April 16th, 2012
06:06 PM ET
If the new HBO series "Girls" feels very realistic to you, that's not by accident.
The show's creator/director/star Lena Dunham didn't have to look far for material. The actress and "It" comedy girl of the moment sat down with CNN during SXSW and explained where she found the inspiration for her tales of a group of 20-somethings navigating life in the Big Apple.
"It's based on my life, it's based on the life of my friends, the life of my writing staff," she said. "It's sort of a hybrid of the experiences of many girls I know and love as they try to make their way in New York."
The show takes a light-hearted look at some pretty heavy subjects, including abortion and sexually transmitted diseases, and so far Dunham says nothing has been off limits. But that's not to say that she hasn't self-regulated with some things.
"I've sort of tried to avoid things that felt like, 'been there, done that' girl TV show things," she said. "I don't want anything where everyone gets their period at the same time, I don't want it where one girl steals another's boyfriend. I want to avoid the sort of traditional areas that have been trod on again and again and sort of keep it fresh."
The new series has been hailed as an authentic portrayal of the lives and loves of young women in the 21st century, not to mention a more realistic portrayal of beauty.
"I don't look like everybody that you usually see on television," Dunham said. "I wanted to make sure to cast actresses who were beautiful, but beautiful the way that your sexiest friend is beautiful not beautiful the way that someone who is on a CW show is beautiful."
Like her show's producer, Judd Apatow, Dunham doesn't think women finding success in comedy is new. Rather, the overwhelming reception of projects like Apatow's "Bridesmaids" is just elevating the discussion.
"It's not news to us," she said. "Not to generalize, but I often feel like women have better senses of humor about themselves. I think people are discovering, not just that women can be funny, but that people are willing to pay to see women be funny."
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