Joyce Carol Oates Really Loves Lena Dunham

The second-season premiere of HBO's Girls arrives Sunday, and along with it comes an outpouring of love from members of the media for its creator and star. But Oates's piece in Vanity Fair takes the take.

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The second-season premiere of HBO's Girls arrives Sunday (in a particularly difficult evening for your DVR), and along with it comes an outpouring of love from members of the media (excluding, of course, Linda Stasi of the New York Post) for its creator and star Lena Dunham. Taking the proverbial cake—that you eat when stranded on Coney Island after having your purse stolen while you were asleep on the subway—is Joyce Carol Oates, who writes about Dunham in an essay published online today from the February issue of Vanity Fair (accompanied by an Annie Leibovitz portrait, naturally):

In Europe they are being called the “floating generation”: young people over-educated for the employment they can find, if they can find it, whose lives have stalled on the cusp of adulthood. Here, they might be called “the generation of Girls”—for surely no one will chronicle these twentysomethings with the unsparing intimacy and sympathy of Dunham, who mines politically incorrect material with the writerly instincts of a young, female Woody Allen—or, going back decades, with the idiosyncratic talent of Imogene Coca.

Oates doesn't stop there:

She is one of the dazzling stars in the vast heterogeneous firmament of Twitter, with nearly half a million followers.

We've never thought of Twitter as a solar system before.

Oates is not alone, of course. Alan Sepinwall of HitFix writes:

It takes an enormous amount of talent to make a show about a character this annoying be this watchable, and funny, and touching. Fortunately, Dunham has that kind of talent.

In another major Girls review today Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times calls Dunham a "wunderkind," but doesn't end her positive look at the new season without making some uncomfortable comments about Dunham's body type ("This season, the F.C.C. may have to issue a special rating for fashion-obsessed audiences (TV-Not-a-Size-6), because Hannah is, if anything, even less inhibited about her body"). Lace Jacob at the Daily Beast explains that Dunham possesses "quicksilver magic"

We're not sure what Dunham can do to stop the affection—unless somehow Linda Stasi, who offensively uses the word "blobby" to describe Dunham's character's body, somehow infects all critics' brains—but we know it's not going away any time soon.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.