As Sesame Street turns 40, the media is brimming with think pieces about the groundbreaking show. From its educational impact to its unprecedented portrayal of racially diverse urban life, the show changed the face of not just children's TV, but the medium of television in general.
There's a lot to talk about when we talk about Sesame Street, and people are doing just that. Time magazine postulated that Barack Obama is the first "Sesame Street president," writing that "The Obama presidency is a wholly American fusion of optimism, enterprise and earnestness — rather like the far-fetched proposal of 40 years ago to create a TV show that would prove that educational television need not be an oxymoron." (The show's creator, Joan Ganz Cooney, is happy to support this theory, saying "I like to think that we had something to do with Obama's election). NewsweekponderedSesame Street's global reach, reporting that among the world's Sesame-friendly regions are Kosovo and the Palestinian territories; the South African SS features an HIV-positive character. And New York magazine revealed that 75-year-old Carroll Spinney, who has played Big Bird for all 40 seasons, spends his days with one arm raised above his head, manipulating the puppet's eyes and beak and not even once grumbling that he could be playing shuffleboard on a Carnival cruise ship.
And then there are the videos -- like "Women Can Be," a hilarious feminist ode to the world of beyond-nurses-and-ballerinas careers that I was reminded of this morning, courtesy of my friend Tina. (Rita Moreno, voicing the surgeon, is especially awesome.)
This weekend saw the long-anticipated premiere of The Wanda Sykes Show, which airs Saturday nights on Fox. (That's right, this is my second post in a row regarding an out [and outstanding] lesbian performer on the Fox network.) Wanda Sykes made a strong debut with her usual style of laid-back indignation and smart-assed digs. It's no surprise that she's great in a talk-show format. What is surprising is how much she gets away with. Sykes did a sketch about eco-friendly sex toys. She spoke up for gay marriage. She ripped on Fox News. Wait, what network are we watching again?
Jane Lynch has been doing great comedy for a long time -- Best in Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Party Down, the list goes on and on. She may be an out lesbian with a decidedly butch demeanor, but her projects range from the L-Word to Two and a Half Men. Even if people don't know her name, everyone knows she was great in something they liked. And with Fox's Glee, Lynch has finally achieved the celebrity status she deserves. How? By suddenly being the funniest person on television.
If you've ignored your better judgement and checked out Secret Girlfriend on Comedy Central, then
you already know it's the worst show on television. The constant sexism and
occasional racism are big problems, but to find out what makes this show so
unwatchably bad, look no further than the description from ComedyCentral.com:
groundbreaking comedy series of the same name, the show follows you, your
buddies and your multiple girlfriends as you deal with wild pool parties,
lesbian bars, Internet fame and more. Each episode is shot entirely from your
point of view and contains two back-to-back mini-sodes in which you navigate
the local nightlife, hang out with friends, and try and decide which girlfriend
to hang on to while keeping them from finding out about each other.
For the last several years, Dove has been busily branding itself as a socially conscious company on a mission to improve women's self-esteem. Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty strives " to free ourselves and the next generation from beauty stereotypes." This is supposedly done through thought-provoking ads, confidence-building programs, and messages that embrace all definitions of beauty (except for those that eschew using beauty products, I assume).
But Dove tested my patience
with "30 Rock Beauty Moments" at NBC.com, in which they insinuate themselves into the hilarious work of Tina Fey...
Fans of Bravo's Top Chef this season know there's been one "cheftestant" that everyone with a remote control and an appetite for snarkiness loooves to hate: Douche de la SemaineMike Isabella. And what's not to hate? Mike I. (not to be confused with Mike V., who is slightly less hate-able) is arrogant, sexist, annoying, loud-mouthed, and just not that funny. So, not to be left off of the "Mike Isabella is a Giant Ass" train, I am awarding him this week's Douchebag Decree.
Congratulations! You're a winner!
Read on for more, but beware: Spoiler (and Douche) Alert!
When I first started watching How I Met Your Mother, Robin Scherbatsky was the last character I'd have thought to crush on. She was introduced as a sort of "perfect girl" for the main character, she's so generically pretty you'd think she stepped out of a box of hair dye, and for the first couple seasons most of her funny lines fell flat. Surrounded by the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, and Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders seemed out of her league.
But then something happened. Robin broke up with Ted because she wanted to put her career first. Ted, on the other hand, wanted a solid commitment. (How I love when network sitcoms turn the tables on traditional gender roles.)...
Tonight's Law & Order episode will be based on the murder of Dr. George Tiller: a late-term abortion provider is murdered while attending church. The episode, titled "Dignity," will have "some significant twists of plot and character, with police officers and assistant district attorneys sometimes taking forceful stands on one side of the abortion debate or the other, only to later express doubt when their involvement in the case becomes more personal."
I have no aversion to the romantic comedy format. Show me a quirky heroine, a funny/cocky/cute love interest, a sassy best friend, etc. and I'll generally follow you anywhere. But, while ABC's Cougar Town has all of these things, I just wasn't interested. Why? Because the word "cougar" is in the title.
I've been trying to sit this whole "cougar" thing out since about 2006, but it just won't die. Why does this stupid word live on? The double-standard has been well noted: Men over 40 have been hooking up with younger women for ages, therefore it's sexist to have a derogatory term for women who do the same thing. Maybe the word has staying power precisely because it's been deemed derogatory. Now TV writers are deluding themselves that the word is both funny and controversial. (It's neither.)