Why Did Girls Downsize, Relocate Writers’ Room?


Lena Dunham and Lesley Arfin.

HBO’s critically acclaimed show Girls is mixing it up for Season 3 … and leaving a few names behind. Don’t start crying yet: it’s not any of the cast members. In an article last month by Joe Pompeo, a source spilled the beans that three of the show’s L.A. writers will not be returning to the already-small writers’ room. But why?

Well, relocation, to start. The eternal struggle between L.A. lifers and chronic New Yorkers: the oldest story in the book. But also, more things!

The trio of deposed scribes–senior writer and ex-Vicer Lesley Arfin, former Observer reporter Deborah Schoeneman and Steve Rubinshteyn–were allegedly told before the start of Season 2 that the Dunham brain trust would be moving from L.A. to New York, where the show is filmed. Which actually makes sense, in terms of condensing the operation … the show already shoots here, why fly out to L.A. to write it? But the downsizing seemingly had less to do with cross-country moving costs and more with giving Ms. Dunham more control over her show.

In an email to The Observer, Ms. Arfin, who had previously gotten in some hot water over a controversial tweet she made during the first season, wrote:

Really the bottom line is that she wanted a smaller writers room and she wanted it to be in nyc and me, deb, and ruby weren’t able to do that.

That line seems to suggest the “she” in question in Ms. Dunham herself, who along with being one of the writers, directors and stars of the show, also holds the title of executive producer.

(Ms. Dunham declined to comment on the story.)

Although there has been no official announcement about replacing the three writers, one could read between the lines of HBO’s statement to Capitol in its list of writers who did make the cut: Judd Apatow, Jenni Konner, Lena Dunham, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Murray Miller, Paul Simms, Sarah Heyward “and, occasionally, Lena’s parents.”

Laurie Simmons and Carol Dunham have never written an episode of Girls, to the best of our knowledge, and neither has Mr. Simms. But if Dunham was really behind taking a nine person-writing staff and cutting it down to six (not counting the occasional parent-written episode, which holy God, actually sounds crazy-amazing), one could reasonably conclude that the 26-year-old wunderkind was taking a firmer hand on the reins for her singular vision of what Girls should be.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing: Adam Reed does the same thing with Archer, and we love Archer.

And hey, there can’t be ten voices of our generation, can there?

Why Did <em>Girls</em> Downsize, Relocate Writers’ Room?