Recently I’ve seen photos of Allison Williams on the cover of three separate magazines — February’s UK InStyle, Elle’s Women of TV issue and Mexican Glamour. It’s safe to assume her surging cover girl status is due in large part to the January 12th season 3 premiere of HBO’s “Girls” — a quick look at her IMDB page shows that she has no other projects on the horizon.
Those of you who remained loyal fans of “Girls” through its shaky second season likely agree Williams’ character, Marnie, is entirely insufferable, over-indulged and unrealistic. The character is grating at best — whiny, cliched, rambling and dead-end at worst. Knowing this, I was surprised to see that she was the one being lauded as the “breakout” star of the show’s third season, the woman picked to represent the series on talk shows and in interviews. It’s not that I’m heartbroken to see the previously outspoken Lena Dunham step out of the spotlight, but it’s weird to see such an unlikeable character and bland actress take her place. The fact that she’s suddenly a “woman to watch” — that’s simply absurd.
Where is the fabulously quirky, unapologetically naive and oh-so-sincere Shoshanna? Zosia Mamet has some of the best scenes and one-liners in “Girls” history and is as cover worthy as anyone else. And Jemima Kirke, even with her performance as the unrooted, unpredictable Jessa, shines in interviews. Kirke is every bit the irreverent, outspoken, truly bizarre force you’d hope. With actresses like these in your arsenal, I ask again — why tap the most basic, blah woman to be the face of a show about creative-yet-aimless twenty-somethings?
Bluntly, it’s because she’s the most conventionally attractive actress out of the four. Lena Dunham was the show’s darling when it was still fresh and new. As it’s creator, she took center stage. But now that it’s time to sustain, and even somewhat revive, the buzz around “Girls”, audiences need to be lured in by the type of beauty that easily translates to magazine covers, morning talk shows and late night TV. Dunham’s crooked teeth, tattooed arms, criticized body and pixie cut aren’t what viewers want. Jemima Kirke suffers from the same problem as Dunham — she doesn’t have that Victoria’s Secret Angel physique. Zosia Mamet, while thin, is less of a mainstream beauty. She looks Jewish, while Williams is decidedly white bread and therefore becomes the one who takes the “Girls” publicity throne.
Admittedly, this could all be one huge overreaction, a classic case of reading too much into too little. Maybe I missed reading the article that explains how the “Girls” clan pulled straws and decided Williams was their spokeswoman this time around. Maybe no one else wanted to grace magazine covers and dazzle Kathy Lee and Hoda. Who knows.