My beloved Lena,
When we first met (didn’t meet) two years ago, it was unlike any attraction I’d ever experienced in my life. You were everything a Brooklyn bro would want in a partner. You were Oberlin educated. You were a racist by omission. You loved Little Women and hated wage labor. Honestly, I’d never (not) met a twenty-five-year-old television auteur quite like you. It seemed, for lack of a better adage, too “good” to be “true.” In a creative industry whose doors run floor-to-frame with deadbolts, you’d somehow managed to wiggle your way in. You would be the voice of my generation by default, but at least my generation would have a voice. For that, I loved you.
Two years is neither a short stretch of time nor a long one. What it is is time enough for a person–or people–to change fundamentally, to re-prioritize priorities and to reset seemingly set values. Spending time with you and your circle of peripheral acquaintances in Greenpoint has, I’ll be first to admit, been a delight (albeit a periodic one). I’ll never forget when we were “dancing on [our] own” with Marnie, or bumping lines with Elijah at Greenhouse, or playing naked ping pong in the solarium of Patrick Wilson’s brownstone. Feeling as I feel now, I wish I could travel back in televisual time, lock us in that brownstone with handsome Patrick Wilson forever. In that moment, I felt so connected to you. I felt so sure of us, our potential as a symbiotic unit. Looking back, I can’t believe how wrong I was.
Because things have changed, Lena. A couple must either change together, or stop being a couple, and change apart. We have, decidedly, changed apart. There’s no sense arguing it anymore.
I’m sorry, Lena Dunham, but it’s over.
Before you freak out, I think we should discuss the shit you pulled last night. Because what the fuck was that shit you pulled last night? Hannah Horvath having OCD out of nowhere I can handle. Hannah Horvath working at GQ out of nowhere I can handle. Whatever the flippity fuck this was I can handle. What I can’t handle is the overwhelming sense, two years in, that you have no idea what your show is about. In a vacuum, Hannah wanting to move to Iowa to become a writer is no less arbitrary or moronic than most of GIRLS‘s plot points. But assessed in sum total with Jessa assisting in an euthanasia apropos of nothing and Marnie buying a James Taylor guitar pick apropos of nothing and Shoshanna not graduating from Gallatin apropos of nothing, it just struck me, apropos of everything, as lazy writing. Which is something I’d never expect from a future graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
This laziness seems doubly egregious when your position in popular “culture” is taken into account. Discounting Callan Wink and Emma Cline, you are our generation’s most celebrated writer. That you’ve leveraged this position to produce a profoundly inconsistent and artistically insubstantial product is deeply problematic, inasmuch as it reinforces the greater societal notion that ours is a generation with little to say and a lot to feign. I believe this to be a gross misconception, one I
blog once every three weeks fight everyday to obliterate. I don’t believe I can fight that fight if I continue to see you.
I’ll say too that none of my objections are in camp with the consensus objections. I don’t believe characters have to be charming and likeable. (As an obnoxious, unlikeable person, I’d find the counterpoint hard to argue.) I’m not bothered by the pointless nudity, or your asinine defenses of it, or the blatant nepotistic jet fuel used to power your rocket-esque rise to stardom. I’m bothered by the increasingly abusive nature of our writer-reader relationship, an extended abuse whose continuance I’ve been fully complicit in. (You’re also really backhand mean to Marnie.) But no more. I’m done. From this moment forward, I will only torrent your show the day after it airs. In this way, I will try to regain some broken sense of self respect. Have fun in Iowa.