Louie, Season 5 Episode 1: “Pot Luck”

I love Louie. I haven’t seen all of it, just the pilot, most of season four and now the season five premiere, but it’s one of those shows that either clicks or it doesn’t. It’s annoying that the Comedy Channel doesn’t fast track it from the US, where the fifth season finished a couple of months ago, but I don’t mind because there’s not much on at the moment, and also it’s worth the wait. As an episode of television, “Pot Luck” is fine, but it’s not peak Louie, if that’s even a thing. Apparently a lot of people didn’t like season four, but between “So Did the Fat Lady”, which deservedly won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Writing – discussions of whether this is a comedy or a drama notwithstanding – and the six-part “Elevator” story, it was one of my favourite shows on television when I was watching it last year. This is all to provide context, because I didn’t dislike “Pot Luck”, but I also didn’t love it. We have expectations and when they’re not met we get disappointed, and in the case of Louie, it’s because we know that Louis C.K. can do so much better.

Continue reading

True Detective, Season 2 Episode 2: “Night Finds You”

I was ready to give up on True Detective halfway through the episode. I nearly fell asleep, and my mum asked why I was watching it more than once. I don’t know whether it’s a show I’ll keep writing about, but I’ll definitely keep watching for at least two more weeks to see where it goes. At this stage in True Detective’s first season, I stopped watching because I wasn’t on Nic Pizzolatto’s wavelength. I’m still not on his wavelength, but he managed to bring the weirdness in the final two minutes that makes me curious enough to watch for a few more weeks. There are some good things in here, mostly involving Abigail Spencer. Aside from that though, this show is way too heavy on the exposition. Try showing and not telling.

Continue reading

Depictions of rape on screen and “push-up bras encouraged”: why female representation in Hollywood is important

On Friday morning, Sonia Saraiya published a piece at Salon about the history of rape storylines on television. There’s a lot there, but it’s a really great read. Sonia’s one of my favourite television critics because she’s so good at teasing out why onscreen depictions of sexual assault are problematic, even though sexual assault is a much more common crime in the real world than it is on scripted television. As a form of popular culture, scripted television has a responsibility to make these issues part of the discussion, and that’s difficult when one part of the the audience is upset that a rape occurred on the world’s most popular television programe, and another section of that same audience is refusing to acknowledge that what occurred on screen counstitutes rape. Also on Friday morning, Entertainment Weekly published the directors for Game of Thrones’ sixth season. All of them are men. The third thing that got me riled up on Friday morning is that Rose McGowan was dropped by her agent for publicly criticising sexism in a callsheet for Adam Sandler’s upcoming Netflix project. I’ll be discussing depictions of rape onscreen in the most recent season of Game of Thrones, this is your only spoiler alert.

Continue reading

Television Review: The Chris Gethard Show on Fusion

I cannot stress how socially uncomfortable things are about to get – Chris Gethard

There are a number of quotes I could have taken from the first episode of The Chris Gethard Show that aired on Fusion earlier this year; many of them would be appropriate, but the one at the top of this post is TCGS in a nutshell. The Chris Gethard Show is special, which is why it had a large online following before it even aired on cable television in the United States. Starting out at the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre in New York before moving to a Manhattan Public Access station, The Chris Gethard Show, or TCGS, is one of the few television shows I’ve seen that is truly unique. Host Chris Gethard is refreshingly open about his issues, especially living with depression and anxiety, that when I decided to watch the first two episodes of this version of TCGS on YouTube, I was immediately annoyed that I didn’t include it on my “list” of respectful pop culture depictions of mental illness. It’s a late night show, so it doesn’t quite fall into what I was thinking, but it should be there, because Gethard doesn’t just discuss his insecurities, he embraces them.

Continue reading

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

It’s been very difficult for me to come up with even a plan for this review, because I have no idea how I feel about A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR), Sarah J Maas’ most recent novel, which is separate from the Throne of Glass trilogy. ACOTAR is inspired by the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast as well as the Ballad of Tam Lin. A nineteen year old woman named Feyre kills a wolf while she’s hunting to feed her family, but it turns out that the wolf is actually Fae, and a treaty between the Fae and the humans after one of their many wars forbids this, even though the Fae was in human territory. Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court, takes Feyre back to his lands as payment for the life she’s taken. There are spoilers for the entire book, so proceed with caution.

Continue reading

The Americans, Season 3 Episode 11: “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”

At least we know the vending machine is broken.

Okay, I had choir this evening and it’s nearly 10 pm, so this isn’t going to be the best or even longest review. “One Day in the Life” was a good episode of The Americans, it’s just that “Stingers” was one of the best episodes of television I’ve seen all year, and “One Day in the Life” was always going to be a step down. This week Phillip and Elizabeth still have to keep going with their various missions while their daughter knows their real identities. Paige doesn’t know exactly what they’re up to, which is probably a good thing, since she’d probably be even angrier at them if she did.

Continue reading

Television Review: Orange Is the New Black, Season 3

This year I only watched one episode of Orange Is the New Black a day, which is different to how I approached the first two seasons. I don’t think it affected my overall enjoyment of the show, but as I wrote about with my experience watching Kimmy Schmidt, watching any more than 4 episodes of a show in one day is really bad for my mental health. Over at The A.V. Club, Myles McNutt was reviewing one episode per day, and it fit in really well with my schedule, so I gave it a shot. These Netflix shows are strange beasts because Netflix chooses to release them all at once and it’s a race for some people to finish it. I don’t know if the ‘one episode a week’ model works better – from the way people watched the sixth season of Community, it’s hard to tell right now, but that’s another discussion for another day. The third season of Orange Is the New Black was a transition for both the show and Litchfield. For that reason it wasn’t as good as the first two excellent seasons, but Jenji Kohan and her writers were still able to make great television.

Continue reading