Word is, Lena Dumham is writing an HBO series based on 82 year old Betty Halbreich, Bergdorf’s legendary personal shopper. Obviously, Halbreich did not select this Prada number for Dunham, easily the worst dressed woman at the Emmy’s–maybe ever. Best dressed honors in the bombshell division go to Sofia Vergara in Vera Wang. And the “Why Miss Jones You’re Beautiful” award goes to Elisabeth Moss, who in one of the rare and inexplicable fashion mis-steps on Mad Men is usually dressed like Lady Bird Johnson, wowed last night with a new blonde do and attitude. Christina Hendricks in Cristian Sirano was a little too Lillian Russel for modern life.
Like the former publisher of Screw magazine who also hosted a pervy cable talk show in the buff called Midnight Blue, Dunham works the bad taste/exhibitionist card as hard as she can. Creepy, bad sex scenes almost feel like a creative compulsion on the show. We’ve all known a wild child or two, but I can’t remember the girls of my youth seducing the teenage siblings of their friends or making out with the doorman. The doorman? There is something quite sad and not sexy at all about the hook-up culture of these young woman. One review called the episode “dark and nasty”. I couldn’t agree more. Some recent “dish” on the show from Scott Meslow at The Week:
“But I wonder if Girls, like its characters, is on the verge of self-destructing. Ratings are down this season, and it was recently revealed that Lena Dunham quietly let go of a number of the show’s writers before beginning season 3 — including Steve Rubinshteyn and Deborah Schoeneman, who co-wrote last week’s problematic episode. The show has never felt as directionless as it feels now, and I’m not convinced that punishing loyal viewers with an episode as unpleasant as “On All Fours” — albeit a very well-executed episode — was the right move for a show that hasn’t been firing on all cylinders for a few weeks. Lena Dunham may have decided that Girls is a drama, not a dramedy — or even some kind of nightmarish series about body horror, if this week’s episode is any indication. But whatever this show wants to be, it needs to have a clear idea of what that means going forward. I’m hoping that next week’s finale points to a brighter future for the series after this strange, muddled second season.
Unfortunately, based on what we’ve been seeing lately, I’m not convinced that Girls can stick the landing. After the all-fours sex scene that gives the episode its title, Adam responds to the shaken, disgusted Natalia by asking, “Is this it? Are you done with me?” I suspect many viewers found themselves asking the same question about Girls tonight — and I wouldn’t blame any fans of the first season that look at this darker, stranger season and decide the answer is “yes.”
From The End Of Courtship, The New York Times:
“Many students today have never been on a traditional date, said Donna Freitas, who has taught religion and gender studies at Boston University and Hofstra and is the author of the forthcoming book, “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.”
Hookups may be fine for college students, but what about after, when they start to build an adult life? The problem is that “young people today don’t know how to get out of hookup culture,” Ms. Freitas said. In interviews with students, many graduating seniors did not know the first thing about the basic mechanics of a traditional date. “They’re wondering, ‘If you like someone, how would you walk up to them? What would you say? What words would you use?’ ” Ms. Freitas said.
That may explain why “dates” among 20-somethings resemble college hookups, only without the dorms. Lindsay, a 25-year-old online marketing manager in Manhattan, recalled a recent non-date that had all the elegance of a keg stand (her last name is not used here to avoid professional embarrassment).
After an evening when she exchanged flirtatious glances with a bouncer at a Williamsburg nightclub, the bouncer invited her and her friends back to his apartment for whiskey and boxed macaroni and cheese. When she agreed, he gamely hoisted her over his shoulders, and, she recalled, “carried me home, my girlfriends and his bros in tow, where we danced around a tiny apartment to some MGMT and Ratatat remixes.”
She spent the night at the apartment, which kicked off a cycle of weekly hookups, invariably preceded by a Thursday night text message from him saying, ‘hey babe, what are you up to this weekend?” (It petered out after four months.)
Relationship experts point to technology as another factor in the upending of dating culture.
Traditional courtship — picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date — required courage, strategic planning and a considerable investment of ego (by telephone, rejection stings). Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter or other forms of “asynchronous communication,” as techies call it. In the context of dating, it removes much of the need for charm; it’s more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble.”
A Pope quits for the 1st time in 600 years, effective the end of this month. The teenage heartthrob of the century, Justin Bieber, sexts an ‘Iphone down his pants’ photo of his boy parts to Hillary Clinton on SNL for Valentine’s Day. It’s not the Hillary part that’s disturbing; it’s the implied coolness (and role-model-ish permission) of such vulgar and potentially dangerous exhibitionism. Courting a girl with an online crotch shot is demeaning and dumb, even in jest and it could haunt you later at college/career/running for POTUS time. Though Lena Dunham might disagree. Once again, Girls gives us cringe-worthy, non-sexy sex and too much Lena. The doctor’s townhouse was beautiful even if the love scenes were not. There is something perverse about this Girl and it ain’t pretty.
“My work is like lay therapy,” Halbreich said. “You listen, you prescribe—clothes are a fix—and you hold up a mirror.”
Not since Lady Gaga pranced through Bergdorf Goodman, famously shopping sans pants, has a more unlikely Girl gone uptown to team with HBO on a series about the store’s legendary personal shopper, Betty Halbreich.
More famous for taking off her clothes than caring about couture, Dunham and her Girls co-producer, Jenni Konner, will adapt the upcoming memoir , All Dressed Up And Everywhere To Go into a comedy series. It chronicles Halbreich’s 36-year-long career as a stylist, celebrity clothing confidant to much older girls like Candice Bergen, Meryl Streep, Liza Minnelli, Sarah Jessica Parker, etc.
Happily, success is taking the girl out of Brooklyn for a long and expensive cab ride to 57th and 5th, destination: Bergdorf’s.
Frank and funny, the 85 year old Halbreich is “blind and deaf” to the siren call of a label according to a recent piece in the New Yorker magazine–a refreshing and chic high/low fashion POV that’s welcome in our status obsessed world of $12,000 Chanel jackets and $10,000 bags. Go Girl! Can’t wait for this one…
After the dignity and grace of Downton Abbey, Lena’s Brooklyn Bunch at 10 pm on HBO seems particularly vulgar and sad. Have so many seasons of reality TV desensitized us to the point where both clothes and privacy seem so last century? We’ve seen marriages come apart, lives unravel and a pregnant Bethenny Frankel use a bucket at the Four Seasons for a bathroom prior to her trip down the aisle.
And now we have Lena Dunham in all her naked glory. Yes, self-acceptance is empowering for woman and a positive body image is healthy. But was almost 30 minutes of Hannah in a see-through mesh top, boobs and tats on full display, necessary to the story line or character arc? Not to me, who is thankful for my Luddite tendencies and the fact that I don’t view Girls on a large-screen TV. Too much Lena is too much Lena, even on my small screen, and I would feel this way if she had the perfect proportions of Angelina Jolie. Mystery and romance are sexy. Desperate and depressing sex in dismal surroundings is not. Of course, there is likely all sorts of cultural and feminist significance to Girls which I’m missing and that universities will study. But I prefer to take a retro look back to the no-nudity days of the Eisenhower era and the anti-Lena Dunham–Loretta Young. Remembering that elegant, 1950’s entrancer-making fashion twirl: