Lena Dunham

Donning a messy blond bob and a shirt reading “Uncool,” Lena Dunham took to the altar of the Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin on Sunday evening. 

“I haven’t actually been in a church since I was in second grade when my parents left me and my sister with our Irish Catholic nanny for a weekend,” Dunham said.

Dunham was making her latest stop on the tour for her new book, “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned.’” Dunham, 28, said Austin is one of her favorite cities in the world to visit.

“Every time something goes wrong in my life, I threaten to move here,” Dunham said. 

Best known for her creation of and lead role in HBO’s hit series “Girls,” Dunham had no problem proving her craft: relating to the average young woman in her 20s. As she sat down in front of an audience of approximately 500 people, she cultivated the sort of intimacy that felt as if there were only two people in the room. 

Dunham began by reading three excerpts from her book, comprised of a collection of short stories and insight into Dunham’s childhood, career and awkward encounters.

Her stories evoked enough laughter to make the room vibrate, but her personal anecdotes were the best of all — ranging from hilarious to contemplative, often both at once. 

Dunham also answered questions about her work on “Girls,” her strong stance on feminism and aspects of her own life.

Her favorite place? “My bed.” Favorite snack? “Bread.” Favorite episode of “Girls” to film? Episode three from season two.

“Honestly, the one where Hannah does all the cocaine,” Dunham said, earning a huge round of applause from the crowd. “The opportunity to pretend to be on blow starting at 6 a.m. for five days was the best thing in the world.”

While fans of the show were treated to a helping of insight, several questions dealt with the issue of inequality in the workplace, as one audience member asked for Dunham’s testimony on life as a young female director in a male-dominated field. Another audience member asked how it felt to be a public figure who has come to represent the voice of young women. 

“I want to make sure that, at every stage of my life, I’m telling vital stories about women in my age group,” Dunham said.

If the standing ovation that Dunham received upon answering her last question are any indication, it appears that she is well on her way to achieving that goal.

Golden Globes 2014 hits and misses

Award show season came to an official start on Sunday night with the 71st Golden Globes. Here are the highs and lows from the evening.

HITS

Comedians Amy Poehler and Tina Fey had a sense of confidence and conduct that made them perfect co-hosts for the second year in a row. 2012's Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais caused controversy with a slew of jokes and jabs directed at celebrities. This year, comedy’s leading ladies toned it down a notch but kept the laughs coming.

There is a reason everyone seems to love Lena Dunham. She’s candid, genuine and relatable. Prior to the show, Dunham stopped by to chat with Ryan Seacrest and reignited our collective fangirl crushes. “If I weren’t here celebrating, I’d be in my pajamas, eating junk food,” Dunham said. Can we join you, Lena? 

The series may be over, but the “Breaking Bad” reign is not.“Breaking Bad” ruled the TV drama series category, receiving Golden Globes for best TV drama as well as best actor for Bryan Cranston. “This is a lovely way to say goodbye to a show that meant a lot to me,” said Cranston as he accepted his award.  

Award season is the perfect time to take a fashion risk and that is exactly what Emma Watson did. The former “Harry Potter” star donned an orange Christian Dior dress that seemed tamed from the front, but the back of the gown certainly was not. The back of Watson’s ensemble featured a low back and pants. Subtle hair and makeup tied together Watson’s look seamlessly. Is there anything she can’t pull off?

The best speech of the night goes to Jared Leto, who won best supporting actor for his role as Rayon in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Leto mixed comedy and emotion in his acceptance speech, "that tiny little Brazilian bubble butt was all mine,” he joked before thanking “the Rayons of the world” for their inspiration.

MISSES

Not all outfits can be praised. One celeb that left viewers scratching their heads was George Kotsiopoulos. Kotsiopoulos suited up in a paisley printed coat with a pair of black pants that flooded above his shoes, but weren’t quite short enough to pass as capris.

Teleprompter problems always end up on the miss list. So it’s no surprise that Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie seemed perplexed as they were fed the wrong lines during their presentation. "I'm not going to lie to you. Right now, they put the wrong stuff on the teleprompter," Hill told the audience. Thankfully, though, Hill and Robbie handled the situation like pros.

