A Special ‘Parks and Recreation’ Treat (Yo Self)

I was smiling as soon as Leslie Knope’s face lit up my TV screen. Heck, I was smiling as soon as the show’s quirky title sequence livened up my living room – both things I never thought I’d experience again following the end of Parks and Recreation’s original run. The Pawnee Parks Department is back to assuage our stay-at-home blues with a greatest hits run of iconic bits and recurring show motifs— along with some quarantine jabs thrown in for good measure. Sure, the episode lacks the polish of a usual production and is missing the surefire energy of an in-room ensemble, but this Coronavirus relief special is nonetheless a momentous reunion delivered at the right place and right time. Continue reading

Can ‘The Outsider’ Stick The Landing?

I have been watching HBO’s The Outsider with cautious optimism. Because while the series is gloriously dark, moody, often chilling, and garnering praise as 2020’s first great TV show, frankly we’ve been here before. Last year’s True Detective Season 3 kicked off 2019 to a similarly strong start before it went out with a solid, if otherwise slow conclusion. The Outsider has nothing to prove as a debut miniseries boasting impressive viewership. But with one episode left in the chamber, can The Outsider succeed where True Detective S3 did not? (Light spoilers below.) Continue reading

Dave Chappelle’s ‘Sticks & Stones’ Won’t Break Bones, Or Any New Ground Either

Few comedians are as enduring or headline-worthy as Dave Chappelle. Many can nab themselves TV or movie deals thus prolonging their shelf-life i.e. Kevin Hart, Kumail Nanjiani, Michelle Wolf, Bo Burnham. But the return to the mic isn’t always seamless i.e. Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Daniel Tosh (and, depending on who you ask, Ricky Gervais). Dave Chappelle is the rare comedian who came back with a renewed comic lens and a welcome socio-political incisiveness that made his return such a sigh of relief. But if his last two standups Age of Spin and Equanimity suggested a pseudo-renaissance, then Sticks & Stones is an unfortunate stumbling block that otherwise slows the breakneck pace of his resurgence. Continue reading

I Love Fleabag

Hello, my name is Adrian Manuel and I am addicted to Fleabag.

After weeks of seeing Phoebe Waller-Bridge pop up in a rolling stream of gifs, hearing endlessly about “that menopause scene,” and reading thirsty reactions concerning a “Hot Priest,” all with zero context whatsoever, I finally decided to see what the fuss was about— if only for context.

I was sold by the first cold open. (And, as of writing this, I have ordered a copy of Fleabag: The Play and am looking up various ways I can get “Phoebe Waller-Bridge” tattooed on my person. HELP) Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Was Unpredictable To The Very End

The great inevitability of stories is that as sure as they are to begin, they will end. A thing cannot keep going no matter its popularity or success. (This includes a much-hyped and very profitable era of the MCU.) The show must go on, then the curtains must draw for a close. That’s the bittersweet feeling Game of Thrones leaves behind—the knowledge that this could’ve gone on to Season 10 onward to 100 episodes. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss instead went bold in not only concluding one of the biggest TV shows in the world, but also in giving the show the cinematic ending it deserves. Continue reading