Past & Present Colliding in ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

“You know it’s funny, Nellie was always trying to get all of us together in one place,” Shirley says the night before her little sister’s funeral.

It’s the blunt and bitter truth, isn’t it? As families we get together for birthdays, for weddings and anniversaries. We reunite for funerals, too. Cruelly. Painfully. Celebratory milestones have a way of bringing disparate people together, as does heartrending tragedy. Continue reading

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