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Close Reads

  1. close reads
    Every Succession Episode Is a Contained ExplosionThe series turns each hour into a distinct battleground, where characters vying for their own self-interest are also inextricably linked.
  2. close reads
    Let’s Talk About the Ending of ParasiteDirector Bong Joon-ho explains his coda: “I thought it was being real and honest with the audience.”
  3. spoilers
    Should We Be Happy for Jesse at the End of El Camino?The conclusion of the Breaking Bad movie isn’t so clear-cut.
  4. close reads
    The Impossible Politics of JokerHow Todd Phillips’s supervillain story deliberately mixes its messages.
  5. close reads
    Let’s Talk About the Ending of JokerHow much of this movie was real, and how much was fantasy?
  6. close reads
    How Rage Cagey Is the New Nicolas Cage Movie Color Out of Space? Let’s Discuss.Imagine the most potent vendetta you could have against a living person; now imagine that vendetta being directed at a basket of tomatoes.
  7. close reads
    Shiv Is Exactly Who You Think She IsSuch an Ivanka.
  8. history lesson
    Succession Loves Ancient Greek and Roman Myths, But What Does It All Mean?From Romulus to Coriolanus, the show’s mythical references reveal quite a lot about the Roys.
  9. close reads
    Hustler’s Greatest Trick Is Its Take on the Female GazeThe women in Hustlers are in the business of knowing what men want to look at, but the movie itself is gloriously free of a male perspective.
  10. close reads
    The Good Place Is the Quintessential TV Show of the Trump EraIt’s not about politics, but its themes and concerns are right in line with what’s happened since 2016.
  11. legacies
    Transparent Changed TV As an Art FormIt defined an entire genre of TV comedy and opened new avenues for TV storytelling.
  12. close reads
    The Doctors Made ER Great. The Nurses Made It Radical.County General’s nursing staff represented a reconsideration of who matters most in a hospital, and which stories are worth telling.
  13. close reads
    As ER Turns 25, a Look at How Its Visual Style Changed the TV GameWhen ER debuted in 1994, its kinetic, Steadicam energy was like nothing else on TV.
  14. close reads
    The Paul Hollywood Handshake Is the Absolute WorstPaul’s signature move has gone from a cute gesture to a threat to The Great British Baking Show as we know it. It must end.
  15. close reads
    Life After the Hustle: A Former Stripper’s Thoughts on Hustlers“I’m not saying the movie made me feel comfortable, but it did make me feel recognized.”
  16. close reads
    Unbelievable Is the Most Feminist Crime Show I’ve Ever SeenThe quiet but sturdy feminism of Netflix’s remarkable true-crime drama.
  17. friends anniversary
    Friends Is a Gen X Show. Why Don’t We Ever Call It That?Baby boomers created it. Millennials and Gen Y kept it popular. But Friends will always be about Gen X.
  18. close reads
    An Ode to Speckle, a (Bird)Man for Our TimesTuca & Bertie’s cancellation has deprived us of so much, including TV’s best depiction of a nice person and all his nice-person flaws.
  19. close reads
    Steven Universe: The Movie Is All About Doing the WorkLike the beloved series that precedes it, the movie is a beautiful, ambitious users’ manual for those learning to love themselves and others.
  20. close reads
    The Tigers Are Not Afraid Director Unpacks Her Movie’s Most Pivotal Scene“I like a movie that starts bleak, gets bleaker, and then ends in hell,” says Issa López.
  21. close reads
    The Florida I Know and Love Is Finally on TVWhen I watch On Becoming a God in Central Florida and Florida Girls, I’m transported back into my rose-colored memories of the Sunshine State.
  22. spoilers
    Let’s Talk About the Mindhunter Season-Two FinaleIt’s a story about failure, but it’s still a story about hoping the hero will catch the bad guy.
  23. close reads
    Is Succession a Comedy?The Roys’ lives might be tragic, but their whole world is laughable.
  24. close reads
    Lucy Liu’s Joan Watson Was Elementary’s Humanistic HeartThrough her performance in the CBS procedural, Liu crafted a layered study in empathy that suggests second acts are possible in life.
  25. close reads
    The Trans Heroes of Euphoria and Assassination NationTo understand why Jules is such a revolutionary character, watch the last movie by Euphoria’s creator.
