Last week, I was reading (and enjoying) Patton Oswalt’s new book Silver Screen Fiend, a memoir of his four-year film addiction, which occurred as he was simultaneously finding his footing as a comedian. In describing the latter progression, he writes: “I’d spent the first nineteen years of life memorizing every comedy album I could play on my parents’ turntable. I knew the exact timing for the pause between the words ‘waited’ and ‘July’ in Bill Cosby’s ‘Revenge’ routine.” That line, the first of several examples of his comedy obsession, jumps out and jars — due, of course, to timing beyond Oswalt’s control. The book was presumably put to bed long before the accusations of Cosby’s decades as a serial rapist resurfaced last fall; the line serves as a reminder not just of his vaunted position in the comedy community, but of how slow that community has been to react to the accusations. This week, the tide began to turn, first with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s jaw-dropping Cosby jokes in their Golden Globes introduction, then with a candid conversation the next day between Judd Apatow and Marc Maron on Maron’s WTF podcast. … Read More
The Cosby Show
Cosby Show costar Phylicia Rashad has come to the defense of her TV husband, citing a “conspiracy” that amounts to dozens of separate rape and drugging and attempted assault accusations against the star.
“Forget these women,” she told Roger Friedman of Showbiz 411, in a conversation at an industry event. “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.” She continued: “Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV… and it’s worked. All his contracts have been canceled.” … Read More
When I was a kid, I watched The Cosby Show. This is not surprising information: Basically every kid, every person, that I knew — black or white, but especially black — watched The Cosby Show. Older friends had the pleasure of watching the show during its original run; I was grateful for its existence in syndication, airing 24/7. It was on Netflix for a while, and now it’s on Hulu. There is always a way to watch it. But yesterday, in the wake of the seemingly endless and horrifying rape allegations against Bill Cosby, TV Land pulled reruns of The Cosby Show. Earlier that day, Netflix pulled his stand-up special, Bill Cosby 77, which was set to air over Thanksgiving, and NBC axed his upcoming sitcom. The latter two decisions are not only understandable but absolutely necessary. The former is a bit trickier to dissect. … Read More
This weekend, the Bill Hader-Kristen Wiig dramedy The Skeleton Twins rolls out in limited release, and it’s well worth a look. When I saw the film at Sundance earlier this year, I had one immediate thought: that lip-sync scene is gonna be huge on YouTube. It’s part of a long tradition in pop culture, wherein a mood of camaraderie, eccentricity, or affection is established by having our characters throw themselves into a live, mimed performance of a recorded classic. These are a few of our favorites. … Read More
In the ongoing Great Streaming Wars of 2014, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Instant Video are constantly battling each other, making exclusive deals with networks, creating original programs, and just overall competing to host the best content. Hulu Plus has a clear advantage in that it has the most current-run shows available, yet it still often goes overlooked when it comes to older shows. But Hulu has plenty of those too — here are 45 TV shows on Hulu (some free, some with Hulu Plus) that aren’t available on Netflix or… Read More
A few weeks back, we pointed you in the direction of some great movies streaming free on YouTube. Now, if you wanna watch free TV online without a Netflix or Hulu Plus membership, the proposition gets a little trickier — those copyrights are guarded a bit more zealously, and the viewing experience can be, to put it charitably, spotty. That’s why sitcoms are so good for YouTube viewing; as long as you have a passing familiarity with the characters, it’s easy to sample an episode here and there on a lunch break and not have to worry about serialized arcs and continuity issues. Here are some of the best sitcoms in television history that have at least a handful of episodes on… Read More
Do you like Halloween parties? Or are you the kind of person who prefers to celebrate at home, watching horror movies with friends or handing out candy to trick-or-treaters? Well, thanks to the magic of television, you can (virtually) do both — experience all the fun of a great shindig with none of the effort. TV has brought us no shortage of spooky and hilarious Halloween parties over the years. Relive ten of our favorites, from How I Met Your Mother’s legendary “slutty pumpkin” party to Buffy’s demonic frat party, after the jump. … Read More
Despite a shaky start, we have high hopes for The New Normal, which officially debuted last night on NBC (tonight, the series’ second episode will air in its regular Tuesday time slot). As discussed in our fall preview, we felt the pilot a touch too didactic and the characterization teetering on offensive, but we’re hoping these things even out because the show’s talented cast, inclusive premise, and promise for sitcom-defying weirdness promise to far outweigh the bad. If you’ve followed TV news the past month, then you’ve probably heard about the backlash from One Million Moms, and then of course the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate’s decision not to air the show, behavior not entirely unusual in the scheme of TV sitcom history.
When networks have introduced “new normals” in decades past, the initial response wasn’t always warm — nor was the execution always perfect. But bit by bit, the sitcom has evolved, eroding the notion that a family can only look one way, and we hope the pattern continues. Click through for an abridged looked at some of these most boundary-breaking families, from the Ricardos on through the Lear era, and to the “anti-family” shows of the late ’80s that cleverly left us fumbling for a firm handle on what it means to be “normal” anyways. … Read More
It’s officially springtime, folks! If you’re anything like us, you may or may not have exploited the, “I can’t come out tonight, it’s too cold outside” excuse to hole up all winter and indulge in Downton Abbey and Community marathons, and now you’re ready to face the spring warmth as a social butterfly. But what should you do with the vast, invaluable TV knowledge you acquired over your Netflix hibernation period? Throw a party, of course! But not just any party — a Mad Men or Freaks and Geeks-style bash. We brought you movies and albums that would make great party themes, and now we’ve gathered ten TV shows that will similarly get the party started. … Read More
Thanksgiving is upon us, and it’s high time to enjoy all of our favorite yearly traditions: the turkey, the stuffing, the pumpkin pie, the awkward family encounters, pretending to care about football… and, most of all, that venerable standby of episodic television, the Thanksgiving show. As best as we can determine, the first weekly series to do a Thanksgiving-centered episode was The Burns and Allen Show, back in 1951; Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy, and Mr. Peepers quickly followed suit, realizing that a Thanksgiving show offered plenty of fodder for conflict, resolution, and warm holiday cheer. We’ve selected ten of our favorite Thanksgiving episodes — and in the culinary spirit of the holiday, we present them in the ever-popular Zagat’s dining guide format, because why not? Check ’em out after the jump and add your own in the comments. … Read More