Girls producers went on the defensive Thursday evening in response to a question during the show’s panel at the Television Critics Association press tour about the show’s nudity.
But that’s putting it mildly.
If you ask exec producer Judd Apatow, who addressed the incident after the panel, the wording of the reporter’s question itself, directed to creator and star Lena Dunham, was not only “offensive” but “sexist” and “misogynistic.” (For the record, here it is verbatim: “I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity on the show – by [Dunham] in particularly. I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you go, ‘Nobody complains about all the nudity on Game of Thrones,’ but I get why they do it. They do it to be salacious and titillate people. And your character is often nude at random times for no reason.”)
“That was a very clumsily stated question that’s offensive on it’s face, and you should read it and discuss it with other people how you did that,” Apatow said, speaking to the reporter who asked the question. “It’s very offensive.”
In the moment, Dunham herself spoke clearly about her position on the nudity, saying it is “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive. But I totally get it. If you’re not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals,” she retorted. And later, fellow EP Jenni Konner interrupted her response to another question to add, “I literally was spacing out because I’m in such a rage spiral about that guy,” she said pointing to the question-asker. “I was just looking at him looking at him and going into this rage [over] this idea that you would talk to a woman like that and accuse a woman of showing her body too much. The idea it just makes me sort of sick.”
In all, Apatow said the nudity on the show, which was renewed during the panel, is a function of the lives they believe the characters lead and he credited Dunham’s courage to shed it all in the name of authenticity. “Lena is brave enough to do it,” he said. “If Paul Rudd said to me, ‘I’m willing to be completely naked in the movie,’ I’d do it. If Seth Rogan said he was willing to be naked – he showed his butt in a post-sex scene in Knocked Up – I would use it because it’s more honest. Most people are not comfortable so we don’t go there.”