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‘Girls’ star Lena Dunham Questioned About Nudity On GIRLS, Again
'Girls' star Lena Dunham Questioned About Nudity On GIRLS, Again

‘Girls’ star Lena Dunham Questioned About Nudity On GIRLS, Again

“Girls” executive producer Judd Apatow took issue with a reporter’s question that actress Lena Dunham faced on Thursday, chastising a male reporter after he questioned the need for her frequent nudity in hit TV series “Girls.”

The pair was taking part in a panel discussion for the show at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Thursday, when “Girls” creator and star Dunham found herself being quizzed about getting naked onscreen.

I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. By you particularly. I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you say no one complains about the nudity on ‘Game of Thrones,’ but I get why they’re doing it. They’re doing it to be salacious. To titillate people. And your character is often naked at random times for no reason.

Dunham responded:

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.

Uh oh. Things got serious:

Huh? But I didn’t say that. The conversation continued its personal turn as Apatow asked if I had a girlfriend. “Sure,” I said. “Does she like you?” “Yeah.” “Let’s see how she likes you when you quote that with your question and just write the whole question… and tell me how it goes tonight.” Actually, my girlfriend has wondered about this, too. Here’s why. “Girls” has more nudity by its lead character than any show, well, ever. But my girlfriend and I don’t understand the reason for it. We’re cool with nudity, and if Dunham wants to be naked, great. I’m not offended by it. I don’t like it or not like it. I just don’t get the artistic reason for it, and want to understand it, because I’m a TV critic.

After the conference, Apatow explained why he found the question inappropriate:

Dunham left after the panel. But Apatow stuck around, and we talked about my question, which he said was “offensive on its face.” “You should read it and discuss it with other people,” he told me. “It is very offensive.” “Is it sexist?” I asked. “Because I would ask the same question –” “It’s sexist and offensive, it’s misogynistic,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s bad that she’s nude,” I said. Another reporter noted that if Louis C.K. were naked on his show, we would ask about it. “There’s a way to word a question about the reason for nudity on the show and it was not done elegantly. If you re-read it and you listen to it you will not be proud of yourself.”

It’s a riveting story, and I’m personally not sure what to make of it. I have no doubt that there are people, perhaps a lot of them, who have a problem with Dunham and her use of nudity because she doesn’t fit society’s standard of a woman as a sex object. I also have no doubt that Dunham is naked so much on the show in order to be provocative, perhaps about this very subject. As to Molloy’s motivations in asking the question? Well, that seems to be in danger of overshadowing the discussion about the nudity and its purpose, which I’m not sure is a good thing.

It should be noted that Dunham and Apatow’s responses here come via Molloy’s report, rather than directly from them, for what that’s worth.

Wrap editor Sharon Waxman chimed in yesterday, defending her writer:

What I don’t get is why folks are getting so mad that a journalist asked a question at a press conference about Dunham’s pushing the nudity envelope, when the purpose of her show is to artistically push the envelope? (See the Emmy promo photo of Dunham, poking fun at herself, naked on the toilet.) I don’t buy the argument that Tim is off-base for asking the question because… it’s Season 3. There isn’t a statute of limitations on questions about the substance of a show. Maybe it was the topless ping-pong scene last year that provoked the thought. Maybe the nudity is feeling tired by Season 3. Or maybe no one called on Tim the last time Dunham, Apatow and Konner faced the TV press. Who knows why? It’s a question, and reporters ask questions. The brave ones ask uncomfortable ones which are even more uncomfortable at clubby TCA (Cue earlier version of myself asking NBC why they aired the Golden Globes, voted upon by a few dozen freelancers, circa 1997. I got hissed in the room and one glorious pat on the back.)


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