Culture Clips: How ‘Bout the Super Bowl (Ads)?

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The New England Patriots are world champions. Again. Do I sound bitter? I don’t mean to. The 111.3 million people who watched the game were treated to a pretty epic come-from-behind victory, after all. But maybe a few of us are just getting a little tired of Tom Brady constantly hoisting the Lombardi Trophy above […]

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Culture Clips: The Family That Eats Together …

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We all know that teens today face plenty of struggles—some of which I’m going to talk about shortly. But let’s start with some good news. Want your kids to say no to substance abuse? Having dinner regularly as a family is one simple, tasty way to build a relational bond that correlates with wiser choices. […]

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Disrespect Invites Disrespect, Even in Hollywood

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The morning after Sunday night’s Golden Globes Awards, the Plugged In team was talking about two subjects—the powerful wind that was at that time gusting to nearly 100 mph in Colorado Springs and the aforementioned award ceremony. Regarding the latter, I told the team that I planned to write about actress Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump speech, […]

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Television Tops 2016: Paul Asay’s Year-End Picks

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Bacteria and today’s television landscape have a lot in common. Like bacteria, television shows seem to be multiplying at a dizzying rate: Networks and streaming agencies gave viewers 409 scripted shows in the 2015-16 season, more than double the number we saw just six years ago, and even more are on track for this year. […]

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The Walking Dead Has Gone Too Far … Even For Some of Its Fans

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At least 17 million people watched the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead—massive numbers in today’s fragmented television landscape. More people watched the villain Negan beat two characters to death with his barbed bat Lucille than watched Sunday Night Football that evening. I was one of them. You can find our review of the […]

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MTV’s 2016 VMAs: Nothing to See Here

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The Monday morning after MTV’s Video Music Awards has often been a cultural watercooler moment in a culture that has fewer and fewer of those moments these days. Whether it’s Miley twerking on Robin Thicke (2013), Madonna and Britney kissing (2003) or Madonna’s risqué performance of “Like a Virgin” at the very first VMAs back […]

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The Olympics: Like Real Life, Only Better

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Bad things happen. Even at the Olympics. Looking at this year’s games in Rio, you can point to any number of mistakes, accidents and bone-headed moves. Just ask Ryan Lochte. Or Al Trautwig. Or the technicians in charge of the Olympic diving pool. But sometimes, the Olympics transcend all that. They go beyond even their […]

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Born to Be Influenced by Media

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I reviewed A&E’s Born This Way this week (the review will be posted later today). It’s a reality show that focuses on several young adults with Down syndrome, and a refreshing change from the many reality shows that are predicated on greed and selfishness and bad behavior. It’s a gentler program that, while not exactly […]

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Weighing the Heavy Costs of Extreme Weight-Loss Shows

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NBC’s The Biggest Loser has been one of the network’s, ahem, biggest reality TV success stories. It’s paired consistently strong ratings with feel-good storylines about overweight people working hard to get back to a healthy size and all of the good things that come with it. Everybody wins, right? After all, what could be wrong […]

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American Idol’s Faithful (and Flirty) Legacy

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American Idol wrapped up its awe-inspiring 15-season run on Fox last night, crowing a final Idol, Trent Harmon, in an emotional two-hour finale that featured just about everyone who’s ever been anyone on the show. Watching performances from a litany of former Idols who’ve legitimately become pop culture idols reinforced just how successful the show […]

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