In a heavenly dream sequence I would have lunch with Lena Dunham. I hope this isn’t the type of question that begs ‘who would I have to lunch’ because my messy kitchen is not suitable for such wonderful conversation. Perhaps one day, when I have the kitchen of a lead in a Nancy Meyer’s film- trimmed cupboards, subzero/tuberware-filled fridge, kitchen lights so perfect they probably aren’t even real just CGI- I’ll have Lena over, but for now I’m so happy just to sit across from her, I’ll let her pick the time and place.
Lena Dunham is, get this, the creator, writer, director, producer, and star of the television show Girls. She’s clever, witty, beautiful, and she completely gets me, she gets all of us. Girls is groundbreaking and honest in its pursuit to showcase the lives of young women trying to figure out what to do after college. Lena plays Hannah, a character so perfect and so ridiculous she makes you feel ok about having weird stains in your underpants. The best part of Girls is the honesty. The way in which the young women interact with friends, bosses, boyfriends, and strangers is selfish, true, conniving, kind, generous, and spiteful. Conversations on the show never seem forced. They aren’t planned specifically for humor, even a happy ending, nor are they to add drama- they are as they should be in real life, real time. Dunham also hasn’t conformed the show to the likeness of its all-girl cast predecessors. Men do not stereotype the girls of this show. Rather, these girls are stereotyped characters by women- avoiding the male gaze, making real girls relate to them more than any other cast on television. Dunham has taken strides in blinding the gaze. Her, as they not I call it, non-Hollywood body is constantly in the nude and out to get some on the show, no regrets. Why? Because this show is not about attracting male viewers based on looks and female charm. This show is about the writing, the comedy, the acting, and brilliance- as all television should be.
Were I to ever sit down to lunch with Lena Dunham I’d spend a majority of the appetizer trying so hard to sound witty conversation would be difficult. But then beautiful Lena would make me feel comfortable and the real fun would begin. I’d ask about her favorite shows, novels, movies, and dishes to cook. I’d ask how long it took her to decide what she wanted to do and how she made it happen. I’d ask about Hannah. Is she Hannah? Is Hannah her? Are we all Hannah? I’d ask about Nora Ephron. I’d ask about her clothes and her favorite hidden stores, her favorite place to have traveled, and how she gets over a case of writer’s block. I’d ask how she became so brave as to put herself out there, physically and mentally, with this show, and I’d ask what we’re having for dessert.
Mostly, what I’d want to know is how she knows the perfect situation for each character. How has she so beautifully laid out storylines that seem pure in heart and truth? A girl telling her parents that she gets to be the child, she gets to be the selfish one. A girl trying so hard to fit in socially she accidently smokes crack. A girl once so obsessed with finding a boyfriend doesn’t like to have one. A girl loosing her job thus loosing her way. Two girls fighting over who’s more selfish in their friendship? The scenarios, the words, the feelings are spot-on. So that’s my question: Lena, How do you do it?