The Moth Chase

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

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Well gentle readers, those of you still checking this site that is, it seems time to post a brief message about our long absence here. This blog was an experiment started by two grad students looking for a way to elevate our procrastanalysis and give order to our meandering reflections on pop culture. It was a discipline of writing in new voices, for new audiences, and collaboratively with each other. We are so grateful that other friends joined in and amazed at the “real life” friendships that were cultivated in this online space. And most of all we are so grateful for the readers who found us, stuck around, and participated in the conversation. Along the way we got “real” jobs, had kids, and found our procrastinating turning in new directions. We’ve been on an unofficial hiatus for a year, but it seems time to make it official. We are no longer generating new content, but the archives of this experiment will remain on this site. Thank you for helping us take our unseriousness more seriously while making it all the more fun.

Kathryn and Natalie

Written by themothchase

September 1, 2014 at 11:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A Tale of Two Cities

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joan woos avon

Dear Kathryn,

While I know so many people were up in arms about the confusion of The Crash two weeks ago, I have to admit, it was this one that left me a little adrift; perhaps it’s because we were moving between coasts, I felt left somewhere in the Midwest, not quite sure what was going on. With something like The Crash, I can settle into the artistry of it, expecting not to have too much of a narrative payoff. But whenever Mad Men tries to do a ‘narrative’ episode, I find myself wondering: “so what?” Narrative movement just isn’t what this show is really “about,” and so while I didn’t dislike this episode, I can’t say I was all that into it either. I like it when the guys go to LA with their suit jackets and experiment with new girls and new drugs – but this trip out West wasn’t all that different than other trips out West the show has done. Although it was kind of awesome to see Roger get punched in the balls, and now we know that Carnation gets overly emotional about a cross-country time difference, the only real movement we saw was Don’s psyche opened up for a moment by hashish (is that hope or fear that Megan could be pregnant again, and just why would he feel haunted by the private he befriended in the season opener?). But I’m not convinced we had to go to LA to see that. But I suppose, who cares about LA when we could have Joan stepping into total success or total failure? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

June 4, 2013 at 7:48 am

The crazy quilt of destiny

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I enjoyed the origin story and seeing more flesh on the characters’ pasts than we’ve seen before, like what Annie’s pill addiction looked like. Some viewers might object to this sort of uncovering of the group’s history, but I thought it was fun to watch even if not especially funny.

To my surprise, Pearce’s absence didn’t bother me. He’s never been my favorite character, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by emstaley

May 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

The Ice Clown

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Parks and Rec S05E17

Ben Wyatt, feeding the eagle


Thanks to the NCAA Tournament, NBC postponed new episodes of Parks and Recreation for two weeks. I am not complaining because the NCAA Tournament is probably my favorite event of the year. However, taking time away from the show after it had been on a solid roll with the wedding episodes seemed to suck a little energy out of this episode. My initial impression was that it was “OK,” but I think that it would have been better in a Netflix style binge watching (Arrested Development! Sorry, I couldn’t resist). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by breklis

April 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Out Chang-ing Chang

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Yes, of course, Chang is faking his Changnesia.  Still kind of a bummer that he’s not really Kevin, as it would be fun to have a new character on the show instead of Chang the villain.  It’s hard for me to see what’s left to do with the Chang-against-the community dynamic.  As Jeff points out, everyone else seems to forget that he tried to kill them and that he put the dean in a dungeon.  Is there anywhere left for this relationship between Chang and the others to go, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by emstaley

March 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

You’re gonna need a saw…

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Hey Travis,

So I’m curious to hear what you think about this week’s episode. While I enjoyed it, I can’t say I that I thought it was exceptional. There was some really lazy writing (the whole expository talking at the screen w/ the FBI agent and the out of town-look-for-Drew-Thompson goons was silly, as was the FBI agent’s untimely demise). What I thought the episode did well was just continue to explore the insider/outsider theme, while also focusing on family. And, of course, it was great to see Raylan and Boyd on screen at the same time, although this was cut short quickly (I suspect exactly to make us want more–I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of the two of them on screen). The whole ‘Hill People’ business was great and gave the show an interesting element (Patton Oswalt’s “Unless they ate him” was fantastic). As much as Harlan, KY is meant somehow to be seen as a sort of overlooked ‘core’ of America, the Hill People show us how that’s all relative. And they also illustrate how illusory the power of the law is, how dependent on particular social norms and conventions. Once again, of course, it is interesting to see how blood ties are the means through which various conflicts and plot-lines are negotiated.

I think the Boyd/lawyer/Arlo plotline will also be interesting, and, once again, it is interesting how so many of the plot-lines are revolving around Boyd. It would not be too much to say, that, in a sense, Boyd is this season’s main character, which is an interesting change of pace.

I found the Winona bit in the beginning odd and still am not sure what the point of it was.

Your thoughts?





You know, while I was watching this episode, I was thinking, “this is definitely a ‘putting the pieces on the board’ kind of episode.” It’s more setting things in place for coming developments than it was a self-contained story. That happens in serialized shows, and usually it kind of drives me crazy. But even in a “bridge” episode like this, Justified continues to excel at portraying  a world that’s just so much fun to live in. I too found the whole Hill People plot really interesting – just this side of over the top, but still nicely highlighting how Raylan’s family connections render him such an odd, liminal figure. Too much kinship to treat him like an outsider, just like he’s too good a cop to throw him out on his ass (the way, frankly, he deserves) on the job.

I agree about Boyd being at the center of a lot of storylines, including that of the errant Ellie May. But in general, I think this episode had the “bridge” feel I mentioned because we still don’t have a strong sense of the big threat of the season – by this point in past seasons, we’ve had Margo Martindale or Neal McDonough showing up in focal roles. But the Detroit/Drew Thompson stuff is still a bit too offscreen to see where things are developing. In the meantime, I think we’re seeing Raylan drawn into a lot of emotionally compromising situations – Lindsay last week, Winona this week. It’s a nice parallel to Boyd’s unwitting vulnerability.


Written by Martin

February 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Joan Cusack character

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I enjoyed the show’s opener about Mindy’s frequent visits to the lobby of the Empire State Building hoping to meet Mr. Right and getting questioned by security for “monitoring the building.”  It was a cleverly written comment on our time Read the rest of this entry »

Written by emstaley

February 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm