Last night’s episode of Girls was a strange one. It was kind of a refreshing episode; there was a lot of action, and the ladies were actually doing things—those things just happened to be lots of drugs and weird sex and sweating a lot. Hannah scored coke off her recovering drug-addict neighbor in order to write an article detailing all her vulnerabilities, Marnie got picked up by Jorma Taccone as the bizarrely hot artist Booth Johnson (whom she had a sexually charged run-in with in the first season), Elijah and Hannah snorted said coke off toilet seats, Marnie finally ended her dry spell by having sex surrounded by creepy antique dolls, Elijah accidentally told Hannah about that time he and Marine engaged in "just a few pumps" of sex, and Hannah proceeded to confront Marnie in a white rage about what a terrible friend she is.
But in the midst of all this, Marnie finds herself subjected to Booth’s immersive art instillation: a TV chamber he locks her in while checking his email. Inside "Booth’s Booth," 30 TVs are stacked, displaying everything from babies crying to hyenas eating dead things to other grotesque video found-footage, while Duncan Sheik’s "Barely Breathing" blasts overhead. Clearly moved or perturbed, Marnie shrinks to a ball on the ground, only to profess "You’re so fucking talented," after being let out of the seizure-inducing sensory overload chamber—that actually kind of looks like fun. Vulture got the lowdown from Girls‘ production designer Matt Munn on some weird facts about last night’s episode.
"We developed this idea about Booth that he was kind of this skater kid who could draw, who developed into an artist but never really went to art school; he was involved in a Larry Clark photo shoot at some point with a bunch of skater kids or whatever. And he was just the most engaging and interesting guy in that group, and he started to develop his own mystique," says Munn. "But he didn’t have any sort of… concept. He was just trying to be confrontational with everything he did. He made concept art with no concept. So that kind of evolved into his whole Childhood Death Games show that he was working on. And we found these very iconic elements of childhood, like the dollhouse, the Little Tikes cars that were broken down, the teddy bears. He had all these teddy bears that he was cutting open, in my mind to make some huge Frankenbear—and it was going to be horrific."
In terms of the chamber itself, Dunham specifically said she wanted it to be disorienting and disturbing, so Munn "went through and pulled a bunch of stock footage, like hyenas eating a corpse, dogs barking at people, babies crying, larva—anything we could think of in the art department that seemed either aggressive or really, really annoying; anything that would just make you ill at ease… Our producer Ilene Landress shot herself driving through the Holland Tunnel on her iPhone; we took footage on the Staten Island Ferry of the water getting churned up. We also got some footage of just flashing lights. It got to the point where I had to ask Lena to make sure Allison [Williams] wasn’t prone to seizures."
Check out more from the interview here.