The M&M Report: “Master of None” and “The Americans”

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Devin and I discuss our conflicted reactions to Master of None season two (0:00-26:45). Then we spar (as only we can) over The Americans season five (26:45-end).

Listen here. And please subscribe!

 

The M&M Report: “Win It All” and the State of the Movie Industry

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Win It All is the latest gripping drama from writer-director Joe Swanberg and writer-star Jake Johnson; you can stream it on Netflix now. It’s good.

Meanwhile, what does the recent explosion of content coming from streaming services mean for more traditional creators and distributors of pop culture? We don’t have all the answers, but we make a few guesses.

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Things I Loved This Year: “BoJack” Goes Deeper, and Much Darker

Each day this month (assuming I don’t get busy or bored!), I’ll reflect on a tiny sliver of pop culture that I enjoyed or appreciated this year — scenes, shots, gestures, verses, sights, sounds, moments. Today: the BoJack Horseman episode that stuck with me.

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Most year-end lists that feature the remarkable Netflix series BoJack Horseman have focused on the third season’s dazzling fourth episode “Fish Out of Water,” which has virtually no dialogue as the title character takes an emotional roller coaster under the sea. A few mentions have also been afforded to “That’s Too Much, Man!” which depicts a bender gone horribly wrong between two self-destructive friends.

Both those episodes deserve the accolades they’ve been given. But equally astounding was “Best Thing That Ever Happened,” which comes five episodes after the former and two before the latter. (Incoming: sentence I never thought I’d write.) This episode is to BoJack Horseman what “The Suitcase” was to Mad Men, and the two hit with a familiar, devastating force.

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Things I Loved This Year: The Kids Are More Than Alright

Each day this month (assuming I don’t get busy or bored!), I’ll reflect on a tiny sliver of pop culture that I enjoyed or appreciated this year — scenes, shots, gestures, verses, sights, sounds, moments. Today: kids!

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You never want to admit when a child actor isn’t quite cutting it. I wouldn’t want to be the director on a set with a kid who just can’t nail the take, or isn’t quite right for the role. It’s one thing to tell a full-grown adult that they missed the mark — most of them can take it. But a child? What kind of monster tells a child they’re just not good enough?

Luckily, this year, I don’t have to wrestle with that moral dilemma. There were so many great kids on TV this year! Here are a few.

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The M&M Report: Peak TV

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: We’ve made a behind-the-scenes change. If you’re already subscribed to The M&M Report on iTunes or the podcast provider of your choice, you need to RE-SUBSCRIBE in order to receive new episodes in your feed. We know this extra step will be annoying, but we’re excited about what it means for the future of the podcast. Tell your friends!

On this episode, Devin and I pondered the perils and pleasures of Peak TV. We start by defining it with the help of comments from FX president John Landgraf, and then we examine how the phenomenon has affected our viewing habits, the creative forces that shape those habits and the business forces that have allowed Peak TV to flourish. This New York Magazine feature on the subject is worth reading, either as a precursor or a follow-up.

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The M&M Report Predicts the 2016 Emmys

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It’s safe to assume that Veep will be among the winners at tonight’s presentation of the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards. But who will join them? Below, my podcast partner Devin Mitchell and I offer our predictions, which range from bold to conservative, optimistic to resigned.

We’ll regroup on a new episode of The M&M Report later this week to discuss takeaways from the ceremony and the outcomes of our predictions. Subscribe to the podcast in advance!

(Note: Devin and I wrote these predictions separately and combined them into a single post. We differ a lot!)

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“Orange is the New Black”: The More, The Merrier

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Starting a season of Orange is the New Black a week after it drops on Netflix is like traveling back in time to an indeterminate date in March 1912 and boarding the Titanic. You know bad things are going to happen — it’s just a matter of where and when.

I haven’t been spoiled on any major developments yet, but I’ve seen enough references to plot developments and general story directions to have a clue about a few very unfortunate events to come. I also know which characters will play a prominent or notable role in the season, at least to the degree that they’re worth tweeting about.

A little bit of foresight helps with an episode like “Work That Body for Me,” which bounces in manic fashion around the Litchfield women’s prison, in an effort to pick up as many of last season’s dangling plot threads as possible. For the first time in the show’s history, the new season picks up in media res, immediately after the events of last season’s closing scene, in which most of the prisoners escape through a hole in the fence and revel in a nearby lake. They didn’t say it, for fear of spoiling the moment, but even the prisoners knew the ecstasy of their brief escape couldn’t last long.

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