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April 18, 2014

TV 101: Summer Madness

The old Fresh Prince summer anthem, "Summertime," encapsulated summer for an entire generation. With all its "frontin'" and "maxin'" - terms long ago replaced by "chillaxin'" and "being lazy" -- the song embodied notions of breezy whimsy, lazing the days into nights with friends and family while touting summer as a "natural aphrodisiac." All of this is true, but there seems to be something...

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TV 101: The Post-Oprahpolyptic Era

Don't worry everyone! Oprah will be OK. But how will we do without her? She has certainly changed the talk show game, fostering a relationship with fans and our culture that transcends that of most every other host that has come and gone during her tenure as the reigning overlord of daytime talk, with the exception of Jerry Springer who is more like the reigning "guy who cleans up after the...

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TV 101: Curing the Summertime TV Blues

Television is a funny thing. When you've been watching it all your life, it not only takes on a habitual role, it can also become extremely personal. Everyone has "their shows" -- the shows they watch religiously, the shows for which DVR isn't an option, the shows they try to talk their significant others into liking, the shows that force them to ream out a blogger for merely suggesting that...

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TV 101: Trimming the Fat With Television

Have you heard? Americans are really fat. I know that's a generalization, but seemingly everywhere I turn I'm hearing how fat we are as a nation -- from educators, scientists, my mom, the full-length mirror in my bathroom. It was always easy for me to ignore the whispers of nationwide obesity, even as they turned into firm scolding then into outright screaming, but you know how I know it's a...

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TV 101: Some of TV's Most Memorable Departures

If I learned anything from Bon Jovi in the '80s it was that an object's slipperiness had a direct correlation with that same object's relative wetness. But more importantly, I learned that we should never say goodbye. However, following through with such a sentiment -- never say goodbye -- is much more difficult than scrawling it across your bulging crotch on an 8-by-10 -inch glossy for a...

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TV 101: The Royal Wedding Is Coming ... Why Do We Care, Again?

Yesterday, I overheard some random woman in line at the drug store say to her friend, "Let's call in sick on Friday and watch the Royal Wedding!" As she blathered on while coyly posing next to Time magazine's special royal wedding issue, I thought about the upcoming regal nuptials and why anyone outside of the royal family and a handful of jilted exes would even care that it's happening. ...

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TV 101: Can 'The Office' Perform a Televisual Magic Trick?

'The Office' is treading on treacherous ground, whether they realize it or not, as they plan to move forward with the series even after Steve Carell's departure. The litany of shows that have attempted such a coup in the past is a diverse one, with wildly varying results, but that's not to say that it can't be done. It can. The better question is: Should it be done? For the sake of the show...

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TV 101: Why Modern Animated Series Are Breaking the Mold

Much to my father's chagrin, cartoons are an ever emerging and evolving source of entertainment and social commentary for fully developed humans. My dad, like many dads out there, still operates under the assumption that anything animated is for children and to keep cats company when their owners leave. This outlook on animated television was a lot easier to maintain in the pre-'Simpsons'...

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TV 101: What Can the Networks Do to Compete With Cable?

It's no surprise that television audiences are looking away from the big four networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) when they want quality, soul-preserving programming. It used to be that "network" was your only choice, and if you wanted to see Bo Duke in painfully tight denim on 'Dukes of Hazzard' you had to work for it. You had to orchestrate your life around it. That's pretty powerful stuff. Drunk...

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'Saturday Night Live' - Elton John Recap

['Saturday Night Live' - 'Season 36, Episode 18'] I'll be honest, I was not aware that Elton John was still alive. But since dead people don't host late night television variety shows -- they do go to parties in sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts -- we were treated to a night of music and reverie. It's always interesting when someone like Sir Elton hosts. He is certainly a musical and...

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