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Mag Review: Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

July 20th 2007, 82 pages, $3.50 USD

By Rachel Smucker

Rating: 4

Ah, Entertainment Weekly -- I couldn't keep my hands off of you. Amid the middle-school collage covers of In Touch and Ok! you stuck out like a wise, handsome man, reminding me that there comes a time in every woman's life when, despite all professed intellect or soundness of judgment, she must succumb to the will of the masses and satisfy her inner sleaze.

That said, it must be established that Entertainment Weekly is not, by any means, the sleaziest of the sleaze mags. In fact, it's one of the classiest. There is a nice balance between the sleazy and the sensible, one that readers and critics alike have come to regard as an accurate barometer of pop culture. It starts out winningly -- "Monitor" gives Us Weekly a run for its money in terms of useless gossip, while "Celebrity Blogs" rates the daily rants of celebs like Barbara Streisand and Zack Braff with nitpicky pleasure (on Avril Lavigne: "Our feelings aren't complicated -- more candor, less 'buy my new album'").

My attention starts to wane when I have to start thinking and reading articles longer than a paragraph. Just kidding, EW; the piece on Nick Lowe addressed the thoughts of an aging musician in a world of increasingly younger upstarts, contrasting nicely with "Tween Spirit," a "where are they now?"-type article on child stars from the '90s and today. The writing was no-nonsense but not boring, smattered with snarky language amidst the newsroom style of the rest of the piece.

Of course, there are the reviews for which Entertainment Weekly is best known for. It is mercifully level-headed, neither bashing nor praising everything that prances across its pages. Though I didn't agree with all of their opinions (take that "watch this!" label right off of "Scott Baio is 45… and Single" right now, EW), most of the others were reasonably argued.

But unless I'm about to board a flight to Miami, I wouldn't willingly pick up a copy of EW. It still counts as a flighty magazine in my book, offerring me nothing more than an overgrown television guide and a couple of insightful articles on pop culture. There are a number of useless text boxes that work as pure filler and nothing else (i.e., "What I Learned From My Super Sweet Sixteen"). And when in doubt, resort to the good old "high points and low points" standby; the public loves extremes.

What EW is is a perfect middle-of-the-road magazine -- never trashy but not entirely respectable. Think of it as the Budweiser of magazines, minus the "king" title. There is enough celebrity gossip to satisfy any Lohan stalker, enough in-depth articles to make a high-schooler feel smart, and enough substance to the reviews so that I don't actually have to see "License to Wed" before I bash it. Oh, laziness.

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