Even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Has an Opinion About Lena Dunham and ‘Girls’

It’s a pretty easy joke to make: anyone with an opinion and an internet connection has found the time to write a thing or two about Girls. And it’s not even a joke anymore: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA Hall of Famer, has an opinion about Girls. Because of course he fucking does.

In a Huffington Post article, Abdul-Jabbar rips the show a new one.

We’re supposed to find these girls somehow charming because of their flawed characters. Their intense self-involvement is meant to be cute and it can be… at times. But not enough to overcome our impatience with their inability to have any personal insight. They’re all educated but fatally ignorant.

This isn’t all Girls fault. It’s unfair to put so much of a burden on what is basically a standard sitcom. Some of the fault lies with the audience’s desperation for a generational voice that they turn to a sitcom to express it rather than great literature. Filmmaker and short story writer (and Dunham fan) Miranda July is more accurately a voice of a generation adrift in the rough waters of Great Expectations and a Great Recession.

When it takes itself seriously is when it stumbles. I just wish it would express its seriousness by being funnier. Seinfeld made it a point to ridicule the characters’ shallowness and self-involvement, raising it to a level of social commentary. And it was funny. Two other girl-centric shows that reached these same heights to be voices of a generation were My So-Called Life and Wonderfalls. Both funny, yet also insightful and original. Perhaps that’s why they both only lasted one season before becoming cut hits. Girls, a safer more mousy voice, is already been renewed for a third season.

THANK GOD SOMEONE FINALLY SAID SOMETHING.

But seriously, there are a couple of things to take away from this piece:

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the thirty or so people who watched Wonderfalls

Oh, wait, that’s really the only interesting thing here. That and Abdul-Jabbar’s suggestion that "a black dildo" would have been a cheaper way of bringing up the meta-discussion about race rather than hiring Donald Glover to play a character on the show. Tell that to the unions! Now, Huffington Post, can you open up your blog space for some actual cultural critics to share some insight instead of getting a famous person to nonsensically rehash stuff that has been written literally everyone else? 

Now, when will Lena Dunham get that Deadspin byline?

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Morning Links: Nick Cannon Gets Creepy With Mariah, Lindsay Lohan Mistaken for Lady Gaga

● According to January Jones, she doesn’t just play Betty Draper, she is Betty Draper. “There was no Betty in the pilot when I auditioned. Matthew Weiner, the creator of the show, had no intention of showing Don Draper’s home life,” she told W. [W Magazine] ● A bit grabby, now, aren’t we Nick? [ONTD] ● According to this week’s Village Voice, Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino “represents a new archetype of entertainer—a black nerd who can like white stuff. Not a black nerd in the over-the-top Steve Urkel or Dwayne Wayne sense, but a regular black guy who likes the same stuff white people like—but just happens to be more talented than you.” Is this guy creeping on Drake’s territory? [Village Voice]

● Lindsay Lohan was mistaken for Lady Gaga at the airport. It’s unclear on to who this reflects more poorly. [Daily Mail] ● Oh, good. Nick Cage has been reunited “by divine province” with the super special Spiderman comic book he lost 11 years ago. “What surprised me is that it looked the same. It’s very fine.” Fewf. [NYP] ● You say private school, Rap-Up says Nigerian boarding school. It doesn’t look like we’re going to find out where Earl Sweatshirt is anytime soon, but Odd Future are headed east once more, and we really wish he could come this time — that boy can rap! [Rap-Up

Opening Ceremony Year-End Sale Starts Today

There have been a lot of great things coming out of Opening Ceremony lately (not to mention the fact that it’s one of Donald Glover’s favorite stores), but the year-end sale is what we’ve all been waiting for. If you held out on buying pieces from the highly-coveted Pendleton x Opening Ceremony collection (pictured), you’re in luck—the sale includes many of the best designer collaborations, such as Robert Clergerie and Jean Paul Gaultier. Starting today, the sale is going on at each of the three worldwide retail locations, as well as online. With discounts up to 70% off, the Howard Street and Ace Hotel locations will have extended holiday hours for those of us staying in town over the weekend. As one of the bigger sales of the year, I suggest stocking up on plenty of designer pieces now—you have the rest of the year to settle your credit card debt.

