HBO has given “Girls” a lot of freedom when it comes to scenes that push the boundaries of taste, and the network is certainly known for its bounty of sex-filled material. But there was one “Girls” scene that the network wouldn’t allow to reach the small screen.
As “Girls” approaches its sixth and final season premiering February 12, the Hollywood Reporter interviewed the network executives, creators, and stars involved to piece together a wide-ranging oral history of the popular show. In it, they discuss the sexually explicit scene that brought HBO and the show’s producers to a roadblock.
Cocreator Judd Apatow referred to the sex scene as a “conclusion shot” in a sex scene.
Cocreator and star Lena Dunham was less delicate in her description, saying it involved semen “arcing through a shot.”
HBO’s then-programming president, Michael Lombardo, drew a line in the sand.
Apatow recalled, “HBO said, ‘If this is in the show, we could lose our licence.’ We were like, ‘Oh my God, we’ve actually found the line at HBO.'”
HBO’s then-entertainment president Sue Naegle defended the network’s stance, referring to the climax shot as a “fire hose.” In the end, the show’s creators relented.
“When Mike fought us on stuff, which wasn’t often, he was always right,” cocreator Jenni Konner said.
But in the end, “Girls” would get its “conclusion shot” after all, and it generated plenty of conversation during its second season. Viewers and media debated if it was too graphic.
“It was conditioner and Cetaphil, by the way — it was just with Adam and Shiri Appleby instead,” Dunham said.
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