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October 01, 2014 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-01

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The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 -5A


Overweight dads: An epidemic.
'Simpsons Guy'is
television history

Taking a break from all that sex stuff.
'Masters of Sex' both
ana..lytical and human

Groening and
MacFarlane come
together for special
9 DailyArts Writer
How does one review history?
OK,let's be alittle less dramatic:
how do you review television
Make no
whatever you Famil Guy
thought of
the "Family "The Simpsons
Guy" Guy"'
and "The FOX
it is history. With "Family Guy,"
Seth MacFarlane shaped the
sense of humor of an entire
generation of adolescent boys.
With "The Simpsons," Matt
Groening and James L. Brooks
created a manifestationof popular
culture bglopging in the s sme
realm as The Beatles, Batman,
Shakespeare and the Bible.
So what happened when
the two shows met? The most
disturbing car-wash in the history
of mankind. Well, that and one of
the most fascinating episodes of
television in some time. Whatever
you might have thought about
the episode, you'd be lying if you
didn't at the very least find "The
Simpsons Guy" intriguing for
the simple reason that it saw the
melding of two distinct, albeit
radicallysuccessful, styles.

"The Simpsons" .has always
been a family show with a lot
of comedy while "Family Guy"
has always been a comedy about
a "family." You always found
yourself loving Homer andr the
rest of the Simpsons clan despite
their flaws, with the absurdity of
Springfield always planted firmly
in the realm of satire instead of
parody. We always got a sense
that "The Simpsons" could be us
and in fact, was us, despite the
ridiculousness ofits world.
"Family Guy" on the other
hand is sardonic, nihilistic,
offensive, over-the-top, rude
and just about the farthest thing
removed from reality. You'd never
in a million years want to be the
Griffins, let alone live anywhere
near them. But that's the point of
"Family Guy." It's a show meant to
be hated. It's the show that depicts
hilarious depravity while hiding
its cringe behind aknowingsmirk.
It's a show that will kill off one of
its main characters, resurrecthim
and then make fun of the audience
for falling for it.
In "The Simpsons Guy,"
we remai conected; tor the
Griffins aidtheirexperiences in
a good bit of "Simpsons" fans
crying out in anger that "Family
Guy" gets more of the spotlight.
However, the compromise does
work, having the main characters
of "Family Guy" but the setting
of Springfield, as many viewers
today might be more attached
to "Family Guy" than the aging
"Simpsons." However, the writers
chose wisely to focus solely on
the relationship between the two
families as opposed to tryingto fit

too much in one episode. Instead
we got some pretty solid scenes
that we've always wanted to see
(and two that no one -and I mean
no one - should ever have to see).
A lot of the humor of the
episode came from the contrast
between the more earnest and
admittedly innocent humor
of "The Simpsons," with the
knowledge that any second the
characters of "Family Guy" would
do something horrendous to it all.
When Stewie and Bart team up,
and Stewie planstogetrevenge on
Nelson the bully, you just knew it
would get outof hand anysecond.
Of course, that was also the fun
of the episode. It was admittedly
kind of cool to see Stewie take the
revenge on Nelson I'm sure a lotof
people have been wanting to see
for the last 24 years.
Another strong point, perhaps
the most fascinating of all the
episode, was the lawsuit of
Duff versus Pawtucket Ale. The
ensuing battle resolved every
"Simpsons" vs. "Family Guy"*
comment anyone has ever made
and it was extremely cathartic to
feel like both shows finally buried
the hatchet."
Both shows are staples of
animated comedy and both have
a special place in this reviewer's
heart. It's good to see them finally
be friends, after all of these years,
even if it is just for one hour of
TV. In the end, there have been
funnier episodes of "Family Guy"
and more well-written episodes
of "The Simpsons," but there was
only one episode that brought
them both together. No matter
how you look at it, that's pretty

Showtime series
ends on a thought
provoking note
Daily TV/New Media Editor
What is love without sex?
"Masters of Sex" tried
address this question in
second sea-

son, utiliz-
ing a panoply
of parallel
stories and
situations to
show that in
the absence of
passion, the
multitude of a

of Sex
Season Two

couple's prob-
lems becomes insurmunta
"Master"- is inost-poigne
when it takeas close ilook
Bill (Michael Sheen, "Fro
Nixon") and Virginia's (Liz
Caplan, "Party Down") re
tionship. This season, t
realized that underneath
the stolen glances, coitus "
science" and declarations
love in the rain, their partn
ship is empty. Feeling inE
equate, Bill relied too heav
on Virginia to supply his c
fidence, but when he findsc
she's dating another man,
guilt finally catches up w
him. Though he's always be
neurotic and cold, Bill becon
clumsy and inscrutable.
switches from office to off
after a series of fistfights a
altercations, and even when
does find. a permanent hoi
for his practice, he can't res
fucking that up too, by be
too forward with his goals
a TV interview and allow
a competitor's research to s
through the cracks and st
his glory. Sheen is spellbind
in this role, subtle and venge
and broken. (Expect some n
ognition for him at next yea
award season.)
But the real star here
Caplan, whose confident ch
acter takes a devastating no

