The Moth Chase

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

Archive for April 2013

Triathlon and trying too hard

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After a couple of weeks off, The Mindy Project returned in fairly good shape. The team version of the triathlon that this episode features is a pretty good metaphor for the show: different participants/episodes have different strengths, but no one is the full package. Tonight’s episode offers an especially clear example of what I think is a strange problem that plagues this show: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by emstaley

April 30, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Everybody Likes to Go to the Movies When They’re Sad

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Dear Kathryn,

Well, I guess this was the episode that we all knew was coming. I’ve been wondering for over a season how they’ll handle the assassination of Martin Luther King. With so many variations in how to respond to the tragedy, what seemed to tie them all together, to me, was the way in which each character seemed to expose with clarity some core aspect of who they are – each in their own way making the political truly personal. Of course, Megan’s Marxist dad applauds the escalation of decay, and Don turns to the bottle. Megan, with her bohemian wannabe tendencies goes to a vigil in the park. Michael (who apparently is a virgin – how sweet!), whose social anxiety around pretty girls leaves him dateless abandons his date when he hears the news. And Henry finally lives into his political destiny, the catastrophic events shifting in significance for Betty as she realizes she’ll need to be in the public eye at a weight she wishes to hide. These are perhaps the obvious ways our characters made the political personal… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

April 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Swing Vote

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swing vote

Bryan,

I’ve noticed various rumblings from critics I respect calling this episode out for rehashing old storylines, offering little in the way of stakes to hold our interest, and not really clicking on the comedic level.  To a degree, I can sympathize with these complaints — this is the first season of Parks that hasn’t significantly expanded the world of Pawnee, focusing instead on tying up loose ends like Lot 48 and advancing its characters’ personal arcs.  That’s not an issue in and of itself; the problem is, most of those character arcs seemed to come to a natural resolution during the midseason wedding episode, and the lack of a major driving storyline (insofar as you can call the Leslie v. Paunch Burger throwdown over Lot 48 a driving storyline) in these last few episodes of the season has made them feel like arbitrary “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if?” exercises.  I’m largely ok with this, in part because that’s been the typical format for sitcoms for the last half century or so, but I can understand some disappointment in a formerly ambitiously-structured show seeming to rest on its laurels in the back half of what’s already been a victory lap of a season.  Furthermore, a plot featuring Leslie and Ron squaring off over budget cuts to the apparently city-subsidized Mini Golf establishment does indeed tread familiar ground — most recently covered in the “Bailout” episode — without offering anything new, as do the Andy/Mouse Rat and Tom/Mona Lisa storylines.

However.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Originals

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Marcel!

The Originals

Well there are certainly better reasons to bring a new life into this world than building a dynasty so you can steal the warmth, love, community and power that another man has spent his considerable eternal life building! Then again, if we take the “king” metaphor seriously, this is pretty much how reproduction works, right? The women may not be kept locked up in an alligator infested bayou to see out their pregnancies, but Hallie was transformed from potential bad-ass hybrid looking for her roots into a kind of walking womb to rebirth all the Originals hopes and dreams. I do love Elijah’s optimism that what is left of that clan will surely do a better job as parents and aunts/uncles than they did as children and siblings! I can only assume that this is the set up for the new spin-off series The Originals. And I have to admit, if last night was any indication, I might be switching teams! Read the rest of this entry »

I wish we could switch bodies

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Image

Hi-

This episode caught me off guard by putting Troy and Britta’s relationship center stage. It’s been a background feature of the season, but it hasn’t really seemed to matter to the stories we’ve been shown. We haven’t seen enough of their relationship for me to have an opinion about whether it’s going well or poorly. As I noted in response to Herstory of Dance, Troy didn’t seem to have very much fun while playing the dutiful boyfriend to Britta the dance-planner, but that seemed to have less to do with Britta and more to do with Abed (as usually is the case with Troy). So here we are, asked to believe that Troy thinks there’s really something wrong in their relationship that makes it too much work. I guess it would have felt more plausible Read the rest of this entry »

Written by emstaley

April 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Everybody’s Scared There

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Hi Kathryn,

After a full season of Dawn hanging in the background, I became a little worried this week that her step into the storyline meant she was about to get fired. Instead, we finally got the expansion of Mad Men into a world where we’d hope it would go – granted, we’re only seeing a diner that Black people frequent at this point. But I do hope that we get to see more in the weeks to come – not just because it would be good to see the show step outside of its White world, but more so because Dawn brings a potentially interesting story to our already swirling narratives. Sure, Joan may have taken a shine to her (isn’t Joan always difficult on the ones she ends up liking?), and it could be fun to watch her find some success at SCDP(?), but more so I’m intrigued by the potential in a storyline of a young, Black woman trying (for whatever reason – and I’d actually like to hear more about her motivation) to make it in a majority White company, and the strain that puts on her friendships and love life back home (and, of course, I’d like to see this done with the insight brought to other characters’ narratives, and not in some cliched way). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

April 23, 2013 at 9:06 am

Article Two/Jerry’s Retirement

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Parks and Rec S05E19

Daniel,

The closer we get to the end of this season and potentially the end of the series, the more sad I am about what we will be losing as an audience. Parks and Rec’s ability to get basically all of my favorite comics on the show is something that will definitely be hard to see go. We get to see Aziz every week. We got to spend a few weeks with Louis C.K. playing the dopey cop who is in love with Leslie, and now we got to see Patton Oswalt play the history-loving, filibustering citizen who can churn butter (Andy’s favorite food!) as well as anyone. As the show is able to expand and add more and more characters to the Pawnee world, it is able to lean less on the tropes that have been built around the main characters (even though those tropes are awesome and hilarious). Read the rest of this entry »