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Close Reads

  1. close reads
    About That ‘Controversial’ Black-ish Episode …Watching the newly resurfaced episode “Please, Baby, Please” today, it seems even more ridiculous that ABC wouldn’t air it back in 2018.
  2. close reads
    P-Valley Shows Stripping For What It Is: LaborAmid the glitz and glamor of The Pynk, we’re reminded again and again that strippers are workers, and they have worker concerns.
  3. nasty
    The ‘Clean’ Version of ‘WAP’ Is Actually So Much FilthierIt’s much more detailed in a sensory way.
  4. close reads
    Untangling Taylor Swift’s ‘Teenage Love Triangle’ Trilogy“Cardigan,” “august,” and “betty” tell a story of high-school romantic drama from three different perspectives.
  5. close reads
    The Innate Black Britishness of I May Destroy YouWithin Michaela Coel’s searing drama, Black British culture is everything in that it is treated as nothing. It just is.
  6. close reads
    When Black People Appear on SeinfeldThe things you notice when you rewatch, rather than cancel, old sitcoms.
  7. black is king
    Black Is King Works Best When Beyoncé Can Be BeyoncéThe Disney+ visual makes it clear that Beyoncé is too big for even the biggest IP.
  8. master class
    What Beyoncé Tells Us Without Saying a WordA close read of nine formative images tell a complicated story about the artist’s politics.
  9. close reads
    Search Party’s Elliott Is the Limit Case of the ‘Gay BFF’John Early’s “gay, energetic, self-diagnosed narcissist” is a satirical figure as funny as he is terrifying.
  10. close reads
    I’ll Be Gone in the Dark Makes Us Ponder Our Own True-Crime FixationsBy making writer Michelle McNamara its protagonist, the HBO docuseries compels viewers to reexamine their own relationship with true crime.
  11. close reads
    Indian Matchmaking Is Just Telling It Like It IsWhen the game itself is dirty, why yell at a mirror pointed at it, reflecting the moves for all to see?
  12. close reads
    The Bold Type Embraced Its Worst Self This SeasonKat Edison’s season-four story line is more than a betrayal of the character. It’s a betrayal of the show’s most appealing fantasy.
  13. close reads
    Padma Lakshmi’s Flirty Charm Is What Makes Taste the Nation So SpecialHer winsome style reflects the Hulu show’s optimism about what food can do in the face of racism.
  14. close reads
    Santana Lopez Kept Glee HonestAs played by Naya Rivera, the ever-unapologetic Santana could be straight-up cruel — and it was the best thing about her.
  15. like never before
    What Naya Rivera’s Glee ‘Songbird’ Performance MeantSantana Lopez gave a generation of queer people a flawed, deeply human role model to remember.
  16. tens across the board
    A Legendary LegacyPride Month may be over, but the ballroom competition series’ unapologetic celebration of Black queerness keeps its spirit alive.
  17. emmy insider
    Why Isn’t Every Show Like Los Espookys?It’s a world where we don’t have to fight for representation, and TV can be as weird and queer as it wants.
  18. close reads
    The Real Mud on The Golden GirlsThe blackface on The Golden Girls wasn’t blackface. But the entire series was still mired in racism and rape culture.
  19. close reads
    Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi Reclaims the American DreamThe new Hulu food series examines how immigrants shaped the definition of American cuisine.
  20. close reads
    The Impossible Role of the First Black BachelorLike many Black men before him, Matt James has to make his Blackness seem palatable, amiable, and safe to appeal to white audiences.
  21. close reads
    Avatar: The Last Airbender Will Always Feel RelevantBy drawing on Japanese anime tropes about postwar trauma, the American animated series echoes through cultures and generations alike.
  22. close reads
    The Peril of Issa and Molly’s Fractured Insecure FriendshipIt’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about the emotional damage of falling out with your best friend.
  23. cancellations
    Good Riddance to CopsFor three decades, the show was a key cheerleader of American law enforcement’s manicured self-image.
  24. close reads
    What Is an Anti-Racist Reading List For?It is unclear whether each book supplies a portion of the holistic racial puzzle or are intended as revelatory islands in and of themselves.
  25. close reads
    Cops Are Always the Main CharactersTV perfected the cop show, metastasized it, and then franchised it into ubiquity. How does that affect the way audiences think about police?
