Lena Dunham’s serial self-inflicted credibility wounds appear to have gravely eroded even the small but fervently loyal following the “Girls” star and creator has enjoyed for the last few years. This past Sunday, the ratings for Dunham’s HBO show “Girls” bottomed out to a record low for the entire run of the series:
“Girls,” which has already been renewed for a fifth season, drew a paltry 0.2 adults 18-49 rating with 406,000 viewers. As far as the initial broadcast goes, it was the least-watched “Girls” episode on record.
The previous episode drew a 0.3 rating with 721,000 viewers.
The piece linked above attempts to put part of the blame on the competing Grammy telecast, but last year the Grammys aired on Sunday, January 26, and on that same night “Girls” pulled 655,000 viewers, almost a quarter million more than this year. In the 18-49 demo, “Girls” pulled a 0.34 last year compared to the 0.2 this year.
The piece also suggests the AMC premieres of “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul” might have hurt “Girls,” but that just means Dunham’s loyal audience isn’t so loyal.
“Girls” has never been a big ratings hit. Thanks to its standing among the media and entertainment elite, however, it has received the kind of outsized and unearned publicity and fanfare usually reserved for blockbuster films. Especially in the run-up to this season’s HBO premiere. The elite desperately wanted Dunham to impact our culture, so they blew her up into something much bigger than she ever was.
And it almost worked.
Between the mammoth publicity surrounding her memoir and the “Girls” season 4 premiere, there is no doubt that 2015 was supposed to be the year it all came together and Lena Dunham broke out into the mainstream. Rumors flew she might star in a “Ghostbusters” reboot (didn’t happen), she had glommed on (literally) to Taylor Swift, one of the biggest mainstream stars on the planet, and the HBO/Random House/Elite Media publicity machine was at full throttle.
…then Dunham pratfalled all over the Hypocrisy/Lies/Children third rail of celebrity scandal.
If the Lena Dunham Era is indeed coming to a close, here are five tips for the next Elite Precious the New York Times chooses to anoint as The Voice Of a Generation…
1. Don’t make stuff up about your sexual assault. Rape is serious business to decent people, and most people are decent. Rape is an abomination, a harrowing crime, not a political talking point.
2. Sexualizing your infant sister in any way should be kept to yourself. Yes, our culture is skidding of a cliff into depravity, but we are not quite ready to normalize this.
3. If you haven’t voted, don’t get on your high horse telling others to vote. Especially in your underwear. You look foolish and sanctimonious and hypocritical.
4. Being a walking, talking symbol of opposition to the Left’s fascist war against our God-given right to not live on a treadmill and shop at Whole Foods is truly a righteous and worthy cause. But that doesn’t mean we want to see you without your clothes on — ever, much less all the time. I mean no offense. No one wants to see me naked. I respect that judgment.
5. When you get in trouble, running to dishonest cowards like ESPN’s Bill Simmons and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie only makes things worse. They make you look even more insulated, bubbled, protected, and by extension, dishonest. Nobody likes someone who sees themselves as too precious to answer lingering questions. Address fully what you’ve done. Don’t cower behind cowards.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC