In news that will surely spur a lot of varied reactions from a lot of very opinionated people, Lena Dunham is hosting Saturday Night Live on March 8. Both she and indie rock's The National will be making their first ever Saturday Night Live appearances. A lot of people will be watching to see how Dunham does — but we have cause to think she'll do great.
Dunham is still somewhat a controversial figure in the media (and the public that so rabidly consumes that media); I know countless twentysomethings and otherwise who adore Girls and/or Tiny Furniture and/or her constant on-screen nudity and who have high respect for Dunham — I also know quite a few who either very deliberately skirt conversations on her or who will take every mention of her name as an excuse for a speech on the millennial mindset and/or exclusionary feminism and/or why they don't want to see her naked.
Basically: Dunham gets talked about a lot. There are thinkpieces about every time she does anything, basically. So you know that this Saturday Night Live appearance is going to draw just as many eyes looking for an excuse to tear her down as it is eyes who just want to see a person they admire or enjoy be funny with other funny people who are admired and enjoyed.
But Dunham (and her public image) have a few qualities that make her first SNL gig pretty promising, despite the inevitable first-time jitters.
For one, there's virtually no way the SNL writers aren't going to get some good material out of working with her. Nothing screams Topical Millennial Issues like Lena Dunham, and SNL can be great at addressing stuff like that in memorable and new ways. They've even already tackled Girls before (see below).
Plus, she seems game for anything, from what I can tell. And I'm not just talking the nudity, though it's pretty much guaranteed the SNL writers will find some way to bring that up. No, I'm talking her general willingness to poke fun at herself, her culture, her public image, etc. Remember when she popped up in the openings to the Emmys naked on a toilet eating a birthday cake? And then that Vogue video when she went all '50s movie dance routine with Hamish Bowles? (See below.)
I've got an instinct that's just a very small sliver of what she's willing to do, and I for one can't wait to watch SNL work that willingness to the bone.