If you ever plan to hop on the “Girls” (HBO) bandwagon, be prepared. You might not see anyone like you. Hannah and Marnie both graduated from Oberlin College, share an apartment in Brooklyn and are pursuing careers in the arts. Shoshanna wears Juicy Couture tracksuits and maintains a fancy flat in Manhattan. Jessa, well, she’s a jobless world traveler who moved to America from Britain on a whim.
The problem? They’re all white. And rich.
At age 26, Lena Dunham may be one of the most powerful young people in Hollywood. In the past three years alone, she wrote, directed, produced and starred in the indie film festival hit “Tiny Furniture” as well as a new HBO show entitled, “Girls.”
The show follows the twenty-something trials and tribulations of four girls living in New York City who, to their dismay, find that life in the Big Apple bears no resemblance to “Sex and the City.” Through warehouse parties, raves, relationships and even being financially cut off from their wealthy parents, these girls face the shock of the real world. “Girls” managed to air an entire season without a minority character, which did not sit well with certain audiences.
Dunham portrays the characters and experiences that she knows best. In fact, most of the show is satirical; making fun of her experiences being the spawn of upper middle class white parents. But some people called the show out for the young, privileged, white characters, claiming that the show lacks diversity.
“The entire show takes place in New York City and, yet, they really don’t have much diversity, if any diversity on the show,” said one CNN reporter.
Dunham reacted to media criticisms at first by posting a snarky comment on Twitter, which read, “What really bothered me most about [the movie] Precious was that there was no representation of ME.” Suddenly realizing she may lose her audience, Dunham came back with a classis public relations driven statement during her speech at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women summit that she felt “heartbreak at the idea that the show would make anyone feel isolated.”
In order to appease her audience, Dunham has included actor Donald Glover in the season two premiere episode and has vowed to assemble a more diverse cast.
What do you think? Should television shows be pressured to include a diverse cast? Should Lena Dunham be able to keep her creative integrity? If artists give in to audience’s demands, do they lack artistic integrity and credibility?