Monthly Archives: September 2011

Modern Family: Week 2 in Review

KIP MOONEY: I could be wrong about this, but I think Modern Family’s headed for a detour into the absurd in Season 3, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

After two seasons of doing their best—and almost always succeeding—to put…

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SNL Alec Baldwin/Radiohead

ZOË RICE: I don’t love myself for laughing at Taran Killam’s Huntsman-does-Chinese-restaurant gag, but I did, and more than “little bit.” Entertaining opener to the season, with Wiig starting her year off strong as Bachmann.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Across the board, this really captured the essence of the GOP debates. Well done here. Continue reading

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MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Qwikster? Can nothing EVER be spelled right anymore?!?!?!?!?! I’m sorry, that name stinks.

I know that letter was supposed to be heartfelt and honest, but somewhere along there it veered off into d-bag territory. Am I right here?
Continue reading

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Review: Pan Am

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The first episode of ABC’s “Pan Am” took off in technicolor splendor. The first five minutes of the jet-age drama had me almost in tears with the stylistic glory of early 1960s architecture and fashion. As shows like “Pan Am” and “The Playboy Club” attempt to give us “Mad Men” fans our 60s fix until March 2012, it’s important to try to not compare these shows with its Updikean counterpart. We will be disappointed, we will want more grit, we will be furious with these shows who are at least thinking outside of the box compared to the myriads of less interesting shows that swamp prime time. That being said, I’m not going to even begin to compare this show to “Mad Men” because it is an entirely different entity, being on ABC instead of AMC, having a solid enough moral compass, and its play on the unreal and fantastical that surrounds the freedom to fly.

ZOË RICE: This will sound condescending, but it’s not meant to be: Pan Am is so cute! While lacking the scope of Mad Men or the depth of BBC America’s The Hour, Pan Am’s panorama and cast manage something rather different; they exude utter charm. In their hands, the intrigue of espionage comes across as harmlessly retro. With the Cold War now decades in the back mirror, even Russian spies are pretty much adorable. Continue reading

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R.E.M. Remembered

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: There’s not much that I want to write about the decision of Messrs. Buck, Mills, and Stipe to end R.E.M. after 31 years, and not because I don’t have an opinion. To the contrary: For the past…

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NFL Week 3 in Review

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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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Modern Family: Week 1 in Review

KIP MOONEY: It occurred to me some time Sunday, while I was watching the Emmys and getting swept up in Modern Family’s sheer dominance, that I may have been a little harsh on it last season. To be sure, there were a couple dud episodes (“Dance Dance Revelation” and “Earthquake” being lowlights for me), but after an essentially perfect first season, everything had to be placed under more intense scrutiny.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Agree fully with Kip that the second episode easily eclipsed the first. But I would argue that both episodes fell short of the heights reached in the first two seasons. Continue reading

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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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Netflix for Books?

AKIE BERMISS: Various times in the short history of this publication we’ve puzzled over the future of books and of reading and of literacy.  We’ve discussed the demise of Borders and the rise of eBooks and the changing lay of…

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