What Americans Could Learn from ‘The Crown’

As The Onion, which might be the country’s most piercing source of social criticism, reminded America recently, yes, we did in fact choose Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald John Trump to contend for the leadership of the United States for the next four years. And after the first debate, well . . . it’s hard … Continued

Entertainment, Television

‘Last Chance U’ and the Virtues of Reality TV

Until you see the difference first-hand, you might think that there is a very fine line between “documentary style programming with heart” and “vapid, soul-sucking entertainment” because all of it is typically lumped together in something known as “Reality TV.” That moniker understandably carries such negative cultural baggage with it due to the medium’s lowest, … Continued

Entertainment, Sports, Television

Running Your Own Drug Cartel Isn’t Entertainment

Somewhere in a bubble are a group of sanctimonious parents convinced that every activity, every game, every minute their precious child spends should be uplifting, enlightening, and helping them become future peace-loving citizens of the world. In the real world, however, parents have long since realized that while it’s smart to encourage kids to play … Continued


‘Lady Dynamite’, Mental Illness, and Perseverance

In his classic book, Going Sane, psychoanalyst Adam Phillips defines sanity as “a talent for transforming madness into something other than itself, of making terror comforting.” Sanity, he adds “is this talent for not letting whatever frightens us about ourselves destroy our pleasure in life.” That’s a good description of what comedian Maria Bamford is … Continued

Entertainment, Television

The Unbreakable Moral Relativism of Modern Sitcoms

“Kimmy, we have a wonderful thing here in New York called moral relativism.” Those are the words of Lillian, an older woman (and landlord) who functions as a mentor to Kimmy Schmidt, the heroine of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, Kimmy is a young woman still struggling … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Why Ashton Kutcher Made a Sitcom for Flyover Country

There’s a great scene in the third episode of The Ranch, Netflix’s new three-camera sitcom starring Ashton Kutcher and veteran character actor Sam Elliott. Kutcher plays 34-year-old high-school football hero Colt Bennett, who never quite made it in pros and is forced to return home to Colorado to work on his family’s cattle ranch. Elliott … Continued

Entertainment, Television