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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Required Viewing

I just finished catching up on the last two weeks of The Simpsons. This season is shaping up to be a very good one. Earlier in the season, there was "I was one Uday who didn't need a Qusay." This past Sunday, Homer pays a visit to Israel, and the episode is wonderful. There's Homer ordering a falafel with extra cheese, being asked to say that latkes are better than American pancakes in order to enter the country, a teaching opportunity if you watch with your family to tell your children what a tagine is, and more. Some of it, I assure you, is in quite bad taste. The week before that, there was an extended sequence called Koyani-Scratchy, which is classic Simpsons. If you're at all familiar with the movie Koyaanisqatsi it's hilarious on one level, and if you are 14 and can't tell the difference between Glass, Philip and Glass Plus -- well, it is Itchy and Scratchy and works on another level entirely. That episode also has a montage of great kiss scenes from various film and TV shows, how many of these can you identify? You've got to hulu or and watch these episodes.

Let me also say a brief word about 24. I'm glad this season will be the show's last, but at the same time, I'm not glad to see the show go. I've watched almost every single episode. And yes, some seasons have been better than others and some episodes just plain silly. Some things keep happening season after season which is why it's good they need not happen again in 2011. Moles in CTU. Prisoners lost in custody. CTU being bombed. If it's happened once, it's happened eight times, and every so often this season I've gotten a little tired of seeing the same thing happen yet again. But for all that, it's been a well-crafted show, well-made and most importantly of all well cast. Really well cast. And that makes all the difference. This season, the cast includes Anil Kapoor, who was the host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire in Slumdog Millionaire. Cherry Jones is back again as the President. She's a veteran actor who's done lots and lots of roles in theatre, with two Tony Awards to her credit. Her chief of staff is played by Bob Gunton, who was on Broadway in Evita and Sweeney Todd and has two Tony nominations. Mkelti Williamson is giving a slightly different spin to his role as the head of CTU. These are all real actors, and they fill their roles with real authority, real conviction, real talent, and this year is the rule, not the exception. OK, Freddie Prinze Jr. isn't in Bob Gunton's league. But more often than not it works. I've spent this season waiting in the best Star Trek tradition for the demise of the young CTU agent who we know will get his by the final reel just like the young Lt. who Kirk sees in the first five minutes in the Enterprise hallway, but while we wait for that to happen, and for all of the other things we know will happen because they've always happened, we get to watch some of the consistently best acting in TV. So thank you, for sparing me the need to watch a 9th season, but don't think I'm that happy about it.

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