The Televangelists: "Mad Men" and Recognizing the Abyss

 Each Friday in The Televangelists, one of our writers examines the met and missed potential of television.After finishing the first four seasons of Mad Men, I wrote that the nature of these characters' madness is a slow suicide of the self. The singular pursuit of happiness qua self-indulgent, unrestrained freedom does not produce a lasting contentment, but instead produces the suicide of the essential self because the self is constituted, in large part, by loving commitments. … [Read more...]

The Televangelists: "Grimm" Reveals that The Other is Often Ourselves

The Televangelists is changing! In order to keep up with a more broad selection of television programs, we've made the column name plural and opened the column up to our wonderful staff of writers. Each Friday in The Televangelists, one of our writers examines the met and missed potential of television.All of those fairy tales and imaginary monsters that you loved as a child (e.g., "The Three Little Pigs", "The Pied Piper", the Big Bad Wolf) are real. Or at least, they have a basis in r … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: Battleground and the Interplay Between Politics and Personal Life

Each Friday in The Televangelist, Richard Clark examines the met and missed potential of television.I don't blame you for ignoring what is essentially a Web-series: Hulu's new original show, Battleground. It's hard to build a case for it based on the names associated with it: Only executive producer Marc Webb may catch your eye. He's the guy who made 500 Days of Summer. But let's be real. He's an executive producer, a title we've learned over time means nothing. The actors are complete … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: The New Girl and the Challenge of Maturity

Each Friday in The Televangelist, Richard Clark examines the met and missed potential of television.The quest to become a mature adult is something we all grapple with. Some of us diligently pursue it, some of us move in and out of concern for the end goal, and others eschew the concept entirely, until some outside force causes them to take notice of what adult immaturity costs them. Either way, it's almost impossible to figure out exactly what maturity looks like. Maturity takes on different f … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: How Community Makes Pillow Fights Matter

"There are people who say, 'I don't get it. So it was a pillow-fight.' To which I say: You weren't there." —Shirley Bennett Let's admit this up front: Community has a formula. In their most popular and acclaimed episodes, they take a small-stakes event (such as a paintball match, a game of dungeons and dragons, the disappearance of chicken fingers from the school cafeteria) and treat them as if they are life-or-death matters. But the fact that it's a formula doesn't make it any less profound. C … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: Embracing Uncomfortable Characters

Here's a test to see if you're missing the point: when you watch a show like Modern Family, Parenthood, The New Girl, or any other show that occasionally depicts characters engaging in what you may call "sin", what is your reaction? Do you change the channel in disgust? Do you simply decide to watch the show "in spite of" those characters' sinful indulgences? Do you file the show away as a guilty pleasure?If so, you're missing the point.First the caveats. Yes, it's entirely plausible that … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: The Man in the Booth Wants to Make You a Deal

Each Friday in The Televangelist, Richard Clark examines the met and missed potential of television.This week, Jason Morehead fills in.In the corner of the Cadillac Jacks Drive-In, there's a booth. And in this booth, there's a Man. A Man who will give you your heart's desire. But he wants something in return. Something small and insignificant... like killing a young child, protecting a dirty cop, or setting off a bomb in a coffeeshop. But in return, your child will live, your career will be … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: GCB Is the Incredibly Bad and Inexcusable Show We Deserve

Each Friday in The Televangelist, Richard Clark examines the met and missed potential of television.Here's the key: GCB, ABC's new drama, isn't about us. It's not about Christians who actually believe the tenets of their faith or who value the church as anything besides a venue for competition and subversion. The vulgar and misguided title, when spelled out fully, clarifies the subject matter expediently enough: Good Christian Bitches. That title, extrapolated, conveys everything you need to … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: In Honor of My Dad, the Original Televangelist

Each Friday in The Televangelist, Richard Clark examines the met and missed potential of television.When I found out Monday night that my dad had died after a long battle with cancer, I figured I probably wouldn't get around to writing a Televangelist column this week. Then, I remembered that if there was one thing you could say was a hobby of my dad's in his later years, it was watching TV. When I would go home to visit, you could always expect to see my dad parked on the couch, remote in … [Read more...]

The Televangelist: How Smash Shatters the Reality of Relationships

Each Friday in The Televangelist, Richard Clark examines the met and missed potential of television.Smash, NBC's financially high-risk attempt at bringing back the prime time drama, is packed with generic flourish, founded on spectacle, and rife with low-key relational drama. An adult-centered answer to Glee, it's half musical, half high-budget soap opera centered around the production of a Broadway musical. Conversations don't crackle as much as they creak, forcing groans from the audience … [Read more...]


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