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Close Reads

  1. close reads
    My Brilliant Friend and the Relatable Horror of Elena’s ZitsIt isn’t merely that teenage Elena has acne, but how exquisitely all those pimples function as a (forsaken) facet of her character.
  2. close reads
    The Hidden Meaning Behind My Brilliant Friend’s Neapolitan DialectIf Neapolitan is the language of Lenù and Lila’s imprisoning neighborhood, then Italian is the language of social mobility.
  3. close reads
    The Alluring Melancholy of Ambrose Spellman on Chilling AdventuresIn praise of the Netflix show’s mysterious brooding warlock.
  4. close reads
    Let’s Talk About the ‘Jazzercise Scene’ in CamMadeline Brewer explains the horrors of watching yourself die.
  5. close reads
    The Haunting of Hill House and the Madness of FamilyHorror is about the ghouls we know and what goes bump in the night, and especially the place where those two become one.
  6. homecoming
    Homecoming’s Season Finale Sticks It to the ManIt’s an immensely satisfying ending.
  7. close reads
    The Legacy and the Lunacy of House of CardsThe show’s final season considers serious issues raised by the 2016 election, and it also gets completely nuts.
  8. close reads
    The Romanoffs’ Misconduct Episode Is Depressing and UnnecessaryAs a defense of an accused man, “Bright and High Circle” fails as both a drama and a polemic.
  9. close reads
    In Defense of Prudence Night on Chilling Adventures of SabrinaFrom the beginning, Prudence is more than a mere mean girl.
  10. close reads
    The Good Place Isn’t About Heaven and Hell, It’s About the InternetThis sitcom proves that TV can still bring people together in the streaming age.
  11. close reads
    What Sorry for Your Loss Understands About Mourning a Loved OneIt’s emotional work to watch this sterling Facebook Watch series.
  12. spoilers
    The Profound Grief of The Haunting of Hill HouseIt’s not a paranormal story so much as a meditation on the way trauma maims the living. And it’s scary as hell.
  13. close reads
    Murphy Brown’s Righteous, Furious, Flawed Protest Against Sarah Huckabee SandersSure, it’s liberal wish-fulfillment. But isn’t that the point?
  14. close reads
    The Hollow Joys of Insecure Season ThreeMuch like Issa herself, Insecure needs to decide what it wants to be.
  15. tv review
    Which This Is Us–esque Show Has the Most Potential?God Friended Me or A Million Little Things?
  16. close reads
    Night School Calls Out the ‘Blaccent’ in a Way Other Comedies Have NotIt doesn’t let the Pretty Fly for a White Guy off the hook.
  17. politics
    The Brett Kavanaugh Hearing Was Disturbing, Dramatic TVHow the Senate hearing about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual-assault allegations became a strange, exhausting TV show.
  18. close reads
    Why The Good Place Keeps Rebooting ItselfThe show is its own philosophical thought experiment. And that’s why it’s so great.
  19. close reads
    How BoJack Horseman Addresses the Silencing of WomenIn BoJack’s very meta fifth season, women are ignored and assert themselves in spite of it.
  20. close reads
    Maya Rudolph Is a Revelation on ForeverI hate to break out this hoary cliché, but it fits.
  21. close reads
    The Beauty and Brilliance of Forever’s Stand-alone Episode“Andre and Sarah” is proof that streaming shows also need snappy episodic stories.
  22. close reads
    Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai Is the Best Book of the Century (for Now)The Last Samurai is a masterpiece. It’s an accident of recent history that it’s taken the culture some time to realize it.
  23. movies
    How Sierra Burgess Is a Loser Captured the ‘Giddy Immediacy’ of Texting“I wanted the experience of watching Shannon text Noah feel as visceral and real as possible.”
  24. close reads
    Insecure Shouldn’t Bring Back LawrenceThe surprise return of Issa’s ex feels both unearned and deflated.