Most good television comedies take a while to hit their stride. The first two seasons of “Seinfeld” are funny, but it wasn’t until season three that the cast found its snarky rhythm that made the show famous. “Cheers” was the same way; It took a while to develop the right womanizing tone for Sam Malone, and the right stuffy warmth for Frasier Crane. “Girls” has finally settled in, and the show and its cast have grown into something remarkable.

Season three’s narrative picks up a few weeks after the end of season two. Hannah (Lena Dunham), with the help of her on-again boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver), has stabilized her obsessive compulsive disorder and is back to work on her e-book. Marnie (Allison Williams) is continuing the downward spiral she began last year after losing her once-devoted tech developer boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott). Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is in the midst of a six-week stint in a rehab facility, and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is filling her last semester at NYU with one-night stands, chain smoking and binge drinking.  

The principal actors never fail to deliver in full character each time they’re on screen. In previous years, the protagonists were more caricatures than characters: Hannah was an avatar of selfishness, Marnie was all-consumingly ambitious, Jessa obnoxiously flighty and Shoshanna hopelessly naive. They were all easy to predict in every situation. This time around, the characters have been genuinely affected by each other’s presence. Hannah shows a new ambition in her quest for publication, while Marnie masks her slide into depression with a bluster typical of Jessa. Shoshanna still talks incessantly, but now she’s trying on a bit of her friends’ cynicism. 

The difference in character development in season three is astounding. Dunham’s performance has never been stronger. Hannah’s newfound determination feels natural and is balanced by a real emotional vulnerability as she realizes that her desire for greatness has a cost. Her work in two later episodes is Emmy-worthy, as she copes with her complete lack of emotion following a devastating epiphany about the career and life she’s chosen. Dunham has been praised by many in the past for her fearlessness in regards to on-screen nudity, but the real bravery this season is displayed on her face. Her emotional honesty is crushing. As a writer, she never creates easy resolutions for her character; as a director, she doesn’t allow us to look away; as an actor, she makes us feel every blow. 

Her co-stars have done just as good a job of fully realizing the emotions and physicalities of their characters this season. Williams has become adept at knowing exactly when and how to let her character’s cracks show, playing Marnie as a wall of faux confidence. Kirke plays Jessa as guarded and infuriatingly mysterious as ever but slowly allows more hints of darkness and real emotion to creep in than in previous seasons. It seems that she is building up to something, and she gives the audience hints that make putting up with her worth it. Mamet is still charming and offbeat, while leaning into the stresses Shoshanna faces as she moves toward graduation.

Driver continues his remarkable work from the past two years. Adam is bizarre, almost feral at times and beyond idiosyncratic, but he somehow remains the most stable character in the show. Shoshanna describes him as “so dementedly helpful,” and she’s completely right. Any time “Girls” is bogged down, Driver resuscitates it with a mix of madcap energy and true tenderness. Dunham gives him many of the show’s best monologues, and he always runs with the opportunity. 

The third season of “Girls” is, in short, tremendous. Dunham, the show’s creator, writer and show runner, has always focused on subverting viewers’ expectations of what sitcoms can do but by delivering a set of episodes that are poignant, laugh-till-it-hurts funny and, most of all, true. Dunham has finally delivered the show she’s been striving toward.

Taylor Swift performs on stage at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision)

Photo Credit: AP Exchange | Daily Texan Staff

A live recap of what happened at Sunday night's Grammys. Here is everything you missed, and some things you really didn't. 

10:30 LL Cool J "does a lil' rapping" with Chuck D, T. Morello, Travis Barker, and Z Trip to close out the Grammys with what appears to be a big light show with some drums and maybe some rapping? There is a D.J. and a guitarist, but they aren't really doing any work. LL Cool J's slow and boring finale to the Grammys seems fitting after a night of musical performances that are barely more memorable than whatever LL Cool J is known for. The producers of the Grammys mix in ads with LL Cool J's performance just to mix things up.

10:15 According to Adele, people who win Album of the Year go on to worldwide success. Album of the Year for 2012 goes to Mumford and Sons for "Babel" beating out The Black Keyes, Fun., Frank Ocean, and Jack White. The sound cuts out for Mumford and Sons' speech because of cursing and too many compliments being given to Adele. The British are Coming!

10:11 Frank Ocean is wearing a sweat band to perform "Forrest Gump" with projected legs running beneath him. No one knows what is going on, but whatever it is, it looks really dumb. People run in the background, Ocean wears a yellow blazer and is obviously not running.  The twitterverse though, seems to be into this confusing, slow as Rihanna performance. Frank Ocean waddles away while whistling. And *scene*.

