On the eve of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Devin and I look back on eight years of President Obama’s radical, unprecedented interactions with American popular culture. Topics include late-night talk shows, podcasts, stand-up comedy, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the NBA draft, Black-ish, Key and Peele, Hamilton and more.
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On Sunday night, Stephen Colbert became the first host in the history of late-night TV to do a show immediately after the Super Bowl. That he and his team fumbled the gig should come as little surprise.
The post-Super Bowl slot has been a mixed blessing of late. Ratings for whatever show follows the nation’s most-watched television event of each year inevitably spike on that Sunday night, but the bump for subsequent episodes is far less substantial, even non-existent. Creatively speaking, most Super Bowl episodes are burdened with such high expectations from audiences and network executives that they’re more concerned with being big and loud than being good. By the end of an exhausting Super Bowl game and halftime show, the last thing most people want to do is keep their brain turned on for one to two more hours of programming, even if they keep their televisions on in an act of sheer inertia.
On top of all those built-in obstacles, Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show is uniquely unsuited to the task of following up the most expensive, expansive spectacle in American pop culture. Continue reading
Just as a pile of puzzle pieces doesn’t inherently add up to a masterpiece, Let’s Be Cops has precious few laughs for a movie starring people as historically funny as Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr. (both from New Girl), Rob Riggle and Keegan Michael Key. In fact, it has precious few laughs at all.
After an entire TV season of speculation, the 2014 Primetime Emmy nominations were finally announced at the ungodly hour of 5:30am Pacific Thursday morning. (Perks of being on the East coast: waking up was no big deal!) As usual, the nominations provoked a mixture of reactions: surprise, resignation, disapproval, even bitterness. As Alan Sepinwall put it in his pessimistic but reasoned analysis, the television business is evolving too quickly for the Emmys to keep up, especially given that the TV Academy has a history of being slow to adjust to major changes in the industry. With a higher volume and wider array of TV shows than ever before, some quality shows are always going to get left behind. But when the Emmys continue to make apologies for shows that they previously loved, it’s worth wondering how long these awards can stay relevant.
Below, here are five of my thoughts about the nominations list. For more on the list’s weirder surprises, here’s my USA Today article from Thursday. For my dream ballots, click here and here.
Yesterday I offered an overview of the year in television. Today, check out my list of my ten favorite TV shows of 2013. A few caveats:
1. I haven’t seen everything. Here’s a partial list of shows I can’t include on this list because I haven’t watched them: The Good Wife. Game of Thrones. Enlightened. Bob’s Burgers. Girls.Veep. Eastbound and Down. Treme. Broadchurch. The Fall. Masters of Sex. Justified. Sons of Anarchy. Boardwalk Empire. I’m not paid to watch television. I’m doing the best I can.
2. I didn’t rank these ten shows because I didn’t have the energy. Why bother? They’re all great. I’d recommend any of them to people who love watching TV.
3. Making lists is fun but inevitably arbitrary. Tomorrow, I’ll post another list of shows that missed this list but still deserved recognition. Boiling things down to a list of ten is important for the purposes of making difficult judgment but meaningless for the pursuit of quality viewing.
And now, the list.
Listen to Episode 11 here.
Welcome to the M&M Report once again! This week, Devin and I started with a special guest: Alex Patel, also known as my roommate and a fellow podcast host. Alex and I talked about our love for the Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele and Devin realized that he wants to watch this show more regularly.
(Listen to Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s interview with NPR’s Terry Gross here. Fascinating stuff.
After we said goodbye to Alex, I talked about my underwhelming experience with Thor: The Dark World, which led into a conversation about the state of Hollywood blockbusters. Are they really dead? What can “save” them? Do they need saving? We tackled all of those questions and more.
Finally, the claws came out during a discussion of Kanye West, inspired by the release of his baffling music video for “Bound 2.” Kanye’s a controversial guy, and we had some controversial opinions.
We’ll be taking a break next week so you can enjoy your turkeys and pumpkin pies in peace. We’ll be back two weeks from today with a discussion of the new Coen Brothers movie Inside Llewyn Davis among other topics. Also, we haven’t forgotten about Devin Doesn’t Like Things – it will be back in full force before you know it.
As always, thanks for listening. We’ve really enjoyed experimenting with this podcast over the last 11 weeks, and we’re very grateful for everyone who listens. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Stick around for the time breakdown below: