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I’ve been trying to write something about Girls for a while, but I got stuck. Being new to the show, it took a few episodes to grow on me, but being so invested in television production and attentive to writing, I grew to respect it. It did have the raw, intimate look at “real” life, and not coincidentally – creator Lena Dunham writes most of the episodes based on real-life experiences (from the dick pic in Hannah’s Diary and the tattoo on her ass, to the gay-ex-boyfriend storyline). But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Girls is a dramadey TV series on HBO. If you haven’t watched it yet, whether by pure laziness or lack of interest, you’ve probably heard of its growing infamy. The awkward sex, the blunt honesty, and the total ridiculous reality of the [sex] lives of four twenty-something girls living in New York. A hipster-ized, technology-revolution-driven sex comedy from a female perspective. 90% of the credits are Lena Dunham’s name (director, star, exec. producer, etc), and it’s basically her baby.

It has the quirky honesty of Lena Dunham, the production and comedic style of Judd Apatow, and a team of hilarious cast and crew that have a million other little connections in movies and such (Dunham’s critically-acclaimed indie flick Tiny Furniture is basically a movie precursor to Girls, and available on Netflix, FYI), so what could go wrong? It’s basically an updated Sex and the City meets Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show does a lot of improv and on-the-fly bits, it’s been famed for its awkward, make-your-skin-crawl sex scenes, accused of being just another rant in the self-affirming writer generation, and been called too racy, too white, too fat, too sexist, too hipster, too privileged, too WASP, too unscripted, and some of those things may be true.

The protagonist, Hannah is flawed. Dunham calls her a mix of “natural intelligence and improbable stupidity,” which is pretty damn accurate. “She has the youthful mix of self confidence, but like, no self worth.” The real-life, improv-y soul of the show is where its unique appeal manifests. She uses her real father’s handwriting in the show, eats real food without a spit bucket, and builds bathrooms on sound stages. But Hannah is different than Dunham herself, a distinction people forget to make.

Hannah is entitled, presumptuous, and selfish.

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She’s sarcastic and inappropriate.

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She makes horrendous decisions, and overreaches her expectations.

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Some of her flaws are endearing and relatable,

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“My shoes match my dress! Kind of!”

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And some of her flaws are cringe-worthy.

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But she’s honest,

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And everyone can find someone to relate to:

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Following suit, Dunham has rarely kept her mouth shut regarding any matters at all.

On Rihanna and Chris Brown: “She’s had this amazing career, she’s won a Grammy, she’s talented, and then she gets back together with Chris Brown and posts a million pictures of them smoking marijuana together on a bed. And it cracks my heart in half in a way that makes me feel like I’m 95 years old. I just think about how many little girls are obsessed with Rihanna. [Being a role model] is a platform that you have to take seriously.”

On the Internet’s Anne Hathaway hatred: [via Twitter] “Ladies: Anne Hathaway is a feminist and she has amazing teeth. Let’s save our bad attitudes for the ones who aren’t advancing the cause.”

On Lisa Lampinelli’s “nigga” picture: [via Twitter] “That’s not a word I would EVER use. Its implications are beyond my comprehension. I was made supremely uncomfortable by it. Perhaps I should have addressed it, but the fact is I’ve learned that twitter debates breed more twitter debates. Don’t like the idea that my silence read to you as tacit approval. It wasn’t. But 140 characters will never be enough for the kind of dialogue that will actually help us address issues of race and class. My personal criteria for engaging twitter debate: I wait until something just sits so wrong in my belly & bones that I must finally speak.”

On Girls: “When you’re in your 20s, sex is sort of this battleground on which a lot of different stuff plays out.” It’s a show about life in your 20s, and sex is a big part of that. Granted, most of the time guys first kiss Hannah to get her to shut up, but their sexcapades are pretty hilarious.

Whatever you think of Dunham, she’s got a lot going for her. She recently signed a $3.5 million dollar book deal, Girls is one of the most talked-about shows on TV, and next season got bumped up to 12 episodes. Plus she’s gotten some decent action on the show post-Adam.

