A star and the co-creator of HBO’s new series “Camping,” Brett Gelman and Lena Dunham, had some choice words for those who are reviewing the show and noting that the main character is “unlikeable.”
“Camping,” which premiered on Sunday night, focuses on a group of friends that take a trip to the great outdoors for a birthday celebration that quickly turns contentious. Jennifer Garner stars as Kathryn, a character depicted as being a meticulous planner and unflinchingly rigid.
Dunham and Gelman spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at a recent press day for the series where they couldn’t help but lash out at what they perceive to be the sexism behind people finding the character unlikeable.
Gelman noted that he finds the characterization of “unlikeable” by reviewers to be lazy above all other things.
“When they say, ‘unlikable,’ I’m like, ‘You’re half-watching it,'” he said.
“You have Kathryn leading this show, where if she was a man, I think people would think that that character was hilarious,” Gelman continued. “Nobody wants to see a woman onscreen who is a wreck. That is pure, unadulterated systemic misogyny.”
Dunham, who co-created “Camping,” chimed in noting that she can’t believe that criticizing a character for being “unlikeable” is still a thing in 2018.
“It just drives me nuts that we can have a Tony Soprano or a Walter White or any of these characters who are wreaking literal havoc on the world around them and killing people, and then when you have a woman who’s thorny and complicated, and there’s no way to find empathy for her,” Dunham said. “I find Kathryn to be unbelievably empathetic. The idea that we would have to show you her soft, gooey center in order to prove she was worth caring about, it makes me nuts on a personal level, it makes me nuts on a professional level. If this show can do anything, I hope that it can cut into the idea that women somehow need to convey some essential vulnerability or softness in order to be given a stamp of approval.”