January 15, 2014

"It was the first time I've had to hide a New Yorker post from my Facebook feed. Blech."

Says a commenter at Television Without Pity, responding to another commenter who said:
Wow, I don't think I can watch any more of this.
This, being the HBO series "Girls."
I hate the nudity and everything else. And, yes, I am shallow and I don't enjoy [Lena] Dunham's very odd body and the unnecessary reveals. And I HATE those freaking tattoos. That's part of the problem when she dresses up for something like the Globes. The dress was hideous on her and those tats were gross as always. The nudity for no reason? Like when they stopped to hike?...  Hannah lies down on the ground and we -- lucky lucky us -- can see up her skirt. Why? It's distracting and unattractive and took me out of the weird scene because I was trying to figure out if she had underwear on or not. And why her ass was hanging out at all.
Here's the New Yorker item with the photograph of Hannah in the is-she-wearing-underpants position that needed to be hidden in the TWoP commenter's Facebook feed. The New Yorker writer, Sasha Weiss, describing the relevant scene in episode 2 of the new season, says:
At one point, Adam and Shosh spontaneously decide to take a hike on a trail off the highway. Hannah refuses to join them, declaring that it’s liberating not to do things you hate. In a lovely shot, we see her lying on her side in a bed of leaves listening to “This American Life,” abandoned to the woods and to the churning of her own thoughts. Maybe the question isn’t whether she really knows Adam but whether he can really know her.
Or maybe the question is: Who the hell cares? No, that's too harsh. The truth is, the question that came to my mind was: Which episode of "This American Life?" Maybe I'll rewatch, looking for nuances. It's probably better on rewatch. I have some ideas of things to look for on rewatch. But on first watch, it's quite the slog. What's the point? Did anything happen in that episode?

The series began last Sunday with the showing of 2 episodes back to back. We banked them in the DVR and watched football, then sat through the first episode on Monday night and the second episode on Tuesday night. Each night, we washed it down with an old episode of "Duck Dynasty."

Why "Duck Dynasty"? It worked the first time, so we did it the second time. How did it work? It balanced things. Real(ish) people, in the country, who have a way of life that completely makes sense to them and know how to do a bunch of useful things, feel likeable to us and clearly enjoy each other, and continually get into jams in classic — I'm talking "I Love Lucy" — TV-sitcom style.

In "Girls," you have fictional(ish) people, in the city, who are bewildered by the way they are living, can't do anything useful, feel unlikeable to us and endlessly bother each other, and bumble about in low-narrative sequences that feel like an old-fashioned cinema verité — "Grey Gardens"? — documentary.

ADDED: Lena Dunham in Vogue.

56 comments:

Sorun said...

There should be a poll here. I'd vote underpants.

n.n said...

Some people are so bored that they turn to progressive morality in order to fill the void. This behavior will be supplemented or replaced with the mellowing effects of marijuana or another psychogenic diversion.

Deirdre Mundy said...

The yellow dress *is* awful..it reminds me of the one Magic Curl Barbie had....

ganderson said...

This ties in nicely with my theory that one of our modern problems is too much nudity- and that's an esthetic, not a moral judgement! I do my part to make the world a better place by keeping covered up!

Scott M said...

Is it boredom, n.n., or nihilism?

MayBee said...

I love it that the reviewer has to prove her woman-cred by calling it a "lovely" shot.

paminwi said...

I noticed in the comments that a number of people commented on how bad Allison Williams acting is. Being Brian Williams daughter is what got her the job and nothing else.

YoungHegelian said...

This morning on the local NPR affiliate I heard an advert talking about a musical based on the "romance novel" Fifty Shades of Grey.

A romance novel?!

Suuuuure, and adult "classic" films like Romancing the Bone were "adult comedies". Anything you say, boss!

Moose said...

I made the mistake of calling Dunham a skank and my niece got quite upset with me...

Big Mike said...

We don't get cable, and based on the discussion of "Girls" we are saving our sanity along with our money.

madAsHell said...

Lena Dunham probably had an aunt named Stanley Ann.
Stanley Ann would pose in much the same fashion.

Revenant said...

A romance novel?!

The line between "romance novel" and "porn for girls" disappeared a long time ago.

Birches said...

For anyone who thinks its just Lena Dunham's unattractiveness that lends to not seeing her nude, may I present this Seinfeld clip.

Sometimes, it's just too much.

B said...

Tattoos may be cool when you're a young woman but most tattoos do not age well. Tramp stamps that look peachy when a young woman wears low cut jeans an a tank top don't look nearly as attractive when you put on 75 lbs. That begs the fact that when you do put on that weight, the low cut is replaced by baggy sweat pants and the tank top by a t-shirt. Dunham looks the type that will struggle with weight. And if you can't display a tramp stamp, why have it?

Someday, not too far in the future, those who don't cotton to paying for the removal of the tattoos fuckheads like Dunham have will be the new targets of the 'war on woman' charade.

n.n said...

Scott M:

Perhaps I am being toi kind. I even give credit to the pro-aborts/choicers that they are not merely genocidal, but are self-interested in survival of the fittest in a suitably populated or unpopulated environment.

As for nihilism, one must have a strong faith in something tangible (e.g. family) or imminent (e.g. God) in order to avoid following that treacherous path. I would be less concerned if it was a purely masochistic expression of cognitive dissonance.

FullMoon said...

I'll fess up. After hearing all about "Girls", I brought it up on demand and fast forwarded to all the sex parts.

I will not claim to be revolted.

Douglas said...

A growth field for young people, one that pays mucho bucks and can't be outsourced, is tattoo removal. Of course, you need to spend 8-10 years post college becoming qualified as a plastic surgeon but once you do that, it's heaven - great hours and best of all, no insurance and it's all paid in cash. Tell your highly ambitious, very smart young friends to think about it.

Chef Mojo said...

Dunham is, quite simply, boring.

The gratuitousness of the "shock" is as obvious and as predictable as every scene in a teen slasher movie. The whole thing is as formulaic as "Show us yer tits!" at Mardi Gras or Spring Break. It's stupid, and just about as "liberating" and exciting as a round of binge drinking at a sorority social.

Emo porn seems far more relevant to the idea of millennial urban angst and ennui.

Birches said...

A growth field for young people, one that pays mucho bucks and can't be outsourced, is tattoo removal. Of course, you need to spend 8-10 years post college becoming qualified as a plastic surgeon but once you do that, it's heaven - great hours and best of all, no insurance and it's all paid in cash. Tell your highly ambitious, very smart young friends to think about it.

I'm reminded of this SNL skit.

JRoberts said...

Last time I was back in the Los Angeles area, I saw billboards for "Dr. Tattoff". I kept having images of mini-mall Subways with lasers instead of bread ovens.

Fen said...

I want to thank Lena Dunham for reminding everyone why modesty and clothing was invented to begin with.

I understand and sympathize with her effort to "normalize" unattractive nakedness. But maybe her true friends should do an intervention.

jr565 said...

Clearly she's wearing undies. They're white.

jr565 said...

In regards to her yellow dress: I think she wears fashion ironically or saracastically.

Ann Althouse said...

(Deletions were of off-topic material. Don't discuss deletions in the thread.)

William said...

Ricky Gervais when he first appeared on the scene played the chunky, clueless boss in The Office. Wealth and fame agreed with him. He took off some weight and started wearing stylish clothes. Perhaps something similar is going on with Dunham. I saw her on one of the talk shows recently. She's taken off some weight. She'll never be a love goddess, but with the right clothes she's well within normal limits of doable.....On the show she wears unflattering clothes and goes out of her way to look skanky. I don't understand the point of the nudity. Are we supposed to feel the poignancy of a chunky woman's quest for love or is it an effort to make us more tolerant of chunky women.......I would bet that chunky women suffer more grief and discrimination than gays and blacks. Lena Dunham, if she doesn't go Hollywood and svelte out (a form of selling out) can be to chunky omen what Martin Luther King is to blacks.

Scott M said...

I would be less concerned if it was a purely masochistic expression of cognitive dissonance.

A wonderful sentence, but, wait a tick...masochism implies desire and cognitive dissonance implies an inability to see...oh...yeah...I see it now...

(lol)

Illuninati said...

The picture in The New Yorker is OK, Hannah's panties are clean.

Sam L. said...

I vote "don't give a damn" on Lena, her show, her life.

Ctmom4 said...

That Vogue photoshoot is so photoshopped as to make her unrecognizable. I don't get the point of doing that.

Trashhauler said...

I've never seen more than clips of the show, but I don't think Lena Dunham has a weird body. It's a normal body, similar to that of several of my aunts and any number of girls I remember from high school. They can't all be raving beauties.

She could do something with her hair, I suppose, but if that's the look they want, so what? Fat girls need love, too.

FullMoon said...

Trashhauler said...

I've never seen more than clips of the show, but I don't think Lena Dunham has a weird body. It's a normal body, similar to that of several of my aunts and any number of girls I remember from high school. They can't all be raving beauties.

Yeah, I saw those clips also. Never saw several of my aunts like that, guess your family is more liberal in that regard.

Birches said...

It's not that she's bigger that makes her unattractive; it's the way she carries herself. I'd rather have Melissa McCarthy or Mindy Kaling be my chubby person representative of the real world than Lena Dunham.

