Monthly Archives: July 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 2 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Finally, I feel as if I have returned to the quirky, whimsical story lines and the foot-in-mouth dialogue of the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that I know in love. Episode 2 of Season 8 felt, at last, like we are back on track with Larry, Jeff, Leon, and one of my favorite “Curb” personalities, Richard Lewis. The first episode of the season set the stage for us to fall back into the quick improv and the zany antics that have, until now, been sitting on storyboards waiting to be brought to life.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Agree with Sonia: this episode fits far more snugly into the Curb canon than last week’s, which seemed more like a plot reset than a Curb episode. Continue reading

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Brady Bunch Vs. Gilligan’s Island

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: Gilligan’s Island was the better show. I’m not suggesting that The Brady Bunch wasn’t a good show… but GI has the edge. Let’s start with the theme song, “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle” (co-written by Schwarz). TBB has a memorable, catchy theme song (and a charming opening theme sequence), but GI has a tremendous theme song. It doesn’t merely set the scene, it tells a story itself… and a compelling story, no less. “A three hour tour…,” we hear. I get chills even now just thinking those four words.

HOWARD MEGDAL: We lost a TV giant this week, when Sherwood Schwartz, creator of both The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, died at the age of 94. In terms of quality TV, I don’t think one would necessarily argue that either show belongs among the pantheon alongside The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers or Seinfeld. But both made indelible marks upon American pop culture, and I think the lasting impact of The Brady Bunch is greater. Continue reading

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Should Parents Lose Children Over Obesity?

HOWARD MEGDAL: Let’s consider this: if a parent procures marijuana for a child, and lets him/her smoke it in the home, that parent stands a damn good chance of losing custody, right? Now, what are the relative health risks of doing that a few times relative to consistently providing a child with food that leads to extreme obesity? Significantly worse on the food side. And after all, the drug laws are aimed to protect the citizens from the scourge of drug laws, right?
EMILY SAIDEL: his is not a case of big bad government wanting to interfere with parenting. This is an example of the government acknowledging that just having sex and carrying a baby term does not make one a successful, smart parent. But in this situation the government is not demanding of people to be successful, smart parents. They are demanding people to be parents who do not allow medical harm to come to their children.

Continue reading

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EMILY SAIDEL: Unfettered or unsettled? Those were the emotional poles between which I vacillated while selling off furniture to facilitate a cross-country move. Continue reading

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SYTYCD: A Love Letter

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I’m not a big fan of reality television, because I don’t generally like social drama, and I’m not fond of competitions. But I will argue passionately to anyone who listens that So You Think You Can Dance is a different kind of show altogether. Continue reading

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Connecticut and Paid Sick Leave

ALLISON REILLY: Summary here.

CHRIS PUMMER: To me the assertion that Connecticut’s new law requiring paid sick leave for service workers will lead to epidemic abuse that will hinder productivity and waste endless dollars is silly on its face. Continue reading

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Hitler’s Citizenship Revoked

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I was a little surprised to read that the town of Braunau am Inn in Austria, which is widely considered to be Hitler’s hometown, had recently revoked his honorary citizenship. Certainly I can appreciate the town’s wishing to distance itself from Hitler (although why it waited until now to do so is unclear, unless they have just been really backed up on town business for the last few decades).

HOWARD MEGDAL: Frankly, Molly, I’m surprised to hear you oppose such a solid public policy choice, one that offers only moral upside and comfort to a town’s citizens, while merely exposing Branau to a missed tourism opportunity. Continue reading

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Review: Lucky Peach Food Quarterly, Issue One

HOWARD MEGDAL: There are so many reasons to like Lucky Peach, the new food quarterly brought to you by David Chang of Momofuku fame. But it is important to know the limitations of the issue as well.

JESSICA BADER: For someone who loves both reading and eating as much as I do, I’m not a big fan of food magazines, largely because I don’t cook and therefore will be bored by a focus on recipes. Yet, when I found out that David Chang would be putting out a food magazine, I knew I had to give it a try. Lucky Peach is an exciting and visually enticing read, the kind of food magazine I could see myself subscribing to. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week One in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The final image that we see at the end of Season 7 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is Larry and Cheryl, finally reunited after considering separating. They play, they flirt, they revert back to their banter, the “Seinfeld” reunion that “Curb” staged finishes in freeze frame, and all is right with the world. The much anticipated Season 8 of “Curb” picks up where Larry and Cheryl leave off, but throws us for a loop, and then another loop, and then we get stuck in the loop and don’t quite know where to jump off, and then the episode ends, abruptly and chaotically. Eh. Okay. But where was the heart from the previous seasons? Why did Larry look like he was trying too hard for a gag? Did Cheryl have work done? I didn’t feel that warm, excited, exclusive feeling of being able to bear witness to the outrageous happenings in the life of Larry David. I felt, instead, like I was intruding.

HOWARD MEGDAL: There’s little question that Season 8 began without the uplifting message that ended Season 7. One can imagine Larry David laughing at all of us for thinking he’d simply given into the idea professed by Woody Allen at the end of Annie Hall that we try to make things work out in art that haven’t in life, knowing he’d be slamming us with this divorce episode in a year.

But we don’t watch Curb, I don’t think, for uplifting. We watch it to see the social criminals get their comeuppance. And this season promises to do more of just that, with the season opener filled with promise for future plot points as well. Continue reading

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