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Curb Your Enthusiasm Recap Season 9, Episode 4, “Running with the Bulls”

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Curb Your Enthusiasm Recap: Season 9, Episode 4, “Running with the Bulls”

John P. Johnson/HBO

Curb Your Enthusiasm Recap: Season 9, Episode 4, “Running with the Bulls”

Throughout its original eight-season run, Curb Your Enthusiasm questioned the limits of political correctness and offended nearly every group in the process. In doing so, the series produced some wonderfully uncomfortable (and impossibly funny) television. “Running with the Bulls,” though, is what happens when Curb’s inherently problematic humor fails.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Actor

20th Century Fox

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Actor

The spectacular flame-out of Steve Jobs from this year’s Oscar race was depressing for once again illuminating the media complicity, mainly among those particularly susceptible full-time pundits who are perversely unaware of just how much their groupthink influences the industry’s own, that goes into turning this dog-and-pony show, year in and year out, into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once the frontrunner for best picture, the Danny Boyle film saw its Oscar ambitions stymied not so much by its underperformance at the box office, but instead by the million unnecessary think pieces debating the potential costs of said underperformance.

Rather than run with the narrative that Steve Jobs, like the Apple brand in its nascent years, was an underappreciated commodity, that it would not be hurt by its box-office failure any more than, say, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker was, pundits stopped cheerleading for the film because they convinced themselves it was no longer fashionable to do so. (Being right, after all, is the modus operandi of the average pundit’s investment in any given year’s Oscar race.) And because the hearts and minds of the industry, at least its ears, are privy to how films go up like stocks on the countless charts published on sites like GoldDerby, a challenger quickly became an also-ran.

2014 Emmy Winner Predictions

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2014 Emmy Winner Predictions
2014 Emmy Winner Predictions

Glancing over this year’s Emmy nominations is to marvel again at just how much the television landscape has changed in 20 years. Back in 1993, The Larry Sanders Show became the first cable TV program to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Only one non-network sitcom has ever claimed that award (Sex and the City in 2001), but the sheer number of nominations and wins that cable programs garner each year continues to signal the future of television programming. And one of the more pressing questions that will be answered this year is whether the Emmys are ready to embrace online TV creators such as Netflix with prizes in its top two categories for either House of Cards, nominated for 13 awards, or Orange Is the New Black, nominated for 12, more than any other comedy. Elsewhere, the sense of “importance” with which Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart has been greeted by critics and audiences has made nearly ever miniseries or movie category a no-brainer to predict. And while the Emmys, unlike the Oscars, have never been known to drive pundits and viewers alike to fits of nail-biting anxiety, at least a few of this year’s drama races have been turned upside down by the recent plagiarism claims that have plagued Nic Pizzolatto, possibly exposing True Detective as the emperor who’ll arrive at the Nokia Theatre on August 25 with the least amount of clothes.

Golden Globe 2014 Winner Predictions: Who Will and Who Should Triumph at Sunday’s Ceremony

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Golden Globe 2014 Winner Predictions: Who Will and Who Should Triumph at Sunday’s Ceremony
Golden Globe 2014 Winner Predictions: Who Will and Who Should Triumph at Sunday’s Ceremony

Believe it or not, we know exactly what’s going to happen at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards. Since there are no actual musicals competing in the Comedy/Musical category this year, the talent will have to pick up the slack. Co-hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will kick off the night with a dance number to the tune of 30 Rock’s theme music, since guests might fear they’re in the wrong place if they don’t hear it during the ceremony. Alfonso Cuarón will strap drunken revelers to their seats before turning the ballroom into a zero-G environment, only to have Michael Douglas tickle the ivories in midair as Liberace. And, to wrap things up, Emma Thompson will serenade Meryl Streep with a feministic, shade-throwing rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Or maybe not. But herein is who will, and who should, win in each category.

Breaking Bad Recap Season 5, Episode 16, "Felina"

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Breaking Bad Recap: Season 5, Episode 16, “Felina”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 5, Episode 16, “Felina”

Breaking Bad’s series finale, “Felina,” fulfills the implications of last week’s “Granite State,” which restored Walt (Bryan Cranston) to us as a proletariat avenger, and the truly shocking element of this episode is its sentimentality. Writer-director and creator Vince Gilligan, who occasionally appears to forget how far Walt has drifted over the years into the realms of the self-absorbed, crazy, and downright cold-blooded, strives to toe a line that waffles between providing heartwarming closure and often formulaic catharsis. “Felina” offers an abundance of riches despite its flaws, but if fans feel a little hung over this morning after the intense speculation and anticipation, it’s for two reasons: Firstly, the usual unfair reasons with which a series finale has to contend with failing to embody the whims of our private imaginations, and, secondly, because Gilligan briefly boiled much of the ambivalence out of his wonderful series. Or simply: Walt became a good guy unencumbered by the rich ironic context with which Breaking Bad has so often excelled.

Breaking Bad Recap Season 5, Episode 15, "Granite State"

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Breaking Bad Recap: Season 5, Episode 15, “Granite State”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 5, Episode 15, “Granite State”

As Breaking Bad nears its final episode, viewers have become preoccupied with who will live and who will die—an inevitable way of processing a series as it draws to a close, as we can’t help but wonder how a beloved pop cultural institution will consciously account for its ultimate mortality. So it’s probably worth reaffirming that Breaking Bad is less a tale of accumulating death than a despairing study of a character who succumbs again and again to the temptations that arise from his feelings of having been betrayed by a world that can never appreciate his talent and genius. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is a pathologically egotistical man, and all of the atrocities he’s wrought have their origins in this mania.