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She did win two Golden Globes and all…

If you watch the commentaries and behind the scenes features, they’re hilarious, and give the show a lot more context. The commentaries with all four girls are like listening to any girl friends ever. They forget what they’re talking about, go on commentaries about bread, “shorty-half-up-half-down” hairstyles and shaving, buttholes, dreams, rhymes, food, and fight about looking good.

“I love her luggage, I want her luggage.” “You look good without mascara!” “I really think that’s the best my hair has ever looked.” “You just get the feeling that he would kill giants for you.” “Hey, fun fact, that belt was actually taped to my body.” “I want to have his comedy babies.” “This couch gave me a rash.” “That wasn’t a compliment, it was a statement.” “This scene makes my skin crawl, in the best way.” “Checking your own dick for the time is the worst thing a person can do.” They take you behind the scenes of sex scenes, toilet scenes, falling asleep during scenes, their favourite foods, and it’s seriously worth checking out.

“Today I had two gluten free cookies for breakfast then got back in bed, it was disgusting.”
“That sounds glorious.” (Girls Pilot commentary)

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Emily Nussbaum wrote in The New Yorker:

“Still, the most significant thing about “Girls” may be that it’s not a book, a play, a song, or a poem. And not a movie, either; since women rarely control production, there are few movies of this type, and even fewer that have mass impact. “Girls” is television… but it’s also TV in a more modern mode: spiky, raw, and auteurist. During the past fifteen years, the medium has been transformed by bad boys like Walter White and sad sacks like Louis C.K. “Girls” is the crest of… shows that are not for everyone, that make viewers uncomfortable. […] “Girls,” like Hannah, isn’t done: because it’s television, it’s being built in front of us, absorbing and defying critiques along the way. It lingers and rankles and upsets. Like any groundbreaking TV, it shows the audience something new, then dares it to look away. Small wonder some viewers itch to give the show a sound spanking.”

Lena Dunham is not perfect. Hannah Horvath is not perfect. Girls is not perfect. But why does it have to be perfect? We watch our favourite characters make stupid decisions, and it may drive you crazy, but we keep watching. So what if every character isn’t a good role model? Honestly, there’s really only one or two characters on Girls  that I actually like and relate to. 90% of what Hannah does warrants a collective facepalm and hrrphms of frustration, but that’s what girls do. And that’s what Girls does. Characters, just like people, don’t have to be likeable to be enjoyable. The entire seventh season of Desperate Housewives is fuelled by 3/4 of the women making horrible, unbearably ridiculous decisions, and Grey’s Anatomy sees Meredith Grey steal a baby, and ruin her husband’s medical trial, in addition to dozens of other “WHATTHEF%@&AREYOUDOINGYOUSTUPIDBITCH” situations. But we watch the shows, and we hope they move past it.

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We can see ourselves, the best and worst parts of us, and the people we know, in the people we reject or relate to on television. You can learn something about yourself through the characters you prefer over others. People are flawed, and while this may not be the most flattering interpretation of girls, guys, or people in general, it’s a damn good representation of their flaws. The guys are just as weird as the girls are (Ray has been known to be an outlet for Apatow), and just as ridiculous.

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Dunham knows what she’s doing as a storyteller, and her real-life inspiration and fetish for intimate bathroom scenes (the improv scene that opens the show in the first season, Dunham singing Wonderwall mid second-season) prove that whether or not she writes men and women properly, her voice is a fresh, different perspective that propels conversation.

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I’ve decided I don’t think you really have to like Girls to like Lena Dunham, and you don’t have to like Lena Dunham to like Girls. You don’t even have to like Girls to respect it as a movement. Television is a tool for storytelling, and the stories don’t have to be your stories to be relatable.

Hear it from LD herself:

Follow me on Twitter here.
Follow Lena Dunham on Twitter here.
Read James Franco’s endearingly honest Girls review here.

