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September 2, 2015


Last night's Mad Men twist: brilliant or risky (or both)?

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 26th 2009 11:40AM
Mad Men
I continue to be amazed by Mad Men. I don't mean the overall quality of the writing, the acting, the direction, the production. It's easy to be amazed by all that. I'm talking about where Matthew Weiner and his writing staff are taking us.

I think we can all agree that, beyond the bigger picture of how the 1960s changed America, the big story on the show has been "Who is Don Draper?" It's the big secret that he's been keeping since episode one and it has really been the driving force of the show. But last night Weiner and Co. blew the show wide open by having Betty confront Don about the box in the drawer. And when she did, Don actually told the truth! And this wasn't even the season finale!

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So ... does Tony Stewart really like the Whopper?

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 21st 2009 5:04PM
Burger King adYou've probably seen the Burger King ads featuring race car driver Tony Stewart. One of the ads said that Stewart was going to undergo a lie-detector test to find out whether or not he really, really liked the Whopper. I have no idea how they came up with this or why a lie detector should be the final decision-maker when it comes to whether someone likes Burger King or not (everyone knows that lie detectors aren't admissible in a fast food court of law, ever since that case against the Hamburgler was thrown out).

Anyway, the results are in. Let's just say that Stewart likes Whoppers but he lies about a lot of other things.

[via Adfreak]

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Next week's Penn & Teller is all about lies, lies, lies

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 17th 2009 3:25PM
I watched a TV show years ago that showed you how to beat a polygraph test, if you're ever in the situation where you need to beat a polygraph. Next Thursday's Penn & Teller: Bullshit! is titled "Lie Detectors," and here's a preview. It shows a married couple going to a lie detector specialist because the wife thinks that the husband might be cheating on her. Ah, love.

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TV 101: Why we need public figures who lie to us (and how TV screws that up!)

by Jay Black, posted Mar 11th 2009 10:02AM
I am so gonna ponder the hell out of you!Because I tend to hang out with mostly hobos and philosophy majors, about 90% of my conversations wind up in hypotheticals about the kind of superpower I would most want. While I don't yet have an answer to that worked out, I have figured out the superpower I would least want: mind reading.

Think about just how awful it would be to read another person's thoughts:

You would know for certain that your wife fantasizes about other people in bed (probably your friends). You would know for sure that your father doesn't brag to his friends about the $110 a month you make as a semi-professional blogger. You would know just exactly what websites your husband is looking at with the "private browsing" function turned on in Safari (and you would be blinded by them).

It would be horrible. And that's just the kind of world TV is making for us.

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Watercooler Talk: Should TV lie to us about the economy?

by Jay Black, posted Apr 15th 2008 10:21AM
It's just like NBC, except with a C.My father is a former economics major who spent 30 years as a mortgage banker before starting his own company (which does economical things so complex that to my simple mind, they might as well be magical). One of the things that constantly irks him is the loaded language that the nightly news uses to describe our economic situation: words like "crisis," "downturn," and, worst of all "recession."

Now, anybody who has spent more than forty seconds online in the last six months can see that we are, more than likely, in the middle of a recession brought on by a downturn in the real estate market because of the current credit crisis. That said, I'd like to ask the question: would we be better off if TV simply lied to us about all of these things?

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The Dead Zone: Transgressions

by Jen Creer, posted Aug 13th 2007 12:52AM
johnny in church(S06E09) At first, I thought this season was going to be heading somewhere, but it seems that it's getting stuck in the muck. The episodes continue to cover territory that they have already covered. Tonight, it was about Johnny's struggles with the fact that he doesn't have much religious faith, despite his relationship with the now-absent Reverend Purdy, and his mother's own generous donations to the Heritage Foundation. We have been over this before in previous seasons-- like last season, as a matter of fact.

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The Five: Lies TV expects us to believe

by Jay Black, posted Mar 8th 2007 2:25PM
I was going to put a picture of George Bush here, but I don't want to get political.I get it: TV is supposed to lie to me. I know that the real reason Jared lost all that weight was because Subway sandwiches so destroyed his intestinal tract that he wasn't able to eat like he used to. I know that no guy in the history of America has ordered a Smirnoff Ice at a bar without hating himself a little. I know that despite repeated attempts to prove otherwise, the NHL no longer exists and Vs. isn't even a real TV channel.

But there are some lies not as obvious as these. There are lies more insidious. Lies that don't look like lies. I don't know if TV has an agenda or is just so zombified by institutional groupthink that they've begun to believe these lies themselves, but there's no doubt that they exist and they are subtle. Being the crusading young reporter I am, I dutifully spent the weekend watching television and identifying the five most insidious lies TV expects us to believe.

The list after the jump.

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The lawsuits fly against Frey

by Anna Johns, posted Jan 31st 2006 3:37PM
After Oprah tore James Frey apart on her show last week, I was left to wonder what would be next for the author.

I should've known.

A Manhattan social worker was the first to file a lawsuit against Random House, the publisher of Frey's fictitious memoir about overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. The plaintiff, Jennifer Cohn, said she recommended Frey's book to a number of clients who were struggling with the same addiction. Another New York reader filed a class action lawsuit, asking for her $14.95 back. There are also lawsuits in state and federal courts in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

So...what's worse? Ripping apart the author on nationwide television or suing an author because his memoir is packed with lies?

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Oprah tears James Frey apart, or The Smoking Gun was right

by Anna Johns, posted Jan 26th 2006 1:13PM
Author James Frey isn't much of an alcoholic, a drug addict or a criminal. He's a pathological liar. And Oprah exposed him for what he is on her show today. Well, actually, The Smoking Gun exposed him for what he is back on January 8th. Oprah just forced him into admitting that he lied in his so-called memoir about addiction and crime, A Million Little Pieces. Oprah made that book number one on the best seller list when she included it in her book club. It sold 1.77 million copies.

Oprah opened her show by apologizing to viewers for trusting Frey so blindly that she called up Larry King when he was defending his lies book and voiced her support for him. To Frey's face, she said, "I really feel duped." Then, she proceeded to take him down. Inch by inch. God, I love this woman.

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