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Wednesday, September 8 2010

Jay Mariotti and the Moral Role

In a world of 24-hour programming, Jay Mariotti's Around the Horn does for ESPN what Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly does for Fox News: fill in large gulfs of empty space between actual news or events by making a fetish of opinion.


Monday, August 30 2010

‘The Mothers-In-Law’: Just for Good Measure, We’ll Give Everyone the Intelligence of a Radish

The '60s were the most surreal decade on TV, and this show has scenes as bizarre as any sitcom, even without castaways or martians or robots or talking animals or reincarnated automobiles.


Monday, August 23 2010

‘The Boondocks’: Carrying On the Tradition of Subversive Black Comedy

Some may be offended by the self-loathing ruminations of The Boondocks’ “Uncle Ruckus” or the Chappelle's Show,’s “blind black Klansman”, but those comedic depicitions have deep roots in America's long tradition of black humor.


Monday, August 9 2010

‘Leave It to Beaver’ Is Probably Closer to Real Life for People Today Than Many Would Admit

Leave It to Beaver's problem is not that it no longer fits modern social concerns, but that it does so too blatantly. God forbid a modern hipster should let loose a chuckle and thus irrefutably acknowledge dull suburban ambitions!


Tuesday, August 3 2010

Feeding an Addiction

Call me a romantic, but after watching so much of that wet and messy business, I crave a less-is-more, simpler, sexier rendition of food porn. Instead, of grotesque, I prefer burlesque and have found that the good stuff isn’t on reality TV.


Sunday, August 1 2010

House of the Rising Sun Lamp: Jersey Shore UNCENSORED: Season One

The youth whom I was concerned for regarding this program are not the network’s audience, as I thought, but its stars. Most seem aware that there is a direct relationship between outrageous behavior and screen time.


Thursday, July 29 2010

A Shark May Not Teach You Lessons About Goodness Like Santa Clause Does, But It Might Eat Your Head

Christmas in July is a superficial, commercial non-event, so why not celebrate a new Shark Week holiday, a holy season you can really sink your teeth into?


Thursday, July 15 2010

It Was Only Yesterday L.A. Went Up in Flames

Langston Hughes’ proverbial California raisin in the sun exploded to a funky beat. I stared blankly past the familiar storefronts, into a world I could barely grasp. How civil a society was it that my daughter was about to join?


Sunday, July 11 2010

How Does One Beat the Heat? Try Descending Into Icy Madness

To cope with the heat wave, advisories suggest visiting 'cooling centers' or public pools. To achieve a truly chilled-out state of mind, however, why not open the door to your mind and let the iceman cometh inside?


Thursday, July 8 2010

Brava, Bravo!

Those Bravo executives are tricksters, fooling me into believing familiarity breeds contentment, not contempt. I'm totally hooked.


Thursday, June 24 2010

Peyton Place: When Discretion Was Partly a Genteel Quality, Partly a Requirement of the Censor

A world where nothing is right or reassuring, and little will ever be resolved happily, not in 30-minutes or 30 years – TV as depression, an endless picturesque grind. Rather like life.


Wednesday, June 23 2010

Vampires vs. Werewolves: An Immortal Pop Rivalry

Pop culture thrives on rivalries, but few are as epic as the one between werewolves and vampires -- a rivalry which predates Twilight by, oh, some 60 years.


Thursday, May 27 2010

Perry Mason Knows: Anyone May Be Guilty, Evil Lurks Just Beneath the Mask of Respectability

Perry (Raymond Burr) remains a heroic cypher, cool and professional, sometimes jovial but with a cut and thrust when confronting witnesses.


Tuesday, May 25 2010

Pete Seeger’s ‘Rainbow Quest’: The Anti-TV, TV

Somewhat awkward, clunky and charming on his TV show, Pete Seeger seemed to trust the viewers in the same way he recognised that TV's priorities don't represent the priorities of the people he meets in his travels.


Wednesday, May 19 2010

‘Lost’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Are Both Pop Culture Belief Systems That Inspire Worship

Lost and The Empire Strikes Back revolve around the nature of light vs. dark, good vs. evil, science vs. faith and ultimately about the redemptive power of love and sacrifice. Ala Douglas Adams, both are about life, the universe and everything.


Monday, May 10 2010

‘Cause Who Would Hear Me Scream? A Faith No More Mixtape for the Joker

One could almost make the case that the four Faith No More albums produced during the Mike Patton era were written for the Joker.


Wednesday, April 28 2010

Robert Culp: From ‘I Spy’ to ‘Hickey & Boggs’

Robert Culp and Bill Cosby's wit and warmth in I Spy also established a foundation of fragility and fatalism for Culp's despairing Hickey & Boggs.


Tuesday, April 27 2010

The Goldbergs: The Most Jewish Show on Television

This show is an example of "melting pot" art from the tail end of the Ellis Island era in popular culture, when the wide variety of accents heard in city streets was reflected on the vaudeville stage, on radio, in comics, and wherever pop culture served the mythology of the mainstream.


Wednesday, March 24 2010

Beyond Barthes: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker, Wrestlemania XXV

If any wrestling match has crossed over to the emotional realm, it's the epic bout between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, but is it enough to bring sensitivity to professional wrestling?


Sunday, March 21 2010

Come Back to the 9-5, Dave Chappelle, Dave Chappelle

If Dave Chapelle came back, spring would come earlier, melodies would sound sweeter, the polar ice caps would stop melting, and maybe we might all understand and treat each other just a bit better.


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