Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pop Culture this Week: Death, Boredom, and Faux Hipness

What a wearying weak in media culture...Let's start with the Emmy noms, which bored me to tears. Most everyone (and show) is deserving--though I stake my claim that House of Cards--while not a bad show--is not all that great, either. Orphan Black was a better show, along with The Good Wife (once they took care of the Kalinda debacle)--and definitely Tatiana Maslany was robbed. There was more to like (or rather, less to yawn at) in comedy with Louie and Louis CK, Pohler (though Parks and Rec got robbed), and Mayim Bialik MUST win this year for Big Bang Theory, please! The only real surprise was Justin Bateman for Arrested Development. The award for faux hipness goes to the House of Cards could turn into a really great show, but it's not there yet and I think the nominations are the Emmys way of saying: "See! We're hip and not afraid of Netflix!" So, yawn...yet again.

Another Faux Hipness award goes to Rolling Stone magazine for its cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. I don't buy their rationale that his age matches their readers' demos, and his image (pulled from one of his social media accounts) is important because it urges us to ask how someone "who looks like that" could potentially have done such horrible things. It's instead Rolling Stone seeking to garner a big buy by having a controversial cover. It very well may be that the story inside is a good and important one, but cover images matter and tell their own story. I'd chalk it up to bad judgement, but I think the editors knew exactly what they were doing when choosing this cover.

Faux hipness award extraordinaire goes to CBS and Big Brother. I've chatted about this on FaceBook so will just reiterate that an inability to publicly chastise the crazies in the house this year is tantamount to condoning the racism and homophobia. And the fact that it took too long for CBS/BB to even acknowledge on air that anything had occurred (reserving the vitriol for the paid web stream) is broadcast ostrich syndrome (head in sand! can't see it! doesn't exist!). It's not hip to hide behind "it's reality TV--a social experiment--" if you have to be publicly "made" to actually air the social experiment's most revealing moments.

Last, very sad news per Cory Monteith of Glee. It will be interesting to see if the producers decide to address his death's linkage to heroin in some way and not just write him out in a blase way. It's a chance for the show to address a serious issue--if they did gun violence last spring, they owe it to their viewers to examine the rise in heroin usage among teens and young adults as well.

Tune in...I'll likely return again right at the top of the semester!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Have finished Orphan Black...

Hands down, can't remember the last time I saw such a stellar first year of a show. I wish I could go into a TV coma until it returns. Can someone explain to me why U.S. TV can't figure out the glorious advantages of short seasons, inexpensive co-productions, and the guts to say "I don't need 3 years off before I return?" (sorry U.S. cable, but if you need more than 6 months to bounce back from a 10-12 ep season, you're just spoiled...)

The rest of my July will be catching up on fun summer fare (mostly ABC Family) and researching for the book and deciding what shows I have to screen for my Nickelodeon Network class. (Not a bad way to spend July.)

New students--give me your thoughts on summer TV you're watching! (And if you're brand new students, be sure to attend the Weeks of Welcome at Columbia--it's a blast and will give you a true sense of what Columbia is like...)

Now must wrap my first official night off by watching Pretty Little Liars...:D