  26. close reads
    What Does It Mean for a Rape Scene to Be ‘Done Well’?After watching the brutal sexual violence in The Nightingale, I started to think about what we can learn from classic Hollywood depictions of rape.
  27. close reads
    On the Troubling Subtext of Once Upon a Time in HollywoodYes, that ending is part of it.
  28. first person
    On Jane the Virgin, There Was No Shame in Being an Adult Woman Anxious About SexWhen I was a child, I underwent genital mutilation, a trauma that made it difficult to separate shame from sex. No show understood this like Jane.
  29. close reads
    Jane the Virgin Was a Fantasy, That’s Why It Felt So RealThe telenovela twists were preposterously silly, but they clarified all the messy complexity of ordinary life.
  30. close reads
    This Time, the Winner of The Bachelorette Was the BacheloretteDon’t mess with Hannah Brown.
  31. close reads
    Let’s Talk About the Ending of Once Upon a Time in HollywoodIf you’ve read the reviews of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, you’ve probably gathered that something is up with the ending.
  32. close reads
    Veronica Mars’s Inability to Evolve Made Veronica Mars BetterOur beloved stagnant marshmallow’s self-destructive sprint toward rock bottom is often frustrating to watch, but important for the character’s future.
  33. close reads
    Euphoria Is High on Scorsese’s SupplyThe influence of filmmaking’s premier poet of self-destruction courses through the HBO teens-behaving-badly series.
  34. close reads
    Stranger Things 3 Is Basically One Big Back to the Future HomageWhat the many allusions to the 1985 blockbuster tell us about this season — and what hints they might provide about the series’ future.
  35. close reads
    Stranger Things 3 Offers an Unexpected Requiem for the American Shopping MallIn an age when shopping centers have come to represent a dead end, the vibrantly alive Starcourt mines a particularly potent vein of nostalgia.
  36. close reads
    Why Is Hopper Such a Jerk-Ass in Stranger Things 3?So. Much. Yelling. But is there a reason for it?
  37. close reads
    The Spider-Man: Far From Home Mid- and Post-Credits Scenes, ExplainedLet’s dig into why that character is returning to the franchise.
  38. spoilers
    How Should We Feel About the End of Stranger Things 3?Let’s talk about the implications of that credits scene.
  39. close reads
    What I Learned After Watching Eyes Wide Shut 100 TimesIf Stanley Kubrick’s film felt dated back in 1999, maybe that’s because we weren’t quite as savvy as we thought.
  40. close reads
    A Horror Fan’s Guide to the Ever-Expanding Conjuring UniverseAnnabelle Comes Home marks the seventh movie in the Patrick Wilson–Vera Farmiga series. Here’s how they all connect.
  41. close reads
    The Hills: New Beginnings Is More The Hills, Less New BeginningsA few conversations about parenting aside, the revival of the genre-defining MTV reality series feels eerily unchanged from the original.
  42. close reads
    Toy Story 4 Is a Movie About Getting Older and Getting Out of the WayYou see another nice Pixar movie about sentient playthings. We see a story about baby boomers and presidential candidates.
  43. first person
    In Defense of Cousins Who Fall in Love, on Ramy and IRL(Not to be read by any of my cousins.)
  44. close reads
    Is Black Mirror Not Cynical Enough for the Internet Anymore?When you’re extremely online, it’s tough to think metaphorically about technology.
  45. close reads
    The Rise of the Female Buddy DramedyDead to Me, Booksmart, Tuca & Bertie, and other recent movies and TV shows prove that this is a golden era for female duos.
  46. close reads
    What Does the Fleabag Fox Mean?If you’re wishing for a happy ending to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sexy, wry British comedy, consider this theory.
  47. close reads
    The Decadent, Visceral Pleasures of Killing EveThe second season culminates in a boldly queer retelling of the Bluebeard myth.
  48. close reads
    Fleabag Breaks the Fourth Wall and Then Breaks Our HeartsThe end of Fleabag season two is a perfect, crushing conclusion.
  49. close reads
    The Last of the Dragons: What Drogon’s Ending Reveals About Game of ThronesThree dragons, three fates, and three ways of looking at the show’s central themes and conflicts.
  50. close reads
    Why Game of Thrones Ends With a New Beginning“The Iron Throne” invites us to imagine unwritten futures for the Starks.
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