Miley, What’s Good?

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Sunday’s MTV’s 2015 Video Music Awards were, naturally, again all about Miley Cyrus. She hosted it and managed to dominate it as only a savvy, shock-centric self-promoter can. The online press spent yesterday talking about her outfits (their huge number and tiny size), her dizzying references to marijuana, her “accidental,” somehow-not-so-shocking-anymore wardrobe malfunction. But perhaps […]

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Getting Real (Fictionally, of Course)

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Comedian Jim Gaffigan recently launched his very own sitcom titled, perhaps a bit uncreatively, The Jim Gaffigan Show. It’s on TV Land, and the show’s gotten all sorts of attention. I reviewed it earlier this week, and while it has its share of problems, I have to say I enjoyed parts of it. Not just […]

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Doctor Who and our Changing Culture

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As Plugged In’s resident television reviewer, I am often asked by hypothetical people, “Paul, with all the TV that you have to watch for work, what do you watch for fun?” I always tell these hypothetical people that I never watch television for fun. Television should always be educational and enriching and very serious business. […]

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Art & Culture: Personalizing Politics

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Plugged In has often said that the entertainment we engage and indulge in has the power to mold how we see and think about the world—whether we realize it or not. And in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision making gay marriage legal in the United States, openly homosexual actor Harvey Fierstein is—perhaps […]

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Three Snapshots of TV’s Power to Change Us

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Media can impact culture in surprising ways. And I came across three stories recently that illustrate how television, in particular, informs and influences the way we see the world and interact with it. First, there’s the case of TV finales and the stock market. Would you think that there’s a correlation between the two? Turns […]

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American Idol, CSI & the Passing of the Monoculture

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It doesn’t seem that long ago, really, that two influential, iconic network juggernauts dominated the ratings, week after week, year after year: Fox’s American Idol and CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Both shows spawned imitators and shaped America’s TV culture. Both exhibited a Goliath-like ability to intimidate any would-be rivals. And both, like Goliath, were […]

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Ad and A.D. Add Up to a Big Easter on TV

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About 3.7 million people tuned in to watch Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus on the National Geographic Channel last Sunday—the most ever to watch a show on the network, and a 300% improvement on NatGeo’s typical Sunday-night ratings. It was a success. But it wasn’t a surprise. Jesus—or, rather, shows predicated on Him—is big business these […]

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4 Ways Leslie Knope Is More Like Jesus Than I Am

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The curtains are down. The lights are out. America’s time hanging out with Indiana’s motliest crew of small-town local government employees has come to a close. Last night Leslie Knope and Co. wrapped up the seventh and final season of Parks and Recreation. No more Lil’ Sebastian. No more Paunch Burger. No more Knope. Content […]

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