The Ten Biggest Pop Culture Disappointments of 2018

As I do every year (with increasing delay, apparently), I’m running down the biggest disappointments in pop culture that the previous year brought us. Some were offensive, some screwed over customers, and some just plain sucked. Read on to find out more about 2018: The Year in Shit. Continue reading “The Ten Biggest Pop Culture Disappointments of 2018”

Fringe Rewatch: S2E20, Brown Betty

“The one thing we know, Dunham: death seems to follow you around.”
– The noir musical version of Broyles

“Brown Betty” aired during a special promotional week at Fox called “Fox Rocks.” The campaign involved inserting musical elements or themes into most of its shows that week. Bones did an episode set at a rock-n-roll fantasy camp. The Simpsons swapped its theme song for Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” as seen below:


Fringe could have had an easy time of it. The writers and producers could have decided to make an episode similar to “The Equation,”  which tied a young boy’s ability to a piano piece. It’s easy to imagine any number of ways in which a freak-of-the-week could have something to do with music. But instead, the powers that be decided to go all out and transform Fringe into a noir musical, framed as a story told by Walter to Ella. The story is peppered with Easter eggs and references to the show’s mythology, little in-jokes that delight hardcore fans. It’s a bold experiment, one that’s often noted for its weirdness rather than any importance it may have to the show’s overall story. “Brown Betty” is certainly a mythology-light installment, but it tells us some important things about Walter’s state of mind after Peter’s disappearance. Continue reading “Fringe Rewatch: S2E20, Brown Betty”

The 2010-2011 Refrigerator Rants End-of-Season Awards

With the 2010-2011 television season more or less over and summer TV about to begin or recently having begun, it’s time to take a look back at the best that the past year brought us.

Before we dive in, I have to make one thing clear: I don’t watch most television shows, and I barely watch any cable television. I do watch a lot of television on the whole, but not nearly enough to make a fair assessment of what was truly the “best.” For that reason, the awards will be skewed towards the shows that I watch. So don’t go crying about my failure to include The Good Wife, Mad Men, or Friday Night Lights. I don’t watch those shows. With that mind, let’s get started! Continue reading “The 2010-2011 Refrigerator Rants End-of-Season Awards”

Episode Review: The Simpsons, S22E02, Loan-a-Lisa

The Simpsons seems to be enjoying a creative resurgence this season. Right now, it’s funnier than it has been in a while. Sunday night’s episode was an improvement over the solid season premiere. It gave us a Lisa plot that didn’t make the character actively annoying. Plus, it gave us an hilarious ad for microfinance. (I burst out laughing when the goat said that it had turned into a girl.)

There were a couple of rough spots. I didn’t like the absence of Bart, and Homer’s subplot was a little extreme, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I’m glad that the show seems to have ditched the meta stupidity and the Family-Guy-esque gags in favour of better character jokes and pop culture references. Plus, I like when the episode ends with some sort of lesson, and this episode’s lessons were presented in a clever way. (It seems as if there’s some wisdom in Grandpa Simpson’s aging brain.)

So, all in all, a good episode. I think I might become a regular Simpsons watcher again. (I haven’t been in years.) I probably won’t review the show regularly unless there’s a particularly notable episode, but I’ll definitely be tuning in.