Lena Dunham proved last Summer that she was worth paying attention to with her debut series Girls. Some critics simply remarked it as disillusioned trash, and others simply loved her brazen in-your-face approach to telling a different narrative for the lost generation of 20-somethings. Whether you hated it or loved it, Dunham’s show acted as some fun “cooler talk” on Monday mornings, but what no one could really predict is the amount of controversy the show stirred up.
Acting as a new conversation piece with each passing episode, as the weeks rolled on, it was glaringly obvious that while Dunham knew how to create an engaging, quirky series, it wasn’t representing any minorities. The criticism became so deafening that even Dunham had to defend her choices for not writing about the lives of 20-something African Americans.
Instead of promoting Girls, it seemed like the actress, writer, and producer was on an apology tour. An appearance on NPR’s fresh air resulted in comments by Dunham that just added more fuel to the fire. Dunham had said about the issue back in May:
“I am a half-Jew, half-WASP, and I wrote two Jews and two WASPs. Something I wanted to avoid was tokenism in casting. Not that the experience of an African-American girl and a white girl are drastically different, but there has to be specificity to that experience [that] I wasn’t able to speak to. I really wrote the show from a gut-level place, and each character was a piece of me or based on someone close to me. And only later did I realize that it was four white girls.”
So it was surprising when we learned that African American comedian and TV star Donald Glover was cast in an arc for the second season of Girls. Was it pressure from HBO to grab a wider audience, or to appease the naysayers? Did the 26-year-old feel pressured by the criticism? Glover apparently plays a Republican on the show, which is sure to stir up some controversy to say the least. Lena Dunham explains to indieWIRE about her choice to put Glover on the show:
“For people who had been paying attention to the backlash, at least evoke some sense that we were in a dialogue with our audience. It definitely wasn’t a ‘F—k you, haters!’That’s not really how I tend to roll my game. But at the same time, it was a pretty clear statement that we are comfortable, that there isn’t a political agenda against having black characters in the show.”
Dunham also goes on to oddly compare dating a Republican to dating a Nazi, which is sure to fire people up.
What do you think about Lena Dunham’s choice in casting Donald Glover on Girls?