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August 22, 2014

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The Closer: Half Loaded

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 7th 2009 9:36AM
Brenda_The_Closer_TNT(S05E05) Sometimes you'll see an episode of a show and everything is going along as you expect, you're entertained and intrigued, the actors and writers and producers and director have done their job well. For most of this episode, that was the case. If only that were true about the last five minutes.

There is no sense in gang violence, even as it was presented in this show. But the random, out of the blue quality made the ending even more senseless.

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It's all Buffy's fault!

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 26th 2008 3:44PM
BuffyRemember when rock 'n roll was to blame for teenagers being out of control? What about when John Lennon's quote about The Beatles being as big as Jesus drew the ire of the church and resulted in deejays advocating the destruction of LPs and singles?

Well, here's another missive from an "authority figure" about how pop culture is ruining today's youth. Sociologist Kristin Aune claims that Buffy, the Vampire Slayer is responsible for young women not attending church.

Dr. Aune, who's written Women and Religion in the West, and is a teacher at the University of Derby (that's in the U.K.), doesn't know if Buffy has also affected young men. Her research doesn't address if boys are abandoning the church, too, so I guess they're safe.

This is no joke, although it does sound like a good way to promote a book that would otherwise be ignored. Mentioning Buffy is a good way to let the world know that Dr. Aune wrote it.

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Swingtown: Double Exposure

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 20th 2008 11:41AM
Swingtown(S01E03) Consider this episode of Swingtown a case of being betwixt and between. The Millers have been in their new home all of two weeks and so much has happened to shake their foundation; Susan especially seems like the song "caught in the middle with you." Does she want to be the good wife going to church and being satisfied with the way they were, her and Bruce, back in the old neighborhood? Or is she ready to embrace swinging?

She's at first drawn back to Janet and Roger and the old ways. Because she's still perturbed by the business card she found in Bruce's pants from the Playboy Club, the one from Sylvia suggesting a get together, Susan drags her family to Sunday services for a little God-time. Impulsively, when chatting with Janet, Susan announces that she's having a housewarming and wants Janet's help. It's like she's clinging to a simpler past.
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Modine joins cast of Weeds

by Adam Finley, posted May 8th 2007 1:20PM

matthew modineMatthew Modine will be joining the cast of the Showtime series Weeds when the program returns for its third season on August 13 (the second season ended last October). Modine will appear in ten episodes of the fifteen-episode season as Sullivan Groff, a land developer for a Christian mega-church.

I've been a fan of Modine since Full Metal Jacket, so it'll be nice to see him as a regular on Weeds. He's appeared on television before, most recently in The Bedford Diaries and in roles on The West Wing and Law & Order: SVU.

Zooey Deschanel and Carrie Fisher will also make cameo appearances in the third season.

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Moral Orel: Repression

by Adam Finley, posted May 7th 2007 12:40PM

moral orel(S02E12) Stop-motion animated sex is kind of disturbing. While watching this episode I wondered how much needed to be cut to make it suitable for air. Perhaps nothing needed to be cut, but this was certainly one of the more sexually graphic episodes.

The series was renewed for a third season recently, but I wonder how deep the "idea well" is for a series like Moral Orel. The city of Moralton and the denizens therein are trapped in their own little world, and it's not a world like Robot Chicken or Family Guy where gags can just come from anywhere, and it's not a satire of everything like The Simpsons. I'm obviously a fan of the show and its menagerie of characters struggling to appear righteous while committing all the sins us "normal" folks do, but the Moral Orel universe is so specifically constructed to represent a certain way of life I can't imagine it continuing further without starting to repeat itself.

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Upcoming docs: Trains, kings and other things

by Adam Finley, posted May 3rd 2007 8:03AM

slanted screenHere's a few specials airing over the next few days for you science and history types:

Tonight at 8:00 p.m., Crash Science: Trains premieres on the National Geographic Channel. The special looks at how scientists have made trains safer.

On May 6 at 10:0 p.m., the National Geographic Channel delves into new evidence regarding King David and King Solomon in Lost Kings of the Bible. Did they really exist, or is it just mythology? I'm sure I don't know, but I'm a firm believer in David's anti-giant policy.

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King of the Hill: The Passion of the Dauterive

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 29th 2007 8:31PM

king of the hill(S11E07) When I was attending high school in a small Iowa town, two people who worked at my church, each married to different people, had an affair that quickly became public knowledge. It's impossible to keep those things quiet in any small town, because they tend to be populated with people who feel everyone else's business is their own.

The relationship between Bill and his pastor in this episode wasn't as seedy as an extra-marital affair, but I couldn't help but notice some parallels. At my church, the woman who was having the affair was almost fired because of it, and Reverend Stroup's congregation does not respond well when she tells them she and and Bill are dating, either.

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NFL puts kibosh on giant-screen Super Bowl parties

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 2nd 2007 6:25PM
Super Bowl XLI logoHere's another reason why everyone calls the NFL the "No Fun League"...

