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by Jessy Krupa

11 Mar 2010

The second episode of NBC’s Parenthood aired this past Tuesday night, and though its title was “Man Vs. Possum”, you wouldn’t know that unless you read it in the TV listings. It turned out to be an apt title, however, because the show opened with Adam chasing one down in his backyard late at night after hearing strange noises. Instead of calling Animal Control, he puts it upon himself by Googling “trapping and killing possums” while at work. (Is anyone surprised that it wasn’t spelled opossum instead?) But that’s Adam’s main problem, he tries to solve every problem he comes across. He tries to get childish Crosby to “man up” and tell his girlfriend about his illegitimate son, he tries to cure his own son’s Asperger’s disease as if it were a bad cold, and he doesn’t resist his father’s suggestion to use his connections to get Sarah a job interview with a hip ad agency.

Sarah, however, is a downer. She doubts herself, albeit for good reasons, all through her job searching, but finally cheers up during her job interview. She’s beaming afterward, but reality sets in as she not only discovers how her brother got her the opportunity, but also doesn’t get hired.

Meanwhile, as Julia frantically tries to spend more time with her daughter by driving her to school, an annoying mom rudely gets in her way. Later on, she goes home to find this same woman, Racquel, baking cookies and bonding with her PTA-dad husband. If I was married, and some woman was as all over my husband as this woman is, then I wouldn’t have acted as coolly as Julia did.

Crosby bonded with Jabbar over pancakes at a restaurant, but he seems to be only willing to be a part-time father. Jasmine seems to be using him as a part-time babysitter, however, as he lies to his girlfriend about where he has been.

During all of this time, Max has been causing chaos at home. He’s especially intelligent, he can tell you all about cockroaches and how many hit singles the Bee Gees had, but he refuses to change his pirate costume and he seems off in his own world. Still Adam doubts Max’s diagnosis when he and his wife, Kristina, meet a kooky couple whose son has it. After inviting them to eat a dinner that hasn’t been prepared yet and showing them an unusual set of note cards, they recommend expert Dr. Pelikan. Dr. Pelikan, played by Everwood’s Tom Amandes, uses a lot of flowery language to explain that Asperger’s is incurable, and that instead of getting Max to accomplish regular goals, they need to “meet him where he is”. In a desperate bid for attention, Haddie states that the drugs she and Amber got in trouble for were hers. I know she said it was stupid and that she was sorry, but why didn’t her parents say or do anything about it? And why on earth did they bring her bag of marijuana with them to the school fundraiser?

The school fundraiser was the turning point of the episode, as Julia showed up Racquel by outbidding her in an auction war over the best parking spot. As Sarah learned that Amber was telling the truth about the drugs, Crosby made an even bigger fool of himself by smoking some of it in the parking lot.

In the end, Sarah tried to make things right with her daughter, by convincing the school principal to not push her a grade back, and Adam finally let loose by donning a pirate costume and playing outside with Max.

Some questions are still left unanswered for future episodes, though. Is Zeek having an affair? Is anyone going to do anything about Haddie? Will Racquel still make a play for Julia’s husband? And what happened to the possum?

by PopMatters Staff

9 Mar 2010

British comedian, raconteur, writer and all-around Renaissance Man, Stephen Fry, talks about why your life may be more fulfilling if you don’t believe in the afterlife.

by John Lindstedt

9 Mar 2010

After riding the success of past viral hits “I’m F-ing Matt Damon” and its sequel, “I’m F-ing Ben Afflect”, Jimmy Kimmel unveiled his new video on Friday. In “The Handsome Men’s Club”, Jimmy presides over a panel of A-list actors known for their easiness on the eyes. To name the full roster would ruin the fun of it, so go ahead and see for yourself. Somebody’s bound to send it to you at some point today, regardless.

by Matt Moeller

8 Mar 2010

Upright Citizen Brigade creators, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts have returned to television with a new show called Players on Spike TV. The show’s concept is that Matt and Ian are brothers that have opened a sports bar in Phoenix, a framework in which the improved chaos and hilarity will ensue. Personally I have a deep hatred for sports, so I’m a little worried about the subject matter. I’m a little put at ease by the fact that I’m a huge fan of Walsh and Roberts work, especially their work in UCB. I also quite enjoyed Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin’s first show, which was based around an ESPN-like sports show, so I know it can be done. The show premiered last Tuesday, and it airs every Tuesday at 9:30 pm central on Spike TV. Check out the official trailer and a hilarious faux press piece that they shot to promote the show. 


by Jessy Krupa

7 Mar 2010

The Academy Awards used to be one of the biggest annual events on television, but up until last year, its TV ratings kept going down. Though some people are clearly heavily into the whole thing by throwing “Oscar parties” and betting on who will win what, most people won’t even bother to watch the whole show. Some people argued that this was because the movies that America cared about weren’t usually nominated. This year’s show, with its ten best picture nominees, will either prove or refute that theory.

In years past, however, a major portion of the audience just tuned in to see what everyone was wearing. The Oscars were more than just the source to see the most famous people in Hollywood celebrating the best movies of the past year; it was also a major pop culture event. It was big news in 1973, when Marlon Brando refused his “Best Actor in a Leading Role” award and chose Sacheen Littlefeather to make a speech in his place. In 1985, Sally Field drew laughs because she said, “You like me! Right now, you like me!” during her “Best Actress” acceptance speech, and in 1998, everyone talked about how Roberto Benigni climbed up on the seats on his way to accept the “Best Foreign Language Film” award. However, in today’s 24-hour news cycle, instant YouTube world, nobody misses anything big. There are multiple entertainment news shows on air that will tell you about everything that happened and many websites, PopMatters included, that will list who won what.

That’s why I won’t be watching the Oscars, even though most of the broadcast networks have bought into the hype, with only CBS offering anything new. They’ll be showing an episode of The Amazing Race based around the sites in Germany where the Beatles got their start. If you’re lucky enough to have cable, there’s a few former Oscar winning movies on, including The Dark Knight on Cinemax, Goodfellas on AMC, and Saving Private Ryan on TNT. Alternately, you could have a DVD marathon of your favorite movies and avoid all of the commercials while you’re at it. After all, you’re not missing anything.

//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