DAVID BIANCULLI

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Lena Dunham's 'Girls' Navigate New York City Life
April 13, 2012  | By David Bianculli
 

(NPR) This Sunday, HBO premieres a new comedy series that's written and directed by Lena Dunham, who grabbed the media spotlight in 2010 with her film Tiny Furniture. She's 25 years old now, and stars in this new TV series as well.

She plays Hannah, who's spent the past two years trying to pursue her dreams, and her idea of romance, in the big city. Some people already are calling it Sex and the City for a new generation — but some comparisons go even further back.

In the very first scene of Girls, we meet Hannah as she's out to dinner with her parents. They've come to New York to drop a bombshell on their daughter — a bomb that the father drops reluctantly, the mother almost aggressively. And it's during this opening scene, when Hannah realizes she's about to be launched into the next phase of her life, that I fell in love. Not with Hannah, but with this new HBO comedy itself.

All three characters — the verbal, defensive daughter; the conflict-avoiding father; and the had-it-up-to-here mother — are written so completely that no one is given the edge in this very public verbal duel. It's a sign of scriptwriting maturity that makes it all the more impressive that Dunham is so young. Hannah's parents, played by Peter Scolari and Becky Ann Baker, are both professors — which explains why all three of them, even when arguing, speak in complete thoughts. Complete — and very funny...

(More here at NPR)
 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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