Girls, Girls, Girls. That was all anyone seemed to be talking about when HBO debuted the darkly comic Sunday night drama, created, written and directed by then 25-year-old Lena Dunham. The story of four friends in their mid 20s trying make it in New York, Girls premiered to universally positive reviews. “It’s raw, audacious, nuanced and richly, often excruciatingly funny,” TIME’s James Poniewozik wrote of the show. But suddenly, Dunham was everywhere. Long think pieces in the New York Times, the Huffington Post and The Nation hailed Girls as a recession-era Sex and the City, or bemoaned its portrayal of a generation of women embroiled in postmillennial ennui. Quite a few people, perhaps unacquainted with the show’s frequent nudity, wanted to know why so many middle-aged men watched it. Media pieces parsed the praise for, and backlash against, Girls, then even more stories examined what that acclaim or criticism said about the current state of society. Dunham was nominated for four Emmys and signed a $3.5 million book deal for a collection of essays titled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned. One thing she’s apparently learned is that it’s important to vote: In the last few weeks of the election, Dunham’s ad for President Obama, in which she coyly compares voting for the first time to losing one’s virginity, went viral. The new season of Girls is slated to start in January, ensuring we’ll see plenty of Lena Dunham in 2013.
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