Pop Culture’s Complicity in Sexual Harassment

#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 […]

Continue Reading

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

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 […]

Continue Reading

Why “This is Us” is Sweeping the Nation

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 […]

Continue Reading

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

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 […]

Continue Reading

The Invasion of the Christmas Carols

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 […]

Continue Reading

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

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 […]

Continue Reading

Parents Blame Children’s Deaths on 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why

The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has been out for more than three months now, but it’s still in the news for all the wrong reasons. Two California teens committed suicide in April, and their grieving parents are speaking out now, blaming 13 Reasons Why for their children’s deaths. Bella Herndon hanged herself in her […]

Continue Reading

DC’s Superheroes are Super Spiritual

Superman

Wonder Woman isn’t just a pretty good superhero flick. It’s pretty spiritual, too. And it’s not just me saying that (though I did). Last Friday, Adam Holz linked to several stories that called out the film’s Christ symbolism and compared Wonder Woman’s clash with god-o’-war Ares with Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. All these messages […]

Continue Reading

“… In Sickness and In Health, Even When the Batteries Expire in the Clicker …”

Couple watching TV

Want to find a faithful soulmate? Check and see if they watch HGTV. Hey, I’m not the one saying that. As a Plugged In reviewer, I’m more likely to tell you to throw holy water at your television than, y’know, counsel you to actually watch the thing. But Cassie Murdoch at Mashable insists that there’s […]

Continue Reading