10:08  Elton John's "Your Song" is performed by Juanes to introduce Frank Ocean to perform. 

9:57 Now that we've remembered all of the musicians and Sandy Hook, we move into Elton John. He is wearing blue glasses and no one is surprised. T. Bone Burnet, Mavis Staples, the entire band of Mumford and Sons, and Brittany Howard. 

9:53 There is now a slideshow of artists who have died in the past year, and whose muscial tastes vary across every type of music imaginable. What is Justin doing? That's what we really want to know. But really all of these people were very talented, and we are sad. 

9:48 After a break, we return with a classical song tribute, and then Ryan Seacrest. But all of this is really just to bring on Justin Timberlake again. Everyone is happy, except for Jack White who seems distracted. Timberlake tries to claim the 2013 Grammys are the "Best Grammys Ever." No one cheers.

9:41: THE OSCAR FOR Record of the Year goes to "Somebody that I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra. Taylor Swift, who just lost, gives them a standing ovation. Gotye thanks Prince for inspiring him to make music "growing up." 

9:40 Prince, who those of us under 40 did not know was still around, arrives on the scene to announce Record of the Year

9:35: To no one's surprise, Hayes was only here to introduce now six time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood who looks like a silver prom queen. Her eyelashes touch her eyebrows, but boy does she have some vocal range. Her dress begins to project shiny florescent blue swirls, and the future has finally arrived. The swirls turn to sparkles and Underwood belts her dress into roses, pieces of gold, and what appear to be jellyfish. No one knows what she is singing because her dress is a butterfly.

9:33 Hunter Hayes, who looks like he tried to get his hair cut like Bieber and failed, joins us for a piano solo complete with early 2000 grunge band black eyeliner.  

9:26 Katy Perry looks like a teenage dream with her middle part. After making a cut at Bon Iver, Perry presents the award for Best New Artist to Fun. probably so we can all look at Lena Dunham again. Who knew that dancy pop songs could dominate so many categories! Power couple of the year goes to Dunham and her bf for winning Best Actress at the Golden Globes and Best New Artist respectively. 

9:20 The Lumineers yelling was more than worth it to get to JACK WHITE. White looks like he's been in the sun a little bit since his ACL Live appearance in October. He plays "Love Interruption." His duet partner tries to steal the show with her beauty and maple syrup voice. There are no dancers on this stage, only professional musicians. White transfers his skills to the guitar. He sings/headbangs "Freedom at 21." He is everything Rock and Roll can be. 

9:18 The Lumineers join us for a brief set. There is some yelling. I'm not sure what it's for, but I think it might be a hipster call.

9:11 BOB MARLEY. All the Marleys tributes dance and sing. Taylor Swift is shown dancing at least as much as the Marleys on stage. 

9:10 Rihanna is back again!? Ellen is dancing. Rihanna is at least a foot taller than Bruno Mars, but half as interesting. 

9:07 Bruno Mars has what seems like the most high-energy set of the night. He dances. His personality jumps past his dance moves and into the audience, and then all of a sudden STING is there. Adele, Neil Patrick Harris, Taylor Swift, Nicole Kidman are all shown lip synching (or really singing) along.

9:05 A tribute to Bob Marley begins with Bruno Mars

8:57 The award for Best Country Album goes to The Zach Brown Band for "Uncaged"

8:54 Kelly Clarkson comes to the stage still on her winning high and brings the vocal chords that made her an American Idol winner and a favorite belting song of every high school girl since "Miss Independent" was recorded. "You make me feel like a natural woman," Clarkson sings, and we all feel like one when she's on stage with her flowy locks. While she's on stage, she goes ahead with an award. 

8:50 Post commerical break, some b-list television star introduces the Black Keys to the stage. The full brass brand in the background complements the flashy lights in the background very well, but no one in this performance of "Lonely Boy" looks lonely. There seem to be 30 people on stage. 

8:40 Carley Rae Jepsen looks like a middle schooler with her straight across bangs. She and Ne-yo present the award for Best Rap Song Collaboration  to "No Church in the Wild" by Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Frank Ocean. Beyonce is shown hugging Jay-Z. 