  26. legacies
    On Watching Mad Men in the Middle of a PandemicYou can see our world’s present-day crisis peeking through the negative spaces in Matthew Weiner’s 1960s saga.
  27. close reads
    What Did The Last Dance Tell Us About Michael Jordan, Really?It boosted Jordan’s standing as the greatest ever, but, like Mike himself, there was a hollowness at its center.
  28. close reads
    What’s With the Fake A.I. on Netflix Reality Shows?It’s a new age of reality-TV producer meddling.
  29. close reads
    Blackness Is Mythical in Netflix’s BlackAFWhat BlackAF demonstrates above all, in spite of itself, is that there may be nothing internally consistent about blackness in our current era.
  30. profile
    In Case of Emergency, Read Olivia LaingFrom The Lonely City to Funny Weather, the author writes to find a path forward through pain.
  31. finales
    How to Get Away With Murder Was Queer TV RoyaltyThe unsung legacy of the show that risked putting queer sex front and center on network TV.
  32. close reads
    In Never Have I Ever, the Real Love Story Is Between a Mother and DaughterBy the finale, Paxton Hall-Yoshida and Ben Gross feel like an afterthought.
  33. endings
    With Final Fantasy VII Remake, Video Games Have Their Last Jedi MomentIt’s not a story, but a struggle against fandom.
  34. find a way
    Homeland’s End Brings the Show’s Defining Relationship Full-CircleThe final fate of Carrie and Saul’s partnership after eight seasons underlines what has always worked best about this series.
  35. close reads
    Superstore Is the Only Show I Trust to Tell a Coronavirus StoryDozens and dozens of TV shows will tell pandemic stories. Let’s hope that Superstore is one of them.
  36. quibi
    Yep, Quibi Is BadI spent two weeks watching Quibi shows, but I still can’t tell you exactly what Quibi is.
  37. close reads
    Ozark Is the Platonic Ideal of a Netflix DramaYou’ll never ask yourself, “What the hell am I watching?” That’s key to Ozark’s success.
  38. close reads
    I Read Woody Allen’s Memoir So You Don’t Have ToFirst off, there are two short passages that will forever change the way I think about him. I cannot unread, unhear, unknow them. I wish I could.
  39. spoilers
    Better Call Saul Just Showed Us Who Kim Wexler Has Been All AlongThe ponytail is down, the gloves are off, and Kim’s finally unleashed her inner scrapper.
  40. close reads
    Final Fantasy VII Remake’s New Midgar Eerily Reflects Our Crumbling SocietyThe question here isn’t whether or not Final Fantasy VII could happen to us but, rather, how much of it already has.
  41. close reads
    The Good Fight’s Most Scathing Episode Yet“The Gang Deals With Alternate Reality” is a study in not just the failures of corporate feminism but the white imagination itself.
  42. twin peaks at 30
    Why Agent Cooper’s Twin Peaks Entrance Is So BrilliantBest TV character introduction of all time?
  43. close reads
    Is There Any Hope for Picard?The series still has the potential to reach greatness, but only if it can engage the Star Trek franchise’s most essential quality.
  44. close reads
    Everything I Watch Reminds Me of the Coronavirus. Why Can’t I Look Away?Screens are our tether to reality right now, even if you’re looking for a distraction.
  45. close reads
    RuPaul’s Drag Race Just Can’t Escape the Sherry Pie of It AllThe disqualified queen’s presence can be mitigated, but it can’t be erased, and it’s going to fundamentally change the viewing experience.
  46. coronavirus
    Pro Wrestling in Empty Arenas Is the Weirdest Show on EarthAre pro wrestlers just the world’s most muscular theater kids? To quote Steve Austin, hell yeah!
  47. cityscape
    How Real Architecture Inspired Westworld’s Futuristic CitiesThe meaning behind season three’s deluxe urban dystopia, agleam with prosperity and gentrified to a high polish.
  48. bachelor nation
    We Need to Talk About BarbPeter Weber may have been the Bachelor, but his mother Barb turned out to be the real driving force of this season.
  49. true crime
    Doug Mathews of McMillions Is America’s Showboat SweetheartFBI Special Agent Doug Mathews is a cocky white guy who laughs at his own jokes. Why do I love him so?
  50. coronavirus
    Why Is Pandemic Fiction So Comforting Right Now?The coronavirus crisis is terrifying. Contagion is a surprisingly soothing way to grapple with that fear.
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