33-35 Howard Street Mon-Sat: 11am-8pm Sun: 12pm-7pm Dec. 22-23: 11am-9pm

Ace Hotel 1190-1192 Broadway Sun-Tue: 10am-9pm Wed: 11am-7pm Thurs-Sat: 11am-10pm Dec. 22-23: 11am-10pm

Donald Glover Takes Us Around His New York

We’re driving down Broadway on our way to Opening Ceremony when Donald Glover spots a Gap. “I just did one of those,” he says, pointing to a window-size ad of Anja Rubik in jeans and a pair of black heels. “We shot it outside on the hottest day of the summer, and we had to pretend like it was cold. I was literally fucking boiling, wearing all of these different layers.”

Although hyperbole is part of Glover’s charm, things are in fact heating up for the Los Angeles-based, 27-year-old star of NBC’s Community, who graduated with a degree in dramatic writing from NYU before becoming a staff writer for 30 Rock. On Community, Glover, who also records rap albums as Childish Gambino, plays Troy Barnes, a jock who says things like, “Girls are supposed to dance. That’s why god gave them parts that jiggle.” Even if Troy isn’t the sharpest knife in a drawer filled with takeout cutlery, Glover’s show continues to be recognized as one of the smartest on television.

Like Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks before it, Community has a devout if modest following. “I think the network believes it’s a DVD show,” Glover says. “They’re also banking on it doing well in syndication, because, honestly, it’s not the kind of show that people rush home to watch at 8 o’clock on a Thursday. We appeal to a younger, busy demographic. There’s a ‘Save Community’ group on Facebook, which is kind of dope but also kind of unnecessary. It’s not like the studio guys at NBC will say, ‘Isn’t that sweet? At least 2,000 people really want Community to stay on the air!”

Glover’s phone rings. “Oh, look, it’s Joel McHale,” he says before answering his series costar’s call. “Did you catch the shit he pulled with Hoda and Kathie Lee on the fourth hour of Today?” A few hours earlier, on live television, the morning show hosts asked McHale why they’re so often the objects of his derision on The Soup, McHale’s own show, to which the comedian, drinking scotch from the bottle, replied, “Have you seen your show?” Later this evening, Glover and McHale will perform a sold-out stand-up comedy show at Carnegie Hall, but first Glover—or “Darnell,” as Tina Fey referred to him on a recent live episode of 30 Rock—spends some time exploring a community of his own.

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Ace Hotel – 20 West 29th Street, 212-679-2222 The Ace is my favorite hotel in New York. I like how snooty the writings on the walls are. They’re funny, as if a teenager did them, like, “You think you’re so fucking hot because you’re in a hotel.” I like the bar, and I like that the Breslin is attached to it. Basically, it’s a one-stop shop. When I want to be alone, I stay at the Greenwich Hotel (377 Greenwich Street, thegreenwichhotel.com). Ace is where I stay when I want to party. I’ve gone to SNL after-parties here, where everyone gets sloshed, although it’s definitely not the ’70s anymore. Kenan [Thompson] is always the highest, but most of the cast have kids and families. We don’t have a Farley or anything. The most fun I’ve ever had at one of those things was the night that Kanye was on the show last year. Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Chris Rock were all there, and I almost cried when I saw Jay-Z. I’ve never felt that way before in my life. It was too much.

