The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Archive for January 2013

One minute she’s here, and the next she’s gone

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Ellie May's Salvation

Martin,

I’ve been loving this season so far, but I’ve also been trying to figure out why it feels different to me. It’s not the still-gestating overarching plotline – every season of Justified takes its sweet time getting going, which is fine by me, because it’s a show whose world is so well-realized that it’s just fun to dwell in (as we’ve both remarked recently, and yeah, I completely agree about its subtlety: well observed, is how I think I’d put it). Arlo’s murder in the season opener guarantees we’re not done with the story of the pancaked parachutist yet, nor with the Arlo-Raylan conflict that’s served the show so well in past seasons; indeed, that conflict perfectly encapsulates the insider-outsider dynamic that I see as Justified‘s most durable and insightful theme. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by teables

January 31, 2013 at 11:32 am

Posted in Justified

I’ll see you in the temple of doom

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mindyproject-novakduo-use-this

This week The Mindy Project provides a few more interesting suggestions about how to keep your love life exciting. Whereas the last episode introduced us to the arousing power of corn chips and vodka, this week we learn about bedroom props – a Ronald Reagan mask, frying pan, stuffed bear, and kitchen knife. Read the rest of this entry »

Equal Gender Employment Commission

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Parks and Rec - S05E11

Daniel,

We’ve talked before about Parks and Rec’s ability to handle political topics with grace, and this episode was no exception. This week, they brought up and handled the topic of gender inequality in politics. And, it was pretty hilariously done. On a larger scale, this episode was about generation gaps. Leslie and April had to fight against an older, male dominated mindset in government, specifically the sanitation department, which we all know is the smelly glue that holds the city together. Ron and Ann struggle to deal with Diane’s daughters and how to relate to them. Similarly, Tom wants to learn how to deal with his customers. And Chris is trying to understand how Shauna Malwae-Tweep is defining their “personal relationship.” Read the rest of this entry »

You are in complete control

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Shane the father figure

Dear Natalie,

Yes, it is good to be back! I am sorry I missed the conversation last week, which was a truly fun episode, but glad to jump back in now, where themes of self-control and compulsion were front and center. You wondered last week about whether or not compulsion was something a vampire could throw off. Damon reminded us that Stefan did that with Klaus when he’d been compelled to turn off his humanity. There is something fascinating going on with the idea that Stefan was able to shake compulsion because of his love for Elena, but Damon is not. I’m not sure it proves that Stefan loves Elena more than Damon does, but it does fit with Stefan’s more controlling personality! Stefan is the kind of person for whom the idea of love – and the idea of Elena – is necessary to hold on to his humanity. Without he always spirals into some uncaring psychopath. Read the rest of this entry »

Psychometry, yo.

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Hey Travis,

I just can’t say it enough. I really love this show. And I was trying to figure out exactly why, and here’s what I think: it’s subtle. I know that sounds crazy for this show, whose protagonist and big bads are usually so over-the-top, but I mean it: the show is subtle with its storytelling. Just look at this episode. There are so many interesting parallels between the story-lines and characters.

One notable theme is the nature of belief and faith. Obviously, we get this with Billy and his sister and Boyd. But it’s also present with Wynn Duffy and Johnnie (“I wanna believe you” and Johnnie’s “I’ll serve him up,” strikingly reminiscent of Cassie’s suggestion that Boyd is bribing her with pieces of silver). The same theme emerges in a slightly different context with Eve the psychic. Also, obviously the angle with Drew and the mystery unfolding. And, of course, Lindsey and Randall ripping off Raylan (this did leave me puzzled–doesn’t she *own* the bar?) But the show does this with subtlety, it doesn’t beat you over the head with the parallels, but gently introduces them and has them run their course. It’s really a thing of beauty how (seemingly) effortlessly they raise the same basic epistemological question in all of these realms, and do so without making any of the characters act unnaturally. And all of them are subtly united around the theme that Eve presents: seeking comfort.

I think so far, this season is shaping up in an interesting way: they’re adding a lot of depth to all of the characters, without having an overarching theme, which is also — in my opinion — a sign of mature writing (not that it was terrible before). I think the plot is turning out to be: Boyd will be in grave danger from a lot of places (presumably Billy will die and Cassie will want revenge, as–apparently–does Johnnie…or does he?) It’ll be interesting, then, to see how the Raylan and Boyd story-lines will intersect. So far they haven’t, but given their history, it must be a matter of time.

Some minor, but interesting things: love the Tombstone poster in Raylan’s room and the Wyatt Earp reference. Also, love the ultimatum Raylan delivers–reminiscent of the first episode…but not nearly as successful. It will be interesting how Raylan responds. I love the opening scene with Raylan and Cassie. Boyd’s “we’ve misjudged each other” was classic. Similarly, I’ve been even more impressed with Timothy Olyphant this season. It’s like he is Raylan. He has added a dimension to Raylan’s smugness that makes him sympathetic, but also palpably flawed. It has made the character more interesting: he’s still likable, but enough of an asshole that everything just clicks better.

Looking to hear what you think!

Best,

M

Written by Martin

January 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Biology…chemistry…urology…

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Image

I think this was the funniest episode of The Mindy Project so far. It featured a strong combination of offbeat writing and good acting to make these characters really fun to watch. The main storyline concerning Mindy’s attempt to hook up with Brendan was well-executed, and the subplot about Danny’s budding romance with Jillian, otherwise known as Eyepatch, Read the rest of this entry »

Beer and Board Games

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Parks and Rec - S05E10 Toast

Daniel,

So this episode dove right back into the story, moving the Leslie/Ben marriage storyline along with bachelor and bachelorette parties, and Leslie picks up a new ally in the fight against Paunch Burger (Start Drooling, Fatties!). Overall, it was a very solid episode, but I loved the group bachelor party so much that, in contrast, the bachelorette party/Wamapoke storyline was a little less exciting to me. I think the highlight of that side of the episode was Ken Hotate making all the white people feel uncomfortable, especially Councilman Jamm. Read the rest of this entry »