Growing up in New Jersey, jammed all the way out on the East Coast and in between a bunch of people, it’s hard to imagine what life is like in the rest of America. In school, the memorization of the capitals of other states mostly seems like an act of politeness. Sure, the capital of Wyoming is Cheyenne, but it’s not like that knowledge is being stored for an actual trip there. This dynamic of awareness of other place ‘out there’ and standoffishness (who cares?) works in both directions; while New Jerseyans have trouble imagining life elsewhere, the population west of the Delaware River has some ideas about how things go in New Jersey that relate to big hair and strong accents. Until recently, this was all residents of New Jersey had to worry about when defending themselves throughout the United States and abroad. However, the recent focus on New Jersey as a site to mine for reality television gold raises some questions about the tension between celebrating a local identity and engaging in troubling self-parody.
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The overwhelmingly positive media reaction to Betty White’s guest star appearance recently on Saturday Night Live seemed to be about two very different dynamics: A) Classic live comedy performance and B) Classic live variety performance. Because, really, watching Betty White perform at her age on live television was a lot like watching someone juggle a bunch of flaming bowling pins, except here the juggling represents being really, really old. That Betty White is a good comic actress is undeniable. But so is every SNL cast member. Television viewers’ fascination with White’s performance had to do not only with her spot-on comic delivery, but also with their anxious protectiveness of her legend status. The watchability of the actual telecast hinged in equal parts on these two feelings, as if the viewer was always caught between saying to oneself, “Wow, that was funny!” and “Wow, good job for actually pulling it off!” Viewers were concerned for White’s safety in the same way they would be for their own grandmothers, except instead of braving a particularly steep stairwell, White was looking slyly through a television screen and talking about her dusty muffin.
Before Supernatural ended its fifth season a couple of weeks ago, most of its viewers knew that the series had been renewed for another season. The internet buzzed about writer Sera Gamble’s admission that the apocalypse plot would be resolved in the season finale, which was rumored to include the death of a beloved character. Some of its more media savvy fans knew that stars Jensen Ackles (Dean) and Jared Padalecki (Sam) had signed six-year contracts, so rumors spun that either Misha Collins (Castiel) or Jim Beaver (Bobby) would be leaving the show.
On the season finale, Sam allowed himself to be possessed by Satan so he could lead him into a trap that would render him powerless. During the struggle, his half-brother Adam (Jake Abel), who was possessed by the angel Michael, fell into the same trap and they all vanished. Castiel went back to Heaven, and the prophet Chuck stated that Dean gave up the hunting way of life and wouldn’t see Bobby for a long time afterward. As we seen Dean sit down to dinner with his ex-girlfriend and her son, Sam (or something that looked just like him) was standing outside of their home. Then Chuck mysteriously vaporized away.
NBC’s Parenthood ended its first season tonight with a lot of resolutions and pleasantness, but it didn’t leave you wondering about the road ahead. Perhaps this episode was designed to also serve as a series finale if need be, but we now know that it will be back this fall.
In the show’s first few moments, Haddie gave herself a makeover. She cut her newly dyed black hair and put on a darker shade of lipstick. While her parents were overly shocked by this, they were surprisingly unconcerned about her skipping chemistry class. Max, however, stated that, “It looks like a panther, like a vampire from Twilight, I like it!” (Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of him in this episode.) I noticed how Haddie’s new look was similar to Amber’s style, and sure enough, she later admitted to her mother that was part of the reason why she did it.
Kristina then admitted that she thought it looked “cute”, but up until then, she was very irritable throughout the episode. She still held a grudge against Sarah, treating her coldly when she asked if Adam could help Drew train for baseball tryouts.
Like millions of other television junkies, I bought the hype; I was reeled in by the ruthlessly compelling commercials and well-placed print ads, and on September 22, 2004, I tuned in for the premiere episode of Lost.
Lost, with its water-cooler plot-twists and world’s sexiest flight manifest quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, burning up internet chat rooms (when they were still around), blogs (they’re still around, right?) and even the print media (which at least the time of this writing is still around.)
I remember saying to myself as the pilot unfolded, “I think I’m hooked.” It happened right around the time the plane crashed, as terrifyingly visceral a scene as I’ve ever seen on the small screen, in spite of my already knowing it was coming. I wondered what would become of the survivors, how they’d turn coconuts into wine, how they’d get along or not get along. I wondered who might take of their shirt first.
// Notes from the Road
"With vibrant performances by artists including St. Vincent and TV on the Radio, the first half of the bi-annual Boston Calling Festival brought additional excitement to Memorial Day weekend.READ the article