Alex said...

Trashhauler said...

yeah but those ugly tats!

Michael K said...

I hate you for having made me click on that link. Back to watching Lonesome Dove for the 40th time.

lge said...

She looks like 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5-pound sack.

Kelly said...

On Saturday night I finally watched two episodes of Girls. Apparently Hannah is OCD and was sticking q tips compulsively in her ear. The only time I inwardly smiled was when a character had bizarre sex and afterwards she says deadpan' I didn't like that. I really didn't like that". It was explicit, disgusting and she pretty well summed up what I felt about the show.

Annie said...

Someone linked up Lena's father, Carroll Dunham's, artwork. Things are beginning to make sense.

Carl said...

Is Lena Dunham the one who shoots Roman candles off her tits or is that Lady Gaga? I get them confused.

gerry said...

In "Girls," you have fictional(ish) people, in the city, who are bewildered by the way they are living, can't do anything useful, feel unlikeable to us and endlessly bother each other

Good Lord, it's a Woody Allen movie.

Tom said...

The people who watch Girls for affirmation are exactly - I mean exactly - the same as the people watch Duck Dynasty for the same reason. The same is true for people who wear all the Harley Davison gear versus the wanna be prep who wear Polo. Exactly. The. Same.

tim maguire said...

I'm not arguing for censorship, exactly, but this stuff was handled better when writers and directors had a moral code they had to work around. It promoted creativity and out of necessity promoted sensuality as well.

Think about the golden age of Hollywood starlets. They didn't have the option of just taking their top off, so instead they produced better cinema.

SGT Ted said...

Lena Dunham dressed up for those awards shows, or any other red carpet event, looks like a pig in a party dress. They don't fit her body shape at all.

Yea the tats look out of place, too. And I work in a pro-tat industry and am not usually bothered by them.

SGT Ted said...

n.n. I wish pot supplemented and mellowed progressive morality. We might see some sense out of them were it the case. But alas, it doesn't work like that.

In my experience, Progressives give pot a bad name.

SGT Ted said...

Are we supposed to feel the poignancy of a chunky woman's quest for love or is it an effort to make us more tolerant of chunky women.......

Fat girls need love, too.

That's what the chubby chasers like for sure.

But, that's the real problem with the idea that the fat ones are "excluded" by body image and other women being hotter; the existence of the male market for fat women that is never acknowledged.

Because to acknowledge the chubby chaser demographic takes away one of their chief complaints: that the marketing use of non-fat, hot women somehow "hurts" the fat ones unfairly, because they can't "compete" with hotties. (note the boilerplate lefty "social justice" assertion that the free will of others is a problem to be solved by re-education; gotta get your mind right and acknowledge your lookist bigotry to be morally pure.)

When the fact is, no amount of marketing can make someone who doesn't care for overweight, dumpy women to say: "Oh, she is HOT!" Not happening.

One of my best friends likes big women and he is a good looking guy. I directed the fat ones to him, back in our day.

Robert Cook said...

What's so "odd" about Dunham's body? She looks like very many women, and her body is more real and typical than what we see among most Hollywood actresses.

Robert Cook said...

What's so "odd" about Dunham's body? She looks like very many women, and her body is more real and typical than what we see among most Hollywood actresses.

SGT Ted said...

Dunhams body isn't "odd", but it sure doesn't look good in a red carpet gown.

kimsch said...

My problem with "Girls" is that it's all superficial, shallow, and totally selfish. There is no depth. Anywhere. If this is their life, I'm sorry for them.

diane said...

Shostakovich's instructions for playing the first movement of his 15th quartet: "so that flies drop dead in mid-air, and the audience start leaving the hall from sheer boredom."

This quartet is far more interesting than Lena Dunham.

Mr Wibble said...

My fantasy is that Lena Dunham will stand up at an awards show some day when the show is finished and announce that she's a conservative Republican and that it was all a giant joke. Seriously, if you wanted to make a show that poked fun at the left, you'd be hard pressed to do anything different from Girls.

KoNyakU said...

The only art in "Girls" is the pointillism from people vomiting after seeing Dunham writhe naked.

Alex said...

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Jon said...

Alex - why the Heinlein quotation?

Pat said...

It's relevant to the useful skills that the people on "Duck Dynasty" have, and the people on "Girls" don't.

submandave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
submandave said...

I don't know why it hasn't happened before, but it just occurred to me that if a man wrote and starred in a drama that frequently included such real-life snippets like him walking to the bathroom naked to take a morning piss or admiring his junk in the mirror the universal assessment would be that he was a sick exhibitionist and there'd probably be a national movement to charge him with something simply to get him registered as a sex offender.