Author Archives: Jessica Bader

Parents on Slides

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Oscars Liveblog: Highlights

JOCELYN HOPPA: Alright, kids. It’s the 84th Academy Awards. I’ve got a bag of bold party Chex Mix and a sharpened tongue… let’s do this. Who will win? What will they say? What pills will they have ingested beforehand? It’s thrilling. Please feel free to pontificate on the finer (and not so finer points) of this annual film celebration in the comments section below, as it’s really all just commentary. Continue reading

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Smash: First Two Episodes

ZOË RICE: I came to Smash with mixed expectations. On the one hand, I’m a sucker for a musical number, and before Glee became unbearable I was an early fan. A new TV show with the promise of awesome – dare we hope Fame-like? – musical numbers meant at least a tingle of excitement. On the other hand…theater people. Don’t get me wrong; to use the cliche, some of my best friends are theater people. But man, some of them can be pretentious. And inauthentic. And so “on” all the time. Would the Smash characters be just like that?

JESSICA BADER: I’ve been excited about Smash ever since that day last year when I decided to sit down and watch the trailer videos for all of the new network TV shows. A show about the making of a Broadway musical? With original songs from Marc Shaiman? What’s not to like (other than the whole not-premiering-until-February-sweeps thing)? Yet, I can’t help but feel like both the show and what’s expected of it are a bit too much. Continue reading

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Pam Am: Week 5 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: A better episode than last week’s debacle, but “Pan Am” doesn’t really seem to be taking advantage of the sights and sounds it represents, especially in this past week’s Episode 5. Other than a few exterior shots of hotels that could very well be Hyatts and glamorous interiors that could use some more elaboration, I don’t really get the sense of “Pan Am”‘s visuals beyond the blue uniforms. London and Monte Carlo: Two cities that define mid-century aesthetics and luxury that leave much to be desired in terms of its spaces on the show. Every set looks matted and stream-lined, and I’m not talking about the aircraft. The costumes, however, were nothing less than magnificent, and Kate’s confidence was a very welcome addition to the cast. Laura, Maggie, Collette, and Kate flew with Dean and Ted across another ocean, into another flashback, onto another continent that just looked like another avenue in California.

JESSICA BADER: There was much less of a focus on the destination than in previous episodes, and it felt like a conscious effort to pull back on that to make room for character development. Continue reading

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Whitney Hate

JESSICA BADER: I’ve been thoroughly annoyed by the new NBC sitcom Whitney ever since the posters advertising it were plastered all over bus stops and pay phones this summer, one-liners of retrograde sexism allegedly rendered “edgy” by being spoken by a woman. Then came the TV ads for the show, which were grating to the point that they made my teeth hurt every time I saw one. Yet, for as many reasons as I had to be annoyed by the show, I began to feel uncomfortable about hating something I had never actually watched.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I for one am tired of television’s ‘sexy girl but oh she’s a tomboy and she doesn’t even know she’s hot so she sometimes pretends to ape sexy behavior but she doesn’t realize that it actually IS sexy because SHE is sexy even when she’s not trying to be but especially when she is fake-trying’ trope.
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Review: Moneyball

JESSICA BADER: A film adaptation of a book is never going to be perfect, and fodder for nitpickers is nearly guaranteed. While Moneyball is no exception, the movie does a better job than most at capturing the spirit of the book it was based on. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Death Penalty

ALLISON REILLY: Troy Davis’ execution leaves many of us who worked on behalf of his case wondering, “What should we do next?” Although his case brought many activists out of the woodwork to support him, there were…

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Pennsylvania’s Electoral Vote by Congressional District Proposal

ALLISON REILLY: Pennsylvania’s proposal to restructure the electoral vote is simply genius. I think that this restructuring would fix a lot of problems with the current electoral college system, while also fixing problems presidential elections as a whole.

JESSICA BADER: Aside from arguing that pitchers shouldn’t be considered in MVP voting, just about the quickest way to get me on my soapbox is to say something nice about the Electoral College. I think it’s ridiculous, that it depresses voter turnout (if your vote doesn’t really matter unless you live in a swing state, many people aren’t going to bother voting), and that it should be scrapped in favor of how we vote for pretty much any other elected office – the candidate with the most actual people voting for them wins, regardless of the geographic distribution of these people. You never hear anyone suggesting that, say, we should determine gubernatorial elections by giving a certain number of points to the candidate who wins each county, and the absurdity of that proposal should illustrate that the only real thing the Electoral College has going for it is status quo bias. Having gotten all of that out of the way, I have to say that the recent proposal by some Pennsylvania Republicans to allocate their state’s electoral votes by Congressional District (as is done in Maine and Nebraska) makes the current state of the Electoral College look good by comparison. Continue reading

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Review: Free Agents Pilot

HOWARD MEGDAL: For me, Free Agents represented a pilot with promise, but likely too many roadblocks to success.

JESSICA BADER: Perhaps it’s just that I’ve grown used to it based on recent experience, but as I watched the Free Agents pilot I kept thinking about how I enjoyed it but couldn’t see it making it much past October. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Obama’s Speech Timing Battle

HOWARD MEGDAL: Boehner refusing to let the president speak on 9/7 before joint session of Congress was ludicrous. Obama caving and moving speech to 9/8 is demoralizing.

CHRIS PUMMER: Really looking forward to more whining on the left about how “This should have been where Obama drew a line in the sand!” and “Here is Obama caving again!” and “It’s so horrible, why don’t we just kill ourselves!?!?!”.

You know, like it makes any material difference. Continue reading

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