Category: TV

Double jeopardy and the Duggars

For a long time, I didn’t know what to think about the Duggars. As a believer, I wanted to support the family for standing by their ideals. But the baby churning, fairly prudish values and occasionally extreme stances made me uneasy. When I lived in Arkansas, working as a journalist just a couple hundred miles from their compound, I would hear stories about the Duggar family. Nothing that was alarming, but…  [more]

Louis C.K. is not a good person

Louis C.K.’s recent Saturday Night Live monologue drew fire by surmising that child molestation must be really, really fun - otherwise, why would molesters risk so much to keep doing it? He generally survives the outrage that such jokes evoke by being the first to admit his own moral failings. No one in public life today is quicker to point out that, “Yeah, I’m not a good guy. I am not. I wish I was…  [more]

Forgiving Don Draper

Was last night's Mad Men finale everything we wanted it to be? The answer says as much about our theological perspective as it does about our aesthetics. When it comes to serialized television finales, what we viewers seem to want most is a reason to believe in a creator that is benevolent in our own image. We become keenly aware that the fates of characters we’ve followed for years rest in the hands of a…  [more]

Why I think Mad Men is headed for the abyss

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14 From the animated opening credits of the first episode, AMC’s Mad Men has been about holding one’s composure in the face of life’s terrifying abyss. We see a silhouette of a man entering a well-appointed office, which he claims by setting his briefcase on the floor.…  [more]

Up Schitt’s Creek, with a dose of democratic satire

At first blush, the redeeming value of Schitt’s Creek - a bawdy new sitcom airing on Pop - isn’t readily apparent. The title itself passes FCC muster only because of a little creative spelling. And in keeping with what the title promises, the show is laden with potty humor, coarse language and generally bad behavior. Yet despite its crass surface, the heart of Schitt’s Creek is family. The story…  [more]

Seeking agape in The Last Man on Earth

Most movies and television shows depict romantic love as an uncontrollable cosmic event. The “meet cute.” Love at first sight. Cupid’s arrow. In this way of thinking, love is a force of nature, powerless to resist. But believing in a star-crossed, chemistry-coerced, soul mate sort of love has an ugly, unspoken aftermath. What happens when that one special one doesn’t feel so special? What…  [more]

Is it a good thing that Jon Stewart’s minions are multiplying?

News broke earlier this week that Trevor Noah will be taking over The Daily Show when Jon Stewart steps down later this year. Although Stewart is stepping out of the limelight, numerous Daily Show personalities are stepping into it: Samantha Bee is developing a show for TBS; Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show has taken over Stephen Colbert’s time slot; John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is a hit; and, of…  [more]

The Lutheran tragedy of Better Call Saul

If Breaking Bad takes the form of a Greek tragedy, then maybe we could call its new prequel series, Better Call Saul, a Lutheran tragedy. Set several years before the events of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is the origin story of Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), a scuzzball lawyer from the earlier series. Saul was once Jimmy McGill, a former scam artist from Cicero, Ill., who is trying his best to go straight in…  [more]

Colbert Catechism covers Lent and Pope Francis

Perhaps to help us bide time until he takes over as host of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert recently made a video (embedded below) for the Catholic magazine America that showcased the same comic-religious sensibility that defined the best episodes of The Colbert Report. Called “Colbert Catechism,” the video features a casual interview between a newly bearded Colbert and James Martin, editor-at-large of…  [more]

Birdman (or, the unexpected virtue of the Academy Awards)

Birdman won the Best Picture Oscar at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, something I predicted partly because it’s a movie about making movies, a subject of which Hollywood never tires. The fact that it’s also about the artistic ego – and how pride goes before the fall – could be seen either as the icing on the cake or the definition of Hollywood hypocrisy. With the somewhat…  [more]

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