Lena Dunham

The Case for Writing Workshops

Girls‘ recent exploration of the writing workshop has provided a rare opportunity to publicly explore the good and bad sides of the building block of creative writing instruction, known as just “workshop” to veterans. For those who don’t know, during workshop, one writer sits silently, offering up a previously-submitted piece of writing to discussion, analysis, and critique. During the allotted time, the teacher classmates will refer to “the writer” and “the writer’s choice” as if the person in the “hot seat” were absent (this is the mandatory silence that Girls‘ Hannah cannot maintain in class). Sometimes the writer gets a five-minute response window at the end, sometimes not. Often the critique begins with a “what works in this piece?” discussion before moving in to constructive criticism. The received wisdom of workshop is that you learn as much from dissecting the “craft” choices of your peers as you do from their dissection of your own work. In other words, everyone is learning from each others’ mistakes. … Read More

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‘Girls’ Season 4 Episode 3 Recap: “Female Author”

It’s about damn time Girls gave us a reason to root for Marnie. “Female Author” is enough to make us remember the show’s early days, when Marnie didn’t just have her life together—she had her life orders of magnitude more together than any of her friends. After months upon months of mortifying office parties and kitchen sink rim jobs, the put-together gallerist we once knew was all but forgotten. And then we got this episode, which sees Marnie make real, concrete, hopefully possibly lasting progress, personally and professionally. Who knew she had it in her—or more importantly, that the writers’ room would let her have it? … Read More

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Desiree Akhavan on ‘Appropriate Behavior': “I Wanted to Explore Dating and Fucking as I Knew It”

Desiree Akhavan is having a moment, with her new role as Hannah’s workshop classmate on Girls and her indie film, Appropriate Behavior earning plaudits from film critics and feminist bloggers alike. The film (showing at indie theaters, on iTunes, and on-demand) falls somewhere between an awkwardly hilarious family, sex, and dating comedy and a poignant sex, family, and dating drama. Ahkavan plays Shirin, a bisexual Iranian Brooklyn type not unlike her creator, at least superficially. She’s navigating post-breakup life — which means a lot of awkward sex scenes, and, through flashbacks, falling deeply in love. Meanwhile there’s the matter of coming out to her parents. … Read More

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‘Girls’ Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: “Triggering”

Girls has proven before that while you can take the girl out of New York, you can’t take the raging narcissism out of the girl. Some of the series’ most memorable episodes have zeroed in on Hannah, and what happens when she leaves the Brooklyn bubble for her hometown (“The Return”) or her extended family (“Flo”). This time, of course, Hannah’s in for the long haul. But for now, “Triggering” is the latest in Girls’ most consistently entertaining subgenre of episode: abandoning all pretense of being about life in the city, and doubling down on the series’ true subject—the all-consuming, raging, and enraging self-absorption of its heroine. … Read More

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‘Girls’ Season 4 Premiere Recap: “Iowa”

The fourth season of Girls, like the first season of Girls, begins with Hannah Horvath’s parents taking her out to dinner. The contrast is as striking as it is intentional: the skeezy guy Hannah was then hooking up with is now her boyfriend; the unpaid internship that was then winding down (without a paying job in sight) is now an acceptance to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. And of course, this dinner is a celebration, not an abrupt announcement that Hannah’s financially on her own. … Read More

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‘Girls’ Season 4 Goes to the Writing Workshop, Gets Meta About Criticism (and Sexism)

In the first episode of the fourth season of Girls, which premieres Sunday (January 11), Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath suggests that the last four years have been a wash. Where she’s headed, she assures her parents, is more promising, or at the very least it’s a path that requires sticking to a plan. You don’t half-ass your way through the most storied MFA program in the world, after all. … Read More

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HBO Renews ‘Girls’ for a Fifth Season Before the Premiere of the Fourth

The fourth season of Lena Dunham’s Girls hasn’t even aired, but HBO President Michael Lombardo has already announced the show’s renewal… Read More

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The Year’s Worst Cultural Criticism

A couple of days back, we reviewed the best cultural criticism of 2014, which really was a rather edifying and pleasurable exercise. But for every yin, there’s a yang, and in this case, the yang involves snobbery, asinine arguments about everything from marriage to Brooklyn DIY, another page for the “Gavin McInnes is the worst” annual, and the ongoing misogynist temper tantrum of #Gamergate. As well as, yes, of course, Lena Dunham. Welcome to the year’s worst cultural criticism! (And don’t worry, we’ve DoNotLinked the most egregious articles, so click with a clear conscience.) … Read More

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Longform You Have to Read: 2014, Year of the Feminist

In a world where you have more options for satisfying your longform reading needs than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, their status as classics, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we take a look back at one of 2014’s most complicated words: feminism. … Read More

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