Rachel Willer 

In the pilot of her television show Girls, Lena Dunham satirizes unpaid internships by depicting the protagonist, Hannah Horvath, asking her employer to pay her after more than a year of unpaid work.1 Her employer responds with a quip about the competitive nature of her internship at a New York publishing firm and distinguishes her from another employee who the firm hired after a year of interning. While flagrant violations of U.S. labor laws are breezed over as a matter of comedic relief in today‘s media, they represent very real controversies for nearly a million unpaid interns every year.

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