1. “Why Are 23.4 Million People Watching The Big Bang Theory?” Why the show is the most popular comedy on television.
“Big Bang is a multi-camera sitcom, shot with a studio audience, in a time of mostly single-camera shows. ’It’s supply and demand,’ says Weinman. ’There’s a high demand for multi-camera—it’s intimate and creates the illusion that there’s nothing between you and the characters—and right now the supply is low. Fans of Seinfeld and Friends, what do they have besides Big Bang?’ CBS reruns of Big Bang reach more viewers than new episodes of single-cam shows Parks and Recreation, Community, and The Mindy Project combined.”
2. “Memos to Hollywood.” Critics Weigh In on Patriarchy and the Vanished Film Print.
“In January Paramount Pictures became the first major studio to stop releasing movies on film in the United States. The other majors are expected to follow suit soon, now that they’ve forced most theaters in the country to go digital because of its nominal ease of use and cost. For many viewers, this may not be a big deal because, for them, a movie is a movie is a movie, whether film or digital. And the history of home video rental suggests that a lot of people are perfectly happy to watch degraded imagery as long as they like the story. For some of us, though, the changeover is an unfolding tragedy and an unnecessary one. Because this isn’t about a superior technology; this is about the industry’s greed and continued shortsightedness. Banishing film to the dustbin of history may not change cinema—unless of course it does.”
3. “MFA vs. POC.” Junot Díaz calls for more diversity in fiction.
“Some of you understand completely. And some of you ask: Too white...how? Too white as in Cornell had almost no POC—no people of color—in it. Too white as in the MFA had no faculty of color in the fiction program—like none—and neither the faculty nor the administration saw that lack of color as a big problem. (At least the students are diverse, they told us.) Too white as in my workshop reproduced exactly the dominant culture’s blind spots and assumptions around race and racism (and sexism and heteronormativity, etc). In my workshop there was an almost lunatical belief that race was no longer a major social force (it’s class!). In my workshop we never explored our racial identities or how they impacted our writing—at all. Never got any kind of instruction in that area—at all. Shit, in my workshop we never talked about race except on the rare occasion someone wanted to argue that ’race discussions’ were exactly the discussion a serious writer should not be having.”
4. “Rise of the Bespoke TV Series.” Matt Zoller Seitz on how the bespoke TV series is the new black.
“The mini-series–anthology is already looking like TV’s next big thing, in part because it removes many of the remaining barriers to drawing film talent. Shorter seasons cure artists’ fear of being trapped in the gilded cage of a long-running hit: Acclaimed director Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) signed on to helm all eight episodes of True Detective, and Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson agreed to star, because the show’s eight-and-out structure let them walk away without causing any problems. The mini-series–anthology model also lessens performance anxiety: Producers, writers, and actors don’t have to worry about prolonging a story beyond its natural end point or reviving a withering show, because every season finale is a prelude to a reboot. Season three of American Horror Story, for example, was a witches’ brew of bad ideas, but we don’t mind too much because it’s a one-off. There’s no pressure on creators Murphy and Brad Falchuk to dig themselves out of a hole; they can just leave the hole where it is and put their energy into making season four as good as one and two. They could even pull a True Detective and hire a horror auteur like Wes Craven or John Carpenter to oversee all 13 chapters.”
5. “Jennifer Lawrence Responds to Esquire’s Concerns About Her Drinking.” Not really, but one imagines it would read similar to this if he had.
“So. Neddy. Honey. Writer/Dude! You said, ’Babe, let’s talk.’ And by all means, let’s! And if we’re going to talk, can we talk about how you said ’Babe, let’s talk?’ If you weren’t a big, fancy writer for a well-respected men’s magazine that puts out a yearly ’Women We Love’ issue where every sentence begins with the word ’because’ and ends with a paean to a body part, I might think you were trying to be, like, mock retro, like, ’Let’s pretend that we’re pretending to be ’70s and smoking our girlfriend’s Mores in a bathrobe with our dick hanging out,’ or some other meaningless layering of irony popular with those who have no true instinct for how to use the English language. But that’s not you. You’re no amateur.”
Video of the Day: SNL’s trailer for The Beygency:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.