At the Golden Globes on Sunday night, millennial writer/actor/director Lena Dunham, she of slightly salacious campaign ad fame, took home not just one but two Golden Globe awards for her hit HBO TV series Girls. Dunham herself received an award for her acting, and the show won the award for TV comedy or musical series. Dunham beat out Golden Globe hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, as well as Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Zooey Deschanel, to be named Best Actress in a TV Comedy.
The Best Actress in a TV Comedy award was introduced by Jason Bateman of Arrested Development and Aziz Ansari of Parks and Rec, who pretended to be high after getting a little too down with the cast of Downton Abbey backstage. While introducing the candidates, Ansari accidentally-on-purpose called Dunham "Lisa." Dunham ascended to the stage accompanied by Robyn's "Dancing On My Own."
Dunham joked, "I thought that I was going to be a cooler customer if this ever happened, which I didn't think it would."
She began her speech by addressing the other nominees, thanking them for getting her through "middle school, mono, a ruptured eardrum, and the acute flood of anxiety that populates my entire life." She continued by thanking HBO and her mentor Judd Apatow, calling him the "greatest man and honorary girl." Apatow was central to the development of Girls. After seeing Dunham's indie film Tiny Furniture, Apatow emailed her to tell her, "If you ever want someone to give you a lot of money and screw everything up, we should talk."
In addition to her friends and family, Dunham also thanked her Girls co-stars Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke (who also starred in Tiny Furniture), Zosia Mamet, and Adam Driver. She said Driver, who plays her not-boyfriend/boyfriend Adam on the show, who "made [her] feel not like a cartoon character, but like a person who could express emotions."
"This award is for every woman who has ever felt like there wasn't a space for her. This show has made a space for me," Dunham concluded.
In accepting the second award for Girls as the show's star and executive producer, Dunham once again arose to "Dancing On My Own." She accepted the award with the "greatest collaborators anyone could ask for": the cast of Girls, "who've shown me the meaning of bravery and nakedness, both emotional and physical" and mentor Judd Apatow, amongst others.
"Making this show and the response to it has been the most validating thing that I have ever felt. It's made me feel so much less alone in this world. I can't define it," said Dunham.
While Dunham's show has been critically well-received, the writer and actress has nonetheless received her fair share of criticism. Her emotional and physical nakedness on the show were met by unsolicited advice that she lose weight. Her sexually-charged ad for the Obama campaign led conservatives to compare her to Putin. And the show itself has faced numerous charges of not "making a space" for many women, including women of color and less privileged women. Many have failed to distinguish between Lena Dunham's real life and the fictionalized life of her character Hannah Horvath, framing them as one and the same.
Girls' second season premiered on Sunday night. The show's resounding success at the Golden Globes likely means that Lena Dunham is dancing right now — but probably not on her own.