NBC

When Did Film Get So Cynical About Journalism?

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The theatrical release of Rupert Goold’s True Story this Friday was set quite some time ago, announced even before the film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, so its timeliness is coincidental, but still remarkable. Based on the memoir of the same name, it tells the story of how New York Times reporter Mike Finkel (Jonah Hill) lost his job and credibility with a poorly reported cover story on child slavery on the Ivory Coast, and made an unlikely comeback by stumbling into the story of murderer Christian Longo (James Franco), who used Finkel’s name as an alias while on the run. It hits theaters in the midst of discussion and dissemination of the Columbia School of Journalism’s blistering review of Rolling Stone’s story “A Rape on Campus,” aptly described therein as “another shock to journalism’s credibility.” And True Story fits well within the current pattern of how movies portray that once lionized, now battered profession.
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‘One Big Happy': Why Is Ellen DeGeneres’ Lesbian Sitcom Full of Obnoxious Stereotypes?

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If nothing else, One Big Happy, produced by Ellen DeGeneres and created by Liz Feldman, believes that it’s forward-thinking and progressive. NBC’s newest sitcom centers on single lesbian Liz (Elisha Cuthbert, Happy Endings), who is trying to have a child with her straight best friend and roommate Luke (Nick Zano, still trying to find a solid comedy to latch on to). However, their plans implode when Luke meets and spontaneously marries a British stranger named Prudence (Kelly Brook), who quickly moves in and clashes with Liz — just as Liz finds out that she’s pregnant! It’s a Three’s Company situation without the humor, a queer-centric sitcom with backwards jokes (and sans queer characters; Liz’s ex appears in the second episode but the show “will not see another gay series regular character“), and a comedy that generally feels like it premiered two decades too late.
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‘Parks and Recreation’ Series Finale Recap: “One Last Ride”

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When it comes to series finales there is always too much to ask, and doubly so when a show has been on for quite a while and has catered to a smallish but enthusiastic group of fans. How can one finale possibly satisfy everyone? It’s impossible, but Parks and Recreation comes pretty damn close at providing one of the sweetest finales ever of a sitcom. It’s lowkey funny, and perhaps a little too neat, but it’s 100 percent Pawnee and that’s what it should be.
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NBC’s ‘The Slap’ Is an Irritating Miniseries Masquerading as a Prestige Drama

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Once you get past the title and the simplistic premise touted in the dramatic promos — a man slaps another man’s child — everything about NBC’s The Slap screams “prestige television event!” The eight-episode miniseries, which premieres tonight, follows the chaotic aftermath of a single event. Like most recent prestige dramas, The Slap harps on the darkness that envelops unhappy (and well-off) middle-aged adults with pent-up anger or wandering eyes, as shown through multiple relationships all in different stages. The characters discuss everything from cultural politics to ethical dilemmas. The show boasts an impressive roster of talented actors: Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman, Thandie Newton. The pilot will be a conversation starter, especially for parents, who will no doubt debate the moral issues behind the titular slap. It sounds intriguing on paper, but in execution The Slap is a messy, condescending, and misguided drama that will do little to help NBC compete with prestige cable offerings.
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‘Allegiance’ Falls Flat in Desperate Attempt to Channel ‘The Americans’

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Television loves to follow trends. Think of all the poor science-fiction dramas that followed Lost or all the “unique” family sitcoms that have been popping up since the success of Modern Family. With FX’s The Americans appearing on numerous best-of lists and steadily gaining a strong following, it was only a matter of time before networks started churning out spy thrillers. NBC’s Allegiance isn’t just inspired by The Americans — it’s essentially a frustratingly bland carbon copy that fails at capturing the urgency of The Americans‘ narrative. The only impressive thing about Allegiance is that it manages to take a dramatically interesting premise — family spy vs. spy — and make it utterly boring. 
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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 7 Episode 7 Recap: “Donna and Joe”

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Even with the plotline centered around Donna’s wedding, the season seven midpoint of Parks and Recreation was action-packed for more than just the Meagles. Jen Barkley shows up and goads Ben into running for Congress. Tom and Lucy take a leap, even after Ron inadvertently screws it up. We finally get a good look at Leslie and Ben’s kids, with Rachel Dratch (!!!) as their overwhelmed nanny, Roz. It’s revealed that Jerry/Larry/Terry is actually named Gary (please say this marks the end of this joke). Questlove shows up as Donna’s estranged baby brother, Levondrius, and smashes a vintage microwave on the dance floor, giving Donna the touch of drama she craved for her wedding. Truly, “Donna and Joe” had it all.
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