This Week in TV: Finding Solace in Smart

I feel so lucky to be living in an age during which I can find all of the news I want.  I feel cursed to be living in an age during which I can find all of the news I want.

But TV, TELEVISION, has a way of making it all better for me.

This has been a hard week.  Aren’t they all?  Writers are fighting about honoring Charlie Hebdo, maybe-ISIS-rebels are shooting at cartoonists again (even if they are participating in a contest that makes my skin crawl), mullahs are being sentenced to death as justice is being served for the killing of a young woman who was speaking her truth to power.

So I am going to share some smart TV to help remind us that we are not alone in the turmoil of the crazy-making world.

When I watched John Oliver skewer the Bud Light campaign I wrote about last week, I felt less alone.  Often I feel like I am shouting into a canyon and all I hear is my own echo:  “Patriarchy is killing us!” reverberates back to me, alone on the cliff.


And then this happened:

I don’t laugh out loud often.  Thank you, John, for helping me laugh about something that felt like another nail in my personal coffin.

In the I-know-I-need-to-watch-more-often category falls Amy Schumer.  I love everything I have seen her do.  When I watch her sketch “Every Woman Has Been A Little Raped.” I swoon.  Because she cuts right to the ambivalence and confusion about what is rape and what isn’t.  (Kind of like “Blurred Lines,” but in a smart, non-assaholic way).  Go watch it, I can wait.

Two of her sketches have been in the news this week.  Don’t take a drink of water before you watch either.  Your screen will have spit on it.

Salon’s very smart Katie McDonough (whose job I really, really would like to have) brings to light how dark this satire is.

And so Tuesday night’s “12 Angry Men” — a parody with a tone that adheres remarkably close to its source material — cuts in precisely the same way: deep and deadly, with the fatal strike coming from the direction you weren’t looking. This time around we have the perfectly cast John Hawkes in the Henry Fonda role, the hero who is the first to vote that Schumer is hot enough to have a show on basic cable.

Enjoy every second of this four minutes:

Sadly, my Women’s and Gender Studies class stopped meeting last week, or I would have showed them this satirical look at rape culture in football.  I need to laugh at the rape culture sometimes in a means of self-preservation.  I suggest you watch this and maybe enjoy a laugh as well, especially if you are a fan of Coach Taylor.  Because with all of the news about athletes beating and assaulting women again this week, I am out. No more football for me.  I didn’t watch boxing anyway, but the desire to reward a perpetrator of partner violence with millions for his punch signals to me we have a long way to go.  I need to laugh along the way a little.

I have been saying this since I started teaching:  we aren’t watching enough TV.  Well, at least the smart stuff.  And I didn’t even get to mention Broad City.  Another week, perhaps…


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