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Television

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.

Recent
Television

Where's the Strong Woman in Netflix's Adaptation of 'Good Hunting'?

Contrary to the intention of Ken Liu's short story, "Good Hunting", Netflix presents a superficial arc of female empowerment, then allows animation and the role of male characters to undercut that message.

Television

What We Want vs. What We Need: How 'Twin Peaks: The Return' Resists Nostalgia

David Lynch and Mark Frost's seminal Twin Peaks is rich with insight as to how both people and works of fiction can age gracefully.

Television

Is 'The Alienist' a Critique of Capitalism or a Pro-Neoliberal Narrative?

Author Caleb Carr's The Alienist explores the 19th century psychiatric debate between free will and determinism. TNT's nearly identical adaptation of the novel, however, comes up with a completely different conclusion.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Books

Nazism Repackaged? A Closer Look at the "Fascist Subtext" of 'Attack on Titan'

Many fantasy writers have incorporated the visual footprint of the Third Reich into their fictional worlds. Few, however, have done so as extensively as the creator of Attack on Titan, who revisited this terrible chapter of history not to find inspiration for a fearsome antagonist, but to excavate the divisive ideas that lay buried there.

Television

It Does Happen Here in HBO's 'The Plot Against America'

The organic growth of everyday American fascism and the understanding that pogroms are not a uniquely European phenomenon is rendered in stark and terrifying detail in David Simon's adaptation of Philip Roth's alternate historical novel, The Plot Against America.

Television

Sarah Watson's 'The Bold Type' As a Critique of Postfeminism

Television show The Bold Type goes against the postfeminist notion that feminists have conquered the patriarchy, let alone their own differences.

Television

You'll Never Make It Alone: On Groups in 'The Good Place'

What happens when you put an Arizona dirtbag, a human turtleneck, a narcissistic monster, and the dumbest person you've ever met in the same room? They become good people, sure, but more importantly, they become a group.

Television

In Nickelodeon's 'Rocko's Modern Life', Corporations Steal Our Souls to Enchant Their Commodities

In a society of things, social responsibility requires a recognition of the influence of commodities upon our most foundational spiritual experiences. Nickelodeon's animated series, Rocko's Modern Life, puts it simply.

Television

In HBO's 'Watchmen', the Devil Doesn’t Disappear

Damon Lindelof's over-plotted, over-anxious, daring, genre-hopping offshoot of Alan Moore's alternate-history graphic novel, Watchmen, is less a show about hunting down the bad guys than it is about the twisted turns and stubborn legacies of racist trauma in America -- and the resistance to atoning for it.

Television

Jane Goldman's 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Will Be Better Than the Original

As Empress of the Fantasists, if you will, Jane Goldman's prequel to Game of Thrones promises to be far less straightforward, way messier, and much more fun -- even without the dragons.

Television

'Designated Survivor' S3: How Do We Deal with Neo-Fascists, Anyway?

Designated Survivor Season Three effectively criticizes the Trump administration and poses complex questions in our time of the rise of the extreme right.

Television

Quit Dreaming: Quasi-Feminism in Nike's Women's Soccer "Dream Further" Ad

Women with economic privilege are positioned to celebrate Nike's "Dream Further" ad as progress while ignoring their complicity in the exploitation of other women.

Television

The Willful Child in HBO's 'My Brilliant Friend'

HBO's My Brilliant Friend feels almost radical for its raw and un-romanticized depiction of female friendship and resistance in all its emotional complexities.

Television

Shaun Evans, aka DS Endeavour Morse, on the Economy of the Gesture in Storytelling

When Shaun Evans was recruited to play young Morse, he had been acting for over ten years, yet it's Endeavour that's likely his magnum opus. In this interview, he discusses the defining work that not only allowed his acting talent to blossom but also nurtured his natural storytelling ability.

Television

Netflix's 'Bonding' Is Worth Getting Tied Up With

With Bonding, Netflix offers up a sweet and salty treat that explores what we must otherwise suppress within ourselves.

Television

The Catharsis of the Void in Anime Horror, 'Vampire Princess Miyu'

Within the 26 hard-to-find episodes of Vampire Princess Miyu, there are murders, suicide, and even murder-suicides. There really is something for everyone. So why did it fail?

Television

The Many Grace Notes in 'Grace and Frankie', Season 5

While Grace and Frankie is as fun as ever, season 5 suggests a sadder path for a show that has often pushed its sadness to the periphery.

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How Amazon's 'Homecoming: S1' Reveals Toxic White Womanhood

Homecoming provides us with a much-needed perspective on how a white woman like Heidi Bergman appears at first to be so well-meaning, even antithetical to the "Becky" meme, yet ultimately upholds white supremacy with a friendly smile, which is perhaps even more dangerous and insidious than America's "Beckys".

Television

What Is It About 'You'?

Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble's You (Netflix) is a gripping, grueling plunge into the dangers of modern dating and the accommodation our culture makes for men of a certain privilege.

Television

Vaporwave, Cartooned

Adult Swim's short film "Too Many Cooks" and Cartoon Network's Rick and Morty are distinctive examples of the Vaporwave Sensibility expressed in narrative-visual form.

Television

Mirroring Humans through Westworld’s Othered Artificial Intelligence

In the fantasy world of AI-populated Westworld, unchecked humankind regresses into violence toward the "Other" -- just as we do in the chaotic real world. Is that the essence of human nature, to always reject its' self as seen in the visage of the Other?

Television

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Optimism in 'Eight Hours Don't Make a Day' Isn't Cock-eyed, It's Beady-eyed

The series of small and large triumphs snatched from the teeth of social inertia leaves one elated at human potential. Eight Hours Don't Make a Day is Fassbinder's version of a "feel-good" film.

Television

HBO's 'Camping' Doesn’t Know What It Wants to Be

Camping is halfway through its first season. Are Girls, Lena Dunham or Jennifer Garner superfans the only ones still watching?

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Not (Just) a Laughing Matter: Nuanced Representations of Depression in Three Netflix Sitcoms

One Day at a Time, Bojack Horseman, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt each offer insight and understanding into mental illness quite unlike television shows we've seen before.

Television

The Chemistry of Cluelessness in Michael Schur's Sitcoms

Stupid people have a home in Michael Schur's smart comedies.

Television

'Troy: Fall of a City' Was Overlooked for the Wrong Reasons

Troy: Fall of a City tries to attack our racial prejudice but reveals more about our Classical ignorance.

Television

'Narcos' and the Trap of Tropicalism

How the Netflix original series Narcos “otherizes" Colombia and Latin American through its single-story focus.

Linnete Manrique
Television

Mourning in America: Remembering 'Twin Peaks'

Frustrating expectations was part of Twin Peaks modus operandi.

Interviews

Carsten Norgaard: The Mystery Man in 'The Man in the High Castle'

It's tough playing a Nazi with a conscience, but veteran actor Carsten Norgaard not only lives up to the challenge presented in Amazon's The Man in the High Castle, but stretches beyond what's expected of him.

Television

'The Big Bang Theory' and the Rise of the Pathologically Nerdy in Sitcom TV

In The Big Bang Theory, men of the knowledge economy find themselves at the top of a power ladder, which in no way represents the old torments of the schoolyard.

Reviews

Ottoman Not Included: 'The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Series'

It’s only fitting that one of the best television comedies of all time followed the misadventures of a comedy writer. With The Dick Van Dyke Show now on Blu-ray, the adventurous, clever series seems better than ever. And that’s no joke.

Television

'The Wire' As American Noir

HBO's The Wire’s intentional difficulty and rigor -- along with academia’s ongoing love affair with cultural studies -- might very well explain its emerging as a centerpiece in a growing number of courses at many colleges and universities in the United States.

Trevor Dodge
Television

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.

Zarker
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