Not Quite J.D.

I reviewed My Own Worst Enemy without talking about how I had the hugest crush on Christian Slater when I was in middle school.

My Own Worst Enemy: Series Premiere

"My Own Worst Enemy looks like it’s been assembled from the leftovers of other pop-culture heavyweights. Christian Slater plays two personalities, Edward and Henry (catch the Jekyll and Hyde reference?), who are duking it out over the same body (sort of like Fight Club). Edward is the cold-blooded, badass operative you always imagined Christian Slater would grow up to be. When he’s not 'active,' the powers that be back at headquarters use a Minority Report-style computer to put him to 'sleep,' and they wake up Henry, a lab-created nice guy—devoted husband, father of two—who thinks he works as an efficiency expert...At first you might think My Own Worst Enemy, like Fight Club, will explore the dueling natures in every man’s heart. But their conflict plays more like sibling rivalry."

Must-See TV Blog

Since I can't get enough of these pop-culture writing gigs, I recently became a contributor to TiFaux. Check out my first post, about the relative levels of craziness in Fringe and Lost, here. (So. Freaking. Crazy!)

Check back often!


I don't know why I agree to review teen soaps. I'm always looking for the next Freaks and Geeks, and I am eternally disappointed. The new 90210 is no exception.

90210: Series Premiere

"While those looking for wittiness will find 90210 lacking, so will those who tune in feeling nostalgia for the original show...For the most part, 90210 seems unsure what to do with the Gen-X demographic, fitting in an awkward assortment of teachers, guidance counselors, and big sisters alongside the kid stars. While fans may appreciate the return of Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty, they’re crowded out by the good-looking newbies, jetting around California and fretting about their love lives.

With the teens scheming so hard to sort out their lives and their teachers desperate for attention, it seems almost unfair that the oldest character gets to breeze onto the screen and command her scenes instantaneously. Jessica Walter, who plays Wilson matriarch Tabitha, gives a performance worthy of a better series. The Wilson family moved back to California ostensibly to take care of her, but as she makes her entrance, Long Island iced tea in hand, it’s clear that she doesn’t need taking care of. 'I need to finish my memoir before my friend Virginia does,' she says. 'We’ve slept with all the same people.'”

Fall Arts!

As promised, the September issue came in today with my big, fat Fall Arts Preview eating up some of the feature well (15 pages, plus more after the jump). This is my favorite kind of package: the kind where I get to tell people what to do with their free time, like see Andrew Bird or Burn After Reading.

The Fall Arts Preview package has many components, including:

Fall Events

Everything from the county-wide clay arts exhibitions to Dar Williams' concert: "This fall, almost every local art institution is going to have one thing on its mind: clay. Sure, you played with it when you were a kid and giggle when you think of the pot-throwing scene from Ghost (all that wasted clay!) but when was the last time you really gave clay any thought as a medium?"

Fall Movies

From Burn After Reading to Benjamin Button: "We’ve seen lots of disasters in films: earthquakes, volcanoes, diseases, The Happening. But what about an epidemic of blindness? Fernando Meirelles’ film, based on the 1995 novel by the Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago, imagines just that, with Julianne Moore starring as the one woman in town with immunity. Blindness was chosen to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival—but left with mixed reception (September 26)."

Fall TV

What's coming up on the networks: "You know that old sitcom formula in which two seemingly incompatible personalities are forced to live together? My Own Worst Enemy ups the ante by having those two personalities share a body. Taking a page from Fight Club’s book, one man is torn between his two identities: one is a suburban father, the other an operative trained to kill (10:00, NBC)."

...and Fall Books, which I didn't write but I assigned. And that's all in addition to my normal arts-related pages and front-of-book matter:

Mysterious Master

A short item about a church that found a master painting hiding in plain sight: “'When he started to work on the painting, parts that looked like they should be gold started to turn into silver,' Monsignor Corrigan says. 'That made me very nervous. I said a prayer. But when I saw it restored, it was totally spectacular.'"

