1. “The 100 Best Simpsons Episodes to Stream.” As part of Vulture’s Streaming Week, staffers, including Matt Zoller Seitz, have assembled the 100 essential Simpsons episodes.
“Arriving near the end of season two, ’Lisa’s Substitute’ was one of the best early Simpsons episodes to operate almost entirely in ’sweet’ mode (though it has its share of pop-culture references, such as Miss Krabappel trying to seduce Mr. Bergstrom à la Hoffman’s breakthrough The Graduate). It’s uncharacteristically reserved, and its final sequence—which finds Homer realizing some of his flaws as a dad and reaching out to his daughter to the extent that he can—is genuinely touching. This is also the first Simpsons episode in regular run to compact its opening credits and cut straight to the couch gag (in this case, a repeat of the one from season two’s ’Itchy and Scratchy and Marge,’ in which the family enters the living room and finds the couch missing).”
2. “The Only One.” Linda Holmes talks with Shonda Rhimes.
“One of the great manifestations of privilege for white guys who run television shows is that they rarely have to talk about this stuff on an institutional level. For the most part, as long as their shows have at least one character of color, they may be asked about particular happenings or portrayals on their own shows, but the fact that they are part of a system that turns out show after show about white guys doesn’t come up in every conversation. People who are making the same kind of television that’s already being made are usually left alone to make it. It’s people like Shonda Rhimes who are asked, over and over again, to occupy time they could be spending talking about characters and shows, building their own narratives about their ambitions and careers, sitting on the stage at the Smithsonian, talking about diversity issues they’ve addressed in their work. They are the ones asked to agree yet again that it’s not really OK that, as Maureen Ryan reported at the Huffington Post this spring, HBO at the moment effectively doesn’t make shows with creators who are not white men. As Ryan pointed out, it’s necessary but beside the point to press individual creators (like Nic Pizzolatto of True Detective) about their portrayals of women, for instance, when it prevents a broader conversation about television as a whole.”
3. “An Article on Shonda Rhimes Rightly Causes a Furor.” Margaret Sullivan of the Times admits, tacitly, of the dangers of editing while white.
“I have asked Ms. Stanley for further comment (she has said that her intentions were misunderstood, and seemed to blame the Twitter culture for that, with a reference to 140 characters), and asked her to describe her interactions with Times editors before the article was published. I have also asked the culture editor, Danielle Mattoon, to discuss the article and the editing process. And I have asked Mr. Baquet for comment. There are some big questions here—about diversity, about editing procedures and about how The Times deals with stories about women and race. They are worth exploring in depth. This is a preliminary post, and I’ll be adding to it later today, or posting again. But I’ll say this much: The readers and commentators are correct to protest this story. Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way that was—at best—astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.”
4. “NYFF: The 1968 Edition.” More than 40 years ago, J. Hoberman scammed himself a NYFF press badge in order to write about the festival. This is what he wrote.
“Yes, I know. I was a teenaged know-it-all, as well as a rabid soixante-huitard, a serious pothead, occasional speed freak, and fanatical cinephile. I spent the summer of 1968, between my sophomore and junior years at Harpur College (aka SUNY Binghamton), in Berkeley, crashing on people’s couches, and hitchhiking when I felt like it to North Beach where I had a menial job in the Ramparts magazine mailroom. My ’supervisor’ was an ex-Digger who didn’t believe in paying for anything and had a scam for everything. When I got back to New York, I came up with my own scam, writing to the Film Society of Lincoln Center on behalf of a non-existent film magazine (the ’Harpur Film Journal’ or some such) and securing press credentials to cover the 1968 New York Film Festival. Incredibly, this ruse worked three times, even though I never bothered to furnish the festival press office with anything even resembling clippings. At least once, however, I wrote a festival report—a 10-page single-spaced screed run off on a mimeograph machine, and distributed at one of the Harpur Film Society’s fall presentations, where it most likely wound up on the floor beneath the auditorium seats.”
5. “Taiwan’s Master Timekeeper.” And here’s J. Hoberman, in the present, on Hou Hsiao-hsien.
“When I interviewed Hou many years ago in Tapei we met at his preferred spot, a Japanese style teahouse—a marked contrast to the ’Chicago-style’ burger joint chosen by Hou’s leading contemporary Edward Yang. Unlike the gregarious Yang, whose masterpiece A Brighter Summer Day (1991) concerns Taiwan’s ’American’ period, immersed in high school turf wars and imported Elvis worship, Hou was reserved and modest, preferring to speak through a translator although he clearly understood English. He disliked travel, he told me, and was critical of Taiwanese investors who, rather than support Taiwanese films, preferred to put their money in Hong Kong or mainland productions: ’It’s typical. People don’t value their roots here.’ Rather than talk movies, he preferred to explain the history of Cold War Taiwan.”
Video of the Day: Sarah Polley speaks with Greta Gerwig about Frances Ha:
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