dive in the finale. Virginia's the same theme were success-
defining trait has always been ful (and interesting to watch).
- her self-proclaimed abil Lester (Kevin Christy, "The
ity to balance being a scien- New Normal") and Barb (Betsy
tist and a mother. Though we Brandt, "Breaking Bad") don't
haven't seen many interac- have the same luxury of being
tions between Virginia and her able to escape their problems
children (at least, compared through sex - each is haunted
to her countless scenes with by a traumatic experience that
Bill), Virginia always seemed makes acting on sexual attrac-
to like an adept mom, caring if a tion impossible. Bill and Vir-
its little laissez-faire. But that's ginia spend much of the season
the thing - as viewers don't see trying to "fix" Lester and Barb,
much of Virginia's kids, well, through such diverse means
neither does she. Virginia's as hiring prostitutes, staging
ex-husband (played by veteran clinical masturbation sessions
character actor Mather Zickel) and psychotherapy. But ulti-
perceives a weakness in Virgin- mately, Lester and Barb find
ia's parental devotion and goes their own way to shake off their
in for an attack. He'll prove her demons. The two forge an emo-
an unfit mother, and he and his tional connection, and when
new wife will fight for custody they finally graduate from
of the children. Caplan is at her chaste cuddling to a passion-
7ie. srraes best here, for once show- ate makeout session, Lester and
ant ing vulnerability and crying on Barb find their'ownayto cure
at. Bill's shoulder, he.suffers, al lthemselves.
st/ at once, the realization that her "Masters" has a powerful
zy selfish focus on her career has thesis here, and the episode
la- isolated her, yet the study has closes with the satisfying con-
sey hit such a significant setback clusion that love and sex -
all that she might have inadver- intimacy and passion - are
for tently given everything up for, inseparable. Bill and Virginia
of' well, nothing. are only able to rebuild their
er- The Bill and Virginia arcs sexual connection after Bill
ad- are so strong, though, that admits his feelings of inadequa-
'ily everything else pales in com- cy and vows to bridge the emo-
on- parison. "Masters" never quite tional distance between him
out figured out what to do with and Virginia. Bill and Libby are
his Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald, still frigid and sleep in separate
ith "It's Complicated"). Her own beds because the familiarity is
een struggle against 1960s ideals gone, and they basically don't
nes of femininity doesn't have the know who the other's spouse
He dramatic weight that Virginia's is anymore. Libby's mean-
ice does, because deep down Libby ingless sex hasn't given her
nd is still just a wife and mother. life the sense of purpose she
he Her affair with Robert (Jocko so desperately seeks. And, of
Mme Sims, "The Last Ship") is just course, only after Lester and
sist a whiny housewife reacting to Barb opened themselves up to
ing her husband's infidelity. She growing close to another per-
in has no motivations for partici- son could they begin to over-
ing gating, except a girlish desire come their past of abuse and
lip to prove to everyone that she's heartache. While not all of
eal not the Nice White Lady every- these threads were excellent
ing one thinks she is. But in trying on their own and the season
ful to prove that she matters, Libby has its fair share of rough and
ec- just reaffirms that her place in disjointed patches, "Masters"
r's the greater narrative of "Mas- 's careful dedication to paint-
ters of Sex" is shaky at best. ing a rich portrait of intimacy
is While Libby's attempt at made for a generally excellent,
ar- no-strings-attached sex was a thought-provoking season of
se- failure, other explorations of television.

'Sleepy Hollow' returns

Second season
premiere lives up to
high expectations
DailyArts Writer
Spoilersfollowfor season one and
the season two premiere of "Sleepy
Hollow."Ifyou haven't seen it, head
over to Hulu
Plus and watch
it and then come
back and read sleepy
this review. It's
OK, I can wait. Hollow
"Sleepy Hol- Season Two
low" has lofty Premiere
expectations FOX
to meet in its
second season.
After a fun, dense and twisty first
season that ended on a fantas-
tic cliffhanger, the series has to
match the excellence it previously
set. It's unclear, going forward, if
the drama can maintain what it's
doing over a full 18-episode sea-
son, but it was a damn fun episode
of television, comparable to the
best of season one.
"Hollow" follows Lieutenant
Abigail Mills (Nicole Beharie, "42"
) and Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison,
"Parade's End") as they try to stop
Moloch, an evil demon who is
coming to earth to bring about the
apocalypse. The premiere picks up
after the cliffhanger, with Abbie
in purgatory and Ichabod bur-
ied alive by his son Henry (John
Noble, "Fringe").


Keep your head.
The premiere continues the
cuckoo-bananas storytelling that
the show patented in its first sea-
son, with the introduction of a
naked Benjamin Franklin. It also
spent the first 15 minutes on one
idea before pulling the rug out
from under the viewer. The pre-
miere starts out by saying that a
year had passed and everyone was
freed from where they were left.
However, afterthey figure out that
it was all a trick by Henry, they're
put back exactly where they were
at the end of season one.
The relationship between Mills
and Crane is the beating heart
of "Hollow"; the series doesn't
work without it. The storytell-
ing device in the premiere relied
upon the need to see the two of
them together (and the heartbreak
when they're torn apart after real-
izing the illusion). Beharie and
Mison have developed a strong
bond over the course of the show's
run. That allows the episode's pay-

off, with thetwo of them reuniting
in Purgatory, to work. They both
are able to heighten the emotion of
the scene.
The premiere also sets up some
ambitious storytelling for the rest
of the season. In the finale last year,
the writersintroduced the idea that
Henry is the second Horseman of
the Apocalypse: War. Featuring
a scenery-chewing performance
from Noble, the premiere ends
with Moloch giving Henry a magic
sword and telling him to unleash
war.Given that this season is18 epi-
sodes (five more than last season),
the show has a high degree of dif-
ficulty for what they're tryingto do.
This might mean that they'll lose
some of the tight storytelling that
made season one so much fun.
However, the show's writers
have proven that they have good
heads on their shoulders, and the
premiere hinted that this will be
another great season of "Sleepy

"Weren't you on 'Always Sunny'?"


4, 1


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