Q:So, I understand that while we watch Hannah move to Iowa for grad school this season, in reality, you only went to Poughkeepsie and Staten Island..?
LD:It’s funny, I asked our producers, are we allowed to say that we shot in Poughkeepsie and Staten Island, because I am very proud. I went to Iowa on my book tour, and I was like dudes, we did a good job. It looks like that.
And I went to college in Ohio, so I have a basic sense of what that is: flat, fast food. I thought we did great.
Q: So, did a lot of your own college experience in Ohio help inform this storyline?
LD:It did, but also the fact that we have a staff writer, Sarah Heyward, who actually went to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, was a huge part of it – reflecting her hilarious stories about what it was like to be in grad school with all of these poets and lunatics.
And I always love that Agatha Christie idea about a bunch of oddballs trapped in the same place together. That’s what college is. Particularly graduate school. Not everyone chooses to go back there because they can’t cope with the real world, but sometimes they do. Not being able to cope with the real world is definitely part of Hannah’s thing.
Q:I thought one of the most pertinent exchanges was when, in the first episode, Jessa says to her: ‘We committed to making it work in New York’…
LD: Yes, her asking: where are you going?
And I love that moment of honesty from Jessa – we see a lot of vulnerability from Jessa this season, which has not previously been present. Previously, she has been this fantastic-body-sexual-one, and to see her actually get hurt a bunch over this season, that was meaningful to me.
Q: What can we expect to see from the others?
LD:Shoshanna is going to really struggle to find her place.Especially because she was so convinced that she was going to be so much better at finding a job than all of her stupid friends. And then to be struggling, whereas before she had been so judgmental, like: ‘What is wrong with you people? I am going to get out of college and run a Fortune 500 Company.’
And then, she didn’t pass her final requirement, graduated from college a semester late, and started in the real world with the opposite of a bang – it’s pretty sad.
We are basically seeing a bad Shoshanna job interview almost every week. We could not stop – they are so much fun to write. Because who would be better at ignorantly screwing up a job interview? Only Hannah is more skilled at that than Shoshanna.
And Marnie – isn’t she being so bad?
That moment, when she sees Clementine, and pretends that nothing is going on. It is funny, when we wrote it, I was like: ‘I know this seems sociopathic, but it is also so relatable to me. To want a guy so badly that you will accept the fact that he is with someone else; and then to want female approval so badly that you will be nice to his girlfriend…I don’t think she is a monster, I just think she is an incredibly vulnerable girl.
Q: And that is an incredibly bold sex scene from here in the first episode…
LD: Ebon is such a sport. He is so willing to make all of their sex look so cheesy and erotic. But I will say that he’s one of the only guys on our show who looks like he knows how to have sex.
I’m not going to say that sex with Adam or Ray looks particularly unpleasurable; at least Desi seems like he is putting some real fucking effort into it.
We actually have a very sexy scene, later in the season, in episode 9 – it’s the opener of episode 9. It is really very sexy. I was on set when we were shooting it, but I wasn’t directing, and I was blushing so hard Jenni was like: ‘Go to your dressing room, you are being so weird.’ Because I was so not used to seeing good sex, it freaked me out.I am used to awkward, weird sex – it freaked me out, so I had to go to my dressing room.
Q: Hannah and Adam’s separation, emotionally, feels very quick and very severe…
LD:I think what I wanted people to feel in the first episode – and Judd and I talked about this a little bit when we were writing the first episode together – what we wanted people to feel was: does he want her to stay, or is he just letting her leave? Or is he kind of excited about the fact that she is leaving?
It is very hard to know what he is feeling – he is so obtuse, and there is part of you that thinks, oh, it’s almost like he kind of wants her out of here.
That is what I felt – that there is a part of him that doesn’t need her around anymore, and that she is maybe not picking up on that.
Or he is – they both are – feeling a lot of pain and ambivalence and confusion about this goodbye.
I mean, when she goes to wake him up and then doesn’t, that’s the moment when you know that something is really wrong here, but it’s not clear what it is, or where it’s coming from.
Q:And he seemingly has a complete inability – or unwillingness – to make any kind of plan…
LD:He is really hardened. She tries several times to try to talk about what they are going to do, and he’s like: ‘I don’t want to talk about it’.
And that does feel distinctly male to me. I feel like I have had a lot of friends
whose boyfriends are just like, turn every conversation into a joke, or demur, or change the topic, and that’s painful because we all want to feel some sense of certainly about our futures.