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by Michael Landweber

29 Apr 2010

United States of Tara recently started its second season on Showtime. Toni Collette plays the title character, who is the mother and wife of a seemingly typical suburban family. Except that she suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Tara is sometimes teenager T, perfect housewife Alice, redneck trucker guy Buck, therapist Shoshanna, and a weird subhuman creature that likes to pee on people. In Collette’s hands, this surprisingly all works—I have never had a moment watching the show where I did not believe in Tara’s transformations.

The supporting cast is also excellent. John Corbett plays Tara’s husband. He’s one of those actors who I always like to watch. Ever since Northern Exposure, he’s made everything he’s in better—see My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Sex and the City for examples. Rosemarie Dewitt steals all her scenes as Tara’s long-suffering sister. Keir Gilchrist and Brie Larson are the teenagers in the household who each are perpetually on the edge of their own meltdowns. (And I also enjoy occasional walk-on Patton Oswalt as Corbett’s buddy and Dewitt’s once and future love.)

by Steve Leftridge

28 Apr 2010

Well, the Urban Legend is gone. It was quite a run for Tim Urban, a guy with no real singing ability to speak of and who didn’t make the original cut to begin with. (Remember, he was a last-second replacement for shaggy orphan Chris Golightly, who was disqualified for bearing false witness, or some such malarkey.) A home-schooled, Bible-studied, teetotaling Texan, Tim was the perfect candidate for Sarah Palin’s America, where actual competence is far less important than mythical value identification. Finally, however, Turbo ran out of dumb luck, and what a difference it made this week. With one bunch-spoiling apple removed, everybody suddenly got better, making this week’s vote a tough call after a round of solid Shania from everyone.

Then again, maybe it’s the fact that Shania Twain’s songs are timelessly catchy and that her brand of country-pop is the kind of music that anyone seems to be able to have a hit with, and at least four of the final six are a good fit for today’s contemporary country scene. Hey, is it me, or was Shania a far better mentor when she was still married to Mutt Lange? Without him, she just seems like a regular, boring old mentor. But I’m sure she wrote all those songs herself.

by Jessy Krupa

28 Apr 2010

Parenthood has been renewed for a second season by NBC. This means that viewers won’t have to worry that they’ll get involved in plots that will never be finished and the show’s writers can make those plots drag on for as long as possible. While I don’t mind this about some of the show’s story lines, I just wish other parts of the show would move on already.

I’m mostly sick of seeing the continuing saga of bratty Haddie’s love life. At the beginning, we seen her as a decent teen trying to deal with a complicated home life, but now we just see her parents worry about her possibly becoming pregnant while she acts shocked and entitled. This week, she ordered a lacy bra from Victoria’s Secret (a show sponsor?) and thought her parents were completely unreasonable for being concerned about it. While Kristina saved the bra from the trashcan and kept saying, “I trust you!”, Haddie scowled and later wore this same bra under her shirt, Flashdance-style. When Adam saw that this was how she planned to dress for a visit to her boyfriend’s house, he made up the excuse that he had to drive Drew to the school dance, leaving her to baby-sit Max. This caused Haddie to leave the house, bra-less, after Adam told her she couldn’t go out later on that night. Needless to say, he dragged her out of Steve’s house after spotting the two kissing alone upstairs. Haddie dodged her father’s questions by calling him a hypocrite for encouraging Drew to have a love life. That just made him state cliches like “There is a double standard” and “That’s the way the world is”, instead of pointing out that there is a big difference between driving a boy to a dance and letting your daughter show everyone her bra strap.

by Kit MacFarlane

27 Apr 2010

It’s bad news for fans that popular WWE wrestler Mickie James has been fired by the WWE. It’s worse news for a wrestling world that still holds onto the belief that it’s part of the 21st century.

Is there a more masochistic form of media engagement that being a fan of women’s wrestling? Ah, what sweet nourishing contempt pours forth from the screen as talented, devoted and passionate athletes are shoehorned into two-minute lingerie matches and Wrestlemania pillow fights. It’s even better knowing that many of these women trained for years, risking poverty and injury, to reach the peak of their art: smiling in a bikini next to washed-up celebrity guest hosts.

Yeah, it can feel like it’s never a good day to be a women’s wrestling fan; at least, not when we’re stuck with mainstream wrestling media.

by Jessy Krupa

23 Apr 2010

It was obvious that something bad was going to happen to the security guard that was looking around inside the abandoned hotel at the beginning of tonight’s Supernatural. When a creepy bellhop magically appeared in the same room and started babbling about him being late and an honored guest, I really wasn’t surprised, and when that same bellhop killed him in order to make “dinner” (off-camera, of course), I knew that I was watching a sub-par episode. 

Next, this same hotel was re-opened, and full of people. Coincidentally, a terrible storm is going on outside, so the Winchester brothers are forced to stop there for the night. Dean said, “Nice digs, for once.”, but most hotels on this show all look alike anyways. The same creepy bellhop notifies Dean that his neck is bleeding, probably from shaving, and introduces him to an all-you-can-eat buffet that includes the “best pie in the tri-state”. However, Sam realizes something is very strange about this place, and not because whenever there is pie on Supernatural, bad things are about to happen. His neck has a cut on it as well, but Dean is too busy to notice, flirting with a woman in red that wants nothing to do with him. Unbeknownst to him, the creepy bellhop, Mercury, delivers the brothers’ blood samples in vials to this same woman later on. Her name is Kali, and she is not as she seems.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article