Recent Features

27 Jun 2011 // 10:00 PM

Come at Me, Bro!: What Do 20-Somethings See in ‘Jersey Shore’?

Twenty-something students opine about their love-hate relationship with GTL, smooshing and the gang that’s always DTF at Jersey Shore.

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What Harm Can ‘Ice Road Truckers’ Do to Tender Young Minds?

We went into Ice Road Truckers with the best intentions for our eight-year-old, I swear. It's the History channel, right? It's educational!

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Reality, and Then Some, as Conveyed in ‘The Wire’ and ‘Oliver Twist’

The spoonful of sugar that The Wire employs in relating its harsh theme is all wrapped up in that medicine's themes of fatalism. The humor employed in Oliver Twist highlights the opposite: the needlessness of the system that allows orphans to starve to death.

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20 Jun 2011 // 10:00 PM

In Praise of Silliness

They say you gotta laugh to keep from crying. A simple dose of pure silliness taken on a regular basis is much needed, these days.

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Characters, Compounds, & the Study of Change in ‘Breaking Bad: Season 3’

Walter White didn't just wake up one morning and decide he'd spice up his life by cooking methamphetamine and muscling his way into a business with life-or-death stakes. It was a chain of events.

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“Kill Yourself for Recognition”: The Odd Future of Young Celebrity

When anticipation of death combines with the cult of celebrity, stars are pressured to literally give up the ghost -- or at least produce the effect through artistic means.

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Share the Stage, ‘Glee’—TV Feels a Song Coming On

The history of TV musicals is richer -- and stranger -- than you think. At least three sitcoms were singing long before Glee came along: That's Life, The Monkees and The Partridge Family. Before them, well, if I could sing it to you...

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Oprah May Say Goodbye, But I Say Hello

Not since the Beatles broke up has there been such a communal feeling of abandonment as there is with Oprah's final airing of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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Is ‘Glee’ the New Elvis, Really?

There's all this buzz that Glee has passed Elvis Presley for the most Hot 100 hits in history. But does this really put that two-year old show on the same level as the King of Rock 'n' Roll? Really?

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Comics Superheroes Leap Across the Great Cultural Divide

Bounding from the pages of comic books onto the screens of films and TV, our superheroes unite formerly divided interests -- comics geeks vs. everyone else.

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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.

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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...

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9 May 2011 // 10:00 PM

Voyeurism in CSI: Las Vegas

Why do we watch CSI: Las Vegas? Eva Roa White suggests that in observing the investigations of the CSI scientists, we can safely explore all the darkest recesses of our own lives, whether biological or moral or psychological.

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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.

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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.

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Celebrity and the Celebration of Art: The Transformation of Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch’s body of work is impressive. So what has previously prevented his transformation from a highly talented, sought-after actor to bona fide international celebrity?

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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.

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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."

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“Fighting What’s Right in the World”: An Interview with Tim Heidecker

Heidecker and Wood have now turned their form-rattling attention to a strictly musical genre: soft rock. Starting from Nowhere is a hilarious and totally authentic sounding collection of songs that could have been beamed in from the 1970s or 1980s AM dial.

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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.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Five Came Back' Is an Unusual and Seminal Suspenser

// Short Ends and Leader

"This film feels like a template for subsequent multi-character airplane-disaster and crash projects, all the way down to Lost.

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