People are ultimately threatened by young people taking positions of power. But there’s also this feeling of I could do that, too. People don’t feel rabidly jealous of Larry David or Salman Rushdie because they don’t think, I could do that. And with what I’ve done, I think a lot of people think, I could do that in my sleep. If I’d just met one person along my path, I would have that TV show.
— Lena Dunham seems like she has a pretty good idea about why so many people freaked out when “Girls” premiered. (And she has already cogently and thoughtfully addressed the other, larger criticism of the show: that it presented a very, very, very, very white world.)
And it’s true! A lot of the backlash did seem to stem from this notion that Dunham bumped into Judd Apatow and then got this show made, and since she and her costars had famous/successful parents, basically nobody worked for what they earned. I touched on this in my review of the pilot. (I never wrote a follow-up review or anything, but: I did wind up liking the show more and more as the season progressed.)
Dunham was born into privilege, she is young and she is a woman, so she is going to be the target of a different type of scorn than was directed at, say, Mark Zuckerberg. (Very different, apples and oranges, etc., I know, but: young man, very successful, got a few breaks and was ultimately criticized only when his actions [see: Saverin, Eduardo] warranted it, rather than for his enterprise as a whole.) If Lena Dunham didn’t meet Judd Apatow, she might not have a TV show, but she would definitely still be making movies and producing her art somewhere.