Is this offensive? Apatow and Dunham takes offense at question regarding nudity

This is the article in question. The writer, a guy named Tim Molloy, asks why Lena Dunham is naked all the time in “Girls”. Both the star and Apatow take offense at that.

I get it. I think they believe the question’s phrasing and maybe the tone when the guy asked was one of derision. As in, “how dare you be naked Lena, you’re not that attractive!”

The transcribed question doesn’t seem that offensive to me, nor does it carry any inferences that Dunham is “bad naked”, as Seinfeld would put it. I think Dunham and Apatow are either playing a game and trying to generate controversy or too sensitive. Doubtless, they’ve gotten similar questions before, in more offensive tones, but this one just seems like they’re berating the guy for no reason.

Unfortunately, the writer doesn’t seem like he knows why they’re angry, or declines to probe deeper. He just keeps repeating that he doesn’t know why they’re mad and doesn’t see the offense, which, to a person offended, is probably the worst thing you can say to them. Am I wrong? Is the question offensive? Should we not even ask it?

Sounds to me like there’s no real, good reason for it (the nudity). They/he can’t give you a good answer so the obvious thing to do is attack. Isn’t that one of Tsun Tzu’s rule of war? When you can no longer effectively defend yourself, attack. If not, it should be. I watch both GoT and Girls. Both have more than their fair share of nudity that adds nothing to the story.

From the later conversation between Apatow and the writer:

“That’s another thing. It shows a lack of depth in how you watch the show.”

Any producer who says that with a straight face deserves to be mocked.

I think it did come across as “why do you specifically have to be naked” and wasn’t a blanket question about nudity on the show in general. I think they’re just tired of answering questions like that.

The show’s other producer was much more upset about it than either Dunham or Apatow, to the point of holding back tears (though she apologized for her reaction and blamed it on a juice fast that’s made her cranky).

Lena Dunham is plain looking especially when compared to the other main actresses. Perhaps they thought that the TV critic was saying she shouldn’t be naked on TV because she’s not good looking enough.

Their reaction is understandable in context.

The question wouldn’t come up if she was ‘hot’. People are constantly complaining about ‘being forced to see her naked.’ Her nudity is constantly challenged, when she’s on a channel that is 413% female nudity. We’re rife with ‘Lena Dunham’s body’ jokes.

She’s said before that she gets naked a lot to help counter the narrow depiction of sexuality on TV. And she’s been getting a lot of shitty, malignant, sexist blowback because of it.

After all that, I understand them being on edge about addressing a possibly disingenuous question for the millionth time.

You just don’t understand the show maaaaaaaaaaaaannnnn.

Exactly. If Dunham looked like Scarlet Johansson, nobody would be asking that question.

Nudity, imho, doesn’t always have to be artistically “justified”. A lot of people do a variety of things naked. The casual (non-tittilation) depiction of it can be simply be reasoned as telling a story naturalistically. It certainly sounds like that’s how it plays in GIRLS (I don’t have cable so have never seen the show but have read plenty about it).

Some people find obscene language incredibly distracting, and not always “justifiable” either, but few question it anymore. Ditto violence, even in PG-13 films. But T&A still gets extra scrutiny and extra attention, especially when used in ways that wouldn’t bat an eye on European TV. Go figure.

Once again, there are more people TALKING about Girls than are actually watching it.

I suspect that if James Gandolfini had been nude in every other episode of *** The Sopranos***, a LOT of people would be asking “What’s up with that?”

Horse shit.

Ok maybe partial horse shit. Maybe 38%.

If it were Scarlett Johanson the media narrative would be different but some of the questions would be the same. There is nudity in the show but Dunham’s character is nude out of proportion with the other characters of the ensemble cast. And not only that, she makes sure she is nude in obviously very unflattering ways. Its not like she is hideous. She is cute but doesn’t have a Victoria’s Secret model’s body. So what. But obviously she is naked in unflattering scenes often for artistic reasons. It is not unreasonable for a TV writer to ask about those reasons.

I am very disappointed in Apatow. I have heard him speak on multiple podcasts and I’ve been impressed with his humor and attitude. When he was on Maron’s show his explanation about* Girls* made me question if my initial impression of the show was incorrect. It was completely at odds with his white knighting and hipster “you just don’t get it” attitude in the quoted article. Lena Dunham remains insufferable to me.

I think their feeling was that the show has been on for three seasons now, the nudity is old news.

Both Apatow and Dunham are stupid, particularly Apatow.

Dunham was stupid for saying “I totally get it if you’re not into me, that’s your problem”, which totally mischaracterized the question.

Apatow was a complete jackass. So many people these days are hiding behind “sexist” and “misogynistic” ad hominems.

Both of them, especially Apatow, have been around for a while. They should understand the current media landscape. There aren’t three shows and 5 writers you have to talk to when doing press. There are blogs and websites and radio and podcasts and local radio and local TV and national TV and satellite radio etc etc. You may have been asked the question before but not by that guy. And that guy wants to ask you that question in his way for his thing and his audience. Sorry if you have to answer the same question again. But at least you should have the answer down by now. had an article about the exchange that’s less biased and goes into more detail about the back and forth.

Here it is:

“Just like humans” isn’t really an answer when most of the humans on the show aren’t getting naked. If no one on the show was ever seen eating and one character was constantly cramming food in their mouths, “humans eat” wouldn’t adequately explain what was going on.

For that matter, “If you aren’t okay with it, that’s your problem” isn’t an answer either, it’s a snarky attempt to not answer the question with an attack.

It’s much clearer now. A juice cleanse. :rolleyes:

As I read it, the journalist’s question kind of comes across as saying that titillation is a valid reason for nudity, but that he didn’t understand the nudity in Girls… thereby implying that he does not find Lena Dunham titillating… probably thereby implying not attractive.

And so that explains the “If you’re just not that into me…” response from the actress.

I’m not really sure who’s side I’m on when it comes to whether it is offensive or not. The question is certainly worded badly. But the answers are even worse. A creative work should have a purpose for everything and “that’s just life” is not a purpose. If their purpose is to be titillating, to demystify the female body, to address body image, to give us a more intimate view of a character - those are all purposes. If you’re writing a show, you should be able to answer a simple question about the purpose without attacking the reporter (and his girlfriend!), regardless of whether you like the guy or not.

A.) My first thought, when I read the thread title was: Jeff Dunham? The ventriloquist with all the ugly-ass puppets? I always understood him to tend toward wholesome in his act.

B.) WTF is “GIRLS”?

I didn’t get that. He was saying (by my reading) that he gets the nudity in GoT because it’s obviously set up to be titillating. The nudity in Girls is (to my understanding) much more mundane which makes one wonder why it’s there. If Dunham’s nudity was set in a more overtly sexual context it would be more obvious what they were trying to accomplish.

It seems a fair question and “Cause people get nude” seems a very weak answer when it’s largely restricted to a single member of the cast. Are the rest of the cast not people?