Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson Is the Best Character on Television

It’s been a week since the Emmy nominations were announced and I’m still upset. While most focused on Netflix getting nominations for House of Cards and Arrested Development (the first time for non-network or cable shows), little attention has been given to the continued oversight of Parks and Recreation — the greatest comedy on TV — and its manly, mustached, government distrusting, woodworking, meat-loving, ex-wife hating supporting character Ron Swanson. With brilliant writing and Nick Offerman’s pitch perfect performance, it is unbelievable that only the Television Critics Association has recognized his work.

So the problem must lie with the voters —  i.e., they must be intimidated by him. Here are some possible reasons why: Read more »

13 Life Lessons from The Conjuring

The Conjuring — opening today — is based on the “true” story of two families: the Perrons who are being terrorized by the evil spirits in their new country house, and the Warrens, paranormal experts that the Perrons turned to for help. With great acting (especially Vera Farmiga as the clairvoyant Lorraine Warren), homages to class horror movies, and old-fashioned, door-slamming scares, Conjuring is one of the most enjoyable horror movies to be released in a long time. [My grade: B+]

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Why The Newsroom Is the Most Insufferable Show on TV

This Sunday, The Newsroom—the critically lambasted show from The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin—returns for its sophomore season on HBO. Honestly, I never got past the fifth episode of the first season; each episode was so overwrought with unlikable characters and excruciatingly overwritten dialogue I couldn’t continue. But there’s hope for this season. In a recent Hollywood Reporter article, Sorkin admits to rewriting the beginning of the second season, thereby forcing reshoots. Let’s hope that he made the following changes:

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Seven Reasons You Should Skip The Lone Ranger

Perhaps the tepid, if not vicious, reviews have not yet swayed you from seeing The Lone Ranger this weekend. Perhaps your sincere, stalkerish love of Johnny Depp makes you think that anything he is in is worth seeing. Perhaps you think that since it’s directed by Gore Verbinski (who helmed Rango and The Pirates of the Caribbean), this too will be fun and enjoyable. Well, you would be mistaken. The Lone Ranger is a bloated, random, weird, violent mess of a movie that would be best viewed as a rental (if at all). Here’s why:

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Your 2013 Summer Reading List

It is that time of the year. The time when, with images of white beaches and umbrella’d drinks firmly in mind, we want to surround ourselves with things that will help us relax. To let our minds rest. To take us away. Like good, highly readable books. But with scads of new books being released every week, not to mention myriad “Best Summer Books” and “Best Beach Reads” lists being published everday, it’s overwhelming (i.e., not relaxing) to know where to being.

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The 20 Greatest Saturday Morning Cartoons of All Time

I know it’s a “back in the day” or “walked up a hill both ways” thing to say, but I think kids today are being robbed of a magical experience. With everything now available 24-hours by cable or streaming, the specialness of cartoons is completely gone. I wish my nieces and nephews were able to wake up early on Saturdays (not because they had to, but because they wanted to) — with their Pound Puppy in one hand and a bowl of Boo-Berry in the other — and fight with their brother and sister about who got to pick the shows that morning … one of the most important decisions a kid could make. After all, with only 4 channels airing cartoons for only a few hours a week (and long before DVRs and, actually, VCRs), you could miss a new episode of your favorite show. And never know when you would actually see it.

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The Best New York Theater to See This Summer

This Sunday, Neil Patrick Harris will host the Tony Awards for the forth time. The entire night will really be the battle between two musicals: Matilda, the British, technically impressive show that won seven Olivier awards, and Kinky Boots, the wholly American musical from icons Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein. But when only 12 of the 26 nominated shows are still open, there is only so much Harris can do to make the telecast interesting.

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The Best and Worst of TV This Year

It was a rough year for network TV. Many of the most talked about shows continued to appear on cable and through streaming services (Netflix’s Arrested Development and House of Cards). NBC cancelled most of its new shows (Go On). But like any other season, there were some welcome additions (Elementary) and some unwelcome ones (Guys with Kids). Some long overdue goodbyes (Rules of Engagement) and some shows we said goodbye to before we ever really got to know them (Ben & Kate). Here are some of my picks for the best, and worst, of the TV season. Read more »

18 Reasons Arrested Development Is the Best Show of All Time

After seven long years, the wait is finally over. This Sunday, Netflix will release new episodes of the classic, legendary, groundbreaking Arrested Development—the show that was meta before meta became a thing. So for you, the fans—those who may have already binge-watched all existing 53 episodes or those who may just need a little refresher—here are just a few of my picks for the best episodes, quotes, and running gags the show’s produced thus far. Here’s hoping more genius awaits us.

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10 Things to Know Before Seeing Star Trek Into Darkness

For the most part, I am excited to see new movies (save for those in the Twilight series or anything starring Julia Stiles). But the movie that I have anticipated the most this year is Star Trek into Darkness. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a household where my dad and I watched The Next Generation every Monday night. (The best was when Captain Picard and the Enterprise had to fight the Borg or deal with Q. The holodeck episodes? Not so much.) Or perhaps it was due to J. J. Abrams’ killer 2009 reboot that was perfectly cast and perfectly fun. Either way, I’m pleased to say that Darkness lived up to my anticipation.

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