It was the question that launched a million think pieces. “Lena Dunham, why do you get naked so often?” It’s not worth revisiting the answer — Vince already covered that — but something in the full query text caught my attention. The Wrap’s Tim Molloy asked, “I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. By you particularly. I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you say no one complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones, but I get why they’re doing it. They’re doing it to be salacious. To titillate people. And your character is often naked at random times for no reason.” The comparison between Game of Thrones and Girls is an easy one to make (both on HBO, both on Sunday nights, both hella naked), so let’s make it!
I went through every episode of Game of Thrones and Girls, minus the two that aired over the weekend, and made note of every time a character was naked. For science. I followed one simple rule: BBB, or do you see butts, boobs, or bits? If so, it counts. Also, I went scene-by-scene, rather than shot-by-shot; for instance, if the camera pans away from Theon without his clothes on, then comes back to him nine seconds later, that only counts once.
First, the numbers.
Number of Girls episodes: 20 (not including season three)
Number of Game of Thrones episodes: 30
Number of Girls minutes: 20 episodes x 30 minutes = 600 minutes
Number of Game of Thrones minutes: 30 episodes x 55 minutes = 1,650 minutes
Number of instances of Girls nudity: 28
Number of instances of Game of Thrones nudity: 44
Number of minutes between Girls nudity: 21
Number of minutes between Girls nudity: 37.5
Number of instances of Girls nudity in season one: 13
Number of instances of Game of Thrones nudity in season one: 20
Number of instances of Girls nudity in season two: 15
Number of instances of Game of Thrones nudity in season two: 13
Number of instances of Game of Thrones nudity in season three: 11
Number of times on Girls the message could have been conveyed without nudity: 13
Number of times on Game on Thrones the message could have been conveyed without nudity: 20
Character most often nude on Girls: Hannah
Character most often nude on Game of Thrones: Daenerys
And now the mostly SFW proof. (There are instances where a character/characters might be naked, but all we see is their bare back or something, not anything that counts as actual “nudity.” I didn’t include those.)