By Kyle | April 21, 2013
I’m a big fan of “Veep,” which just started its second season and tells you everything you need to know about why you should distrust government. More in my Sunday column.
By Kyle | February 15, 2013
I’m a couple episodes behind on “Downton,” so I scrupulously avoid reading anything about it, but obviously not least among its pleasures is its conservatism. (Julian Fellowes is a Tory peer of the realm.) This Forbes headline caught my eye (though I can’t read the piece yet).
By Kyle | January 31, 2013
More like “House of Morons.” Kevin Spacey is a new Machiavelli of D.C. in a David Fincher-directed series for Netflix. My review is up.
By Kyle | January 28, 2013
Keri Russell plays a Soviet mole hiding out in the Washington, D.C. suburbs in 1981 in the new FX show “The Americans.” I couldn’t decide if it was suitably laughable or maybe not quite laughable enough. My review is up.
By Kyle | July 10, 2012
A five-minute, dialogue-less 3D short featuring The Simpsons precedes Friday’s release “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” Maggie is the star, getting dropped off at the infamous daycare program that divides students into the gifted and the “nothing special.” She endures a psychotic security check (“Your freedom assured by our probing” reads a placard), does ferocious battle with the unibrowed rival baby and encounters some Raggedy Ayn Rand dolls. James L. Brooks shares a writing credit on the short; who says he can’t deliver a hit film anymore?
By Kyle | June 24, 2012
In my Sunday column, a look at Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO show “The Newsroom.” Yes, I devote a lot of space to destroying one of his contentions, but I could have gone on in the same way for thousands of words. (Jonah Goldberg’s “The Tyranny of Cliches,” for instance, has already debunked a lot of this stuff.) Alas, the Post is not going to print a special supplement for my views on Aaron Sorkin.
By Kyle | June 22, 2012
Jake Tapper does an admirable job dismantling Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom.” I have written a piece that makes similar points that will run soon. Sorkin embedded himself with Keith Olbermann while creating the show, but he would have been wiser to embed himself with Rush Limbaugh (not that any conservative would be likely to welcome Sorkin into his life). Sorkin’s left-wing show pretends to be serious about political differences when it is anything but. Psychological experiments show that liberals cannnot guess very accurately how conservatives would respond to a series of politically loaded questions: For instance, liberals think that conservatives disagree with the statement, “Being cruel to a helpless animal is one of the worst things you can do.” This is the ideological Turing test.
The Jeff Daniels anchorman character on “The Newsroom,” supposedly a “sane Republican,” is actually a flaming liberal, and the only disagreement in the show is between cynical liberals and idealistic liberals. Sorkin could have hired, say, Rob Long — former showrunner for “Cheers” and columnist for National Review — to handle the right-wing side of things on the show, but he was far more interested in preaching to the choir. Which means he’s got himself started on a boring and predictable project. A show in which each side got its licks in, and viewers spent half an hour arguing afterwards which team had won, would be fascinating.
By Kyle | June 13, 2012
Asked why he blew off a “Family Guy” script meeting, Seth MacFarlane (couldn’t he behave a bit better, at least temporarily, while a reporter was tailing him?) first told The New Yorker it was “because I don’t get vacations” (I wonder if the legendary fact-checking squad assessed that fact) and once worked for “fifteen months, seven days a week” (ditto). Then he changed his story:
“It’s a regular occurrence for me to step outside my daily activities and contemplate things like the flow of time. We perceive it as moving from one direction to another, but who’s to say it doesn’t move in the other direction?”
Pretty deep for a guy who makes his living off ass jokes. But how professional should we expect the guy to be? He only gets $38 million a year. For $39 million, maybe he’d put some effort into his job.
This would be perfect for Private Eye’s “Luvvies” column on the musings of showbiz folk.
By Kyle | April 20, 2012
Really, there is no nastier ways to criticise (it’s happening!!! I’ve been in London too long!) the Spurlockiness of Morgan than to actually quote the man. In the Mail on Sunday a couple of weeks ago, he made an effort to sum up British quirks in hilariously new ways. This is what he came up with. As you will see, every point he makes is a cliche. (Except the thing about dating, which is just odd.) I remind you that this is a man who has supposedly studied the UK. In other words, this is not just what he came up with on the way in from the airport. Here’s the UK according to Morgan.
1. The Weather. You’re obsessed with it, infatuated. I walked into the studio in London on the first day and said hello. The first reply was about the weather. Everyone I met mentioned it: what it was like, what it was going to be like…[etc]
2. Churchill’s assertion that the U.S. and Britain are two nations divided by a common language still stands….as for regional accents – there are parts of northern Britain and Scotland where I need an interpreter. There are a few archetypes of Brits that still exist in the U.S. – you’re all lords and ladies or Cockney chimney sweeps or James Bond or very dastardly villains. It’s something about the accent. You sound 30 per cent smarter than us…[etc]
3. Tea. No matter how good the hotel or the restaurant you’re in, the coffee is terrible. But the tea is great [etc.]
4. Money. London is a really expensive place to live. If I get a cab to the airport at home it will cost me $40. Here it’s £100. It’s an obscene amount. Eating out is expensive. Movies are [etc]
5. Beer. You do enjoy a tipple here. And not just a couple. When someone says, ‘Let’s have a pint’ they mean four or five. Going for ‘a beer’ means ‘we are going to the pub and we probably won’t leave till closing time’. And you don’t like to be parted from your beer – even if it is warm
6. Dating. American dating mores are very different from yours. At home it’s acceptable to go out with two or three people at the same time [etc]
7. Cricket. Test cricket is one of the hardest things on this Earth for an American to watch. I’ve tried and I can’t. It’s just agony, like paint drying [etc.]
8. Rules. You’re very sensible when it comes to crossing the road. You do it in the allotted places. Americans don’t care where they cross [etc.]
9. The Monarchy. There appears to be this divide in your country between those who love the Queen, the whole pageant, and those who don’t [etc].
10. Queuing. You love a good queue. I thought it was a joke until I saw it for myself. I drove past a bus stop and there was the line about a dozen people long. The bus wasn’t even in sight but there they were in a perfect line. Our cultures are not that far apart, the world continues to get smaller, but there are still these little quirks that separate us and that’s a good thing.
By Kyle | April 20, 2012
His Brits-meet-Yanks program “New Britannia,” as seen by AA Gill of The Sunday Times:
Immediately after Game of Thrones, there was Morgan Spurlock’s New Britannia, an attempt to bridge the pond with some faux mockery. It proved that the chat show is the hardest format to get right; not just right, but bearable. This was achingly underwhelming. It smelled of 1950s cultural cringe, when resting American stars were imported to give British shows a touch of cultural élan. Spurlock’s material is second-rate pub comedy; he interviewed Shappi Khorsandi and Andrew Maxwell about Britishness. Stand-up comics are another staple of chat shows, but they rarely have anything enlightening or smart to say, and this was three increasingly desperate comics tripping over each other’s punch lines, joined by the lifeboat of Ruby Wax, who worked hard to stop the audience from throwing things. You can see why someone thought this would be a good Sky Atlantic show. I hope they can now see why it isn’t.