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September 24, 2013 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-24

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Reflecting on the
stumbling Emmys

Annual television
celebration feels
more like a eulogy
For the Daily
Though it aimed for a dignified
tribute to television's past, the
65th Annual Primetime Emmys
stumbled, thanks to CBS's
notorious overabundance of
commercials and its ruthlessly
monitored schedule. Host Neil
Patrick Harris did his best with
the little time he had, including
a hilarious opening monologue
featuring cameos from past hosts
- including Jimmy Kimmel, Jane
Lynch, Jimmy Fallon and Conan
O'Brien, as well as Golden Globes
hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
- and ending with Kevin Spacey
breaking the fourth wall as his
character Francis Underwood
from "House of Cards."
Big winners of the night
included "Modern Family," which
won its fourth consecutive Emmy
for Outstanding Comedy Series
and "Breaking Bad," which won
its first Emmy for Outstanding
Drama Series. "Bad" creator Vince
Gilligan accepted the award with
the humility expected from one
of the best writers in the medium.
"I thought this was gonna be
'House of Cards,' " Gilligan said,
"or it could've been 'Homeland,'
or it could've been 'Mad Men,' or it
could've been 'Game of Thrones'
or 'Downton Abbey,' could've
been any of 'em, and even some
others who were not nominated in
this golden age of television that
we feel so proud to be a part of."
"Bad" also picked up the award
for Best Supporting Actress in
a Drama, with series star Anna
Gunn getting her just due for
putting up with Skyler White
haters for the past five seasons.
Huge upsets were seen in
both the Lead and Supporting

Actor Categories for Drama.
"Boardwalk Empire" 's Bobby
Cannavale beat out fan-favorite
Peter Dinklage of "Game of
Thrones," as well as "Homeland"
's Manny Patinkin, Jim Carter
from "Downton Abbey" and
"Breaking Bad" stars Jonathon
Banks and Aaron Paul.
But the biggest upset happened
when Jeff Daniels of "The
Newsroom" won for Lead Actor
in a Drama. Daniels echoed
everyone's reaction with his
acceptance speech: "Well crap, I
didn't expect this." The favorite
was clearly Bryan Cranston,
whose turn as Walter White might
very well be remembered as the
greatest television performance
of all time. Still, Cranston has
three Emmys under his belt and
was grouped in a category with
some of the most memorable
TV actors in recent years. Kevin
Spacey's scheming Congressman
Frank Underwood from "House
of Cards" seemed to be next in line
after Cranston, as well as Damian
Lewis from "Homeland" and Jon
Hamm from "Mad Men," whose
portrayal of ad man Don Draper
has yen to see a golden statue.
Still, Daniels's performance as the
affable but isolated Will McAvoy
is largely ignored by most critics,
as is the HBO show itself. Will
McAvoy's charm and nobility set
him apart from the darker anti-
heroes portrayed by his peers,
something that Emmy voters
seemed to have considered.
Other notable winners
included Julia Louis-Dreyfus
and Tony Hale of "Veep," who
won for Outstanding Lead
Actress and Supporting Actor
in a Comedy, respectively. Big-
name filmmakers like David
Fincher ("House of Cards") and
Steven Soderbergh ("Behind
the Candelabra") also won,
with Fincher making history
as the first Emmy winner for a
show that didn't premiere on

any television network. But the
show's most tender moment came
from the standing ovation given
to television legend Bob Newhart,
who won his first Emmy for
his guest role on "The Big Bang
Elton John delivered a
powerful performance dedicated
to the life of Liberace, while
Carrie Underwood gave a solid,
albeit semi-sacrilegious, cover of
"Yesterday" by The Beatles. The
nominees for Best Choreography,
meanwhile, presented an out-of-
place performance inspired by
the nominees, turning the award
show into an awkward episode of
"So You Think You Can Dance."
The most controversial change to
the show, however, was scattering
of memorials throughout the
broadcast, in honor of deceased
television personalities like
James Gandolfini and Cory
Monteith. Trying something
new in showing respect to these
tragically departed icons took
some guts, and their attempt
should be applauded. However,
it made the whole broadcast feel
like an overlong eulogy, not a
The rushed and
commercialized broadcast acted
as a prime example of why this
current generation is likelier
to watch something on cable,
Netflix or DVR than slog through
the miserable onslaught of
advertisements and cheese that
has rendered networks like CBS
first in viewers and last in quality.
With shows like "Homeland,"
"House of Cards" and "Breaking
Bad" becoming the standard by
which all television is judged,
the question is whether network
dramas will ever be able to
catch up to their less censored
counterparts, or will network TV
someday have its own memorial
segment when the Emmys are
broadcasted on HBO or Netflix
somewhere down the line.

