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 […]

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Culture Clips: Emmys Put on a Red Shawl

The Handmaid's Tale

Back in the day, television was considered something of a cultural unifier—the very definition of mass entertainment that would serve as a focal point for familial, communal, and even intergenerational gatherings. Yeah, about that. The Emmy awards—from the tone of the show to the awards themselves—illustrated a certain cultural divide. “In an age of hyper-polarization, […]

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Entertainment versus The Downers of Life

Man with smoke coming out of his ears

Life’s just a downer, right? Well, maybe not totally, but it sure can feel that way—even here in the good old U.S. of A. A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reported just how pessimistic and deeply divided we Americans are feeling these days. Our country is roiling for a lot […]

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Culture Clips: Clowns Taking It On the Red, Squeaky Nose

Pennywise the Dancing Clown

It’s not even October yet, but already our Culture Clips blog is taking on a rather frightening hue. First up: clowns. The World Clown Association is bracing for the release of IT, a horror flick featuring a diabolical clown. The association, still reeling from last year’s spate of scary clown sightings, has put together a […]

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Culture Clips: The Dragon and the Swift edition

Game of Thrones dragon

On Sunday night, two television titans squared off against each other in a clash of old and new, awards-show glitz against prestige-TV glam. It wasn’t even close. Despite going head-to-head against MTV’s once-vaunted Video Music Awards show, HBO’s salacious sensation Game of Thrones set yet another high-water ratings mark, drawing 12.1 million viewers for its […]

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Culture Clips: An Expert Asks, ‘Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?’

Culture clips and smartphones

How are the combined influences of smartphones and social media shaping the lives of children growing up today? In her new article “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” in The Atlantic, author and psychologist Jean M. Twenge (Generation Me, iGen) argues that these technological advancements are having a revolutionary—and mostly negative—impact on young people today. Twenge’s […]

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And You Thought She Just Liked Doing Laundry

laundry

Being a mom is hard work. What with child care, car pools, household chores, food prep, and the gazillion other jobs and duties they’ve got on their plate—not to mention their regular, out-of-the-house jobs that many have besides—how do they have time to relax and unwind? You know, have a little time for themselves? Or […]

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Culture Clips: Thrones and Zombies and Doctors, Oh My!

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones just roared back for its seventh season. And any way you want to slice it, HBO’s graphic fantasy series (based on George R.R. Martin’s books) is bigger than ever. For starters, this season’s Thrones debut racked up the most viewers ever for the series, a whopping 16.1 million according to HBO (a […]

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