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The Jane113 Jane Street, 212-924-6700 I’ve only been here once, pretty inebriated, with Jessica Conrad, a friend of mine who writes for SNL. It definitely has a weird, The Shining vibe to it. Many prostitutes have been strangled here. [Glover’s phone beeps. He checks his Twitter account.] I get about 50 messages an hour, mostly from middle-aged gay men and Filipinos. I remember a lot of the faces of the people who tweet at me. I was at a bar recently, and I went up to a girl and said, You’re on Twitter. You said you had a dream about me. What happened in that dream? Last night I was really drunk in the Lower East Side, and so I got a bunch of messages, like, “Just saw Donald stumbling out of a bar.” If I weren’t a comedian, I’d probably be worried about what people think of me, but I don’t really give a shit. I’m always drunk-tweeting. I’m always doing something stupid in public. [I ask if he follows the Twitter ramblings of Courtney Love.] I didn’t even know she tweeted! I saw her perform earlier this year at the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle, and I was expecting her show to be a fucking fuck dumpster. But she really blew me away. Her voice sounds like a trashcan hitting all the right notes.

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Minetta Tavern – 113 MacDougal Street 212-475-3850 I came here the last time I visited New York. I got the invite from somebody really famous, but I can’t remember who. I used that celebrity’s reservation—they can apparently always go in here—to get a meal and it was great. I remember sitting next to this buff, blond, white polo shirt-wearing Aryan guy who had a woman on either side of him, and they all sat in their booth talking about business. It was like something straight from a Lacoste ad.

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A.P.C.131 Mercer Street 212-966-5851 Gillian [Jacobs, from Community] and I go shopping together at the A.P.C. store just off Melrose in Los Angeles. I help her out by convincing her to buy stuff. She doesn’t like to spend a lot of money, and so she needs someone there to tell her she looks good in the clothing. I prefer shopping at this one, though, because it’s bigger and has more stuff.

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Opening Ceremony 35 Howard Street, 212-219-2688 I’m really into this Comme des Garçons cardigan, even if it is for women. I love clothes, and I always think it sucks that I can’t wear the same thing on different talk shows. I’ve got a really nice Marc Jacobs suit, which I wore on Leno, but when it was time to go on Ferguson, everyone told me I couldn’t wear it. I always end up talking about girls who I think are hot—Mila Kunis, Rihanna—on talk shows. I have a whole section on my website devoted to sex. I try to keep up with it, but I’m really picky because I want nice pictures, like hi-resolution shit.

Photography by Alexander Wagner.

‘Community’ and ‘Mystery Team’ Hero Donald Glover: Class Clown

Best known for appearing as a bumbling jock on NBC’s Community, 25 year-old Donald Glover’s one of the busiest guys in comedy today. He got his start in the 30 Rock writer’s room, regularly puts out viral videos on YouTube with his NYU-born sketch comedy group Derrick, and DJs around town as “mcDJ.” The just-released Mystery Team, Glover’s feature debut, is an Encyclopedia Brown-inspired parody that blends heartfelt story with crude teen humor. Co-starring fellow Derrick members DC Pierson and Donald Dierkes, the flick tells the story of a group of overgrown child detectives, out to solve a real murder mystery before high school ends. Glover, making his way to the premiere, clued us in on Tina Fey’s influence on the Team, his 20-hour writing days, and the “ex-girlfriend” — hint: you know her, too — that he keeps on going back to.

Mystery Team comes out today. How’s that feel? Really great. It’s nice to have something that you’ve worked on for so long come out.

How’d it come about? We’d just finished a sketch and had some funds that we acquired from some little commercials, stuff like that. We had some money, and we were like: “We really want to do a big project.” I had just written an outline for an Encyclopedia Brown sketch that I wanted to do, but the rights were tied up and it wasn’t ever going to happen. So I had this outline for Encyclopedia Brown that I’d always wanted to do and I brought it to the guys. We loved it and we all got really into it really fast. We just fell in love with that idea, because it intrinsically wasn’t a sketch idea. We really wanted to tell a story. I’ve said it before, but in a perfect world, we would want to be the Pixar of comedy. We love Pixar’s stories and we think they’re really funny. If we could do things that really touch people that also have good jokes in them, we would do it.

