There’s something sweet about NBC’s beloved Saturday Night Live having made it to 40, especially in an age when comedy’s defects are more visible than ever before.
We regret to inform you that you may have passed over one of the best new shows of 2014. It wasn’t because the drama was too somber and you opted for something lighter, or because there was simply too much to watch; the show’s first season comprised just 10 agreeable half-hour episodes. If you missed it, which most of us did, it’s because you aren’t paying the $99 annual fee for Amazon Prime, which allows subscribers to stream the award-winning comedy Transparent.
Christmas specials are kind of a tall order. They must honor tradition without being trite, be extravagant but not bloated, humorous but not snide and seem heartfelt without getting schmaltzy. They can be winsome but they can also be tiresome, and the specials worth returning to are few and far between. But they do exist, and they can make for fond memories and beloved in-jokes with siblings. If you’re in need of such a tradition, do yourself a favor and check out the one and only Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, from 1988.
If spending the holidays with your family occasionally puts you a bit on edge, you’re not alone. People you’ve known since you were in diapers, or those you’ve diapered yourself, possess a unique capacity for instinctively pushing your buttons. In case tensions run high this holiday season and some non-arguing communal entertainment is in order, we humbly suggest skipping the Grumpy Cat movie and queueing up High Maintenance instead.
At the beginning of Thanksgiving week, the announcement that a Ferguson grand jury had decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer responsible for the August death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, brought on waves of protest that led to everything from burned buildings to hugs between civilians and officers. The writer Roxane Gay noted that for a furious and grief-stricken community, “Violence is not the answer but neither is peace.” In New York City, the grand jury’s decision brought out thousands of protestors, who shut down three major bridges. Demonstrations continued throughout the week and included actions at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which led to sporadic arrests.
Are you afraid of sharks? Take a moment to think about it. Sure, the threat posed to landlubbers by a shark attack is nil, and most of the qualities that make sharks apex predators don’t trigger any of our leftover defense mechanisms. But that’s exactly the kind of flippant attitude that would get a secondary character killed in a shark movie.
A day after the funeral of Michael Brown—the unarmed teenager shot six times by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson—people are struggling with what to do with their grief and their rage. Since the August 9 shooting, a number of rallies and peaceful protests have sprung up across the nation. We spoke to some of the mourners and protesters who gathered in New York City’s Union Square on August 14, five days after Brown’s death.