OSCAR NIGHT

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For the past two years, I’ve organized a faculty/student Oscar debate for the LSU Film & Media Arts Program. (In year two, we started including snubs as well as nominees.) This year, we’ll have talks on all the Best Picture nominees as well as Straight Outta ComptonCarol, and Creed. This is the ad I made for it. (I like doing the publicity myself.)

 

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BROAD CITY

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Sarah Mesle and I wrote about the season premiere of Broad City for Dear Television at the LA Review of Books:

“So, this is a show about friendship and closeness, but much of it happens at a distance. Abbi and Ilana are so often apart, for all that we think of them as inseparably together. The split screen jokes that mirror their independent lives, that show them doing the same things in tandem, that show them somehow sharing pizza and chocolates, that show them on the phone — this is maybe the best Skype show of all time — these all add up to a kind of massive, choreographed eye-roll about the idea that Facebook Is Making Us Lonely, Google Is Making Us Stupid, Snapchat Is Making Us Smelly, Social Media, in general, is Tearing Us Apart. Not Abbi and Ilana! When this show is moving — and it’s sometimes moving — it’s moving because of the depth, or layering, of this friendship that might otherwise appear to be shallow.”

“Broad City’s Third Coming”

SUPER BOWL

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Sarah Mesle and I are back again, this time writing about Super Bowl 50 as a television spectacle.

“At the same time, maybe the best, or most responsible emblem, for the contemporary NFL isn’t the undeterrable hero, shaking off tacklers, bouncing up after a hit with a smile and a dab. Maybe Peyton Manning, the battered sack of bones crawling his way toward one final bittersweet victory like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, best represents our compromised, blood and mud spatted NFL. And just as Leo will inevitably pull down the Oscar for which everyone will tell you he is due, we’re here talking about Peyton going out on top. Chicken parm, you taste so good!

“Super Yoncé”

THE PEOPLE V. OJ SIMPSON

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Sarah Mesle and I wrote for Dear Television about FX’s new American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson, which is really extraordinarily good TV:

“The OJ trial is the adolescence of our media culture. The Kardashian kids may be a tangential part of this grand drama, but their presence brings it into our present in a real way. Of all of these famous characters, these budding selfie artists are the ones we still know. Their spectatorship of these events — even for contemporary viewers who aren’t as neatly in the demographical bullseye as I am — transforms in a gnarly way into our spectatorship, present and past. Some people have called out these scenes for the way in which they score cheap points off of that family. But I don’t think it’s really about them; I think it’s about us. Their foibles are ours magnified, their experience of this history is ours, more intense, but no less mediated. In this limited circumstance, are we not Kardashians, too?”

“Are We Not Kardashians?”