The league is cracking down on any mass-viewings of the Super Bowl that is brought to their attention, including parties that charge admission -- get this -- any gathering that views the game on a TV that's 55" or above, whether admission is charged or not.

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HBO's Friends of God - TCA Report

by Kevin Kelly, posted Jan 12th 2007 9:57PM
Friends of God - HBO FilmsDocumentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, who also directed the doc about the Presidential campaign of George W. Bush Journeys with George, tackles evangelicals in Friends of God, an original film for HBO. It's a startling look deep inside the conventions, beliefs, and personalities that make up this larger than you would think demographic in the United States, which contains an estimated 50 to 80 million Americans.

Some of the subjects in the film are some wrestlers who describe what they do as "Taking TV wrestling, cleanning it up, and putting Jesus in it," and a minister who brags about the amount of sex he has with his wife. He also dubiously claims that evangelicals have "The most satisfying sex lives out of any group." He also asks two of his constituents how often they have sex with their wives, and they both claim every day. Two times a day, sometimes ... and they climax every time. Wow. Not exactly what you'd expect to see in a documentary about evangelicals, and that's what makes this look appealing.

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Moral Orel: Pleasure

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 8th 2007 10:23AM

moral orel(S02E07) The first thing I noticed about this episode was the opening. As far as I know, this is the first time creator Dino Stamatopoulos wasn't credited with writing the episode. Instead, that credit went to Mark Rivers, who composes the music for the series.

At this point, I think fans of Moral Orel have come down off the high of the first season and have settled in to simply enjoying the show. We're more familiar with it now, but it's still smart and funny, and manages to go places you don't expect. When this latest episode began, it had a very "first season" feel to it: Orel hears Reverend Putty's sermon and takes the lesson to heart. I settled in for an enjoyable if not familiar episode, but by the end of it I was laughing so hard I had to take anti-laughing pills to stop.

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Moral Orel: Elemental Orel

by Adam Finley, posted Dec 4th 2006 10:15AM

moral orel(S02E04) Sadness is nature's spankings. - Clay Puppington

Those of us who have been watching Moral Orel since the beginning know that the show is more complex than it appears on the surface. The inner tensions within his own family and the other grown ups in Moralton were hinted at in the first season and have come more into focus this season. I'm not a television writer, but I imagine trying to meld the funny and the emotional into an eleven-minute amalgam can't be easy, which is why I think the "slow reveal" approach has worked so well for Moral Orel. In this episode, when Orel finds out his mother might have another family, the scene doesn't feel like it was suddenly sprung on us out of nowhere, because Bloberta's unhappiness and detachment has been part of the show's subtext since it first aired a year ago.

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The Simpsons: Bart's Girlfriend

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 13th 2006 12:02PM

simpsons(S06E07) To paraphrase a line from Woody Allen, the only love that truly lasts is unrequited love. That's a good way to sum up this episode where Bart falls in love with Reverend Lovejoy's daughter, Jessica. Another great summation comes from Lisa, who tells Bart, quite wisely, "It's naive to think you can change a person." Of course, this being The Simpsons, Lisa qualifies her advice by insisting the hunky boy who works at the library might be changed if only he gave Lisa a chance.

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Book of Daniel coming to DVD

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 22nd 2006 3:39PM
Aidan QuinnGood news for fans of NBC's short-lived series The Book of Daniel. All 8 episodes of the controversial Aidan Quinn/Ellen Burstyn show are coming to DVD on September 26.

It's going to be a 2-DVD set, but it's only 8 episodes, so I'm going to assume there will be some extras in the set.

The show was canceled rather quickly after several NBC affiliates dropped the show due to its subject matter.

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7th Heaven is more unrealistic than 24

by Bob Sassone, posted May 9th 2006 5:42PM
So let me get this straight: not only did Lucy announce last night that she and her husband were going to have twins, her sister Mary came back and announced she and her husband were going to have twins? And also brother Matt came back and announced his wife was pregnant with twins too? And they're parents had twins?

Oh, come on!

I know that twins run in families, but this was, like, nutso. Have they been going through some weird scientific experiments or something? It was as if the writers said, "you know, a happy ending to the show isn't enough, let's make it a double happy ending!"

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George Takei lends support to gay activists

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 19th 2006 12:05PM
george takeiApparently there was some excitement here in Minneapolis last Monday, but I missed it. A student activist group called the Soulforce Equality Riders, who travel around visiting colleges with religious policies against homosexuality, were locked out of North Central University in downtown Minneapolis, a private Christian university. One PR person from the university said the protesters declined an offer last week to have a third party mediate the discussion. Well, whatever the situation was, the group of thirty-three wound up rallying in a park across the street, where they were eventually joined by Star Trek's George Takei (Mr. Sulu) who was in town for a gay pride event at the University of Minneapolis and who recently came out himself. Naturally, he compared their struggle to Star Trek, referring to it as an "equality trek."

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