According to Huffington Post, it was Lena Dunham’s positive outlook and energy that got her a job with Judd Apatow. “I need a positive person around because I’m bitter and dead inside now,” Apatow said to laughs before the screening of her new show Girls at South by Southwest. “So it’s nice to be with someone who is happy and reminds us all that you can do this work and enjoy it and not just do it because of your wounds.”
It also helped that she pitched him a great idea for a show, which HBO will air in April, and is very talented. Though Lena had written, directed and starred in one feature film, Tiny Furniture, which earned her critical acclaim, she was pretty green when it came to the television industry. “It was the kind of pitch you can only do when you don’t know anything about pitch meetings,” she said when talking about her pitch meeting. “I was like, ‘Here’s a show I’d like to watch. It would be really fun!’ I didn’t give a real serious pitch, I just gave a sense of a world and a kind of girl who I felt hadn’t been represented before. Then Jenni and Judd got involved and we started to build these characters who are sort of different archetypes in a way, but also really specific girls figuring out their way to the city.”
The collaboration has paid off in that the show is already generating a lot of buzz. And Apatow is quite thrilled with Lena. ”It’s always 100 times better than I ever would have imagined, how she’d execute it,” he said of Dunham. “There’s a few times in my career where there’s been something good [on the page], but when they do it, it’s way better. Anchorman was like that. It was funny, but when they did it, it was like, “Oh my God, that’s amazing.” And this has been like that.”
Girls centers on a group of young women living in New York City right out of college. Lena’s character has just been cut off by her parents and is navigating both the cutthroat professional world and the mess that is romance in New York in your 20′s. With a primarily female cast as well as executive producer Jenni Konner (Undeclared) on board, Apatow, who is usually surrounded by his Hollywood frat pack (Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, Jonah Hill), was the odd man out. “I’ve never been around so many women before. It was a new thing,” Apatow said. “There’s no bongs in the room with them. There’s no bongs or penises. And they don’t really like pornography. It was all very new to me.” But, as we know, Apatow is very supportive of women in comedy. “I think a lot of studios today are run by women, and we are entering a time when a lot of women have evolved in Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade and wanted to become writers and comedians. So we are seeing that come to fruition,” he said.