TV

He already has a show: the daily news.

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Seeking laughs with a surprisingly conservative sitcom 

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It’s as hard to keep a longform television narrative going as it is to raise a child. Sometimes shorter forms are tempting, with old-hat conventions like climax and closure. But these longform series now have a pressing ambition to be as good as the best modern novels. That raises an awkward question: Are we watching the predicament of the characters, or the cornered rat antics of the writers?

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On last night’s "The Daily Show," host Jon Stewart interviewed the excellent comedy duo Key and Peele, whose show on Comedy Central is one of the slyest, strangest treatments of race on TV. One sketch featured an inner-city substitute teacher who insists on changing his name from Aaron to A.A.Ron. In another, they played slaves on an auction block, at first intent on rebelling but unable to resist the urge to compete over who gets sold first.

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In the November 25th issue of the magazine, I wrote about the spectacle of Piers Morgan's gun control crusade, which required watching a brain-melting number of hours of Morgan's CNN show. So here are some of the most egregious moments from his past year of tabloidism as activism:  

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This morning’s “Today Show” delivered the stunt that NBC has been eagerly teasing all week: Matt Lauer and Al Roker got prostate exams live on the air.

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For four decades Ned Beatty has been the unofficial spokesmodel of Appalachian tourism. Even if Beatty, scrambling around in the woods wearing his tighty-whities, isn’t anchored in your somatic memory—even if you have no idea who Ned Beatty is—you know what his character endured in the 1972 film Deliverance.

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Kerry Washington's versatile performance couldn’t save a show that didn't know what to do with her.

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This week, in a beautiful convergence of art and life, TV drama delivered two ripped-from-the-headlines Anthony Weiner storylines: one on “Scandal” and one on “Law and Order: SVU.” Taken together, these episodes offered a goofy funhouse mirror of Weiner’s outsized role in the pop cultural imagination. “This story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event,” lied “Law and Order” in its disclaimer.

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