Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Franklin files

In my fantasy The New Yorker hires a new television critic, someone like Ken Tucker or Amy Amatangelo who is passionate about the medium and appreciates its appeals. In a recent issue, for example, the magazine's current critic, Nancy Franklin, devoted several columns of text to a forgettable stinker, The Inside, and then in a single paragraph breezily failed to describe what makes The Closer so much fun, though not before expressing her desire for "a long, gleaming line of gin-and-tonics stretching to the horizon." She wants the show to go beyond Brenda's food cravings to reveal more character--missing how much these little bits of business matter--and she totally missells the show by emphasizing its sensational gore and catty attitude instead of its strong writing and acting.

Here is her latest review, of the war drama Over There. She ends with some punditry (perhaps she coveted one of the slots as Maureen Dowd's pinch hitter):
There’s an overall pointlessness to the show that’s rather shocking, considering the outrageous lies and arrogance that got us into the war. But pointlessness may be inevitable in a country where, at the moment, to risk telling the truth—beyond the truth that soldiers die in war and things are tough on the home front, too—is to be condemned as unpatriotic.
Is this to be taken seriously? Steven Bochco is making shockingly pointless television because he can't afford to risk criticizing the war? People are afraid to tell the truth about, say, the Iraqi insurgency, Osama at large, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the WMD, Rove/Plame, global warming, evolution, etc.? People are talking about this stuff every day in the mainstream media. Indeed, on television.


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