When did this all start? November 2008. We started writing it immediately. I would come home late from writing at 30 Rock and we would spend three or four hours writing the script until three in the morning, four in the morning.

Intense. But we really wanted to do it and we knew that if we wanted to do it this year, it had to be done by, at the very latest, February, because then we would have rewrites and we’d have to start getting the crew together and have to getting all the rest of the money. So we made time. For a couple of months, I had four hours of sleep. That was me in the dark days, and we got it done.

I guess there’s no other way? Yeah. I guess you just have to buckle down.

How did your experience on 30 Rock inform Mystery Team? It was huge. We had never really written a movie before. It was kind of like babies just know how to drink. [No one teaches them how to] swallow water, but they just know what to do. We just kind-of ran the room like a 30 Rock [writer’s] room. I was like, “Okay. I guess I know how this goes. We’ll run it and we’ll write jokes kind of like a 30 Rock writer’s room.” So, Tina Fey, essentially, is the reason the movie [is what it is.] If you laugh at all, that’s Tina Fey. That’s the way she writes and that’s the way she runs the room.

You wrote it with Dominic Dierkes and DC Pierson. Do you have any jokes or scenes that you’re particularly fond of? I’m super fond of the joke that we all kind of fell in love. There’s one point at which there’s a bully and he’s about to leave and it looks like he has some evidence. Jason — my character — says, “We have to follow him.” D.C.’s character, Duncan, [responds]: “I don’t know Jason. According to his shirt, he has no fear.” And I always thought that was really funny.

It’s so earnest. It’s so earnest. It’s so that character! And people always laugh in the audience. I love that joke!

You’ve had an incredible few years from NYU improv to writing on 30 Rock and now NBC’s Community. Yeah. A lot of people say, “Isn’t this amazing. Have you ever thought about how much you’ve done?” I think that’s the reason that I get a lot of stuff done. I don’t really think about it. I’m always trying to do something a little bit bigger. I’m trying to write movies now. I really want to do another big feature with Derrick. We always have grandiose ideas. Like, should the next Derrick feature be a musical? You can’t dream small. It’s been a fortunate couple of days, but at the end of the day, it’s all from hard work. Tina works harder than anybody I’ve ever met. Joel McHale works harder than anybody I’ve ever met. They’re always pushing themselves and I think that’s what makes a good product.

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So you’re working on a couple potential films right now? I am. Derrick needs to come together again. We have some things on the docket that we want to talk about. I have some things I want to write about.

Anything in particular? Or do you have to be discreet? I’ve got to keep it on the down low! I wish I could.

I guess we’ll find out. And you’re out in LA right now? How’s that? Living in LA is very different from New York. I miss New York everyday. New York’s like an ex-girlfriend. Every time I’m there I’m like, “Oh. This is awesome! Why did I break up with you?” You get used to a lot of things quicker just because you are busy. I don’t know if I’d want to come out here if I didn’t have a job because it can get lonely. There aren’t as many people out on the streets just moving around.

Everyone’s in their car, spread out. Exactly. Everyone’s in their cars and spread out. But, because I do have a job, and I’m fortunate enough to have that, I keep busy.

It sounds like you’re very busy, but in a great way. Yeah — in a good way.

Do you ever make it back to New York? Yeah. I’m actually in the car headed to LAX to fly there for the premiere right now. I’ve been back three times in the past three weeks.

You have the opportunity to… Go back and forth. It’s awesome.

Do you have any favorite spots in New York? Things that you have to go back to every time you return? There’s a place called Bon Jon Chicken. They have one in LA, but it’s not as good as the New York one. It’s really delicious. There’s also a place called Ruben’s, which is this empanada place on 7th St. and Ave A: the best food in the world. I go there every time I come back.

I’ll have to check it out. You will not be disappointed.

Cool. Any last words on Mystery Team? It’s a really great movie! I’m very proud of it. Please go see it. If you’re around our age and grew up watching ET and Back to the Future and if you also like poop, this is your movie.