Sex Education, Courtesy of ‘The Americans’

Strange to say, a cable drama about Soviet spies has gotten closer to the truth of American sex than the countless series that explicitly treat the topic have. In the season three finale of FX’s The Americans, which aired in 2015, viewers saw Philip and Elizabeth Jennings—outwardly a normal suburban couple, secretly ruthless spies—flash back … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Why is ‘Sesame Street’s’ New Muppet with Autism a Girl?

Welcome Julia! Julia is Sesame Street’s new autistic character, and she will be making her debut in April, which is Autism Awareness Month, to seemingly universal approval from both parents and experts. Scott Badesch, president and CEO of the Autism Society of America, says that “they got it right.” Badesch, whose son has autism, was … Continued

Culture, Television

Love ‘The Americans’, But Resist Cold War Nostalgia

Not long after the Cold War ended, many Americans became nostalgic for it. In a November 1999 speech at Tufts University, for example, then–Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley declared: “Until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, we were sure about one thing: We knew where we stood on foreign policy.” At the time, … Continued

Politics, Television

Mean Girl Scarlett Johansson Thinks Attacking Other Women is Funny. It’s Not.

When a young girl deliberately mocks and demeans another young girl, she’s seen as bullying and jealous—a mean girl. If an adult woman does the same, she’s considered unkind and insecure. But when actress Scarlett Johansson deliberately mocks and demeans Ivanka Trump, she’s called hilarious and ingenious, instantly praised as a “wickedly funny” feminist. It’s … Continued

Entertainment, Television

How “The Big Bang Theory” Solved the Wage Gap

In one of the greatest ironies of American cultural life, one of the only industries in which there exists an egregious and inexplicable wage gap is the uber-liberal entertainment industry. Thanks to whomever hacked Sony Pictures, it’s clear the problem affects both on-screen talent as well as staff members. There have been a great number … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Why We Just Can’t Quit ‘The Bachelor’

The 21st season of The Bachelor premiered on January 2nd and will reach its conclusion next week after a saga of heartbreak, betrayal, vanity, and instantly-forged relationships. Doggedly pursuing a specific formula, the producers of the show have crafted a tight storyline and narrowed the contestants into simple characters who act predictably, making the show … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Satire in the Age of Trump

When does satire go too far? When does it not go far enough? A good satire can make you laugh and make you a little uncomfortable at the same time. Merriam-Webster defines satire as, “trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly.” Whether we’re talking about the fifth-century Greek playwright … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Why We Need to Bring Back Archie Bunker

Comedy as social commentary is nothing new. You can go back to the days of Jonathan Swift, who wrote the outrageous, “A Modest Proposal,” as a means of bringing attention to the poor Irish. Comedians such as Lenny Bruce were doing it in the 1960’s with their standup comedy – touching on issues such as … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Why I Don’t Watch ‘Saturday Night Live’ Anymore

As a boy, one phrase meant more to me than anything else in my pop culture world: “Live from New York. . . it’s Saturday Night!” Today, that phrase has an entirely new meaning—the corruption of a once-beloved franchise. That’s how far the increasingly partisan Saturday Night Live has fallen for this lifelong fan. And, … Continued

Entertainment, Television