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'Girls' TV show raises discussion about female nudity

'Girls' TV show has been renewed for a fourth season. In a Television Critics Association interview questions about why the show's creator, Lena Dunham's character often appears nude sparked a heated debate about how gender is portrayed on television.

By Lynn ElberAP Television Writer / January 11, 2014

Creator, executive producer and actress Lena Dunham (l.) and actress Jemima Kirke talk about HBO's 'Girls' during the Winter 2014 TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 9.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

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Pasadena, Calif.

The nudity in HBO's "Girls" has raised eyebrows. A question about it has raised the anger of the show's producers.

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At a Thursday session with the Television Critics Association to promote the comedy's new season, a reporter asked Lena Dunham, the show's creator, executive producer and star, why her character was so often naked and for no apparent reason.

"It's because it's a realistic expression of what it's like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it," Dunham replied. "If you are not into me, that's your problem, and you are going to have to kind of work that out."

Filmmaker Judd Apatow (the "Anchorman" movies, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"), an executive producer of the show about 20-something friends, asked the reporter if he had a girlfriend and suggesting she wouldn't appreciate his question.

At another point, producer Jenni Konner said she was in a "rage spiral" over what she characterized as an inappropriate accusation that a woman was "showing her body too much."

The responses were less heated when the producers fielded questions about the show's lack of a regular minority character, despite its setting in diverse New York City.

"I don't think that there's any reason why any show should feel an obligation to do that," Apatow replied.

"In the history of television, you could look at every show on TV and say, 'How come there's not an American Indian on this show?' 'How come there's not an Asian person on this show?'" he said. "It really has to come from the story and the stories that we are trying to tell."

Konner said producers are trying to address some of the criticism that they agreed with, and Dunham called the conversation one "that needs to happen in the world."

"We need to talk about diversifying the world of television, and we are trying to continue to do it in ways that are genuine, natural, intelligent. But we heard all of that and hadn't really felt it deeply," she said.

"Girls," which also stars Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, and Allison Williams, returns Sunday for its third season. HBO said Thursday it has ordered a fourth season.

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