Category: TV

Scandal, #WhyIStayed and standing against abuse

Scandal is back on ABC this fall, further detailing the illicit relationship between public-relations guru Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and married President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn). Watching the first few episodes, it strikes me that the show could play a helpful role in our current national conversation about abusive relationships. Scandal follows Olivia and her team of PR…  [more]

CBS’ Mom and comedy of recovery

You’d never guess it from the yuk-a-minute CBS promos, but Mom, the Anna Faris/Allison Janney sitcom that begins its second season Monday, is a show about alcoholism. No, it’s not about characters who drink constantly and hilariously (that would be Cougar Town). On Mom, single mother Christy Plunkett and her mother Bonnie never touch the stuff. But each week, everything they do is framed against the…  [more]

Gilmore Girls and Christian community

My social media were abuzz when it was announced that the entire run of Gilmore Girls will be available for streaming on Netflix beginning Oct. 1.  Fans of the show loved its rapid-fire dialogue and heartwarming relationships; I’ll also confess to enjoying the debates over which boyfriends were the best/worst in the series. (All of Rory’s boyfriends were the worst, while Lane’s were the best,…  [more]

The Leftovers: perseverance in the face of perplexity

As we approach Sunday’s season finale of The Leftovers, HBO’s new series about a Rapture-like occurrence and its aftermath in a small New York town, let’s consider a Gospel story: Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to something and tell me what I am like.” Thomas said to him, “Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.” And Jesus took him, and…  [more]

“I love you all” – Michael Fassbender sings the Gospel wearing a papier-mâché head

The strange new movie Frank, starring Michael Fassbender as an enigmatic bandleader who wears a giant papier-mâché head, ends with a remarkable scene of musical reconciliation. The moment – a performance of a song called “I Love You All” - mostly resonates within the narrative of the film itself, but there are also Gospel echoes all over it. Frank charts the slight rise and significant…  [more]

Why The Simpsons went to church (and what they found there)

In The Simpsons’ 1990s heyday – well before the Simpsons Marathon currently going on at FX - pundits frequently observed that it was one of the only places on television where the characters regularly went to church. That fact pushed back against the conservative outrage - they swear! they neglect their kids! they fight! they bite! - that dominated media dissections of the animated show. If you…  [more]

Robin Williams and inner peace

The mania was always part of the magic. Now, with Robin Williams dead by his own hand at the age of 63, we can only wonder if that magic came at a costly price. Of course, for those of us who didn’t know Williams, such wondering is grim, speculative and opportunistic. So let’s stick with the work and instead consider how Williams’ comedy attempted to make sense of the world. Observed in retrospect,…  [more]

Seinfeld, sitcoms and simpler times

Gone are the days of Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine. It's been 25 years since the debut of Seinfeld, and the sitcom landscape has significantly changed. Recently, Robert O’Connell wrote a compelling piece for The Atlantic about his favorite childhood sitcom, a mediocre series called Just Shoot Me. The show was full of clichéd, New York City plotlines and gags from the 1990s, and it plodded along…  [more]

Why Orange is the New Black is TV’s most beautiful show

When we first meet Crazy Eyes, one of the inmates at the Litchfield Correctional Facility in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, we come face to face with ugly. Or so we think. Mainly because Crazy Eyes - also known as Suzanne Warren and played by Uzo Aduba - does this crazy thing with her eyes that makes her seem totally ... crazy. And she has this spiky (and controversial) hairdo. From the moment she…  [more]

Bearing false witness on Survivor: Cagayan

If you want to be on Survivor, practice fire-making, spearfishing and silencing your conscience, because one of the essential tools of the game is the bald-faced lie. On last week’s Survivor: Cagayan, ex-policeman Tony found himself struggling to shore up his four-person alliance. He faced a simple math problem: only three people would make it to the finale (airing tomorrow), so one person in his group would…  [more]

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