Look at these studs.
'This is ... a dance-pop
cliche from Icona Pop

Jhumpa Lahiri's Lowland'
examines brotherhood

Daily Arts Writer
I have two younger brothers,
young enough that I have been
able to watch their dynamic shift
as they grew to
become their A
own people,
rather than The Lowland
puppies in a
litter. Exactly Jhumpa Lahiri
two years apart Knopf
in age, they
are intensely
different but deeply connected:
giggling roommates, yet crippling
Brothers have been a
cornerstone of literature since
stories were written on papyrus.
The passion, the resentment, the
emotionally charged competition
between brothers has obvious
biblical ties, and authors can't
seem to resist the concept
of people tied by blood and
background, but not necessarily
by love.
In the magnificent "The
Lowland," Jhumpa Lahiri
introduces us to two archetypal
brothers: Udayan, the young,
brash revolutionary, and his
intellectual and reserved older
brother Subhash, living in post-
partition Calcutta. Though the
premise is predictable - one
brother delves deeply into the
I violent Marxist movement in
Calcutta while the other retreats
from social responsibility and

has spi
debut s
By beg
and pr
does n
both s
the tw
book, S

to the United States - instigator) decide to sneak onto a
skillfully roots the story in local golf course reserved for the
rather than politics. British, and with little description
Pulitzer Prize winner or analysis, Lahiri shows their
ent the 15 years since her brotherly bond: "Subhash felt the
hort-story collection, "The weight of his brother's foot, the
eter of Maladies," sticking worn sole of his sandal, then his
to what she knows: whole body, bearing down for an
ful character pieces of instant." Subhash consistently
tual Indian-Americans feels overpowered by his larger-
ig to life in New England. than-life brother, and Lahiri
inning her tale in frenzied deftly describes this without
'ecarious India, there is losing focus on the plot.
a noticeable shift in the At times, the plot quickens,
ude and ambition of the sweeping through 20 years in
two pages, then slows to spend
an entire chapter describing a
crucial moment. Lahiri's careful
ilitzer Prize prose and focus on character
development assures that her
inner crafts pacing is never harried or
ved, relatable All her characters are
sympathetic but still have very
haracters. real flaws that we recognize with
exquisite intimacy. Traces of her
former stories shine through:
An unhappy housewife unable
broad change in location to connect with her daughter, a
tot affect the heart of walk on the beach that becomes
talent, her ability to significant in years to come, a
dynamic characters with woman widowed before her time.
mall gestures and broad Though the novel powerfully
Though dialogue is stands alone, as a Lahiri disciple
the relationship between it seems as though her former
o brothers and, later on, tales were all leading up to this
relationships with their magnum opus. "The Lowland" is
are established with subtle both a soaring, cross-continental,
ge and reflective daily cross-generational view of a
shifting culture, and a quiet
the beginning of the examination of the meaning of
ubhash and Udayan (the family.

Daily Arts Writer
Do they still not care? Do they
still love it?These arethe questions
we hope to unpack during
Swedish pop
duo Icona Pop's
album, Thia This is...
Is... Icona Pop.
Coming from cona Pop
the nation that Icona Pop
has become
synonymous Atlantic
with cranking
out dance-pop
hits(see: Robyn, Bloodshy & Avant,
Avicii and then Robyn again),
Icona Pop seems destined for
superstardom solely based on its
birth certificates. Unfortunately,
the group needs more than a sheet
of government documentation to
produce a greanpop album, which
may be why This is... consists
primarily of filler tracks only
worthwhile for thrusting college
kids in fraternity basements.
By now, the album's opening
track, "I Love It," has been
heard for months by way of
a variety of platforms (radio,
commercials, on repeat in your
brain for days just because),
and it's no wonder: pulsating
synths, simple, shout-sung
lyrics and an in-your-face
chorus that asserts, "I don't
care / I love it." The world eats
that sort of thing up like free
samples at Costco. Despite
the powerhouse single and
album opener, this also marks
the beginning of the album's
consistent fizzle into dull,
vanilla pop, as well as your own
growing concern of why they're
still yelling at you five tracks
deep. Just so it's clear: The
sing-shouting is a not-so-subtle
theme throughout.
We don't care
about this
Laced with winding synths,
tracks like "All Night" and
"Ready for the Weekend" come
across as typical party songs
no one would be able to discern
against the dubstep menagerie
of a drunk disc jockey's
playlist. While This Is... doesn't
claim to be any more than
a fun pop album and would
clearly be the wrong place
to search for any profound
lyricism, tired pop cliches of
smashing the club and not
sleeping because this party is
paradise force songs like "All
Night" to get displaced among

the thousands of OK dance-pop
songs we hear during our lives
and most likely forget about the
following morning.
"Girlfriend" begins with yet
another pop trope of "Na na nas"
paired with an indiscriminate
beat while they assert that all
they need in this life is "me
and my girlfriend / me and my
girlfriend." The album ends
with "Then We Kiss," a byper-
glossy track which comes off
more as a laundry list of nouns
than actual lyrics: "daylight, to
nighttime, to sunrise, to your
eyes, to my eyes, to your lips, to
my lips, to your hips, to our hips
The album ends abruptly
with what is arguably its
worst song. It leaves listeners
unfulfilled and unsatisfied with
a touch of confused.

Not to say This Is... is without
a few decently catchy tracks.
"In The Stars" provides a
much more laid-back, yet still
danceable alternative to the
pounding, fiber-pop that fills
the rest of the album, while "We
Are the World" builds into the
most well-crafted hit behind
"I Love It." These songs have
what the rest lack: the distinct
and thought-out differences
between each verse, bridge and
chorus, giving you something
different to look forward to and
eventually enjoy. Most of the
album struggles to follow this
method throughout and instead
throws every dance beat and
yell-able lyric out there. In the
end, it seems like Icona Pop still
doesn't care, but unfortunately,
I don't love it.

@michdailya rts




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