WashPost TV Critic Rooting For HBO's Lena Dunham 'To Literally Choke On The Chocolates' on TV

At first, Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever traveled with the critical mass on the trashy, ugly-sex-and-nudity show “Girls” on HBO, and its twentysomething creator, Lena Dunham (you know, the one who urged girls to pop their voting cherry with Obama). Just a month ago, Stuever found the show’s second season “left me feeling underserved.”

But wow, has he decided he hates the show now. A picture of Dunham took up the whole top half of the Style section in Friday’s Post with the headline “Despicable, she.” Stuever literally wrote he was rooting for Dunham’s character Hannah to choke on her chocolates:

The point of watching is to exhaust oneself by tut-tutting Hannah for her perpetual entitlement and self-sabotaging journey toward adulthood. In 60 years of television, we’ve come to a point where we want this particular Lucy to literally choke on the chocolates coming off that conveyer belt — or, as it happens, the free snacks Hannah discovers in the corporate break room.

....The grittiness of “Girls” crossed a line last season into abject disgust. The show became less about satire and more of an obsessive downer. It’s a lot less fun now; when watching these new episodes, I found it impossible to complete any sentence along the lines of “I hope [blank] happens to [blank],” not counting my hope that poor Adam (Hannah’s increasingly complex boyfriend, played by Adam Driver, who now provides the show’s only gravitational pull) will come to his senses and flee. I don’t hope anything happens to Hannah or Marnie or especially Jessa, because “Girls” forgets to offer any payoff or engagement as a TV show....

We are talking too much about a show that is only about the hollowness of empty, despicable people. Ignoring “Girls” doesn’t mean you’re old or missing a joke or even that you’re anti-feminist. To the extent that I can confer it, I’m giving those of us who have had enough “Girls” permission to get on with our lives, for whatever reasons, including unlikability.

He's come a long way from his original praise of the show: "All of these women project such eloquent vibes of sadness and uncertainty. The authentic tone of “Girls” bluntly separates them from all the 'Whitney,' '2 Broke Girls' and Zooey Deschanel bunk, or worse."

Stuever was much happier with Showtime’s sex-drenched series “Showtime.” Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly captured Dunham and her fellow "Girls" producers going apoplectic over a question from a reporter  about Dunham's frequent nudity on her HBO show:

“I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity on the show — by [Dunham] in particularly. I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you go, ‘Nobody complains about all the nudity on Game of Thrones,’ but I get why they do it. They do it to be salacious and titillate people. And your character is often nude at random times for no reason.”)


“That was a very clumsily stated question that’s offensive on it’s face, and you should read it and discuss it with other people how you did that,” Apatow said, speaking to the reporter who asked the question. “It’s very offensive.”

In the moment, Dunham herself spoke clearly about her position on the nudity, saying it is “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive. But I totally get it. If you’re not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals,” she retorted.

And later, fellow EP Jenni Konner interrupted her response to another question to add, “I literally was spacing out because I’m in such a rage spiral about that guy,” she said pointing to the question-asker. “I was just looking at him looking at him and going into this rage [over] this idea that you would talk to a woman like that and accuse a woman of showing her body too much. The idea it just makes me sort of sick.”

For many people who just happen to click past Dunham playing topless ping-pong for no apparent reason, this reporter’s question is spot on: why the nudity at all times? Why isn't that offensive on its face? And: it can’t be salacious, because to most men, Dunham isn’t attractive, physically or personally. She’s obviously as entitled and self-obsessed in real life as her character on TV.

Earlier: HBO's Girls: A voice for the worst generation

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis