Remotely Interesting Retrospective 2012 – First Tier

Retrospective 2012- First Tier

We’re nearing the end of December here meaning it’s time for everyone to say goodbye to 2012 and welcome in the new year. 2012 was a big year for the site as it reached nearly 30,000 total views and my article on HBO’s now defunct series Luck was used as a required reading at University of Oregon. Sadly, work and personal things interfered with the blog in the later half of the year, but I figured I’d try and make up for things with the second annual Remotely Interesting Retrospective. This time I’ll be breaking down my favorite TV series into three categories: First Tier, Second Tier, and Third Tier. Any of the five shows in the First Tier could easily be number one given the episode. The Second Tier consists of my five “second best” series of the year and the Third Tier is to highlight five additional shows that were particularly outstanding and deserve some extra recognition. And don’t worry, all the write ups will remain spoiler free, dealing with only broad strokes rather than fine details, so go ahead and read without fear. Continue reading

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Let’s Be Upfront 2012: ABC & CBS

This week is a special time for fans of television as each of the major networks roll out their fall schedules, announce what current series are being cancelled, reveal what new shows their picking up. So basically it’s Christmas morning, complete with the excitement of beautifully gift wrapped new toys, and the disappointment of said new toys once unwrapped and revealed to actually be a stack of tube socks. Thankfully this year few beloved series have been cancelled, albeit a handful will return with fewer episodes (most notably Community) and one had to jump networks (Cougar Town). But now that we know what shows are returning it’s time to change the focus to what new shows will be out come next season. The following are my first impressions from the short one to four minute previews the networks have made available online. There will be a handful of series I won’t cover as I no interest in spending any time on shows like Mistress (she’s a married man’s other and she likes it that way) and the majority of the discussion will focus around sitcoms as that’s my main area of interest. Without further ado here’s my thoughts on what ABC and CBS have to offer.

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Don Draper is Kind of a Sexist: A Post-Structuralist Feminist Analysis of Mad Men’s Season 5 Poster

In the 1980s a monumental movement took place within the realm of feminist studies when the idea of post-structuralist feminism was created. Post-structuralist feminism is based upon the principal that we as a society must look closer at the language order that teaches us to be what culture labels as “women.” It is only through viewing the cultural constructions that constitute women as different from men that beneficial change can be brought about to women. Unlike previous feminist theories, post-structuralism doesn’t believe that the difference between genders is biological, but rather that it is cultural. Society has created definitions for what is man and what is women, not our metaphysical bodies as the other feminist theories believe. This classifies post-structuralism as a form of non-essentialist feminism. They believe that everything that defines a women as a women is purely cultural. There is no essential femininity behind this social construction. Post-structuralists aim to look carefully at the relationship between a given gender identity and the patriarchal order that rules society. They want to analyze the ways through which sexuality and subjectivity are created concurrently.

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Louie Louie: Comedian, Showrunner, And All-Around Auteur

This piece is less of a review or critic; it’s more of a brief look into what I love about Louie and what Louis C.K. has done with the role of a showrunner.  In the spirit of the show I didn’t preplan extensively what I was going to write and instead just put down whatever came into my head.

I love Louie for reasons I dislike many sitcoms.  It has no standard structure, no clear rules within the show’s universe, and an inconstant cast (many of which are reasons why Glee is such a mess).  And yet it uses all this qualities, which would normally be considered flaws and turns them into great assets.  With each episode of Louie you never know what you’re going to get.  One episode is almost entirely a flashback, another is a few laughs somber drama, and others can be just purely funny.  Community may play around with structure and the conventions of a sitcom, but Louie challenges the notion of what it means to be called a half hour comedy.  Sometimes a plot covers a whole episode, others may take up only a third, and then the episode plays out as a series of short films.

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It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad Decade: Cultural & Social Revolutions of The 1960s Through The Lens of Mad Men

NOTE: This is an essay I wrote for my World Since 1914 course, which had me write a paper on anything dealing with well the world since 1914. Naturally I picked Mad Men as my topic and decided to discuss how the series reflects the changing times of the 1960s.

Cigarettes, sex, and advertising.  Typically these are not the thoughts that come to mind when the 1960s are brought up, yet in recent years they’ve become defining terms.  This way of thinking is largely due to the phenomena that AMC’s flagship series Mad Men has become.  Premiering in 2007, the series focuses on the lives of middle to upper class advertising agents throughout the ‘60s.  On the surface the show’s time period exists to give the series a glamorous set design; an excuse to have the men in tailored suits and women in elegant dresses.  Yet the show’s time period does so much more then just add stunning visuals, rather it defines the entire series.  Mad Men plays out as an intellectual study of people’s lives in the 1960s as they attempt to survive and adapt to America’s radical social and cultural revolutions. Continue reading