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Television

    Taken underTaken under:  A close look at the ‘dismal trade’
    Blessed are the undertakers, for they take care of it.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Sad and lonelySad and lonely:  Aliens in America’s bracing look at high-school misery
    Not all varieties of teen angst are created equal.
    By: ADAM REILLY


    Heart to heartHeart to heart:  David Grubin looks at our most important muscle
    We don’t hear too much any more from the people who think heart transplants are a bad idea.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Mean girlsMean girls:  Digging the Gossip
    Josh Schwartz loves filming scenes where his simpático underdog punches a nasty and absurdly rich Yeah Dude in the face.
    By: SHARON STEEL


    Uncertain Fey-tUncertain Fey-t:  30 Rock gives it another go
    This time last year, who would have guessed that Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip would be dead by Emmy time and Tina Fey’s 30 Rock would be an Emmy winner?
    By: MIKE MILIARD


    Paler than thouPaler than thou:  Jim Gaffigan’s off-white superheroes
    Comic-book-style superheroes have been a staple of TV since George Reeves put on Superman’s red cape and blue tights in 1951.
    By: TED DROZDOWSKI


    The War is swellThe War is swell:  Ken Burns captures reflections in ‘Hell’s own cesspool’
    Sometime in the late ’80s, I was sharing some Iron City with my father at the bar of a Pittsburgh American Legion post.
    By: CLIF GARBODEN


    Hero worshipHero worship:  In praise of Stan Lee’s reality-TV gem
    The lesson of the Sci-Fi Channel’s Who Wants To Be a Superhero? might seem obvious.
    By: ADAM REILLY


    BBC America?BBC America?:  The networks put some English on the fall TV season
    The British are coming! And they have American accents!
    By: JOYCE MILLMAN


    Bull marketBull market:  Flipping Out on Bravo, plus Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge and Meerkat Manor
    Jeff Lewis is real, baby.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Up on the roofUp on the roof:  Will Sox Appeal appeal to Sox fans?
    Given the relentlessness with which it was hyped in the months prior to its August 1 premiere, you’re probably familiar with the concept.
    By: MIKE MILIARD


    Blown dryBlown dry:  The Hills have hair
    When Lauren Conrad is blow-drying her hair before her camera crews arrive, does she ever consider giving up and allowing her tresses to frizz into a rat’s nest?
    By: SHARON STEEL


    Lost WorldLost World:  MTV’s The Real World: Sydney
    Moments into the first episode of MTV’s The Real World: Sydney, Dunbar Flinn proudly confesses, “I summed everyone up quickly — who’s worth looking at, and who’s not.”
    By: CAITLIN E. CURRAN


    Reality ingenueReality ingenue:  Lauren Conrad on MTV's The Hills
    What is it about MTV’s top-rated reality show The Hills, premiering its third season August 13th?
    By: ELLEE DEAN


    Nice packageNice package:  Mad Men practices truth in advertising
    The seductive new drama series Mad Men re-creates the beginning of the advertising industry’s shiny modern era of bullshit.
    By: JOYCE MILLMAN


    Leader of the packLeader of the pack:  Cesar Millan and Dog Whisperer
    “When good dogs go bad,” goes the voiceover introduction, “there’s one man who’s their best friend. Cesar Millan.”
    By: JEFFREY GANTZ


    All but the wankAll but the wank:  Is Deep Throat sexier than the 1934 Tarzan and His Mate?
    The image of Marlon Brando demanding that Maria Schneider stick two fingers up his ass, now seems the reductio ad absurdum of improvised acting.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Niagara nightsNiagara nights:  Matchmaking in Buffalo
    In bleak and frozen Buffalo, people are looking for love.
    By: MIKE MILIARD


    Good Shaq, bad ShaqGood Shaq, bad Shaq:  Is O’Neal’s fat-camp show kind or cruel?
    Say this for Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal: in Shaq’s Big Challenge, signs abound that his intentions are good.
    By: ADAM REILLY


    Greatest reality hitsGreatest reality hits:  The 10 best moments of the past nine months or so
    To be read while listening to Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” or Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were The Days, My Friend."
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Backstage masterpieceBackstage masterpiece:  Is Slings + Arrows better than The Sopranos?
    As much as I adored The Sopranos, I have to wonder about the rush to anoint it the best television series ever.
    By: ED SIEGEL


    Lean to the left . . .Lean to the left . . .:  Total Bull star Western Wishes, plus Ultimate Fighter 5, Fight Girls, and Last Comic Standing
    Western Wishes — what an animal.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Paul’s got Kate?Paul’s got Kate?:  Maybe not, but Simon Cowell goes up in flames
    Paul Potts! Paul Potts! And again — Paul Potts!
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Viva Las Vegas!Viva Las Vegas!:  Sin, sun, and survival, plus lesbian surfers
    Last week in reality world, it was Vegas, Vegas, Vegas.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Idiot boxIdiot box:  We watch QubeTV so you don't have to
    When QubeTV — the video-sharing site “run by conservatives for conservatives” — was launched in April, we were intrigued.
    By: MIKE MILIARD


