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Movies: Judd Apatow – New Godfather of Female Comedy?

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Posted January 18, 2013 by Ramp.ie in Movies
Lena Dunham

Bridesmaids was the subject of much hype leading up to its European release. ‘Finally!’ screamed the reviews ‘a funny movie by women for women!’ ‘Hilarious’ ‘Five stars’!

The many articles leading up to its release gushed about the its female writer, Kristen Wiig. The comedy mogul, Judd Apatow, had taken her under his wing as his protégée and this new brand of female comedy was the result. It was going to be a daring new field of comedy that had the female viewer squarely in mind, and this writer was ready and waiting to be wowed.

Well, you probably know by now. You can take down the banners, call off the parade. The golden age of female comedy was not upon us.

You don’t have to look too hard to identify Bridemaids’ first mistake: its entire premise. Its makers seemed to presume that women are simply men without the accompanying apparatus. That we are not, in fact, creatures of a different nature, but just men with boobs.

So, who is to blame for such a blunder? The much-fussed-about writer and star of the movie, Wiig, has been a long time on the U.S comedy circuit and a regular on Saturday Night Live for 7 years – no small accomplishment. One can only presume that being such a long time immersed in world of male-dominated comedy has addled her brain somehow. That she woke up one morning and thought, ‘Hey! I know! Why don’t we make diarrhoea jokes, but with women instead of men?’ And this is expected to be the mark of a new era a female comedy? Please, ladies; we can do better than this.

Shitting in a wedding dress? Screaming that you’ve just had your anus bleached? Bridesmaids was not a movie that represented everywoman.

Don’t me wrong, I’m no prude. I’m a fan of most of Apathow’s work and I’m certainly not adverse to his type of humour. But it’s insulting to think that the only thing that needs to happen for an entirely new movie demographic to be born is to make exactly the same jokes and truss them up in outlandish dresses. From shitting in a wedding dress, to puking in a sink to screaming that you’ve just had your anus bleached, this was not a movie that represented everywoman. I left the theatre forlorn, kicking stones all the way home. I ‘unliked’ the Kristen Wiig’s Facebook page. The dream was over.

Months later, the news broke that Apatow was working with yet another female protgeé – Lena Dunham. Her new show Girls which she writes and stars in, once again promised to set the stage for a new era in female comedy.

Within two days I had watched the entire first series. Lena Dunham’s Girls, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

Your depiction of the inherent contradictions in being a female that simultaneously makes me be proud to be one, and yet perplexed as to how we get by in life. Your portrayal of what its like to be young and confused about what to do. Your hilariously uninhibited sex scenes. Your realistic depiction of what its like to be trying to make it in New York (it isn’t all designer clothes and cosmos). Your depictions of on/off relationships with friends/boyfriends/ fuck buddie (people seem very concerned with labels at the moment). But mostly for that episode when Shoshanna accidentally smokes crack. Now there’s outrageous female comedy done the right, so pay attention Kristen Wiig!

As the Season 2 premiere makes waves, this writer is breaking out the welcome banner and putting the champagne on ice. Female comedy by and for females has come at last. So thanks for your continuing support, Judd Apatow. One out of two ain’t bad.

Deirdre McMahon

Deirdre Mc Mahon is an aspiring writer from Dublin. She hates it when people skip queues and enjoys dressing her dogs up as bees. She has the photos to prove it.


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  • http://twitter.com/JayRow Jen Ronan

    I did rather love Bridesmaids, but not as a mighty fem-com vehicle, I think you’re right about it being massively over-hyped in the way that it was, but it was still a fairly hilarious comedy. But Girls…oh, my stars and garters. Girls is fucking amazing. Every bit of it. Apart from the very last end credit, which kills me inside because I know it’s over. It’s the ‘My So-Called Life’ to my beleaguered thirty-something self. So good, it’s painful to watch unless you scream “THAT’S ME! THAT’S WHAT I FEEEEEEEEL!!” every five minutes. Great piece Deirdre!

  • Nadene

    Oooh great article! I LOVE ‘Girls’ and agree that there’s far too much OTT toilet humour in ‘Bridesmaids’ but it’s a good starting point and shows that women can make these kinds of jokes just as well as men can. Onwards & upwards!

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