In this Sunday's episode of Girls, Allison Williams' Marnie has to deal with a humiliating video on YouTube, a story tweak that borrows from the pages of Williams' real-life origin story.
When Girls was about to premiere way back in 2012 and Williams was making the publicity rounds, she credited her discovery to a video she made of her singing "Nature Boy" to the Mad Men theme song, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the video was what prompted interest from Judd Apatow. "I guess he saw something in my performance that kind of rung true with Marnie," she said. (Gawker's John Cook was quick to point out that clearly Williams had met Apatow via her famous father before the video was released.)
Still, Williams was right to say that something about her YouTube fame rang true when it came to her character. In fact, on Sunday's episode, Marnie now stars in her own viral video sensation, only this time it's (intentionally) horribly embarrassing. The video-within-the-show features Williams-as-Marnie singing an auto-tuned version of Edie Brickell & New Bohemian's "What I Am" in a variety of outfits, including one that features pajama shorts, glasses, and pigtails. The story, as it goes in the episode, is that Marnie made the video with ex-boyfriend Charlie and he put it on YouTube. Now she can't take it down because she refuses to contact Charlie. Though she blames Charlie, Hannah is quick to point out that Marnie was "definitely complicit in the creation of this." Who else was complicit in the making of YouTube sensations? Allison Williams.
The occasion of the episode seems as good a time as ever to revisit Williams Internet hits. Watch them and prepare for Sunday.
"Mad Men Theme Song ... With a Twist"
Posted to YouTube in October 2010, this is the video that apparently jumpstarted Williams career and brought us Marnie.
Williams' YouTube career started when she was in college. A year prior to the Mad Men video, she recorded a duet with Sam Tsui, who gained Internet celebrity via his videos featuring him singing multiple part harmony alongside, well, himself. Williams and Tsui sang "Breaking Free" from High School Musical. Note: Williams and Tsui also starred together in web series called "College Musical." Williams played a sexy TA. (Disclaimer: I did go to the same college as Williams and Tsui.)
This is probably the ultimate Allison Williams YouTube video. Posted in January 2010, it's Williams singing a pared down cover of Ke$ha's song. The description from producer Kurt Hugo Schneider: "Allison singing 'Tik Tok' by Ke$ha. I'm playing piano, supposed to be fun kinda ironic... Enjoy it guys!" It's hard to watch this without imagining it was the inspiration for Marnie's Kanye West performance last season on Girls.
An actually serious one! With a serious song!
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.