Television

Learning to Take Risks Like the Queer Pirates in ‘Our Flag Means Death’

Love and connection require emotional risk. After the harrowing nature of the last three years, I needed ‘Our Flag Means Death’ to remind me.

Jan 09, 2023
What “The Mindy Project” Did (and Didn’t Do) for Brown Girls on TV

The critiques Mindy Kaling received shaped the representation we see on-screen today as much as her successes did.

Jan 05, 2023
Wednesday Addams Is the Ultimate Outcast

Wednesday Addams does not want to play with you.

Dec 08, 2022
TV Recaps Taught Me How to Write Criticism

They provided a blueprint by showing the critical apparatus in a container transparent enough that I could see the inner workings.

Dec 06, 2022
Chris Farley Taught Me to Laugh and to Grieve

Only now, with my adult eyes, am I able to perceive the pathos in his performances and the potential he never had the chance to fulfill.

Dec 01, 2022
Why Pop Culture Loves the Toxic Drama Teacher Trope

There is a great tradition of depicting the archetype of the unbridled, emotionally exploitative acting teacher.

Nov 29, 2022
‘Bad Sisters’ Captures the Intensity of Having and Being a Sister

My sister is not my best friend. She is my sister. Those are fundamentally different relationships.

Nov 01, 2022
Is Everything Really Copy? Let’s Talk About Memoir and Reality TV

Nora Ephron said, “Everything is copy.” But in a memoir, much like in reality TV, art cannot represent life exactly. People are characters, snapshots of their “real” selves.

Oct 25, 2022
The One With the Offensive Joke About Intersex People

Like any sitcom created before the mid-aughts—around the time Hollywood started doing the bare minimum to give space to marginalized people—‘Friends’ has not aged well.

Sep 20, 2022
Legolas Bends the Space-Time Continuum

As the music crescendos, you fall, and then you fall some more. A portal, unused for twenty years, cracks open, and then—here you are again.

Sep 15, 2022
Journalism and Literature Need to Make Room for “Unfamiliar” Stories

To refresh our sense of empathy we have to expose ourselves to other perspectives. In the news, in literature, in life.

Aug 16, 2022
According to ‘Finding Magic Mike,’ Feeling Sexy Is a State of Mind

To perform is to literally be seen, to expose yourself willingly. It’s much less scary with people who have your back.

Aug 02, 2022
Pop Culture’s Problem with Middle-Aged Women

Women of a certain age are still largely invisible and left out of our narratives—or else, she’s a very particular type of middle-aged woman.

David Attenborough Helps Me Explain the Climate Crisis to My Son

I use his favorite David Attenborough shows to help me explain my climate activism

Jul 25, 2022
Lessons in Fashion and Fatness from ‘Absolutely Fabulous’

Absolutely Fabulous celebrated outlandish women behaving badly, usually in outlandish, high-end clothes.

Jul 20, 2022
Through Fanfiction, I Learned the Machinery of My Mind

On the page, I was intact. I was smart and forceful. I had a comeback for every spar.

Jun 21, 2022
‘Lost’ Fans Gave Me a Safe Place on the Internet. Is Such Fandom Possible Now?

Fan culture’s veer into the mainstream saw it lose its sense of protection and gain an abundance of entitlement, even cruelty.

Jun 02, 2022
Who Actually Wins (and Keeps) the HGTV Dream Home?

As of January 2021, only six of the first twenty-one sweepstakes winners were able to live in their Dream Home for longer than a year.

Ode to the Bimbos of HBO

When I was a kid, the hyperfeminine was considered a failing—but I wanted to both be and be with these beautiful women that I privately gawked at and desired.

Feb 17, 2022
I Refuse to Feel Guilt for My Guilty Pleasures

The invisible fence that divides highbrow and lowbrow is largely imposed by money, those we admire, and our own social conditioning.