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Posts Tagged ‘television’

Recapping Dante: Canto 31, or Dante the Television Writer

June 2, 2014 | by

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Gustave Doré, Canto 31

We’re recapping the Inferno. Read along! This week: the thirty-first canto as explained by a breathless contemporary TV critic.

By now it is clear that this season’s sleeper star is the breakout show-runner, Dante Alighieri. His show The Inferno, an unlikely gem of narratological genius, has consistently stood out from the televisual pack, relying for the most part on the rarefied taste of its audience and the poignant, lyrical style of the head writer. This most recent episode, canto 31, is no exception.

This divine segment uses, as ever, a canny rhetorical device to dispense with exposition: the question. In this case, our hero, Dante, entering the next circle of hell, gazes through a thick fog, through which he can faintly perceive the outline of various towers. So what does he do? He asks a question about them, of course, and his companion Virgil helpfully informs him—and us—that these are giants, not towers. Simple! Elegant! Where other shows go in for flash and gimmickry, The Inferno just tells us what’s what. Read More »

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Murder, She Wrote

March 3, 2014 | by

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Photo: eflon, via Flickr

Over the weekend, for reasons too silly to get into, I decided to change my phone number. It was a surprisingly emotional process. I have had this, my first phone number, for some twelve years, and there was something bittersweet about abandoning the area code of my parents’ suburban home. A great deal of the difficulty, however, arose from my own incompetence, a faulty Internet connection, and a confusing and ancient family plan. Long story short, I accidentally changed my dad’s number instead. The result was a small transcontinental panic, a volley of hysterical phone calls, and several confusing texts from my friends, each of which my dad apparently greeted with a suspicious “whoisthis?”

I was sure some enterprising suburbanite would snap up my dad’s abandoned 914 number before I could reclaim it, and my anxiety only grew as the automated voice on the customer-service line cheerily informed me that there was an unusually high call volume and the estimated wait time was eighteen minutes. I bit my nails and refreshed my browser every few minutes to find out if anything new had happened in the news, if, for example, we had sent troops into Ukraine. On speaker, the voice droned on about various mobile plans.

In the meantime, I took a call from my dad. “We’re very concerned,” he said. “Do you have a stalker? Is that why you’re changing numbers?”

“No. I don’t want to get into it. It’s complicated,” I said. “I just need a new number. And you have to stop watching the murder channel.”

“We can’t. The murder channel figures very prominently in our rotation. And every time a young woman is killed, we discuss the odds of the same thing happening to you.”

“No one’s going to murder me.”

“They all think that.” Read More »

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Our New Year’s Resolution: Stop Watching So Much Fucking TV

January 2, 2014 | by

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Family watching television, c. 1958, via Wikimedia Commons

Two thousand thirteen was the year that introduced binge-watching to the lexicon. In a new poll by Netflix, sixty-one percent of respondents conceded to having binged on one show or another, meaning they’d watched upwards of three episodes a single sitting. The message, dear reader, is clear: we’re gorging ourselves on serialized dramas and slick on-demand entertainment. It’s time to step away from the fucking television.

This should be the year we all read more. And because our resolve can sometimes waver, we’ve enlisted our friends at McSweeney’s in a call to action.

Until the end of January, you can subscribe to The Paris Review and McSweeney’s for only $75—that’s 20 percent less than the price of individual subscriptions. Your 2014 will be so stuffed with the best in fiction, poetry, interviews, and essays that you’ll forget where you put the remote, forever.

 

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This Is Growing Up

December 26, 2013 | by

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A panel of Adam and Eve in Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise.

All this week, we are bringing you some of your favorite posts from 2013. Happy holidays!

I had only been in Europe for two weeks when I started to feel homesick.

I’d decided to study in Florence on a whim, after having vaguely planned my entire sophomore year on traveling to Prague to study film at the famed FAMU. But while for FAMU there was a separate application I would have had to fill out, Florence was a simple checkbox on the registration website. And student housing in Florence was even cheaper than at my university in New York.

The general idea was to get a handful of my general education requirements out of the way and maybe even try to pick up some Italian while I was at it. I flew over to Italy with my mother, who was looking for a few days away from Chicago to take in, as she called it, la dolce vita. “I want a gondolier to sing to me, like in the movies,” she said. The gondolier spoke on his cell phone the entire time.

We arrived at the Florence Airport mid-morning. On the cab ride into the city, the driver informed us that one of the city’s time-honored traditions was complaining about the tourists, and, even worse than the general run of tourists, the hordes of visiting college students. I soon found myself in a large apartment off via Guelfa introducing my mother to ten other college students and an Italian RA. My mother quickly pulled me aside. “Please don’t get into any trouble. You know what the driver said.”

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Or, the Modern Prometheus

October 29, 2013 | by

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Anyone watching the CW’s Hart of Dixie last night will have noticed, at the 1:40 mark, an unexpected cameo by our very own digital director, Justin Alvarez. (You may know him as the mind behind our Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, among many other things.)

Allow us to set the scene. Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) and Joel Stephens (Josh Cooke), in the Rammer Jammer, pass a poster for a one-man stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Joel: Oh my—[laughs] I have to send this to my friend Justin at The Paris Review. He is going to flip out. Also, we must go.

Dr. Hart objects, on the grounds that said production is some four hours long and features a third act in German. But this proved to us that the writers of the show know what they’re talking about; Justin (who has an MFA in playwriting, a fact we imagine will figure in his character’s trajectory) is indeed a fan of experimental theater with an enviable attention span.

Our in-office research has informed us that the character of Joel is supposed to be a New York intellectual, and is apparently not a fan favorite.

 

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See No Evil

October 22, 2013 | by

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I stood up when they called my name, and began to read from the piece of notebook paper in my hands:

Well, I’ve got something to say
I killed your baby today
And it doesn’t matter much to me
As long as it’s dead

Sweet lovely death
I am waiting for your breath
Come sweet death
One last caress

They ate it up; I awed the basement audience in that coffee shop, with its beat-to-hell couches and chairs acquired from the local Salvation Army. My friends and I had driven there that night so we could all participate in the open mic poetry session, because when you’re fifteen or sixteen, you want to be something, and nothing at all, you want to define yourself, but you don’t want to get stuck doing one thing or another. That was the period when we collectively chose poetry, and even though I didn’t deserve it, there was a lot of buzz about my work on that night; for a few hours I was a phenom among the suburban poets. One person told me he heard the pain behind my beautiful words, and that I really had something special; he said I was a natural poet, that I should never stop writing, and that I should close the night out with one more.

I obliged, not telling him, of course, that last poem was actually just Misfits lyrics, and that the one before that, about living in my van, was a Descendents song. I just let them all believe that, at sixteen, I was special, and that my reading, of what inadvertently became the last poem ever read at the Buzz Spot (the place closed a few days later), was a God-given gift. Had I actually read from the spiral notebook filled with my own writings, they’d hardly have been impressed. Read More »

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