TV Review – Best of All in the Family Part 2

Edith’s Accident (Original airdate: November 6, 1971)
Written by Tom & Helen August, Michael Ross, and Bernie West
Directed by Tom Rich

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a very significant episode and feels more like your typical sitcom fare. Edith is late getting home from the grocery store, and when she finally does arrive, she reveals her responsibility for causing damage to another customer’s car with her cart. It’s only when Archie learns that she left a slip of paper with an apology and their home address that he blows his lid. It continues the portrayal of Archie as an old skinflint. Archie explains his frustration and paranoia as an expectation that whoever the owner is will show up asking for an inflated estimate on repairs. Edith holds fast in her view that humanity is inherently good and that they will not be taken advantage of.

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TV Review – The Best of All in the Family Part 1

Meet the Bunkers (Original Airdate: January 12, 1971)
Written by Norman Lear
Directed by John Rich

It began as Til Death Do Us Part, a British sitcom. The premise is nearly identical with the main difference being moving the setting from the East End of London to the borough of Queens in New York City. Norman Lear came across an article on the British series, and he was reminded of the relationship between his own mother and father. The arrival of All in the Family on CBS marked a significant shift in the tone of programming. Previously the network was peppered with shows like Andy Griffith and The Beverly Hillbillies. All in the Family was not a show that made you feel cozy, and it intentionally challenged small-minded viewers confronting them with a different side of the argument than they were used to being exposed to. 

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State of the Blog – 2nd Half of 2019

Here are the things I have planned for the second half of the year on my blog.

I’ll start doing a bi-weekly short film review roundup on August 17th. I plan to feature quality short films that are available online so that readers can view them. I have the first eight posts planned with three short films on each post. The first post will feature reviews for the short films He Took His Skin Off For Me, Janciza Bravo’s Eat, and Ari Aster’s The Strange Thing About the Johnsons. I’ll be looking at films that come from all corners of media from classic French shorts (Le Jetee) to Adult Swim middle of the night surreality (the works of Alan Resnick).

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TV Review – Big Little Lies Season 2

Big Little Lies Season 2 (HBO)
Written by David E. Kelley & Liane Moriarty
Directed by Andrea Arnold

The stakes at the end of season one of Big Little Lies were cranked up so high it was hard to imagine how this second round would play out. When the season opens, everyone is in recovery mode from the death of Perry with Celeste naturally going through the toughest time. Perry rewired her way of thinking from years of abuse that she simultaneously misses him but is glad he’s gone. None of this is helped by the presence of Mary Louise, Perry’s mother, who has come to town to help Celeste with the boys. Mary Louise notices that Celeste is using sleep aids and making poor decisions around the house, but the breaking point comes when Celeste explains the extent of Perry’s abuse and that he raped Jane. Mary Louise cannot handle these facts about her son, and she quickly becomes the antagonist for this season.

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TV Review – Los Espookys Season 1

Los Espookys Season 1 (HBO)
Written by Fred Armisen, Ana Fabrega, & Julio Torres
Directed by Fernando Frias

There is nothing else like Los Espookys on television. From the opening of the first episode, a fast-paced series of scenes that introduces us to Renaldo at his sister’s quinceanera which he decorated in an all horror/goth theme to moment we see Andres’ shock of tightly cropped blue hair appear on screen we know that our protagonists will be odd, to say the least. The most normal of the Los Espookys crew is Ursula who is technically genius, yet she’s saddled with her little sister Tati, who is competing with Andres to become the most esoteric character to appear on television since Agent Cooper. This is a fully realized and specific world, like ours but slightly askew.

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Post-Stranger Things 3 Movie Marathon

Stranger Things is an unabashed recycler of 1980s movie tropes, so it is worth our time to explore the films that inspired the show. It’s easy to see the influences of Steven Spielberg, Dungeons & Dragons, Stephen King, and George Lucas in the show, but here are some inspirations that are not in the mainstream public sphere quite as much.

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TV Review – Stranger Things Season 3

Stranger Things Season 3 (Netflix)
Written by Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, William Bridges, Kate Trefry, Paul Dichter, and Curtis Gwinn
Directed by Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Shawn Levy, and Uta Briesewitz

When the 1980s is referenced in modern popular media it is typically with bright neon colors and pop music, nods to Ghostbusters, Goonies, and Gremlins, the sound of Mario snatching a coin backed by synthesizers. When did the 1980s as an aesthetic and unique cultural touchpoint begin? The early 1980s are naturally a carryover of the late 1970s but when did this decade come into its own? 1985 is a reasonable touchpoint; when the color got turned up, and the consumption of the Reagan era went into full swing. If you noticed a marked difference in the look and feel of Stranger Things, you wouldn’t be wrong. This third season is unashamedly dripping in its time, arguably more so than the previous seasons. This is also the most cohesive season if we look at the plot structure with very clear throughlines that bring us to a conclusion. There’s not a lot of character downtime, for better or worse.

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