls who are best friends. In reality, there are lots of groups like that. In fact, I'm part of a group of 4 white girls who are BF. We've been that way for almost 30 years. Isn't that ok?

Back to the show. Who knows what other important characters will show up later on, and what ethnicity they will be?
<-----craves juicy pizza
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MrMidwest
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 03:08pm
"The gods who nurse this universe think little of mortals' cares. They sit in crowds on exclusive clouds and laugh at our love affairs. I might have had a real romance if they'd given me a chance. I loved him, but he didn't love me. I wanted him, but he didn't want me. Then the gods had a spree and indulged in another whim. Now he loves me, but I don't love him." - Cole Porter
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 03:26pm
Namo I get your point and I know that *you* meant it in a greater context. I don't think many who are responding to this (not here, but on the various blogs, etc) get that though. Somehow this show has become a whipping horse, and I don't get it. Hate it because you hate that mumblecore quality, hate it because you find them navel gazers, but... I don't blame the creator--this is what HBO wanted from her, a semi-autobiographical series.

Yes, the writer (who doesn't even seem to be one of the major writers) who won't shut her mouth up is not doing anyone any favours. That old interview about the N word was done when she worked at "it's cool to shock people" magazine Vice, and they DID ask her the question basically knowing the answer they would get (I'm not sure her answer was even that offensive, albeit it was stupid--she said she thought that word carried more power and was basically more interesting than ho or bitch did and... it does. But yes, she said it in a much stupider way, but never said "oh it's one I like to always use because it's cool". Her--again stupid--interviews are all being quoted out of any sense of context).

Sadly--or maybe not--I'm not sure that HBO does owe people instead a show that "reflects the real world". As others have said, this show does, in its exagerated way, reflect Dunham's real world... Maybe that's sad, but I'm not sure what more you could ask for unless you made a team of headwriters who were all of different genders, sexualities and race. However, I DO think it's a sad situation, that needs to change, that more non-white people (and women in general) simply don't have the opportunity to pitch some probably great shows of their own.

The fact that even the line in the show people are so up in arms about--where the lead says (under the influence of drugs BTW, and in the show it's meant to sound pretty stupid) something akin to "I want to be a voice of a generation" is now being quoted as her saying "I am the voice of my generation". Some of that is on HBO and their advertising, but hey it's gotten the show FAR more publicity than a low key, female-centric show probably would have had before it's second episode otherwise...
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 03:30pm
Most of the negative comments go on about how Mad Men can be basically white (and since season 2 or whenever Sal left) straight because of the era it's set in. Which is a valid excuse, but it reflects that aspect of the world as apparently Dunham's show does hers. I suggest she keep her show and its scripts but set it in 1950s suburbia, which would conveniently avoid any of these issues.

Yes, TV *in general* should reflect the real world better (it probably does, though, compared to big budget Hollywood movies which always seem to be even more behind). But this show has no responsibility to that.
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EricMontreal22
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 03:39pm
I wish I could edit my posts *glares at the BWW owners*

"I'm sorry Dunham has so internalized "write what you know" that it wouldn't occur to her to mix things up because every single time we have a chance to do something that will reach an audience, we have a chance to do so. And she opted not to. "

One of the reasons people like writing for HBO is they are far less demandeing than networks at "you need to reach the largest demographic you possibly can". It's niche marketing. They have ignored some niches--and now that they have asked more women to create shows (this and Julia Louis-Dreyfus' apparently very funny, but it looks mostly white, VEEP seem to be the first wave of this) maybe they'll broaden out further--they should. But these shows are about reaching *a* fiercely loyal audience. That's what makes a hit on cable--that you have a more loyal audience than most network shows--not that you have a broader or even larger audience.
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Jordan Catalano
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Posted: 4/21/12 at 03:46pm
NO show has that responsibility unless the show is called "Depictions of life In the Real World".

I love REVENGE and there's pretty much only white people there and it's far from realistic. Should it be boycotted and cancelled? What about Tyler Perrys TBS show? Theyre all one race and that shiz is faaaar from realistic. Is that ok since they're not white or does Tyler Perry have the same responsibility people want this girl to have? Or is this only a white people on tv thing?
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picturetaker9211
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joined:3/20/06
HBO'S Girls
Posted: 5/1/12 at 02:53am
Just bringing this thread back because I genuinely want to know what people think about this show since 2 more episodes have aired since this thread was last updated.

I've enjoyed it from the start. It's definitely getting better for me as the show goes on. I just turned 20 & want to move to New York City when I graduate from college. I definitely feel like I can identify with these girls, even though I'm not white. (Trying to read through this whole thread was painful!) I'm probably their target audience.

In the 2nd episode, I really was annoyed with Hannah & wanted her to shut the eff up, but thought she was so much more tolerable in the 3rd. I definitely have a love/hate relationship relationship with that character. Andrew Rannells was wonderful & very entertaining as the gay ex-boyfriend. I don't really care much for Jessa. I love Shoshanna, but I can definitely can see how people would not like her at all. I like Marnie, but she's fairly boring as of now, but getting more interesting after the whole art gallery scene. I wish there was more boyfriend drama or something? Overall, I'm really enjoying it so far!


Also relevant: Girls gets renewed for a 2nd season
"Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, take the moment & making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."
-Gilda Radner
Updated On: 5/1/12 at 02:53 AM
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Jane2
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joined:2/13/04
HBO'S Girls
Posted: 5/1/12 at 07:56am
I liked the first ep but the second one was TMI. I'm not planning to watch Again.
<-----craves juicy pizza
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strummergirl
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HBO'S Girls
Posted: 5/1/12 at 11:56am
I am not taking the less legal means to watch this show and do not regret it at all. Yes the second episode was kinda a PSA but I loved Marnie's whole reaction to Jessa not showing up for her abortion and Hannah making fun of her. I have no idea why I laughed so hard about Marnie after hearing Shoshanna's revelation of her virginity referencing she hit a dog while on her learners permit, but I did (I think it was mostly because of Shoshanna's facial reaction to that reference).

The third episode was really good and probably my favorite episode overall. The Shoshanna and Hannah rapport was really good and Marnie and Hannah dancing to Robyn at the end was actually kinda poignant.

I also love some of the random cameos like Kathryn Hahn, Chris Eigeman, Mike Birbiglia, and that guy from Lonely Island that Marnie got hot and bothered over. I think Chris O'Dowd shows up at some point too. Rannells was quite excellent as the ex-gay boyfriend.

I just hope Hannah dumps Adam at this point as does Marnie with hers.

I know people think Shoshanna is a bit cartoonish yet I feel like I have had more run-ins with her kind of character than anybody else on the show with the exception to Marnie.
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MotorTink
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joined:9/4/06
HBO'S Girls
Posted: 5/1/12 at 01:59pm
I watch a lot of television and yet I cannot get into this show. I try not to be too rash and give a show a chance, but after 15 minutes of the pilot I was so turned off to the show. Definitely not up my alley.

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