Latest Blog Posts

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”.

by Lana Cooper

22 Jul 2010


When I was a kid, I remember my mother and father talking about the then-new concept of reality television. Shows like MTV’s The Real World had spearheaded the movement with competition reality shows such as Survivor soon followed suit. Following the writers’ strike of 2000, reality television soon permeated the airways in an effort to bolster networks’ television schedules affected by a lack of show scribes, reality television received a surge in popularity that stuck well beyond the strike.

One of the most frequent points that cropped up in my parents’ conversation regarding reality television was one or the other griping: “It’s only a matter of time before they show somebody die on television.”

As it turns out, my folks were right. It happened. Death was televised and broadcast to the masses—this time in entertainment form, rather than via newscast.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Supernatural: Season 11, Episode 12 - "Don't You Forget About Me"

// Channel Surfing

"In another stand-alone episode, there's a lot of teen drama and some surprises, but not much potential.

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