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Thursday, May 19 2011

Killing Osama bin Laden and David Mamet’s Special Ops Drama, ‘The Unit’

Viewing the world through a haze of vaguely remembered TV shows, tough-guy dialogue and TV jingles, the news about Osama bin Laden’s death quickly turned thoughts to The Unit, the TV series created by once-great writer David Mamet.


Tuesday, May 10 2011

Dy(e)ing to be White: Whiteface Performance in Postracial America

On the surface, whiteface performers often exaggerate widely recognized and aesthetically pleasing aspects of white people and culture from a minority viewpoint: light eyes, light colored hair, swanky clothes, snobbish attitude...


Tuesday, May 3 2011

The Laughable Charm of Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen's idiosyncratic laugh colors both his film characters and his real-life persona. Like it or not, that laugh has a significant effect on how we watch his movies.


Monday, May 2 2011

Characters Inside Out: Bryan Elsley’s ‘Skins’ and William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’

Hamlet would have fit right in with the Skins kids; in particular, he would have found a friend in Effy, from Generation 2. Both question the nature of their worlds, both grow melancholic.


Monday, April 25 2011

Shoot the J!: Negotiations of Blackness and Normalcy in The Fab Five

Looking back at the Fab Five’s reign in the early '90s, it was framed by numerous moments in blackness, including the burgeoning crossover of hip-hop music and culture into mainstream “white” America, Rodney King’s beating, the ‘hood genre in film, and Michael Jackson’s vitiligo.


Sunday, April 24 2011

Why Do So Many Aliens Look Like Tony Blair?

The unfamiliar will only find acceptance if it is expressed in familiar terms; thus, aliens "...may have bulbous heads and triangular eyes, speak in a chillingly robotic monotone or emit a strong stench of sulphur, but otherwise they look much like Tony Blair."


Tuesday, April 19 2011

How TV Ruined Charlie Brooker

Everything the media told us we now had to question, because Charlie Brooker showed us the truth. But hearts were broken when television's biggest critic was seduced by the boob tube's charm.


Wednesday, April 6 2011

The Last Time I Saw Paris

Paris Benjamin is a working actor in Hollywood, a long way from her acting roots in France and the UK. Her recent experiences on the sets of TV series and films shine a spotlight on the US and European entertainment industry.


Sunday, April 3 2011

Richard Whitman Shrugged: The Merging of Identities in ‘Mad Men: Season 4’

Military deserter, super-confident ad man, or attentive fiancé. Is there a real Don Draper or is he destined for instability?


Sunday, March 27 2011

Television’s Evolution of the Major Black Antagonist

When TV historians talk about the black image in the 21st century, they’ll note that 2011 was the year that network TV consistently portrayed black people as major antagonists in search of the same brass rings that their white counterparts sought for nearly 60 years.


Monday, February 21 2011

What ‘La Femme Nikita’ Has to Say about Egypt and Former President Hosni Mubarek

La Femme Nikita's miserable and corrupted world of moral dead zones and US-sanctioned torture forces its hero to make a real-world choice between pragmatic collusion or principled, perhaps doomed, resistance.


Tuesday, January 18 2011

Mighty Morphin’ Masterpiece: One Man’s Inexplicable Love for ‘Power Rangers: The Movie’

The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV series was after my time, and a passing glance at any given episode was enough to convince me that it was, well, 'stunted'. So why have I seen Power Rangers: the Movie five times?


‘Glee’ on the Wii

Video games and cross-promotional marketing yield the inevitable: console karaoke for Gleeks.


Monday, January 17 2011

Jack Bauer, The Last of the Secret Agents, Finally Escapes… Or Does He?

The following takes place between 2:00 am and 3:00 am, seven months after the failed peace treaty sponsored by the US, the Islamic Republic of Kamistan, and Russia. Critiques occur in real time.


Thursday, January 13 2011

Gotta Be ‘In Treatment’

Loss is a necessary part of life, sure, but must it be a necessary part of TV?


Thursday, November 4 2010

Take Your Daughter to Work Day: A Father Reflects on Years of Force-feeding Pop Culture to His Child

How will my daughter feel when her friends greet her in 2030 with an enthusiastic shout-out to Hannah Montana or SpongeBob SquarePants and she can only remember Bebop, Rocksteady, the Gentleman Ghost and Gyro Gearloose?


Friday, October 22 2010

Prime-Time Nuclear Destruction: ‘Medic’, ‘A Flash of Darkness’

When it comes to prime-time half-hour visions of nuclear destruction, there's none better than Medic episode, 'A Flash of Darkness' from Valentine's Day 1955, a surprisingly bleak eruption of nuclear despair.


Thursday, October 14 2010

Their Mics Still Sound Nice: BET Puts Ladies First

Do women rappers have to shake it in our faces in order to get us to listen? As this doc. notes some, like Salt 'N' Pepa do it with sassiness and sex appeal "...you know, if I was a book, I would sell / 'cause every curve on my body got a story to tell".


Wednesday, September 22 2010

Three Days Was the Mourning: Three Scenes That Define ‘Six Feet Under’’s Nate Fisher

Nate was always searching desperately for deeper meaning, and so it was not surprising that he would see his dead wife’s soul peering at him from the eyes of a dog.


Wednesday, September 15 2010

You’ll Never Get Rich—Bwa! Ha! Ha!: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show

Is there always something subversive about comedy? Only when it's funny.


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