This was the day back in 1983 where if you were, say, an impressionable ten-year-old boy, you came home from school and watched "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" and did your spelling homework had dinner with your family and then got ready for the broadcast of a TV movie people had been talking about for weeks, the warnings about how disturbing it was going to be only fueling your ten-year-old boy interest in what there had actually been discussions in school over whether or not it should be avoided. Then you sat down and watched what would happen to America if there were a nuclear holocaust. Even [...]
No one sets out to make bad art. If a producer approaches a young director and says, "Look here, Sonny Jim, The Hunger Games are a popular film franchise, make me one of those," the young director is going to do his best to make the film his and craft it well. Success is just a matter of being able to work with constraints. Constraints are everywhere. Picture the college writing exercises, where the directions are like, write a three-page play using the following elements: the color red, the number forty-three, have no actors on the stage, and have the play take place over three thousand years.
The problem [...]
So this fiscal cliff thing, whatever it is, seems pretty bad. Or maybe it's not that big a deal? Will it last forever? Is it "in the Constitution" or just a Politico scam? Is it Obama's fault, or are liberals to blame? The problem is that sequester is jargon garbage that means nothing to anyone outside of newsrooms and the U.S. Capitol, which should just have iron bars put in all the windows and doorways and be renamed Ronald Reagan Federal Penitentiary.
What's happening is nothing less than a partial-birth shutdown of the United States. It is the fault of Tea Party Kochbats in Congress who are, if I'm reading [...]
If you enjoyed the usual American male weekend of constant television viewing while sunk deep in the pizza-crush folds of your sofa, evolution has already decided it doesn't want your kind in the generations to come. That's why low-activity men who watch lots of television have dramatically lower sperm counts than those who get some exercise.
The subjects of the study were college-aged men in New York state, aged 18-22. The first group did 15 hours of "moderate to vigorous physical activity per week," about 2 hours daily. The second group just slobbed out in front of the flat screen for 20 or more hours weekly. Besides being incredibly [...]
Are you incapable of deleting all the crap you've stored on your DVR? Here are some tips. Also, how do you manage your massive self-loathing? I mean, the crippling shame alone must make it impossible to get out of bed. Although I suppose that's a good enough excuse for your pathetic weakness when it comes to using a remote control to get rid of television shows you've saved for later. God, I rarely say this about anybody, but I'm glad I'm not you.
Do you love to watch weird men in suits argue on the teevee, and while this is going on do you also like to look at computers and smartphones and "tweets," to further the goals of American democracy? Then join your co-hosts "Choire and Layne" tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern and 6 p.m. Pacific for a very special revolutionary form of liveblogging that will be unlike anything you've ever seen or done, ever. Also we are on this Twitter!
There are a whole number of reasons I feel disassociated from the generations that came after me but I think the biggest factor in the weird sense of distance I have from them is that whenever I try to explain what life was like in a world of three channels they cannot even fathom that level of existence. It is as if I were speaking a different language, which I suppose all explanations of the past are actually expressed in. Anyway, youngsters, watch the first minute of this clip here and try to imagine a time when this was the thing on Saturday night that your babysitter would let [...]
"This Sunday is shaping up to be an embarrassment of riches for television viewers. And that's forcing [...]
It was a supply closet off the main classroom, six feet across, with the only wall decoration being a length of pine board with a row of nails sticking out. Because of the terrible noise inside, the door was always shut. The two machines, industrial-era things that clamored and shook, spewed out a steady stream of hurt and lies and death. On this San Diego afternoon I was in the little room with my coffee, going through the accumulated Associated Press and UPI news that had cranked out of the wire machines during lunch and whatever regular classes I might have attended that day. Local stories, national and international [...]
Carrie Frye: Jane, so I was lazing around Saturday morning when I saw a series of ecstatic tweets from you about the amazingness of "House Of Cards." Up till then I'd only been paying dim attention to the show's release (basically, I knew it was a series released on Netflix about Washington politics that, disappointingly, did not seem to feature any secret vampires), but on your word, I tried an episode at lunch. And then, next thing I knew, "Portlandia" Battleship Galactica marathon style, it was dusk… and then it was 10 p.m. and I had no circulation left in my legs.
I'm now on episode 7 and view [...]
We can all agree that outside of America's two cities where it's plausible to live without a car, the people of the United States could do with a little physical activity now and then. Americans used to climb stairs and roll pickle barrels and wrassle the neighbors and tar the roof and dig the potatoes and all other kinds of labor that kept the heart healthy and the buttocks muscular, but now something-something cars computers video games taco bars, and just look at us. That's why some officials decided to have a seminar in Washington about the crisis of inactivity. Can't make it? Oh that's all right, you can [...]
1. Birth: Anticlimactic. Suspense building for nine months, and for what? A dark, messy and not all that joyful resolution. And who really believes that the "Husband" would suddenly shift from indifferent, absent spouse to soothing, expectant dad? The introduction of the epidural minimized dramatic impact, and lowered the stakes significantly. From that point forward, I was disengaged. The emergency C-section twist held promise, but it was at once too gory and too detached. How is that even possible? The only thing that redeemed this train wreck was the baby (me!) who gave a heroic performance. Tough to pull that off when you're covered in white gunk.
2. First [...]
Were you old enough to catch the Very Special "Diff'rent Strokes" when it originally aired?
"She knows how difficult it is to quit, even though—beginning at age 25—she had a sore throat that never went away. She says she quit when pregnant with her daughter, now 32, but then relapsed. She even smoked during her radiation treatments for oral cancer in 2001. It was only after the surgery to remove her voice box that she finally quit, cold turkey." —The new reason to avoid television is the new CDC campaign featuring ex-smokers who have lost various parts of their bodies to their habit, from legs to larynx. If you've already managed to quit, go ahead and give yourself a high five and hope that's [...]
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful sequence ever aired on television:
This essay is part of a series about our favorite TV shows past.
Previously: You, Me And "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
It's the opening scene for episode two of "Carnivàle." I've probably watched it 100 times. I know every motion, piece of furniture, item of clothing, dialogue snippet, and character backstory. I know the song playing is Ruth Etting's 1929 hit "Love Me or Leave Me."
And yet still, I have absolutely no idea what's going on.
That was kind of the experience of watching the show. Trying to [...]
The first in a series about our favorite TV shows past.
There are some things I know to be true that cannot be objectively or scientifically proven, what theologians call articles of faith. Corporate lawyers, for instance, are not simply bad people who made poor life choices. They actually work for demons, a kind of lesser god-monster from a parallel dimension porously paired with our own. Professional politics, a career nearly all attorneys aspire to, is itself a realm of slightly higher demons—higher in influence and power, not intellect or evolution. These professions, like those of talent agents and film producers and record-label executives and school principals, are natural [...]
Legendary maniac Larry King will emcee the third presidential debate. Think about this. Our grand 2012 debate season began with a confused shark-eyed zombie, moved up to a cool and serious lady for the Biden-Ryan thing, and then got all ethical and fact-checky with Candy Crowley. The only possible "big finish" is to bring in a hundred-year-old Vaudeville/CNN star from the Golden Age of Radio for the final debate. Will David Lynch direct? It will be the most historical moment in Larry King's career since he found something weird in his slipper this morning and also thought he heard the great Walter Matthau speaking through a poinsettia in [...]