  25. close reads
    How André Holland Keeps Castle Rock AfloatHis deft performance is a voice of reason amid horror, bloodshed, and madness.
  26. appreciations
    Why Ice King Is Adventure Time’s Best CharacterHe wasn’t just an evil, crazy wizard.
  27. superheroes
    Ethan Hawke Is Right About Superhero Movies — For NowBut the seeds for better films already exist.
  28. close reads
    Sharp Objects Is Not Just Another Dead-Girl ShowThe HBO mini-series ends with a radical message about motherhood and female rage.
  29. close reads
    Sharp Objects Broke the Mystery BoxHidden messages were everywhere in Wind Gap, but they weren’t puzzles meant to be solved.
  30. close reads
    Let’s Talk About the Sharp Objects FinaleLike everything in this HBO miniseries, it forces us to look and listen very carefully.
  31. close reads
    Skinny Is Not Magic, But I Still Appreciated InsatiableIt’s not just a weight-loss story. It’s not just a revenge story. It’s not even exactly about rage.
  32. close reads
    Who Really Owns the ‘Blaccent’?While Awkwafina successfully imitates something in Crazy Rich Asians, it’s not black language.
  33. close reads
    The Alarming Reality of Terrace House’s ‘Kiss Out of Nowhere’This wasn’t just another awkward kiss, so why did the show treat it that way?
  34. close reads
    Kim Wexler’s Ponytail on Better Call Saul Is a Follicular Force of NatureIt’s more than a hairstyle. It’s a reflection of who Kim is and who she wants to be.
  35. close reads
    What Sharp Objects Understands About MemoryNobody goes about their days living only in the present moment.
  36. close reads
    The Bachelorette Was Forced to Admit That Politics ExistAnd it immediately responded by trying to ignore that politics exist.
  37. close reads
    Let’s Talk About the Orange Is the New Black Season 6 FinaleWhat does that shocking last scene mean for OITNB’s future?
  38. close reads
    Mission: Impossible — Fallout Is the Perfect Movie for Our Summer of UnrealityIn pop culture and politics, the line between truth and fiction has blurred almost beyond recognition.
  39. close reads
    GLOW’s Radical Message About Problematic ArtWhat season two says about the fine line between empowerment and exploitation.
  40. close reads
    Led Zeppelin Is a Perfect Fit for Sharp ObjectsThe band’s history, sound, and lyrics reveal a lot about this dark, mysterious show.
  41. close reads
    How Sorry to Bother You Found (and Used) Its White VoiceDirector Boots Riley explains Sorry to Bother You’s brilliant dubbing effect.
  42. TV’s New Favorite Thing Is the Surprise ReleaseAnd it might kill the people who cover television.
  43. close reads
    The Most Nauseating Moment in Who Is America?The distance between Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy and the real world has gotten much smaller since Da Ali G Show.
  44. close reads
    The Handmaid’s Tale Sabotaged Itself With a Single SongThe very end of season two swaps a grueling parable about power for a rah-rah myth of resistance.
  45. close reads
    Jean-Marc Vallée’s Evolution to Sharp Objects From Big Little LiesBig Little Lies was alluring, but Sharp Objects is intoxicating, thanks in large part to its direction and editing.
  46. books
    Sharp Objects Is the Ultimate Gillian Flynn NovelYears before the HBO show, Flynn’s debut thriller was ugly, gritty, weird, and creepy in the best possible way.
  47. close reads
    GLOW Isn’t a 10-Hour MovieThank God.
  48. close reads
    Where Are All the Celebrities in The Handmaid’s Tale?I have so many questions about Oprah Winfrey’s cameo.
  49. close reads
    The Good Fight Is the Most Incendiary Portrait of Female Anger on TVIn season two, Christine Baranski’s performance brought complexity to conversations about #MeToo and politics.
  50. close reads
    Ang Lee’s Hulk Is a Bad Movie, Except for This One Amazing ThingIn praise of the panels.
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