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Monday, July 30 2007

Longford: Next to Godliness

If Longford were just the story of a flawless saint, it wouldn’t be very interesting. Instead, we see a nuanced portrait of a complicated and imperfect man.

Tuesday, June 19 2007

Violence for Good

The escalation of violence on television isn't merely a matter of audiences becoming desensitized. It also raises the stakes and the psychological payoffs when the violence is avenged.

Sunday, May 20 2007

Make Mine Vanilla: Season Sanjaya Six and the American Idol Illusion

Far beyond the media sensation of adoration and hate that surrounded Sanjaya Malakar's stint on Idol is how his booting laid bare how empty and soulless the whole affair has become.

Tuesday, May 8 2007

The Shield: The Detective & the Lieutenant

Detective Vic Mackey kills cops, steals money, and beats suspects. How, then, can the man trying to bring him to justice be the "bad guy"?

Sunday, April 22 2007

The Sopranos Is the Most Influential Television Drama Ever

No one-hour drama series has had a bigger impact on how stories are told on the small screen, or more influence on what kind of fare we've been offered by an ever-growing array of television networks.

Wednesday, February 21 2007

The Bluth Company vs. Dunder Mifflin

Why couldn’t Arrested Development find a mass audience when The Office is thriving?

Thursday, February 1 2007

Cavemen R Us

GEICO's recent ad campaign offers yet another example of the ongoing search for cultural groups we can mock in public.

Thursday, January 25 2007

Different Worlds: Does The OC endorse the economic segregation that threatens America?

As The OC (and recent films such as Bring It On or Save the Last Dance) reflects, Americans are increasingly likely to live class-bound lives in class-bound places.

Wednesday, December 13 2006

The Lonely Tree: The Story of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Woodstock each did their stint as a lonely Mexican cowboy, it seems. These and other things you didn't know about A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Thursday, November 30 2006

Sing Along with Buffy

How exactly did a cheerleading assassin of the undead become a Rocky Horror cult musical hit?

Wednesday, October 25 2006

If Your Life Was a TV Show

Why Degrassi is realer than reality TV.

Tuesday, October 10 2006

All the Girls Were In ‘The Closet’ With Ellen DeGeneres

The true story about Ellen's fourth season, which includes the famous coming out 'The Puppy Episode (Parts 1 and 2)' is that it's really not about gay people at all: it's really about straight society USA, circa 1997.

Tuesday, September 26 2006

Watch The Wire

A tidal wave of hype should not dissuade you -- you should care that this HBO drama has returned for its fourth season.

Friday, September 15 2006

Balancing on The Wire: David Simon and America’s Forgotten War

The micro and macro storytelling mastery of HBO's The Wire shows the devastating effects creating social policy in the shape of war.

Thursday, August 24 2006

At the Intersection of Boob and Tube: The Bud-Sponsored Letdown of The Independent Television Festiv

Our fearless writer gets to the ever-retreating bottom of the Independent Television Festival and several free beers.

Tuesday, June 27 2006

The Closing of the Frontier

Deadwood has the audacity to gut American mythology and morality using the very same symbols we use to romanticize it.

Monday, April 3 2006

Character Over Carnage: Dan Curtis (1928-2006)

Dan Curtis' his greatest passion was golf. From the time he was an NBC programs salesman in the 1960s through his later years, Curtis loved the links.

Thursday, March 9 2006

The Odd Couple: Jon and Oscar’s Fumbling Clash

Jon Stewart was supposed to be the kind of inspired choice that would give mouth-to-mouth to the Oscar corpse, but he's no miracle worker.

Monday, March 6 2006

May Angels Sing Thee Back to Mayberry: Don Knotts (1924-2006)

Knotts' characters would typically fail, but never so as to precipitate catastrophe; he would bumble, but he carried within him a certain virtuosity, which would come out when the story needed it.

Middle American Idol: Dennis Weaver (1924-2006)

Weaver's laconic portrayals of Middle American machismo complemented a personal devotion to family and activism, and he was a man admired both for his passion and his professionalism.

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