Do Disney’s Recent Kids Shows Pull Punches on Important Issues?

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When Disney+ was introduced last year, it kicked the nostalgia of my adolescence into overdrive. With shows such as Boy Meets World, Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven and many others from my youth now at my fingertips (not to mention lots of spare time to view these shows due to the COVID-19 quarantine), I’ve been […]

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Entertainment That Might Cure Your Boredom (and Benefit Others)

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“We may be apart right now, but coming together has never been more important,” says the Global Citizen, an organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty. And it has a point. It seems crazy that just a few months ago, we were all commuting to and from work, attending school in actual classrooms, and giving our […]

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In 1961, the FCC Chairman Called TV a ‘Vast Wasteland.’ Has It Gotten Better?

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We all know who wound up on Gilligan’s Island: Gilligan (of course); the Skipper too; the millionaire and his wife; the movie star; the professor and Mary Anne. But did you know that the chairman for the Federal Communications Commission made an appearance in every episode, too? I didn’t either, until I read a fascinating […]

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What’s New and Streaming for Families for May 2020

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It’s May 2020. And what a big, fat, hairy month it is. In fact, now that we’re in what seems like the third year of isolated coronavirus lockdown, big, fat and hairy are all very literal descriptors. So it’s only fitting that we give you a good-sized collection of less-than-hairy streaming family fare. Let’s get […]

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What Parks and Recreation Says about Culture, the Coronavirus and Us

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Coronavirus, Meet Ron Swanson. Five years after NBC’s Parks and Recreation went off the air, Ron, Leslie Knope and the rest of the show’s gang are reuniting tonight (virtually speaking) to raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. It’ll air on, y’know, old-fashioned, traditional TV (NBC, of course) at 8:30 ET/PT. To me, this […]

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Some Good News About ‘Some Good News’

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Perhaps one of the most exhausting things about the coronavirus epidemic is the nonstop negative coverage about the coronavirus epidemic. And the news can be pretty bleak. Lives have been lost, businesses have been shut down, and many families are struggling to make ends meet. (If you or someone you know is struggling through this […]

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Culture clips: Capitalizing on the Quarantine

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We all know that the coronavirus and the accompanying lockdowns have rocked the world economy. Nearly 18 million Americans have applied for unemployment in just the last three weeks in just about every field you can imagine. And those numbers could get worse. Entertainment has been hit hard (the prestigious Cannes Film Festival announced it […]

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How my life as a TV and movie critic has changed as a result of coronavirus

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Because of the coronavirus, all of our lives look different these days. We’ve all been forced to make plenty of changes. But some of us have had to make fewer changes than others. In my pre- (and hopefully post-) COVID-19 days at Plugged In, a typical workday for me included grudgingly waking up (what can […]

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What’s New and Streaming for Families for April 2020

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April 2020 is here. And what an April it’s shaping up to be. Because of all the Covid-19 dangers, our minds are set on keeping a six-foot personal-space boundary and staying keenly aware of new shipments of toilet paper at the local store. Of course, more than any other recent April we’re also happy to […]

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Coronavirus Sickens Entertainment Industry, Too

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The coronavirus has hit the entire world pretty hard> And one corner of societythat’s been deeply impacted is the entertainment industry. Even as the public seems to be seeking out more entertainment options, the folks who create them are suffering mightily. We obviously haven’t been doing our usual Monday box-office wrap-up in this space for […]

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Entertainment Industry Responds to Coronavirus With Early VOD Releases, Special Offers

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Well, here we are in the new age of fear and virus loathing. Concerts, conferences and sporting events have been cancelled, school is going totally online, restaurants are closing and public places of entertainment like movie theaters are shuttering for the immediate future. That massive social-isolation shift to our own couch and kitchen table has […]

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Onward & LGBTQ Representation Trends Onscreen

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“My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.” If you’re not paying very close attention while watching Disney/Pixar’s new animated movie Onward, you’ll very likely miss that line. And, out of context, you might think, “Why would anyone care about this innocuous sentence?” Answer: Because it’s delivered by a female character, a policewoman to […]

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