One Step Forward, One Million Steps Back: Girls 6×01 “All I Ever Wanted”

For its first four seasons, the characters on Girls, much like the show itself, took pride in occupying the space between self-aware, snarky privilege and straight-up myopic narcissism. Then, in season five, new life was breathed into the show when almost every single one of the characters underwent some sort of growth. That growth may have been faltering and expressed in dysfunctional ways (Hannah breaking up with her terrible boyfriend by jumping out of the car during a road trip, Jessa going to school with Adam’s money when they had been dating for about two minutes, Marnie divorcing Desi after sleeping with her heroin-dealing ex), but it was there, and that was enough to convince me that the show had been worth watching. Continue reading →

Homeland Recap: 6×03 “The Covenant”

Previously on Homeland: Quinn told Carrie he wasn’t getting any better; Sekou was offered a plea bargain for material support of terrorism, but Carrie thought he was just an angry kid; Quinn moved into Carrie’s basement; Sekou’s friend Saad turned out to be working for Agent Conlin to get evidence against Sekou; a prostitute Quinn was seeing staged a robbery to get his VA money; Saul thought Carrie was advising President-Elect Keane; Dar Adal told Keane’s advisor Rob that he thought Iran had a parallel nuclear program with North Korea; Carrie suggested Saul go on the operation; and Quinn asked Carrie to show him the video of his gassing.

Whew. That’s a lot of previouslies, for a season with—so far—no kidnappings, car chases, or explosions. Not that I’m complaining. OK, I’m complaining a little.

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Homeland Recap: 6×02 “The Man in the Basement”

Previously on Homeland: Carrie and a recovering Quinn fought; Quinn got high with a hooker who then robbed him; Carrie took him back to the VA; Madam President-Elect, Keane, questioned Dar and Saul about their practices, and Dar thought that she blamed them for her son’s death; young Muslim Sekou was arrested after being openly supportive of America’s enemies online; Carrie took Quinn home with her to save him from being put in a locked ward on the VA.

The new credits start with the end of the Star-Spangled Banner and include a few Gil Scott-Heron quotes, and a quote from Keane saying “We need a new strategy.” Very different.

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All of the Nashville Characters’ Real-Life Counterparts

There are many reasons you should be watching Nashville–Hayden Panettiere’s fierce performance, the relatively progressive politics, Connie Britton’s hair–but one of the most distinct pleasures is the soundtrack, which manages to represent almost all of the archetypes of country music. Down-home hillbilly country is mostly left out (unless the detested Vita comes back), but otherwise it has everything from Juliette’s bubblegum pop country to Zoey’s Southern soul country to Avery’s weird punk country. And best of all, most of the characters have obvious real-life counterparts who share the same artistry and/or biographical legend, and sometimes even the same face. Continue reading →