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Guest Thinkers


1. So the best news from the Emmys is that FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS won two key awards—for writing and for lead actor (Kyle Chandler as the Coach)—in the category of drama.  Because this show (which, in my view, was the best on TV last year) is off the air, I’ve been reluctant to post on it. But now people will be rushing to buy the DVDS.  I urge you to watch the virtually perfect last episode in order to be able to get maximum benefit out of my next post.

2. MAD MEN has now won Outstanding Drama Series every year it’s been on the air.  It’s a fine show that continues to get better, with the intensifying focus on Don Draper, that singularly self-made man, trying to get a handle on the mess that is his life.

4. The coach and Don are both blessed with huge talent that could flourish anywhere.  But just thinking about MAD MEN a bit leads anyone who cares about the moral drama that is any particular human life to appreciate that the coach is a totally credible model of admirable human excellence, while Don is a fascinating literary contrivance that’s more a social psychological statement than an actual guy. 

5. MAD MEN suggests that in the techno-consumerist—yet still sexist and elitist—world of the 1960s, it’s impossible to be a real man, someone who has control over his life and avoids self-pity and self-indulgence by knowing who he is and what he’s supposed to do. But the coach is a real man with all the Stoic qualities; as a natural aristocrat he’s not blinded by small-town prejudices and oligarchic conventions (and so the opposite of a racist and almost the opposite of a sexist).  At the end of the show, we see that he’s going to do as well in Philadelphia as he did in Dillon, TX.

6. MAD MEN and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS would both deserve Oscars if they were movies, inasmuch as both are superior to what we can see in the theaters. 

7. MODERN FAMILY won the comedy awards.  It is a cheerful and somewhat edifying show, but it just ain’t very funny.  If you want excellent family shows (that end up being more funny in more subtle ways), watch PARENTHOOD and MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE. 

8. Jim Parsons got a second straight enemy for his portrayal of the nerdy theoretical physicist on THE BIG BANG THEORY.  The show as a whole ain’t getting noticed.  But it’s also one of the best-written shows on TV.  Feminists should be upset that the women scientists on the show are being ignored.  Sheldon’s scientist-girlfriend is funnier than Sheldon, and it should enlighten us all to think about such a brilliant and self-confident woman who’s oblivious to her bodily appearance while being so candid about her bodily needs.  It’s Amy who delivers the laughs on their virtual (computer-screen) and real dates; Sheldon is pretty much the straight man.

9. I have to admit I didn’t see many of the shows in such categories as “reality competition program.”  THE DAILY SHOW always wins and always deserves to in the variety etc. show category; sadly it doesn’t have any credible competition these days.


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