8:36 Rihanna appears after being descibed as "one of the bigggest pop stars ever." She sings "Stay," and seems to really be suffering from the dress code as this is the opposite of any of Rihanna's very entertaining (though very risque) dance performances. We will grant her, however, that her voice is *almost* as good as Beyonce's. 

8:27 The award for Best Pop Vocal Album goes to "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson. Lena Dunham is shown looking very upset, but Clarkson hugs everyone and is the first genuinely happy looking winner. Clarkson makes a very funny joke about stories that should be told "after alcohol." Clarkson gives shout-outs to everyone in the audience and wins my heart forever. 

8:23 "Girl on Fire" and "Daylight" are performed by Alicia Keys and Maroon Five. Alicia Keys makes everyone forget that Maroon Five still exists by appearing in a semi-transparent dress, playing drums, and singing "Girl on Fire" live. She looks almost as good as her voice sounds. We might call this drumsynching. Keys comes close to breaking the "no breast" dress code of this year's Grammys.

8:20 Dave Grohl and some girl from NCIS appear on stage to announce awards that have been on the internet since this morning, thanking the producers, and presenting Best Rock Performance. The Black Keys win for "Lonely Boy." They are both wearing leather jackets and hold their Grammy like a football. They shout out to Akron, Ohio.

8:18 Justin Timberlake appears in two commercials during the break and snags his own hashtag: #JTGrammys

8:11 The first ever Best Urban Contemporary Album goes to Frank Ocean over Chris Brown's "Fortune" and Miguel's "Kaleidoscope Dream." Ocean tries to make a joke to open his acceptance speech and literally no one laughs. 

8:05 Justin Timberlake takes the stage in a bow tie. The video portrayed on CBS turns to a grainy sepia black & white for Timberlake's performance of "Black and White." Timberlake sings live while following choreography. The screen switches back to color for Timberlake to switch to the new "Pusher Girl" premiered last week in New Orleans.  Watching Timberlake work is watching a master: his vocal range is impeccable, his dance moves perfect, and his back up horns enticing.  

8:03 Everyone's two favorite people, Beyonce and Ellen Degeneres, appear together to introduce Justin Timberlake to the public. Ellen gets Beyonce to laugh while she is trying to talk. Beyonce demands that everyone stand for Justin's return to the stage. 

7:53 Johnny Depp appears looking like he came from a 70's birthday party. He introduces Mumford and Sons who are all wearing black. They play "I Will Wait," and dozens of screeches are heard from the audience. The lighting is golden like the sunshine that their native England rarely recieves, and the 2013 Grammys continue to lack any sort of excitement.

7:50 Faith Hill and Tim McGraw present the award for Song of the Year. It is awarded to "We Are Young" by Fun. Lena Dunham, media darling, is sitting right next to the band and appears to be the only one in the whole audience wearing color. 

The band says "I don't know what I was thinking writing the chorus for this song...we are not very young." Taylor Swift is shown applauding above her head. Fun. thanks their families for letting them live at home while they have been young. For the first time, the wrap it up music plays louder and louder. 

7:43 Best Country Solo Performance goes to Carrie Underwood for "Blown Away." Her hair is perfectly waved, and she thanks Country Music, the Lord, and "all of her amazing people" for her award and even manages to add a "golly" to her performance. 

7:40 The Grammys finally find a voice worth listening to in the R&B singer Miguel, but they make a mistake pairing him with rapper Wiz Khalifa andthe act does little more than segway to Carrie Underwood's award.

7:32 John Meyer appears in a blue velet suit. Miranda Lambert and Dirks Bentley play a slow song with a tree in the background. The slow, melodious Grammys comtinue.  

7:30 The band Fun. plays and gets doused in water. It is not that important. They play "Carry On" and continue to be a good-time party band.

7:28 The grammy for Best Solo Performance goes to Adele for "Set Fire to the Rain," a song that most of us have already forgotten about. She managed to best Kelly Clarkson with "Stronger" and the world-wide summer hit "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae-Jepsen

7:22 After a lengthy opening monologue from LL Cool J in which zero fun was had and no good jokes were made, the Grammys continues down its no-offense, no fun path with Ed Sheeran singing "The A Team". The momentum and fun of Taylor's pop dies int his set.  

7:05 Princess of pop and country alike Taylor Swift takes the stage. She sings her catchy "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" in true mad hatter style. Spinning top hat, surrealist swirls, and all. Never has Tay-Swift looked quite so normal. 

