My Month of Pop Culture: The Best, The Bad, and The Rest (January)

by George Watches Things

Today, we begin a new feature on the blog. It’s similar to Pop Culture Happy Hour’s ‘What’s Making You Happy This Week?‘ except with many more selections and done in much more detail. Enjoy, and feel free to post your own picks for the month of January. The picks are in no particular order.

The Best


1. The Larry Sanders Show: this was my January discovery… Netflix suggested it to me for months before I finally clicked on it January 2nd at 9:15 PM.

2. Better Off Ted: of all the shows that I feel got cancelled too soon (see: Arrested Development, Free Agents, Monday Monday…), BOT was the absolute weirdest. An episode in which a foreign business woman forces a man to have sex with her while she’s using a translator device that makes her sound like a male scientist? And bagels are involved? No way, bro. I miss you, Ted, but I will forever cherish the episodes I had with you.

3. Silent cinema: this month, I got a chance to see two of the all-time great silent films. Yes, I’m talking about City Lights and The Artist. “Wait… whoa whoa whoa… The Artist? Are you serious?” you might say. “Yes, I am,” I might say. Stay tuned for a discussion of it!

4. Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go: I’ve seen the movie (in fact, it’ll come up soon when I reveal my best of the decades list), of course, and am reading this for an English project in school. If you’ve never read it, I suggest you do. Even the most resistant readers will be literally glued to each page. Sticky stuff.

5. LouieLouie is a special kind of show, and I’m glad Netflix has Season 1 ready to be watched. It combines stand-up with twisted sitcom scenarios with surrealism. I can’t wait for Netflix to add Season 2, which I hear is even better.

The Bad

Dear NBC: I can count the reasons I should stay, but cancel Community and they'll ALL fade away.

1. Community‘s suspension beginning: Community‘s hiatus feels like old news, but not enough people know about it. With 30 Rock doing just as bad as it in the ratings, Up All Night flailing in the cushy post-Office slot, and The Firm getting canned, we’re this much closer to getting it back.

2. Are You There, Chelsea?: This was just awful. It was insulting to the ideas of comedy and human decency. I don’t mind Community being on hiatus; I mind Community being on hiatus while Are You There exists.

3. The Office‘s Pool Party: This show is falling apart. Here’s their future:

4. NBC giving Dwight Schrute a spinoff: The Office is falling apart. They’ll won’t make it to 10 seasons. Here’s what I think will happen next year: in the fall, we have the same Thursday line-up that we have now. They may go back to a 3-hour comedy block, but those will both be new series. In the winter, The Office‘s series finale (season 9 will be a sort one, ending in mid-January) leads into The Schrute Show (made-up title). At that time, Community comes back at 8, 30 Rock moves to 8:30, Parks becomes the anchor of the line-up, and Schrute is happy at 9:30. Can you tell I’ve thought about this?

5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and War Horse scoring Oscar noms: I really didn’t want to see either of these films, but now I feel like I’m obligated to.

And The Rest

From best to worst:

1. Poetry
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
3. The IT Crowd, Season 4
4. The Tree of Life and Moneyball getting nominated for Oscars
5. Malcolm in the Middle, Season 3
6. Another Earth
7. Weeds, Season 1
8. Retired at 35, Season 1
9. Hanna
10. The new season of 30 Rock
11. My Name is Earl, Season 1
12. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff
13. 3 episodes of Life on Mars the U.S. series
14. Monday Monday, Series 1
15. One episode of Whitney