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The Morning After: Dark and Light

Last night saw a couple summer-TV debuts I didn’t get around to reviewing. We had the Jerry Bruckheimer drama Dark Blue, with the ever-loud Dylan McDermott, in which TNT strove to break the stereotypes established by FX and AMC and boldly prove that a cable network can make a cop show just as formulaic as anything the big networks can …

Bacon and the Old Masters

I was at the Metropolitan Museum today for another look at the terrific Francis Bacon retrospective that I’ve written about a few times. What struck me this time is how being surrounded by galleries of Old Masters at the Met brought forward aspects of Bacon’s work that didn’t come to mind so readily when I first saw the show last year …

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Franken & Sotomayor: From TV to D.C.

Think TV entertainment doesn’t influence politics at its highest levels? Think again! At Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, new U.S. Senator Al Franken, who came to public fame on Saturday Night Live, reminisces with Sotomayor, who had said she was drawn to the law by watching Perry Mason (h/t Mediaite):

I wonder if one day a …

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You Are Dead To Me, Emmy! Who Must Be Nominated?

If I were a good, traffic-generating blogger, I’d have done a whole series of run-ups this week to the Emmy nominations, category by category. Bad blogger, bad! But since the nominations are coming out tomorrow morning, now’s a good time to sound you out on it.

So I ask: if you could pick one performer or show who absolutely must be …

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Corporate Press Release Theater: TLC Takes the Cake, Again

To the growing list of TV Trends I Cannot Understand, add this: Shows about cake. First came Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, then TLC’s Cake Boss. Now the latter network breaks the three’s-a-trend threshold by announcing new series Ultimate Cake-Off.

Maybe it’s because I’m a cook and not a baker, but the human drama of cake decoration is …

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The Morning After: Oral Arguments

Between closing a dead-tree article and packing up my office, I had time to watch the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings only on and off. Which is probably the most any sane person should be watching.

The point of a televised hearing, this one demonstrated again, is that it is a televised hearing. That is: barring new developments, …

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But Wait—There's More! Billy Mays' TV Show to Live On

I was on vacation when infomercial pitchman Billy Mays died, but beyond the obvious jokes (see this post’s headline), it was good to see him get his due at the end. Whatever you think of their products, advertisers, for better or worse, have an underappreciated effect on the culture of TV. Infomercials, in their way, are the essence of …

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Ctrl-See

Tonight is the debut of Miami Social, Bravo’s apparent effort to develop its own Hills-like reality soap about the relationships of a set of hot heterosexuals, bisexuals, trisexuals, etc. in the aforementioned city. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, I suggest going to NBC.com for the debut of Ctrl, a sweetly funny webseries …

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Tales from the Swag Heap

Among the reasons blogging has been light lately, other than the usual work stuff, is that we in the TIME New York office are preparing to move, from the 22nd to the 23rd floor. Which means packing up every single thing in my office—by my count, for something like the third time in three years. Next time, I’m taking nothing to my new …

Stand Up Routines

You can keep American Idol. When I want to see ordinary people reaching for stardom I go for performance art every time. So I’ve gotten into the habit of checking in a few times a day on the live video feed from the Fourth Plinth in London, the 100-day Antony Gormley art project, officially titled One and Other, that puts a different …

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