Getting On: Just In Case Hospitals Weren’t Depressing Enough

by Aly Semigran November 25, 2013 6:15 am
<i>Getting On</i>: Just In Case Hospitals Weren’t Depressing Enough

Most television hospitals look and feel like the Hollywood sound stages they're filmed on rather than the real deal. Their staffs are compiled of nothing but attractive, well-rested, made-up doctors and nurses and the most tragic patients get melodramatic musical accompaniment. Getting On is not one of those shows. It is a bleak, clinical take on the staff and patients of a cold, clinical place: the geriatric extended care wing of a hospital.

<i>Ja’mie: Private School Girl</i>: Mockumentary Satire as Vicious as a Mean Girl

It's probably for the best that Breaking Bad ended before the mockumentary comedy Ja'mie: Private School Girl debuted in America, because I'm not sure television audiences could handle the likes of Walter White and Ja'mie King in their lives at the same time. It would have been one too many sociopathic forces of evil to handle. Then again, compared to the unfathomably terrible Ja'mie King, Walter White almost seems to have some redemptive qualities.

Hello Ladies: Goodbye Stephen

by Ethan Alter September 30, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Hello Ladies</i>: Goodbye Stephen

Since the original British run of The Office propelled them out of obscurity and into the comedy big leagues, Stephen Merchant has largely existed in the shadow of his friend and creative partner, Ricky Gervais -- the gawky Samwise to his jerky Frodo. Initially, his sidekick status was something as a hindrance as much of the attention and acclaim that greeted The Office and later Extras was directed at his co-writer. But in the long run, being in the background has probably paid off for as Gervais has steadily gone from being the life of the party to the guy nobody wants in the room (courtesy of those initially funny, then disastrous Golden Globes gigs), Merchant's career prospects and public persona have remained largely unchanged. He's still the gangly guy who practices the same brand of awkward humor as his buddy, but seems far less mean about it.

TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 24, 2013

by Ethan Alter September 24, 2013 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hannibal Lecter prepares for his stint on Top Cannibal Chef.

Clear History: Curb Your Bearded Enthusiasm

by Aly Semigran August 9, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Clear History</i>: Curb Your Bearded Enthusiasm

On Breaking Bad, a big piece of the Walter White puzzle that drove a seemingly mild-mannered chemistry teacher to deadly drug kingpin, aside from his cancer and generally milquetoast life, was the need to regain the millions he lost when he bowed out of Gray Matter Industries for a measly $5,0000. A life filled with regret and the unrelenting feeling that you've been cheated out of a fortune you helped create can drive a man to do some crazy things.

Veep: The Episode’s Best Insults

by Ethan Alter May 13, 2013 12:26 pm
<i>Veep</i>: The Episode’s Best Insults

Selina's European (non-)apology tour took her to Finland on last night's Veep, resulting in the funniest episode of the season and perhaps the all-time funniest episode in the show's young history.

<I>Louis C.K.: Oh My God</i>: Five Jokes That Should Be <I>Louie</i> Sketches

Oh My God isn't the best Louis C.K. standup special thus far, but it's still funny and worth watching (and even worth paying $5 for, when that option opens up). It's also something to fill the void until Louie comes back in Spring 2014 -- we know that C.K. doesn't put the material from his stand-up (especially not the specials) into his FX show, but if you close your eyes and play pretend, it's fun to stage the following jokes from the special in your head with some beloved '90s actors, or what have you:

Girls: Unhappy Together

by Rachel Stein March 18, 2013 9:59 am
<I>Girls</i>: Unhappy Together

At the risk of pulling a Britta, I could logically understand Lena Dunham's defense of not having a racially diverse cast in Season 1 of Girls, but I can't stand Season 2's acceptance of male anger. Adam has risen to co-star status this season, which from afar seems like an improvement given that Adam Driver is clearly the best actor on the series, but I think that it generally has hindered the show in a very serious way. Girls Season 1 was about a group of young women struggling to find their identities through their various relationships with each other, and occasionally, through men. Season 2 was about several fair-weather female friends who completely unravel when there's not a strong male presence in their lives, while the men who matter to them thrive or at the very least, actively try to become better people. (And now that Season 3's writing staff is mostly men, to say I'm pessimistic would be an understatement.) Whereas Hannah stumbled through the season coping with overwhelming stress-induced OCD, Adam made a few charming speeches and was rewarded with a girlfriend on whom he could take out his repressive issues in what I'm going to go ahead and call "gray rape," becoming the storybook hero the show so desperately wanted him to be in the Season 2 finale. In the same way that, say, Rihanna is not responsible for being a role model for battered women and has every right to get back together with her abusive ex-boyfriend, just because Girls was marketed as a series for young women to commiserate with, I guess it is technically okay that it's become a show where the ladies are emotionally immature (at best) and the guys are the focal points, if not the anti-heroes. Sure.

Girls: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

by Rachel Stein February 24, 2013 9:34 pm
<I>Girls</i>: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

I'm not entirely sure I "got" "Video Games," unless the point of it was to make me not want to see Jessa again for a while and like Hannah even more. My colleague Ethan Alter made a very good point that despite its flaws, the episode did add to the expansion of Girls's universe, thanks to the addition of beautiful Upstate New York (and last episode it was Staten Island, the episode before that, an alternate look at her own neighborhood), but beyond that, we're all kind of just waiting for next week.

Girls: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

by Rachel Stein February 11, 2013 9:00 am
<I>Girls</i>: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

It will probably come to no surprise to you that "One Man's Trash" was written by Lena Dunham -- after all, you'd have to be crazy to have your own show without devoting at least one entire episode to a hot older guy finding you so wildly attractive that he puts his life on hold for you and lets you frolic in his ballin' apartment.

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