Finding Truth at the Golden Globes

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Oprah Winfrey at 2018 Golden Globes

The Golden Globes this year offered a lot of what awards shows typically offer: lots of awards, lots of star power, lots of sometimes awkward acceptance speeches. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri escaped the awards show with four Globes. HBO’s miniseries Big Little Lies scampered away with three. But this year, hardly anyone was talking […]

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Pop Culture’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers (2017 Edition)

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Movers and shakers

The outgoing year is often depicted as an old, tired man with a beard down to his knees. But this year, that depiction felt all too true. With all the natural disasters and political unrest and international crises afoot, 2017 probably made us all feel older than we should. Back in the day, many folks […]

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Television Tops 2017: Paul Asay’s Year-End Picks

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Most of television’s nicknames are severely dated. How can it be called the “tube” when most of our HDTV’s don’t even have tubes anymore? I’ve been known to call it the “small screen” too, even though there’s nothing small about most television screens today. There’s nothing small about the influence of television, either. Experts say […]

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Pop Culture’s Complicity in Sexual Harassment

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#me too

Complicity. The word sounds vaguely menacing. Even if we’re not quite sure what complicity means, it sounds … bad. To be complicit, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says, involves “helping someone commit a crime or a wrong in some way.” We’re hearing that word used a lot lately—albeit perhaps slightly less literally—in connection with the sexual harassment and […]

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Culture Clips: Do (Late Night) Nice Guys Finish Last?

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Jimmy Fallon

I watched about five minutes of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert the other night. That was as much as I could take before Colbert’s political monologue drove me in search of something kinder, gentler. Something like, say, the Tonight Show with host Jimmy Fallon, who’s mostly eschewed the kind of political skewering that has […]

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Why “This is Us” is Sweeping the Nation

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Over the last two seasons, NBC’s This is Us has become must-see TV for many a viewer, many of whom watch the show with a box of tissues handy. While the show has its content problems—and really, how many popular TV programs don’t?—it also showcases compelling, deeply emotional narratives that, for many, hit close to […]

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And Now, Something Good (or at Least Interesting) About Justice League

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Justice league

Listen, I’m not going to tell you that Justice League is a great movie. I’ve written and said too much about it already to claim that. But even flawed movies have something to say, and Justice League tells us something pretty interesting. (Warning: A few minor spoilers lie ahead.) Director Zack Snyder was, perhaps, not […]

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The Invasion of the Christmas Carols

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Christmas music

Many of us mark our seasons by firsts: the first robin of spring, the first sunburn of summer, the first interception by our terrible quarterback of the fall. The Christmas season is no different—or, at least, so mall music supervisors tell us: It begins with the first Christmas carol playing in the vicinity of cash […]

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Television Learns That It’s Nice to Be Nice (And It Makes Money, Too)

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the good doctor

We’re in the heart of the new television season, and I’ve noticed something a little odd about it. It’s trying to be nice. Strange, right? For the last several years, television has been besotted with undoubtedly gripping, unbearably grim prestige TV. HBO’s Game of Thrones revels in its episodic cruelties, both physical and political. Hulu’s […]

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