1. Die Hard. Die Hard is awesome. That’s why it’s a classic. You can watch it over and over again, and it’s still awesome. So I just feel like everyone should stop trying to fix what isn’t broken, and just keep watching the first one. DIE HARD!

2. Chris Brown and Rihanna’s relationship. Just like, how is this still happening? Seriously.

3. Anything to do with Joaquin Phoenix.

4. Everything to do with making a movie franchise “The Next Twilight.” We just finished five years of the last one, do we really need another?

5. The “Harlem Shake” craze. Alright, some of them are funny. Some of them are hilarious. But, it’s over. You killed it, and it’s over now. OVER.

6. Glee. Season One: fun, new, entertaining. Season Two: not bad, entertaining, losing a little verve. Season Three: eh. Season Four: overkill, throwaway story lines that don’t matter, and a mediocre next-generation of characters that aren’t as interesting as the first round. Degrassi flashbacks, anyone? Ryan Murphy, move on.

7. Winter. I just feel like everyone’s over it. Summer lovin’, leggo!

8. Final Destination. Okay, so this one might have ended. But in hopes that it really is over, I plan on acknowledging the existence of a sixth film. Maybe it’ll jinx it. The film’s people said they’d do a sixth and seventh film if the fifth one was a success. They made the fifth one 3D, so the sky-high prices paired with the tiny attention spans of our world’s youth made the film a “success.” Fingers NOT crossed.

9. Grey’s Anatomy. I’m a die hard Grey’s fan, and it hurts me to see the show descend into mediocrity. The great parts are gone, the characters have run their course, and it needs to be over. Shonda Rimes, move on.

10. American Idol. I stopped caring the second Simon left, and reeeeeeeally stopped caring when they turned the judges into the hot mess they are now. The Voice and The X Factor have filled whatever needs AI used to fill. #SimonSays

1. Full House. Yep, that’s right. I missed out on Uncle Jessie, John Stamos, the Olsen twins when they were cute, etc etc etc. I never even noticed what I was missing until the 7 and 8 year old children I babysat during high school (whose sisters had apparently been more televisually-educated than I) suggested it one night. And awwwwwwwwwww… it’s really cute. Check out buzzfeed’s list of little-known FH facts here.

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2. Boy Meets World.  I grew up with a sister older by nine years, a brother younger by three, parents with relatively little interest in television, and a revolving door of American/Canadian satellite channel swaps. ABC sitcoms took a backseat to free Pay Per View. All I know is Topanga is a strange name. And there were boys. Very 90s-looking boys. And now there’s a sequel, and I kind of wish I cared.

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3. My So-Called Life. I was a Degrassi girl.

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4. 7th Heaven. Didn’t like Jessica Biel in the 90s, don’t like her now. However, I appreciate the run of the show, and what it did for television. Even if basically everyone from the show went on to enjoy little more than short-lived supporting roles in series’ on a variety of varying-sized networks (No Ordinary Family, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Numb3rs, and Smallville, to name a few), they had a good run.

5. Lunchables. Alright, whether this is something I should have experienced as a kid, or something my fabulous parents managed to keep out of my system with healthy lunches, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a proper Lunchable. High-five to my parents for never copping out!

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6. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Considering the disgusting amount of random Friends trivia I know now, it blows my mind that I never saw the show while it was airing. I remember hearing kids talk in fifth grade, the glorious year of The Last One, discussing the trials and tribulations of the gang. All I ever knew was that there was a Chandler character, and it was either a man, or a woman.

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7. Fruit snacks of any variety. Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, all that shit. None of that. I traded fruit to desperate children with bad teeth.

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8. Furbies, Tamagatchis, Barbies, and other toy-related fads. For whatever reason, I never had (or really wanted, as far as I recall) any of the toys or electronicky stuff that I played with elsewhere. I had Bratz (I thought they were cooler than Barbies), a Skip-It (which still gets used), and like, a doll. I pride my child-self in my ability to not have loved weird shit.

