The Conversation

Entertainment: Discussions and News about Entertainment

I Resent Your Politicization of the Issue. Saturday Night Live Is Just Awful in All Respects.

Feb 11, 2013 7:33 PM PT

In response to Wow. That Sketch Was Stunningly Bad:

I do believe you're right that the reason the sketch was met with funereal silence was that it was premised on a lie, and an obvious lie, so the audience just wasn't willing to go along with it.  As they always say, any satire must be grounded in some truth.  I can't just start calling a thin person Fatty-Fat-Fat-Butt and expect people to join in.  (Unless I'm doing a sort of meta- thing or something.)

So sure, this was a sketch doomed by politics.  Similarly they doomed their election coverage due to politics; they couldn't even find it within themselves to be as honest about Barack Obama's debate performance as Rachel Maddow.  I remember reading SNL's defense at the time; media asked them why that sketch was so bad.  "There just was anything funny there," they said.

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The good, the bad, and the smoke monster

Feb 11, 2013 4:44 PM PT

In response to Getting 'Lost' Again:

John, I was a rabid "Lost" fan back in the day, but now I'm afraid to go anywhere near a box set, because I'm afraid to take that roller-coaster ride of fascination and disappointment again.  To get the bad out of the way first, that ending wasn't just poor, it was insulting.  Not just the last episode, but the entire concluding "arc" of the show.  The metaphysical parts weren't so bad, and I almost admire the cheek of capping off years of "they're all dead and the island is Purgatory!" speculation from fans by actually making that one of the narratives in the last year.  They'd introduced enough time-travel machinery to sell the "flash-sideways" scenes in the final year as an altered timeline.  That's not a bad bit of sleight-of-hand, considering that what was really happening was something the fans had expected and/or dreaded all along.

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Your Guide to Alternative Programming During the SOTU

Feb 11, 2013 4:28 PM PT

In his latest column, Thaddeus McCotter wrote:

[M]any lament President Woodrow Wilson’s creation of the Federal Reserve Board  and rampant internationalism. But these historical indictments pale before his  presidency’s most notorious “unforeseen consequence”: He preempted Tuesday  night’s episode of “Vegas.”

After a century of our free republic surviving its absence, it was Wilson who  revived the “long-abandoned custom” of personally delivering the “Annual Message  to Congress,” i.e., the State of the Union  address. Now, Americans reap his bitter fruit on viewing screens cluttered with  a preening political class preempting our favorite shows.

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Getting 'Lost' Again

Feb 11, 2013 2:33 PM PT

Because I've taken on the job of getting in way over my head with a complete basement remodel (gutted walls, new bathroom -- scary stuff), my embarrassingly large DVD collection is all bagged up for storage. Yesterday, though, and as usual, there was nothing to watch on cable, and even the ever-reliable Netflix lacked the perfect something to hit that Sunday afternoon sweet spot. So like the addict in "Trainspotting" who dives into a filthy toilet after some heroin, I took to rummaging blindly through a bag of DVDs.

And what did I find? Yep, heroin -- six seasons of "Lost."

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If SNL Cuts Every Sketch That Isn't Funny, What's Left?

Feb 11, 2013 12:55 PM PT

They can't feature 90 straight minutes of Justin Bieber singing.

Has anyone watched this show lately?  I have... but not really that lately.  What used to be Must See is now something I forget is on.  I have a bunch of episodes recorded (which I record manually, when I think of it; it's not worth the bother to program the DVR to automatically record it). 

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Kanye and Kim Sitting In a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Feb 10, 2013 6:31 PM PT

In response to Kanye West Should Marry Kim Kardashian :

As ESPN's resident scholar Keyshawn Johnson  once said, "C'mon Man!" Jerome, consider you man card revoked.We are talking about Kanye West and a Kardashian, for Christ's sake! Hey, do me a favor, when you TEVO Kanye's proposal to Kim, send it over to me with a quote from you. I would love to post something on this epic engagment

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Return of the Walking Dead

Feb 10, 2013 5:28 PM PT

The Walking Dead is back on TV tonight, after a "midseason break" that probably worked as well as such tactics ever have to whet appetites for the bottom half of a season.

It's a remarkable TV phenomenon: a show that should theoretically gross out a sizable portion of its potential audience, and which is roundly mocked for occasional bouts of plot erosion and inexplicable character behavior, but retains stratospheric popularity.  (You're really going to declare your house a gun-free zone in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, Hershel?)  If the show follows the general narrative of the comic series that inspired it, it will delve deeper into how civilization unravels under extreme duress, and how difficult it can be to find the meaning of life in a world of the dead, where building anything of permanence is horrendously difficult.  The human enemy becomes at least as dangerous as the zombie menace.  And the zombie menace guarantees that no human colony is ever safe; in fact, the larger any settlement becomes, the greater the danger of someone dying from illness, natural causes, or misadventure and rising as a zombie, potentially bringing Armageddon past even the stoutest of walls.

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Bring on The Walking Dead

Feb 10, 2013 4:25 PM PT


I must admit, I was a little reluctant to the idea of allowing myself to become emotionally invested in a riveting, post-apocalyptic drama based on the brain-eating undead. When I first heard about The Walking Dead, my initial thoughts were, "boring." "Come on, really, another show about zombies taking over the world?" But one of my closest friends, who also happens to be a fierce cinematic critic, relentlessly suggested the show. So I started to watch the first season. I fell in love almost immediately. 

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