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Tiny Furniture

Year: 2012
Production Co: Tiny Ponies
Director: Lena Dunham
Writer: Lena Dunham
Cast: Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Alex Karpovsky, Jemima Kirke

I watched the first couple of seasons of Girls before I finally saw Tiny Furniture, and with a bit of hindsight it seem obvious Judd Apatow saw it and told writer/director/star Lena Dunham to do the same thing again, spun out to a full series.

As such, this has all the same characterisations, situations and environments that are so distinctive they can be thought of as Dunham's brand – just like huge casts were Robert Altman's or migraine-inducing cuts and everything blowing up are Michael Bay's.

That means it had the same writing, filmmaking and acting talent but personally, I also hated all the same things about it that I hated about Girls. Not that Dunham puts a foot wrong – she's too smart a writer, so I'm sure she actually means to depict emotional infants so confused and misguided they come across as morally reprehensible.

Playing Hannah in Girls she makes all the same stupidly selfish/selfishly stupid choices that she does here as heroine Aura (letting down a good friend very badly just so she can unceremoniously shag a loser who doesn't want to give her the time of day, for example).

Then there's Jemima Kirke playing the same vacuous, oversexed best friend she plays in Girls, and Alex Karpovsky playing the same smarmy hipster he does. When Aura bends over backwards to offer him lodgings at her mother's groovy flat (because he'd be on the street otherwise) and then has to rescind the offer after a few days because her mother demands he leave after he's behaved like such an arsehole, he gives her a self-interested lecture on following through on your promises, never utters a single thank you and leaves. Even more infuriating, she stands there in apologetic silence.

The story is basically Aura coming home from college to find her artist mother and prettier sister are both successful and a little too wrapped up in their own lives and careers to pay her much attention, learning the hard way she's not the centre of the universe like her and her 80s baby contemporaries thought they were.

Her degree is next to useless thanks to the state of the economy, so she takes a job as a hostess/greeter in a restaurant (which she doesn't even have the good grace to stick with when it gets thankless), thinks she's in love with the chef even though he's obviously a loser and drifts through a series of kooky bars and hipster art gallery exhibitions not knowing which direction to be pulled in by her various friends, hangers-on and the perceived lack of options facing her.

It wasn't just a calling card to her career as a writer and creator, it was a calling card to the very series she created. But Dunham's a good writer, director and actress and a very smart woman. Let's see what else she can do.

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