Duck Dynasty: A Biblical Sex-Saturated Reality TV Show

by Matthew Towles The family that made its millions on duck calls has, it seems, conquered the reality television market. For a genre that usually boasts over-the-top challenges, personalities, and scenarios, the Duck Dynasty version of reality doesn't veer much from the mold. After all, much of reality television trades on the force of curiosity, and this is a curious bunch. Even at its strangest, Duck Dynasty has launched into the reality television stratosphere. From a Relevant magazine … [Read more...]

Three Themes to Consider While Watching ‘The Legend of Korra’

You probably know by now that The Legend of Korra has returned for a second season on Nickelodeon. Originally planned as a single 12-episode follow-up to the award-winning Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra been expanded to four seasons, much to the delight of its loyal fans.Without getting too bogged down, the Avatar series occurs in an Asian-influenced world containing four nations associated with the classical elements (air, water, fire, earth). Some within each nation are abl … [Read more...]

Here Is Some Dating Advice You Should Follow from New Girl

Single people are probably tired of getting dating advice from married people like me, because, well, we’re married, and what do married people know about dating in 2013? Unless we count “dating your wife,” a phrase that not only makes you sound like a pastor with hipster glasses and perfect stubble, but also feels a little bit like cheating. The good kind, though.And admittedly, I’m not the best person to dish out dating advice. I can literally count the amount of dates I went on in high sch … [Read more...]

‘It Matters Who You Are’: Character and Character Formation in ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the pilot episode of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Joss Whedon's spinoff series based on Marvel’s wildly popular Avengers film, premiered Tuesday, September 24 to excellent ratings and positive critical reviews. In the pilot episode, agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) -- presumed dead after The Avengers but somehow still alive -- assembles the standard television grab bag of misfits in order to investigate supernatural or un … [Read more...]

Doctor Who’s Doctrine, Part 3: Exterminating Evil

Before “Doctor Who” officially turns 50 this November, Christ and Pop Culture will spend 12 weeks delving deep into the science-fiction series phenomenon. Read Part 1. Then read Part 2. Whenever I talk about Doctor Who with others, the conversation often turns to the show’s cheesiness. As a fan, I don’t mean that disparagingly, but fellow fans, let’s be honest, shall we? From the special effects to the set designs, from the alien costumes to the overwrought acting (e.g., Matt Smith’s twirling … [Read more...]

The Breaking Bad Finale: Walter White’s Do-It-Yourself Project

Warning! The following contains spoilers, obviously. One way of charting the beginning of Walter White’s downfall is citing his initial refusal of Elliot’s and Gretchen’s offer to provide the money he needed for cancer treatment. During “Gray Matter,” Walt, clearly irked upon discovering Skyler’s plea for help to his former partners, fumes to his wife, “It was an offer for me to generously accept his charity.” Walt's staunch refusal to accept a gift is the root of his evil. This is also calle … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Parental Ambition and ‘The White Queen’

My current reading obsession is Philippa Gregory; I watched the first episode of the STARZ show The White Queen as a free online premiere, but since I don’t actually subscribe to the channel, I can’t keep current with the series. No matter. Until the show becomes available on DVD, I am content to plow through the entire Philippa Gregory corpus, beginning with the “Cousins’ War” quintet. Beginning with The White Queen, the series chronicles the lives of women navigating the ever-changing political … [Read more...]

How to Enjoy Jen Hatmaker’s Upcoming Reality Show

When I heard the news last week that Christian author Jen Hatmaker would be the subject of a new HGTV reality show, I was conflicted.Certainly, I am curious how Jen and her family will translate through reality TV. From what I've read from Jen’s blog and her social media commentary, she and her family have plenty of humor and clumsy situations to offer. I mean, it’s a rare gal who goes commando on the Today show and later admits it. But that’s part of her charm—she shares what the typical per … [Read more...]

In The Mind of a Chef, Innovation Keeps Tradition Alive

In New York City, one of the oldest cities in the United States and the one I call home, there is often the civic debate of whether to preserve old buildings or just knock them down and build new ones. Since real estate goes for a premium here, we tend to opt toward knocking them down and replacing them with stunning new edifices. This city thrives on consumers who expect to live and work in luxury and convenience. That is one extreme compared to other old cities such as Boston that lean toward … [Read more...]

You Can Keep Walter White. I’ll Take Inspector Foyle

Perhaps you, like me, have grown weary of rooting for the anti-heroes crowding our cable networks.  Dexter, Don, and Walter (et al.) murder, lie, cheat, and steal, trying all the while to convince us of their depth and complexity, like teenagers who have just discovered existentialism.  We praise their creators for their willingness to engage with the moral ambiguity of the modern world. But isn’t it possible to acknowledge the complex issues surrounding morality without giving up on morality al … [Read more...]