7:00 The Black Keys kick off the 2013 Grammys with rousing fast start to the album of the year race. The band has already been awarded the award for rock album for "El Camino" and rock song for "Lonely Boy"

“Girls” star, Lena Dunham attends the HBO premiere of the show at the NYU Skirball Center on Wednesday in New York 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Twenty-six-year-old Lena Dunham is not the slacker/wannabe writer she plays in the hit HBO series “Girls” that she stars in, created and currently directs. Although the current darling of the New York media circuit, Dunham has incurred as much criticism as she has cover photos.

While many of the critiques of the show are valid — unrealistic situations, a lack of diversity among main characters and catering to a narrow audience — criticizing “Girls” for the appearance of Dunham’s body is about as relevant as praising “Friends” for Jennifer Aniston’s haircut.

Flanked by three thin, media-approved beauties (Zosia Mamet, Allison Williams and Jemima Kirke), Dunham’s figure has been used to critique the realism of the show. God knows that Dunham could never have sex with a man like Donald Glover while Williams, who plays her “beautiful” best friend, sits forlorn on the couch.

Marnie (Allison Williams) is uptight, critical and regularly complimented for her beauty on the show. She is Dunham’s opposite both in body type and body visibility. In the premiere of season one, Marnie and Hannah (Lena Dunham) sit in a bathtub. Dunham’s arms drape over the side of the tub while Williams sits upright, tightly wrapped in a towel. “I only show my boobs to people I’m having sex with,” Marnie says.

Curiously, the audience never once sees her naked chest or behind during season one nor in the premiere of season two though she has plenty of onscreen sex. While this could be William’s reluctance to be naked on television, it doesn’t really matter. The decision is one that fits her character.  

It is doubtful the media would be up in arms over seeing Williams naked anyway. The New York Post used words like “blobby” and “sloppy” to describe Dunham’s naked body, wondering why we even have to be subjected to such an imperfect figure. But the truth is that Dunham’s character is insecure and seeking approval. Hannah is hoping that by quickly shedding her clothes, she can appear more confident than her insecurity allows.  

The season two premiere opens and closes with a mostly naked and unashamed Dunham. Her co-stars spend little time in equally naked situations. And that is realistic. It should no longer be a crutch that cruel and lazy writers use to critique the show. Why is it that we can accept a variety of nationalities, sexual orientations and races on screen, but not an atypical body type?

Ultimately, no one is as naked as Dunham, but that is a realistic step for the show. Hannah Horvath is not modest in season two, and honestly, we shouldn’t expect her to be.  

Published January 14, 2013 as "Lead role in HBO series breaks stereotypes". 

Cast members, from left, Zosia Mamet, Lena Dunham, Jemima Kirke and Allison Williams attend the HBO premiere of “Girls.” 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Few shows last year drew more insipid criticisms than Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” which burst out of the gate with a roaringly funny pilot and charges varying from nepotism to racism. No matter how much controversy the Internet kicked up, the sharpness of Dunham’s voice and her unshakable understanding of her characters never faltered, and “Girls,” which returned Sunday night for its second season, earned its spot as one of the funniest shows on television.

Season two finds Hannah (Dunham) and friends living the free-floating lives of young New Yorkers. Hannah’s relationship with Adam (Adam Driver) has only gotten stranger since she ended things, and after the events of the season premier, things are probably going to get pretty tense with her roommate/gay ex-boyfriend Elijah (Andrew Rannells) and best friend Marnie (Allison Williams). Meanwhile, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) deals with romantic turmoil and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) struggles with the new realities of her life after marrying Thomas-John (Chris O’Dowd).

Dunham’s cutting wit is practically the star of “Girls,” and she truly understands the people of her time and place. Her cast is packed with hilarious figures, and even minor characters like love interest Sandy (Donald Glover) and Elijah get personalities, quirks and typically observant, sly dialogue. It’s remarkable how Dunham’s voice shines through in each of her characters without diluting their distinctness, from Shoshanna’s motor-mouthed collection of neuroses to Jessa’s loopy self-destructiveness.

Allison Williams is probably the show’s most abrasive presence, but even her character, Marnie, gets the occasional moment of pathos. Jemima Kirke barely registered in last night’s episode, but her new marriage is the season’s weakest story line so far, an unfocused exploration of a half-baked storyline. Nonetheless, Kirke’s confidence is infectious, and it’s hard not to love her half-cocked presence. Meanwhile, Zosia Mamet has developed into a golden comedic presence over the last season, getting just as big a laugh from a silent reaction or a ridiculous outfit as from one of Dunham’s one-liners.