9. Boy Bands. Honestly, I didn’t get into boy bands until I got into Justin Timberlake. I was familiar with the music, but I never the the whole posters-cds-concerts-and-all-that-freaking-out-ness. I like the music more now than I did then, and shamelessly.

10. Sunny D. The amount of Sunny D I guzzled at other people’s houses is unacceptable on every social, nutritional, and economic level.

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Reason to love Community #83726: Beetejuice. I just want to throw my laptop off a building and shout it from the rooftops, GO WATCH COMMUNITY. IT DESERVES IT.

Say his name three times, so he appears. Three episodes over three seasons. So. Clever.

Now here’s a link to buzzfeed.com’s list of the 101 Best Pieces of ‘Community’ Fan Art, because that might be able to kill another few minutes before 8pm.

And here’s a few little teasers (teasers, not spoilers, so don’t freak) from flavorwire.com’s list of 23 Things We Learned About Season 4 of ‘Community’ from the Writers Reddit.

Awesome.

Community airs Thursdays at 8pm.
Follow me on Twitter here.

Enjoy October 19th,
Cheers.

Can’t figure out where you know his name? This might jog your memory:

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He produced The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, The Voice, On the Lot (just in case I wasn’t the only one that watched this little gem), Combat Missions, My Dad is Better Than Your Dad, and more. When The Celebrity Apprentice was still on the air, he dominated television 5 out of the 7 nights of the week. I got to sit in on an episode of Strombo filming (George Stroumbouloupolous’ talk show), and George interviewed Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (in addition to a hilarious panel of comedians discussing news, I’d highly recommend the show). He’s currently producing a ten-hour epic Bible miniseries to air on the History Channel, and he’s just great. So here goes:

1. His relationship is awesome. His wife (Roma Downey, of Touched By An Angel fame) is a cute little wisp of a woman, and they interviewed separately, but it’s what they had to say about each other that made me take note. “She whispers, and [I] kick down the door,” he said. Her ideas and skill combined with his initiative and expertise; it’s a perfect balance. They talk about working together in the sweetest way. Their recent project, a ten-hour epic Bible miniseries (quite the undertaking) to air on the History Channel, was entirely collaborative, working “shoulder to shoulder” with each other. Totally admirable, and they made it through!

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2. He’s cool under pressure. George bluntly asked him, “Why do Christians hate gay marriage?” and Burnett handled it with dignity. I shifted in my seat, a little thrown off at how straight-up he was, but Burnett barely blinked. I guess after creating some of the biggest reality shows on television, you learn a few things.

3. He’s a dreamer. Never give up! He proudly announced to the studio audience: “No doesn’t always mean no…” and then, to clarify a little misconception, finished with “…in pitching a show!” He pitched Survivor to CBS, and they said no. He pitched Survivor to ABC, and they said yes. Then, they said no, and said yes to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Then, he pitched Survivor to CBS a second time. They said yes, and the rest is twenty-six seasons of history.

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4. He’s ballsy and honest. He’s not afraid to boast his confidence, and he’s pretty justified in that.
Mark: “Shark Tank, number one on Fridays. Survivor, number one on Wednesdays. Number one, and we’re going on, what, season twenty six now? Last season, number one up against the millions of dollars invested in The X Factor.”
George:Is that one of your favourite parts?”
Mark:”Oh, of course!”

5. He’s religious, without throwing it in your face. He calls his Bible series “epic” and “Lord of the Rings-y.” Then, when asked about what he thinks of the number of Hollywood celebs planning biblical epics for the big screen, he just smiled to himself and said, “Well, I guess I’m just happy mine is great, and coming out a year before.” Confidence, confidence, confidence. Even the clip he showed at the shoot was entertaining and movie-like… it really didn’t feel like watching the Bible, and that’s what’ll bring them success.

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Follow George on Twitter @strombo
Follow me on Twitter @sydney_neilson
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkBurnettTV