Latest Blog Posts

by Elizabeth Wiggins

13 Aug 2010

I came to Mad Men late, in the middle of the show’s second season. Unwilling to simply dive in and pick up in the middle of things and worry about catching up later, I exercised restraint and watched the first two seasons of the show on DVD.  Watching the first two seasons this way allowed the story to unfold as a whole, without the interruptions of commercials or weeklong gaps between episodes. 

It was clear to me that each season of Mad Men is conceived of as a long story, told in 13 parts, and held together over an extended arc. On DVD, I was enthralled by the way this story came together; the pacing I saw in uninterrupted viewing gave it and the characters an honesty that I thought spoke to exceptional storytelling ability. More than anything, though, I did not understand why some people found Mad Men boring.

by Nathan Pensky

5 Aug 2010

Explanation is usually only necessary when a joke isn’t readily funny. However, some A-material contains narrative layers of nuance which defy a single pass. One such moment happens in the season four premiere episode of the American version of The Office.

In “Fun Run”, the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflen Paper Company is all atwitter over the recent accident of a co-worker. Branch manager Michael Scott has made the office’s scare with vehicular manslaughter his latest pet project, mainly because his was the vehicle and he the man who almost did the slaughtering. Though Meredith, Dunder Mifflin – Scranton’s resident alky, survived being hit by Michael’s car with only minor injuries, her hospital stay fortuitously allowed doctors to diagnose and treat a much more serious Rabies infection. In other words, had it not been for getting hit by Michael’s car, Meredith probably would have died.

by Joseph Fisher

5 Aug 2010

Image from the front page of the Cupcake Wars website

George Edergly Harris III in Heaven have we ignored the legacy of the 1960s? If global catastrophes like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent BP Oil Spill, and the depletion of the Arctic ice pack have not demonstrated how deeply we have misunderstood the ideology of flower power, then a quick peek at your weekly Travel Channel and Food Network programming guides should accomplish that in an instant.

by Beth Greaves

3 Aug 2010

Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) and DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) in BBC1's Luther

I was inspired to write this article by fellow PopMatters blogger, Andy Johnson, who mentioned in his article the large number of negative complaints that BBC crime drama Luther has pulled from national publications such as the Radio Times. It has been accused of misogyny of the first level—the consistent brutalization of women onscreen. Admittedly, Luther has done something to deserve this title; the third episode of its six-episode run featured a woman held captive in a freezer by a sadistic Satanist, and her sustained physical and psychological torture was graphically shown.

I’m responding to the consistent “How could you do this to women?” air of such complaints. Yes, Luther showed horrific violence perpetuated by men upon women, as have shows like Wire in Blood before it. Yet there has been very little mention of the almost feminist bias shown by both Luther and other television shows.

by Joseph Fisher

30 Jul 2010

I’m going to part ways with the general consensus that the judges on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance offer the contestants inane feedback on their performances.  Of course, the judges on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance do offer the contestants inane feedback on their performances—shrieks about Hot Tamale Trains, endorsements of “buck”ness, general confusion about each dancer’s identity.  However, if the show’s seventh season has proven nothing else, it’s that the judges can offer commentary that is straightforward—and potentially racist, sexist, and homophobic. 

I began writing this entry on the afternoon of 28 July, hours before the next installment of So You Think You Can Dance’s seventh season was set to air, and when I was still reeling from the 21 July episode, during which the judges, once again, sliced into Jose Ruiz for being untrained and, according to Mia Michaels, too human. Lauren Froderman, on the other hand, received credit from Nigel Lythgoe, after Adam Shankman remembered who she was, for giving a “sick” performance; later, she “shot her partner with her butt”.

//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