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10 New Yorker TV Posts: From The Hummingbird Theory to Reality TV

24 Jul

The New Yorker has dropped the paywall for all articles dating back to 2007 for the summer and now is the time to catch up on seven years of writing that you may have missed or only read select quotes from. The New Yorker is calling this “a summer-long free-for-all” as they launch their new site and introduce a similar system to The New York Times in the fall. Content wise they are also introducing a Daily Cultural Comment column “in which our critics and other writers confront everything from the latest debates over the impact of technology to the latest volume from Chicago, Oslo, or Lima and the ongoing sagas of Don Draper, Daenerys Targaryen, and Hannah Horvath.”

With this in mind I have selected 10 articles with a link to television including some of my favorite pieces from current TV critic Emily Nussbaum (who makes up just under half the entries and hates lists, sorry Emily), recollections from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, a range of genres and one profile that is about a current pop culture queen back in 2011 (this one is the exception to the TV focus of this list).

EnlightenedIn the same package as The Hour boxset and another show on my catch up list is Enlightened and Emily Nussbaum’s Hummingbird Theory draws on Laura Dern’s Amy Jellicoe from Enlightened among others like Leslie Knope and Carrie Mathison. It is something we touched upon during our Comeback discussions and these kinds of characters are “idealistic feminine dreamers whose personalities are irritants.”

Emily Nussbaum’s essay on Sex and the City in reaction to Brett Martin’s Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’ to ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad is one of my favorite Nussbaum New Yorker pieces. Nussbaum looks for reasons beyond the terrible movies as to why Sex and the City has lost its place in TV legacy discussions. All while pointing out its groundbreaking position and reinforcing why it was one of the most talked about shows beyond its ties to fashion.

Continuing with Emily Nussbaum and female centric shows that spark a lot of debate/column inches with Nussbaum’s thoughts on the sex scene in one of the most discussed and beloved (and hated) episodes of Girls “One Man’s Trash.”

The final piece from current New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum is an examination of the variety – quality and genre – of work from one of the most controversial and prolific showrunners working in TV at the moment; Ryan Murphy.

Tina Fey wrote about her experiences on SNL and the lessons from working on late night in an essay from her book Bossypants (there are slight differences between the two).

Nailing those pre-college summer job feelings and slowly realizing what she wanted to do with her life is Amy Poehler in “Take Your Licks.”

Emily Greenhouse says goodbye to Gossip Girl and makes sure to mention Dan Humphrey’s fictitious New Yorker submission.

Last year Lauren Collins asked why so many (myself included) have become obsessed with Scandinavian television tracking the success of Forbrydelsen (The Killing), Broen (The Bridge) and Borgen.

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything in Nancy Franklin’s reality TV analysis in “Frenemy Territory” it is fun to look back to 2008 when reality shows like The Hills were at peak popularity.

This last recommendation is a slight cheat as it isn’t strictly TV (SNLCSI and Teen Mom all get a mention), it is however a fascinating look at the Taylor Swift angst empire back in 2011. Lizzie Widdicombe talks about Swift’s “unjaded sincerity no matter how contrived the situation” in “You Belong with Me” and it’s just as relevant now three years later.

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