Lena Dunham in 'Girls,' season 3, episode 9.
Mark Schafer—HBO
March 28, 2014 9:43 AM EDT

When Sunday’s season finale of Girls ended with a shot of Hannah Horvath (played by writer and creator Lena Dunham) hugging her acceptance letter from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop to her chest, viewers were pretty certain she was headed for grad school. Now Hannah’s future is less certain, with Variety reporting that University of Iowa has denied HBO’s request to film Girls on its campus.

Though the first three seasons have followed the show’s four main characters as they traipse around Brooklyn, a move to Iowa would indicate a real step forward for Hannah, a struggling writer. Having Hannah make her way to the prestigious writing program made sense to the show’s writers, particularly staff writer Sarah Heyward, who is a graduate of the program. Yet, the University of Iowa feels differently.

“While we are pleased that the Iowa Writers’ Workshop is receiving national attention and that our graduate is doing well in her career, our general practice is to not allow filming, due to potential disruption to campus,” university spokesman Tom Moore told the Press-Citizen in a statement.

Of course, it’s always possible that HBO and the Girls crew will simply substitute another university campus for Iowa Writer’s Workshop scenes, but for a show that’s made its name on being ultra realistic—sometimes too realistic, according to critics—it’s likely a disappointment for the crew.


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