Pop Culture Week in Review: May 16-22
After doing a 500-word limit the last few weeks, it’s time to really let the Pop Culture Week in Review breathe. Instead, this week’s entry will read sort of like a pop culture journal entry. After all, these recaps aren’t here to give you polished, full-on reporter details of what happened in the week. I’m here to synthesize the week in pop culture for you, outputting one dork’s impressions. With that in mind: Below is a chronologically accurate re-telling of the pop culture I consumed and observed this week, copied out of my notebook. Only minor style changes have been made. Enjoy!
I Saw Mad Max: Fury Road
You know how sometimes you go to see a movie not because you want to, but because you just kinda have to? I had never seen the original “Mad Max” films, I have never been particularly fond of post-apocalyptic works, and my roommate told her that “Fury Road” filled her with bloodlust that could only be quenched by killing a man.
.@werdtroll has decided not sleep at our apartment tonight because apparently I'm talking about killing men too much.
— Beth Meroski (@bethmeroski) May 16, 2015
But holy wow this movie was good. The first 30 minutes was essentially one long car chase, and the whole movie only pauses for brief moments for narrative/emotional breath-catching before amping up the chase tension more and more. I recommend it.
Mad Men Ended **SPOILER ALERT**
I warned about this last week, and “Mad Men” sure made a splash. Not only did the show have one of its biggest ratings draws, but it got a fair amount of ink for its very open-to-interpretation ending wherein (Spoiler Alert) Don Draper spent an hour being a baby at a California spa, then got an idea for a cheesy ad that my parents remember well and which sounds vaguely familiar to me.
I spent a fair amount of time debating with my roommate (and also my father) whether this was a satisfying ending. Does it matter? The mere fact that I’m writing about this show a whole FOUR DAYS after it went off the air is CLEAR PROOF that its legacy will be eternal.
NON-SEQUITUR TWEET ALERT:
92 episodes and #MadMen never explained if Don shaves the back of his own neck. He always has such a crisp line. Does he use a hand mirror?
— Max Silvestri (@maxsilvestri) May 18, 2015
Game of Thrones Caused A Controversy. Guess Why?
Did you know that “Game of Thrones” is responsible for coining a filmmaking term – sexposition – in which boring backstory is spiced up for a viewer by being delivered on-screen whilst at least one person is needlessly naked and/or having sex? The show has received plenty of criticism over the years for deploying this device, distilling hundreds of pages of book content into brief soliloquies while a topless lady kisses another topless lady. The casual treatment of sex as a mechanism for increased viewership has often been called out as not only lazy, but tasteless and harmful.
On this week’s “Game of Thrones,” the episode ends with a rather bleak bit of sexual sensationalism that I won’t describe here – not because it’s a spoiler, but because I don’t feel comfortable giving the play-by-play for a scene in which a THIRD female principle character is victimized by a male.
This caused uproar this week. People wrote thinkpieces and took to social media to point out the problem with the show’s treatment of sex and violence against women. Many of these writers are far more qualified than I am to talk about these subjects – and then a whole bunch are trolls or narrow-minded fools. Sadly, the internet has plenty of that.
The Mindy Project Got Saved By Hulu
I called this one, too. Fans of “The MIndy Project” are passionate and numerous enough that the execs over at Hulu decided to save the doomed Fox show and make it a Hulu Original staring next season.
Either that, or someone in the Hulu offices really just loves Mindy Kaling.
David Letterman Retired in Style
Bill Murray popped out of a cake and drank liquor on Letterman’s show Tuesday. And then Wednesday, Dave signed off with one of the most poised television farewells you could imagine. I’m tempted to post Dave’s final Top Ten List, in which 10 different celebrities said goodbye. But celebrity stunts were never really Dave’s forte. Below is his final monologue, showing off what an affable, charming, self-effacing, and hilarious guy David Letterman has been for the last 33 years.
Simon Pegg Calls Out Nerd Culture (not really)
This is another case of the internet running with a comment before really unpacking it or giving it a fair bit of critical thinking. Simon Pegg said in an interview that much of pop culture focuses on spectacle and sensation, instead of substance or morality. What happened next was predictable: everyone and their mother shared links to blog posts about Pegg’s comments. Was he right – do nerd films “infantalize” their audience? Or is this a delusional actor who’s being hypocritical (remember that Pegg will soon have the rare distinction of appearing in both the Star Trek AND Star Wars universes)?
Turns out, we can all calm down. Simon Pegg took to his website to deliver a clarification that wasn’t an apology as much as an opportunity to lend nuance to a conversation that had become very knee-jerk. He examines the escapist quality of cinema, and offers a couple examples of films (Ex Machina and Mad Max) that strike the proper balance between dazzling visuals and a message.
NON-SEQUITUR TWEET ALERT:
I don't know what Simon Pegg said but if it made nerds angry, I agree with it.
— rob delaney (@robdelaney) May 20, 2015
Carlton is Gonna Host “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
Alfonso Ribeiro, better known as Carlton from “Fresh Prince,” was named as the new host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” I could make a joke about how I didn’t even realize that show still existed, but really this was all just an excuse to get that gif in.