A Few Pieces of Unsolicited but Necessary TV Advice

Alison Malkowski '19
Format Editor

Not all stories have structure. Not every set of cases has a common theme, lovingly curated by a professor to highlight a single nuanced feature of the law. On a related note, the approximately five hundred words below are one such set of dangerously uncultivated thought.[1] Solicited unceremoniously from this Law Weekly staff member—who was frankly already booked solid for the weekend on such existential questions as “you’ve been in this class the whole semester, right?” and “but which red head are you?”—they defy any attempts at an organized theme. It’s almost as though this whole piece was written in twenty minutes! What a thought! Anyway, please find below a brief comment on television, a topic on which I apparently have a regrettable breadth of opinion available at a moment’s notice, in two parts. There is no conclusion, apart from a reminder that we in this profession value “fair notice.”[2]

 Show you have not watched and should try: Happy Endings

This show is severely underappreciated, almost singlehandedly convinced me to move to Chicago, and streams on Hulu. If you enjoyed New Girl but thought “I wish there was more of this Winston whimsy vibe” or “I wish Zooey was here less,” then BOY is this show for you. Centered on six friends in Chicago who epitomize the hashtag ‘#nonewfriends’ by continuing to only hang out with each other, after one of them literally leaves the other one at the altar (on rollerskates) in the first episode, Happy Endings goes to a level of weird that is both (a) the reason I’ve seen every episode four times and (b) probably responsible for its cancellation in 2013.

Damon Wayans, Jr. (who you know as “Coach” from New Girl) plays one half of Brad and Jane, the grounding couple of the friend group and probably my favorite married couple on television. The other half is shamelessly intense control freak Jane, played by Eliza Coupe (who you probably don’t know as “Tiger” from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s new show Future Man, which is on an “Inside John Malkovich” level of bizarre and which frankly would require a separate paper to explain). The show also features cameos by Megan Mullally and Colin Hanks, a fake limousine tour business, and an entire episode that centers on Max (“Peter” from The Mindy Project) becoming a popular emcee on the Chicago bar mitzvah circuit (episode title: “Boyz II Menorah”).

Show you have watched and for which I have some questions: The Crown

 Claire Foy stars as Queen Elizabeth II in a dimly lit but otherwise great TV show. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Claire Foy stars as Queen Elizabeth II in a dimly lit but otherwise great TV show. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Let me start by openly admitting that I am not enamored with this show. The casting is amazing, as is the structured exploration of historic events related to the British monarchy (like Philip’s titling to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which the series portrays as a marital concession by Elizabeth, but which is IRL speculated to have been to immunize him from being subpoenaed to testify in his buddy’s divorce case). My problem with this show (other than Philip, who sucks, and the former pay discrepancy between the actors who play the main characters, which sucks even more), is that the series is very dark. I don’t mean dark tone-wise, which can be an awesome feature in television (see Black Mirror, The Dark, Twilight Zone, iZombie, The OA, Futurama). I mean that the characters inhabit a world that seems to have constantly just lost power after an electrical storm.

I understand that this series is set in 1950s London. You know what they had in 1950s London? Electricity. Why is everyone having full-on serious marital confrontations in the tea room in the pitch black? This is patently unreasonable. Either because of the literal darkness or because I am wholly without sympathy for Philip, who seems to have somehow missed the central premise of a monarchy despite presumably a lifetime of cultural familiarity with it, I fell asleep every single time my family watched this show over winter break, without fail. The dogs were cute and not featured nearly enough. I would likely have stayed awake for more of the dogs.

acm4ae@virginia.edu

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[1] See also, feelings I have about television in a small garbage collection of words, for your ridiculing pleasure.

[2] JANSEN.