Since it airs on HBO, anything really goes when it comes to what can and cannot be shown. However, Judd Apatow, one of the shows executive producers, recently divulged that that isn't quite the case. "There have been things on Girls where HBO has said to us, 'If we put this on TV, we literally could lose our license to broadcast,’"Apatow told an audience of university students in Los Angeles. (Mind you, this statement comes from a network that airs that kind of late-night programming in the wee-hours on the morning.)
Apatow expanded on his vague revelation saying "the high points of sexual intercourse" were too much for the network — a.k.a. showing an erection. Speaking to his past works in addition to Girls, Apatow explained the penis to screen time ratio: "We’ve had a male organ in movies," he said. "We found out that 20 seconds of someone naked is probably too much, and people will leave the theater if you have full frontal nudity for an extended period of time. But, if you make it five seconds, they’ll laugh and say it was great," he added. Perhaps, but the reviews Nymphomaniac, a film featuring a boatload of phalluses, beg to differ.
It's possibly that by the time the projected three additional seasons Apatow predicts of Girls finishes, HBO and its audiences will become more comfortable with extending the amount of time a penis appears on screen. Lord knows breasts and full-frontal female nudity have had its time in the boob tube's spotlight. (NY Post)