Television Show Review: BoJack Horseman: Season 4

BoJack Horesman Season 4

BoJack Horseman: Season 4 created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Netflix, Tornante Company, ShadowMachine) Starring Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Paul F. Tompkins. Onward to Positive Psychology Have you ever noticed the perspective of self-talk? While a subjective observation, it seems self-talk slides into second person. “You’re not good enough.” “Look what you did this time.” “You’re never going to make it.” As a teenager, my limited training in positive sports psychology argued for a surgical denunciation of this “other.” Often if I used the “I” pronoun and told myself I would succeed or have a good day, I would tend to have a better day. Some Christian traditions suggest the “other” as a demonic accusation of sorts,… Read More →

Book Review: Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin, by Rachel Khong.

Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel by Rachel Khong (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017. 208 pp) Rachel Khong grew up in Southern California and holds degrees from Yale University and the University of Florida. From 2011 to 2016, she was the managing editor then executive editor of Lucky Peach magazine. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Tin House, Joyland, American Short Fiction, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, and California Sunday. She lives in San Francisco. The Bowl of Mixed Nuts It all started with a pill in the mixed nuts. For years, the one rule by which we lived centered on how my grandparents would bestow gastrologic riches upon visiting family. Good food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Silicon Valley: Season 4

Silicon Valley Season 4

Silicon Valley: Season 4 created by John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky (3 Arts Entertainment, Altschuler Krinsky Works, Judgemental Films, Inc.) Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer, and Stephen Tobolowsky. One Step Forward. Two Steps Backward. Season 4 of Silicon Valley offers more of the same. If you like the template of one step forward, two steps backward, this show has enough humor to satisfy you. It makes me chuckle. That’s good enough for me.

Television Show Review: Fargo: Season 3

Fargo Season 3

Fargo: Season 3 created by Noah Hawley (FX, MGM Television) Starring Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, David Thewlis, Michael Stuhlbarg, Goran Bogdan, Shea Whigham, Andy Yu, Ray Wise, and Olivia Sandoval. The Problem of Success Success often creates new problems. The lottery winner quickly encounters a relational shift with family and friends. When money enters the equation, relationships transform from intrinsic to instrumental quickly. Success in television also causes problematic tension. Does the show lean on the elements that launched it into the stratosphere? Or, does the show use its acclaim to expand its creativity? Season 3 of Fargo, aims for the latter. The Fargo Template In truth, Fargo holds an air-tight template. As an homage to the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Master of None: Season 2

Master of None Season 2

Master of None: Season 2 created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang (3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Television, Netflix, Alan Yang Pictures) Starring Aziz Ansari, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, Alessandra Mastronardi, Shoukath Ansari, Bobby Cannavale, and Fatima Ansari. Transcending Form Art seemingly seeks a state of barrierlessness. The best art often works to transcend its form. A basic melody becomes a harmony. A hero to anti-hero. A cave drawing to Impressionism. While we cling to elements of the familiar—atonal music is a bridge too far to cross and a story needs a beginning, middle, and an end—familiarity breeds contempt. Given the orbit of boringness linked to familiarity, the pushing of art may likely link closely to the desire to… Read More →

Film Review: The Lobster

The Lobster

The Lobster written and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (A24, Film4, Irish Film Board, Eurimages, R, 119 min) Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Coleman, Ashley Jensen, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Michael Smiley, and Ben Whishaw. Seeing the World through Black Mirror Having recently finished the utterly creepy anthologized series, Black Mirror, I’ve begun to see the world through its nihilistic lens. Facebook is not a platform by which people can remain connected worldwide, but rather a data collection agency hellbent on swaying opinion to the highest bidder. A smart phone does not provide ubiquitous access to every possible thing someone might need on any given day, but rather a slot machine engineered to… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 6

Girls Season 6

Girls: Season 6 created by Lena Dunham (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Adam Driver, Zosia Mamet, Alex Karpovsky, Andrew Rannells, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach. A Voice of a Generation It’s probably Girls’ own fault, but it sure has received backlash over the years. Search the series on Twitter and you’ll likely find numerous opinions on the subject. Perhaps people feel threatened by the confident form of feminism from its creator, Lena Dunham. Maybe people find the lack of diversity concerning. Some may argue about the backdrop, New York City, and the relative affluence of the cast push people away. And for some, the perception of Millennials, entitlement, and the overarching assumption behind the title to suggest… Read More →

Television Show Review: Crashing: Season 1

Crashing Season 1

Crashing: Season 1 created by Pete Holmes (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Pete Holmes, Lauren Lapkus, Artie Lange, and George Basil. The World Probably Doesn’t Need Another Autobiographical Show about a White Guy, But I Need this Show I know. I know. The autobiographical comedy based on a comedians’ point of view possesses no critical addition to the cultural milieu. Much like the rise of anti-hero drama in the 2000s, the autobiographical comedy has many reference points, chief of which emerges in the acclaimed series Louie highlighting the life of Louis C.K. And yet, Crashing, the vehicle for Pete Holmes’ rise into the comedy world resonates with my life to a point where I am glad it airs, despite its well-tread… Read More →

Television Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1

Santa Clarita Diet Season 1

Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1 created by Victor Fresco (Garfield Grove Productions, KatCo, Olybomb Productions) Starring Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Richard T. Jones, and Ricardo Chavira. Better Off Dead My favorite comedy series lasted one year. Then, the powers that be took it to the woodshed; they dismantled the parts and sold them for scrap. Some suits in Hollywood didn’t even give it a shot. Where most critically acclaimed comedies require time for audiences to gain footing with the particular concept, the long-game can pay off. Seinfeld anyone? Alas, Better Off Ted had no such benefactor, no such benefit of the doubt. And so, the zany workplace comedy got recycled, thrown into the… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Good Place: Season 1

The Good Place - Season 1

The Good Place: Season 1 created by Michael Schur (Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Television) Starring Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, and Manny Jacinto. Simmering Craters Since Lost, network television has left a simmering crater of paint-by-numbers drivel. I speak hyperbolically, but solid programming is few and far between on the networks. Even of the network shows we watch in my household, most have clear deficiencies stomached for the greater good of television consumption. Sadly, the best and most promising network shows are not long for this world. The further away from the surreal mysteries of Lost, the more promising series die after fledgling glimpses of promise. In fact, after too many burns, I’ve… Read More →