    Dark passageDark passage:  Insemination, 12-hour tanning, and . . . modka
    As we grind collectively toward the Apocalypse, let us pause for a moment to salute the last-ditch efforts of the Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Looking for the next ‘Lisa’Looking for the next ‘Lisa’:  Annals of Cultural Decline
    A Dutch TV station says it will go ahead with a programme in which a terminally ill woman selects one of three patients to receive her kidneys.
    By: ADAM REILLY


    Who wants to be a filmmaker?Who wants to be a filmmaker?:  Plus, can Diesel stand firm on It’s Me or the Dog?
    Anybody who’s had dealings with small children knows the importance of “the pitch.”
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Sucker-punchedSucker-punched:  Girls Next Door, Going Tribal, The Contender, and Be Real
    An unexpected chamber of sympathy opened in my heart this week for Hugh Hefner.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    A case of crabsA case of crabs:  Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School, Divine Canine, Ultimate Fighter 5, and Deadliest Catch
    fThere’s nothing sweeter than family.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Taking their lumpsTaking their lumps:  Red-king-crabbing, pitbull smacking, and more bull riding
    Across the underwater plains of Alaska’s Bering Sea go movable cities of red king crab, silently marching sideways.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Choke holdsChoke holds:  Chuck Barris’s Big Question, Shear Genius, Ultimate Fighter, and more bull rides
    That interesting man Chuck Barris has written another book.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Purists and touristsPurists and tourists:  PBS takes a refreshingly honest look at the summer of ’67
    The Greatest Generation didn’t go quietly.
    By: CLIF GARBODEN


    The dirtThe dirt:  Predatory bachelorettes, animal assassins
    ABC’s The Bachelor has long been one of the dirtiest shows on TV, a softcore brothel spritzed with the air-freshener pieties of courtly love.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Closing on a classicClosing on a classic:  The Sopranos plays its last hand; Entourage fires up a Yom Kippur war
    Why is it that as Tony Soprano sits on a deck chair overlooking a pristine upstate New York lake, the atmosphere is filled with dread?
    By: JON GARELICK


    Predators!Predators!:  On the hunt with Rabbi Shmuley, Tred Barta, and prehistoric felines of the Arctic
    I kept my appointment with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach this time and was rewarded.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Bon appétitBon appétit:  Sometimes you eat the bull and sometimes . . .
    With apologies to those of my readers who were expecting a poignant analysis of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Shalom in the Home.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Flash!Flash!:  Sedaris busted for unreal humor, apathetic Oxycontin addict discovered in California!
    David Sedaris, laughing gnome of NPR and bestselling humorist, may — in the course of trying to be funny — have made a few things up.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Where everything is meant to be seenWhere everything is meant to be seen:  Baudrillard, the Pussy Cat Dolls, and Anna Nicole
    So I’ve been reading Introducing Baudrillard (Verso).
    By: JAMES PARKER


    Seeing isn’t believingSeeing isn’t believing:  Ira Glass takes This American Life to television
    Public radio has a number of gritty survival skills. One of these is the ability to fly under the pop-culture radar like an ambiguously cool former classmate.

    By: SHARON STEEL


    The new reality: TV execs and contestants reverse rolesThe new reality: TV execs and contestants reverse roles:  Fat chance
    Oh no, she did not just ask me if I want to fill out an application.
    By: SARA FAITH ALTERMAN


    Breast friendsBreast friends:  Stalking Pete Doherty and The Girls Next Door exact their pound of flesh
    When it comes to reality TV, the Brits operate with a pungent, hot-button immediacy that America’s producer tribe must envy.
    By: JAMES PARKER


    A lost fanA lost fan:  Stranded somewhere in the South Pacific
    What happened to the black plumes of smoke?
    By: ELLEE DEAN


    Hail and farewellHail and farewell:  The OC, when it was good
    The OC name-checked Michiko Kakutani and Julius Rosenberg; one character read Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire and another had a poster for Imitation of Life.
    By: CHARLES TAYLOR


    Dirt cheapDirt cheap:  The unintentional brilliance of FX's new show
    This steady diet of shock tactics and Dynasty-esque histrionics that makes the show feel like a celebrity rag set in motion, aligning the style and credibility of its own content with that of trashy tabloids that tempt us at supermarket checkout lines.
    By: SEAN BARTLETT


* *
BLOGS
  Terror campaign
posted at 6:23 PM / 10.24.2007
  More Lust, More Caution: Ang Lee II
posted at 6:11 PM / 10.10.2007
  Cautionary tale: Lee on "Lust"
posted at 4:38 PM / 10.5.2007
  Women with guns
posted at 6:00 PM / 10.2.2007
  Reasons Why "Blackout" Is More Exciting Than "In Rainbows"
posted at 5:14 PM / 10.23.2007
  Freezepop
posted at 5:24 PM / 10.18.2007
  Since it is the "#1 Comedy on Television!"
posted at 2:22 PM / 10.18.2007
  Ashlee Simpson's 80s Prom Birthday Party
posted at 1:37 PM / 10.18.2007


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