So, we would like to pretend that we're super savvy and in touch with everything going on in the realm of movies, music, sports, and television on top of everything else going on around and about New York City. That's really, really hard.
Sure, we devote 90% of our time and energy devoted to finding what makes NYC tick and helping you navigate the treacherous waves of sensory overload that crash down on you every time you step foot to the streets. But what's with that other 10?
TV. Let's talk TV.
If you're into podcasts, you should absolutely check Channel 33 out. "The Watch" with Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald, if you're into TV, movies, music-- basically everything, is essential listening sh*t. Anyway, let's talk about the idea of the TV seasons.
Greenwald starts with a huge idea that we want to use as a somewhat trivial groundwork for a larger discussion we'll dig into as we go: "Up until relatively recently, TV was pretty much about the Fall. All of the new shows came out in the Fall, everyone paid attention to them... that was it."
Maybe in the Spring there'd be a couple new shows, and then Summer was just hot garbage-- hot garbage piped directly into your TV box.... Obviously those days are long, long gone, and the Fall almost feels like an afterthought... I would say that the season we're coming out of, the season that begins in January is in many ways the busiest."
Why is that? More importantly, why do we care? To answer the first, Greenwald notes that services like Amazon and Netflix have "micro-targeted" these seasons more carefully, beginning the trend of releasing new shows and series-- all episodes at once --during holiday weekends and lengthy breaks.
To answer the second is to identify a singular uniqueness of the millennial lifestyle: cultural consumption via time travel. Almost anything that's ever aired on TV, recorded in a music studio, or screened in a movie theater, with any degree of success or impact, can be found, revisited, and consumed.
Sure, the smallest seeds of this idea may have been scattered by the hands of TiVo and DVR, but thanks to streaming services there's a veritable giving tree of media from which we can pluck trends right off the branches, and enjoy them with a delayed freshness that's nearly as enjoyable as if you'd tuned in from the start.
There's a lot more to unpack here, namely the question of, "Well, how fresh can it actually be if there's nobody to talk about it with? Can we equate freshness with relevance? If we're watching The Wire for the first time nearly a decade after it ended, is it relevant? If it's not, how do you frame that experience?"
All of this is to say, catching up on TV is as rewarding as experiencing the moment with currency, and it's never as painful when the conclusions happen to disappoint. Here's what we're watching this weekend.
1. The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
In the past, "What We're Watching This Weekend" has served as a guide to things that you should watch and enjoy on the weekend if you're more of a homebody than someone down for a night out. Sometimes it's just been a recap of last weekend with an eye for what's going to happen next time.
But then we realized, we don't have to do that because we don't really have to tune in right at that time, so we're tweaking the aim of this fixture to make room for things we've ignored. We've heard certain shows are good, and maybe we've waited to hear the words "must-watch TV" before we jumped in.
Such is the case with FX's American Crime Story. We've heard it's dope, that Cuba Gooding Jr. is a weird choice, David Schwimmer is great, John Travolta's leather face is the 2nd scariest leather face on TV right now after Drumpf, and that all-in-all, the things this show set out to do are all working in ways we could never have expected.
So, thanks to the magic of 21st Century technology, we're going to catch up. All of it. This weekend. Especially because of recent news surrounding the "OJ Simpson Trial" and the recent re-discovery of a knife buried at the property of Simpson's former Rockingham estate.
The incredible thing about the time we live in is that we get to do two things simultaneously: We get to learn the narrative of the 20-year-old trial as though it's unfolding again; a re-telling of a time when millennials were mostly too young to have witnessed it and understood its impact.
We also get to tie in this real-time time-travel with a show still unfolding, uninfluenced by this latest development, fixed around the narrative we assumed had concluded with the end of the trial. Coincidental or not, the way we experience television in this instance is absurd and unheard of.
Portlandia has been of the funniest shows on TV for a while now, and the best part about it is that it's perfectly formatted for the convenience of how we generally prefer to watch television: leisurely, whenever, it's no rush, whatever.
It's a successful sketch comedy show that rarely flops, and you can't say that about many things. Armisen and Brownstein are legitimately funny, their characters are built on jokes that don't work, and simply put, it's good at making you laugh (which, you know, matters with comedies).