Lena Dunham loves making Hannah’s life a special kind of disaster, and the closer she is to a nervous breakdown, the funnier “Girls” becomes. She’s not afraid to make her characters unlikable, or even unreasonable, but they’re always recognizably human, and that’s what makes “Girls” such an affable show. It’s easy to relate to the characters’ experiences, and Dunham’s handle on her world and the people she’s filled it with make ”Girls” a unique, exhilarating and hilarious show.

Published on January 14, 2013 as "'Girls' returns with same wit and humor". 

Photo Credit: Raquel Breternitz | Daily Texan Staff

There’s a moment in the third episode of “Girls,” the new comedy created, written and directed by “Tiny Furniture” auteur Lena Dunham, where the show transcends being really good to being great. It’s a sequence made in the image of pure cliche, a trope of postfeminist movie shorthand for empowerment: the goofy group bedroom sing-along dance scene.

These scenes, with their purposely overworked lip-synching to ‘80s pop, their hairbrush microphones and matching outfits, rarely ring true. They portend a call to arms, a coming together of women to share in a song and dance of solidarity, empathy and fun — their friendship and commitment to each other deepened with each harmony.

Except most of these sequences are just silly, lazy and fleeting. They are akin to pusillanimous narrative shortcuts, such as the shopping montage and crying in the rain.

But when Hannah (Dunham) and Marnie (Allison Williams, daughter of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams), best friends navigating post-graduate stupors in New York, dance together in a bedroom to Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own,” it not only succeeds in bringing them closer, but it’s also completely earned and makes total sense.

Yes, “Girls” emerges as an unexpected corrective text to ‘00s-era cultural conventions, rendered in a sparse, honest ensemble comedy that’s finely acted and immensely watchable. It is generation Y’s intellectual devotional, created by a woman who grew up on Clinton and W. Bush-era pop culture who made a series for her peers.

The pilot opens on Hannah being unceremoniously given “one last push” from her parents: They’re severing financial ties from Hannah, an aspiring memoirist who can’t finish her book because she hasn’t “lived it yet” who is forced to figure out self-sustainability.

But this bildungsroman, refreshingly, doesn’t dwell on its topicality. Sure, Hannah is faced with New York City-sized rent and no job and an unused college degree, much like some of her peers of actual 20-somethings, but her and her friends’ struggles are never direct or surface level. It’s about the anxiety and fear of failure and that internal tension between wanting the protections of youth and reaping the benefits of finally growing up.

And Dunham’s show masterfully captures the kind of willful poor decision-making that comes from this tension. “Girls” depicts those young adult moments — of realizing that a choice you’ve made, convinced of your own maturity and agency, was actually awful and foolish — with a charming sense of bemusement.

Sometimes they’re just funny bursts of self-loathing (“I just bought four cupcakes and ate one of them in your bathroom”), but others are protracted and tumultuous, like Hannah’s relationship with her sort-of boyfriend Adam (the spectacularly abhorrent Adam Driver), whose belittlement of her at every turn doesn’t keep her away.

What holds the show together, though, is the easiness of the cast’s friendship. There’s a naturalness to their interactions: whether it’s the put-together and cutting Marnie butting heads with Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and her careless sense of adventure, or Hannah commiserating with Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) “about the stuff that gets up around the sides of condoms,” you get the sense that not only are these young women real, but could also be real friends.

This is all by Dunham’s design, who comes across in “Girls” as even more a self-assured filmmaker. You can also see the careful, guiding hand of producer Judd Apatow, whose theatrical raunchiness is withheld for his ability to render small moments of powerful emotional resonance.

Dunham proved great at those instances too in “Tiny Furniture,” but here it’s more focused and affecting. Episode two weaves the idea of facing your own mortality into a plot about an STI exam.

But the reason you should watch “Girls,” even if you have an XY chromosome, is how sobering and honest it is about young people and the friends they have and the choices they make. Sometimes it feels so relatable as to be overwhelming, but it also knows that laughter, something this show is overflowing in, is what can get us all through it.

Published on Friday, April 13, 2012 as: Girls. Show depicts friends' lives, love, adulthood