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Getting naked truth at Girls panel

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Lena Dunham

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Lena Dunham

PASADENA, Calif. -- HBO announced it has ordered a fourth season of its polarizing Lena Dunham comedy Girls, set to roll in spring 2015. Then seconds after the announcement, things got all Shosh.

During the show's panel at the Television Critics Association press tour Thursday night in Pasadena, what unfolded was a whiplash-inducing goulash of talking points.

-- TV-MA. Things kicked off to a ruffled start when a reporter inquired about Dunham's not-in-short-supply nudity on the show -- "I don't get the purpose of all of the nudity on the show, by (Dunham) particularly," he started. "And I feel like I'm walking into a trap where you go, 'Nobody complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones,' but I get why they are doing it. They are doing it to be salacious and, you know, titillate people. And your character is often naked just at random times for no reason."

Dunham responded: "It's because it's a realistic expression of what it's like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that's your problem ..."

Executive producer Judd Apatow chimed in, asking the male reporter: "Do you have a girlfriend? Does she like you? ... Let's see how she likes you when you quote that with your question, and just write the whole question as you stated it."

-- Sympathy. Dunham's confused by the TV's set of "sympathizing laws" when it relates to Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa -- "It's funny people say a lot, like, 'How do we sympathize with them?' And I'm, like, 'You seem to like Walter White.'"

-- Hey, what happened? Following a wave of criticism over its lack of diversity, Season 2 kicked off with two episodes featuring Donald Glover as a love interest for Dunham -- which some felt was the wunderkind's way of sticking the finger to the show's detractors. Its monochromatic look continues to be a hot topic. Dunham offered this take on the matter:

"I think that, for us, the idea that we were trying to say 'eff you' to our critics would imply that we didn't believe or understand, and the fact is, like I always tell people, yes, it's uncomfortable when sort of negative attention is named at you, but I also felt like that's such an important conversation that if we are going to be the instigator of that, I'm not going to be frustrated about it, because that's a conversation that needs to happen in the world. We need to talk about diversifying the world of television, and we are trying to continue to do it in ways that are genuine, natural, intelligent. ... We never want to start a story line that we are going to kind of let flitter off. So, now, we are finding ways to introduce people who are more lasting because we are ready to kind of open up the worlds of these girls."

-- Jemima Kirke speaks. The first episode of the third season finds Kirke's character Jessa in rehab. And her stint there results in a striking exchange with a fellow patient (which we won't spoil). "I think she's very just sexually damaged, yeah," Kirke said. Dunham added: "It's like her sexuality's just like kind of a rushing river and it needs vessels to contain it."

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2014 G3

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