Most importantly, it makes us want to leave the hustle and bustle of NYC and go there. Right. Now. So much so, in fact, that we think you should go to Portland, Oregon too. On us. For free.
Enter our giveaway right (ending Monday March 7th) right here, binge through Portlandia on Netflix, and catch new episodes every Thursday on IFC at 10 p.m.
3. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
This story from last week's episode is must-watch TV because it clears up so much that we've ignored about Donald Trump and his campaign: blatant, flagrant falsehood. If you missed it, guess what? You can watch it right here. After this though, we're going to stay tuned for the duration.
Now, we were told not to get political, especially when it comes to something so polarizing as one of New York's own, so let's be clear about one very simple thing here: when we knock on Trump, we're not promoting a liberal agenda, and we're not condemning the GOP at large.
As New Yorkers, we're simply embarrassed by the idea that we should call Trump one of our own. He's brash, intolerant, thin-skinned, and bumbling. He's immature, and his very prominence has opened the floodgates for hatred and a terrifying Nationalist agenda.
Nothing we believe about NYC or New Yorkers and their values lines up with this man. It has nothing to do with him as a Republican nominee. It has everything to do with how afraid of the world he believes we should be, and how that goes against everything we learned about ourselves after 9/11.,
4. What Happened, Miss Simone?
This documentary is powerful. It's timely. It's incredible. Nina Simone is one of the greatest musicians in American history. It's also much, much more relevant now because of the recent backlash surrounding the Nina Simone biopic.
Someone thought it was good idea to cast Zoey Saldana (Puerto Rican/Dominican) as Nina Simone. In case you missed it, Zoey Saldana's complexion is a far cry from Nina Simone's. How did the studio fix this? Well, nothing short of good ol' blackface.
We just finished up with #OscarsSoWhite, but, like, Saldana's like, black enough, right? That's good enough, right? Even if she's a little lighter, this is still okay, right? Something, something, "A for Effort?" No. Nothing about this is okay. This isn't about political correctness.
This is about racism by way of colorism. To be fair, Saldana's used to wearing different colored faces: Guardians of the Galaxy (Green), Avatar (Blue), Colombiana (Colombian), Vantage Point (Stupid), and Drumline (Cannon-faced).
Watch this documentary on Netflix and figure out if any aspect of this Nina Simone film sounds like anything but straight up doomed. Remember: settling for an actor who maybe sort of "looks black" does nothing to resolve Hollywood's institutional failure to cast black actors in movies.
5. Detroit Pistons @ New York Knicks - Saturday, March 5th 7:00 p.m.
Stay with us here. Last week we put Golden State @ OKC on tap because we thought it was going to be an incredible game. Sure enough, it totally was. You're welcome. This time, we're going to catch you up on what you might have missed in Knicks news this week.
"Look, the owner's right there. Ask for your money back." That's what Carmelo Anthony told a heckler en route to a blowout loss to the Trailblazers Tuesday night. The next day, he apologized for indirectly attributing blame for a sorry product on the court to Knicks' owner James Dolan, who's agreeably terrible.
The next day, Melo says what? Oh, that the apology was actually Dolan's idea. So, not only did Melo bite the hand that feeds him, he bit it clean off, chewed for a bit, and realizing that the taste was unsavory, spat it back out. IT GETS WORSE.
Between losing to the Blazers and choking against the Celtics Friday night, Melo (who's making nearly $25 million this season) announced that he's teaming up with Macy's and Nickelodeon to release a line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles clothing because, well, he's a 90s b*tch.
No playoffs on the horizon, supposedly mentoring one of the most electric rookies in the NBA, a no-trade clause built into that huge contract that's limited the quality of other players the Knicks can bring in, sorry/not sorry jab at the team's owner, and a Ninja Turtles clothing line?! #Priorities
He was 18 when he won a National Championship with Syracuse and he went straight to the draft. That's enough to say, "Melo, you peaked in high school." On the other hand, Porzingis is fun, Drummond is must-watch, and this week validates further scrutinizing Melo and his "meh" legacy.[Feature Image Courtesy LA Mag]