Home Theater

September DVDs, including The Godfather, The Great Pumpkin, and The Fall: "Even though Halloween isn’t for another month, we all have days—no matter what time of year it is—when we can relate to poor little Linus, waiting for the Great Pumpkin that may never arrive."

Arts & Entertainment

Paula Cole, Mavis Staples, and more.

In addition to the Fall Arts Preview, this month was our "Sex Issue." Though I didn't write anything for it, I did assign this piece about the 12 things a sex writer has learned throughout her career and this piece about where to find love in the county.

PopMatters Day

Two of my PopMatters reviews went up on the same day. I love it when that happens.


Note: the lack of a capital "q" is the show's stupid stylistic decision, not mine. My review isn't much nicer: "This is the not-quite-true story of six friends picked to live in a house and have their lives taped, as one pensive video-blogger finds out what happens when people stop being polite and start being 'real'...A show where friends sleep around on each other, only to have truths revealed about their lives through a blog? It’s basically Gossip Girl, only without the awareness that it’s a total fantasy."

Right at Your Door

The movie was mixed, but it did make me jump up and buy a disaster-preparedness kit online: "Gorak manages to wring the maximum amount of fright out of this situation not by how large the disaster looms, but how small he makes it."

Also, PopMatters has now done this neat thing where you can search reviews by author, so you can see everything else I've written for them, too.

Must-See TV Reviews

Today PopMatters released its ranking of the 30 best television shows of 2007. Unlike the film list—where I learned that my favorite films of the year just squeaked onto the list at spots 29 and 21—my TV write-up rose to the No. 1 spot! I'm glad I'm not the only one in love with Pushing Daisies.

High Redefinition: The 30 Best TV Shows of 2007

"Never before has a show so consumed with death been so darn perky."

It's also time for some mid-season debuts, and with the writers' strike on, it's a weak field. I scraped one review out of the bottom of the barrel.

The Celebrity Apprentice

"Both teams act like they’re extremely serious, and all pay due deference to Mr. Trump. This even if some of these celebrities are bigger brands than The Donald, at least among some viewers. (In my college dorm, I saw lots of copies of 1974’s Kiss, fewer of 1988’s The Art of the Deal.)"

PopMatters: Comedy Edition

I'm a big fan of offbeat, improv-style comedy shows. See what I thought of some recent outings.

Human Giant

"The television incarnation of Human Giant came with its own built-in cred and a cult following of indie tastemakers already familiar with the comedians’ work.The best thing MTV could do to cultivate this fan base was stay out of the show’s way, and for the most part, it did."

Acceptable TV

"In the wake of Internet monsters like YouTube and MySpace, VH1’s Acceptable TV has come up with a trendy gimmick: it’s interactive. This premise sounds innovative and exciting in theory. In reality, the show is… acceptable."

Stella: Season One

"Stella—not a sketch comedy, not a sitcom, and certainly not the Marx Brothers—forges a brand of television comedy all its own."

PopMatters Galore!

Since the magazine won't let me obsessively dissect one television show for more than 800 words, I turn to PopMatters. See what I thought of some high-profile premieres.

Pushing Daisies

"Gorgeous and vibrant, it features super-saturated colors and bright, bold patterns, a perfect antidote to the dark and grainy moodiness that permeates most primetime dramas."


"For a show that’s supposedly about the plight of minorities in America, Cavemen showed a shocking lack of diversity. It’s basically Friends with more body hair."

Kid Nation

"At the outset, it looked like there was no hope for a kid hamlet, let alone a nation."

Gossip Girl

"While it’s easy to imagine high schoolers across the country drooling over the power and freedom enjoyed by Blair (Leighton Meester) and Serena (Blake Lively)—not to mention those outfits—I’m not sure how many would actually exchange their basement keggers for a nightlife geared for much older women."

The Cavemen, Kid Nation, and Gossip Girl reviews were all aggregated on Metacritic.

Catching Up

I only just started compiling my clips, but I've been a professional writer since 2003. If you'd like to see anything else, I certainly can provide you with more. Highlights include "No More Empty Nest," about the social and economic reasons why young adults choose to live with their parents longer (no link available but I have the PDF), and "Cosmetics 101," about my personal foray into the world of beauty.