Links We Loved This Week — 10/21/16

Braindead was officially cancelled this week, according to TVLine. It’s probably for the best since it was hard to imagine the storyline extending into another season, but we’ll miss seeing Johnny Rae Gill and Aaron Tveit every week next summer.

The Baffler wrote a thoughtful analysis of the state of realism in contemporary literature:

Nor do critics worry that the “social issues” presented in our novels rarely attain the complexity of cable television. Or that a novel genuinely concerned with social life (or even the social role of a single person) could itself, against this backdrop, be idiosyncratic. It’s sad, in other words, that the novels of Jonathan Franzen register to most as sociopolitical literature. Freedom isn’t a social novel on the level of Wharton. It’s a decelerated twenty-four-hour news channel.

The first Nashville season five teaser has been released!

People aren’t loving Ewan MacGregor’s directorial debut American Pastoral, which is sad because the book was great. The NYT mildly disliked it, and Rolling Stone haaaated it (and it’s always fun to read a pan).

The New Yorker says Westworld caters disproportionately to stereotypically male fantasies in the excellent piece “The Meta-Politics of Westworld.”

Joss Whedon says he’s a Spuffy shipper, because Spike is a “more evolved” character than Angel. We only agree with the latter statement.

This week, The Good Wife‘s Josh Charles got in costume as a lawyer one more time for an excellent cause:

Not to get TOO political, but you should also check out this collection of the best #TrumpBookReport tweets.

Braindead 1×13: “The End of All We Hold Dear: What Happens When Democracies Fail: A Brief Synopsis”

Jonathan Coulton appears in person to sing the last previouslies of the season, sitting outside Gustav’s apartment: Ella died, Red recovered, Luke’s protesting, Laurel’s staying, and the threesome are scheming.


Inside the brownstone, Laurel is telling Rochelle and Gustav that the key is the thirty-eight-day countdown, not the war or the internment camps, which were just a distraction. (Technically, the internment camps weren’t a distraction, they were something Laurel made up because she saw some blueprints for hothouses.) After Gustav bangs on his window to shush the troubadour outside, Laurel says that it’s all about the hothouses, because the bugs need cherry blossoms to spawn. Gustav says they need the full blueprints, so Laurel agrees to get them from Gareth, and says that Luke is working on stopping the budget. Before she leaves, Gustav calls her back. They put their hands together and say they’re in this together. “It’s us against the world,” says Rochelle. Yay!


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Braindead 1×12: “Talking Points Toward a Wholistic View of Activism in Government: Can the Top Rebel?”

Previously on Braindead: Gareth saw Wheatus’s earbug, and Jonathan Coulton agrees with me that Wheatus really should’ve closed the door. Laurel and Rochelle beat up said earbug. Headmaster Charleston tricked Luke into thinking the CIA wanted him and Laurel to leave Wheatus alone. Daddy Healy is infected. Wheatus ate brains out of Tupperwares. And that’s pretty much season one.

Luke tells Laurel about the whole giving-up-on-the-bugs thing, and Laurel pretty much immediately sees through it. “The real CIA?” she asks. Luke says yes, although let’s remember he was getting a security brief in what appeared to be the lobby of the CIA, so, it didn’t LOOK super real. Laurel asks him why, if her battle royale with Wheatus kept the CIA from arresting him, they didn’t just, you know, arrest him later. Excellent point. But Luke, blind with ambition, says to let the professionals do their jobs.

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Braindead 1×11: “Six Points on the New Congressional Budget: The False Dichotomy of Austerity vs. Expansionary Policies”


Previously on Braindead: So much happened! No, literally, the voiceover says that, and then basically skips to summarizing a fake show called Gunsmoke, involving a sheriff and a fatal shootout and other Western-reminiscent things. (I have no idea why, but I’m glad Jonathan Coulton is having fun with his task I guess?) In actuality, what has recently and relevantly happened is that Gareth and Laurel broke up because he is a slut-shamer, Luke’s possibly-infected wife Germaine gave birth to a possibly-infected baby, Wheatus had this secret room called SRB-54 that we know will be important because they mentioned it so much, and Ella and Wheatus let their ear-bugs mate and it was totally gross.

Gareth is trying to compose a stilted resignation letter in a Word document when Wheatus interrupts him to announce that he likes the new Jewish intern. The intern, Gary, says he’s half-Jewish and Wheatus trumpets that he’s “a friend to the Jewish people.” How nice of you, dude. Then he ushers Gary out, casually mentioning the “rumors” that are going around due to the fact that his other interns have died very bloody, very disgusting deaths. Gary is too dumb to be worried about this. He just grins and bobs his head and leaves.

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Braindead 1×10: “The Path to War Part Two: The Impact of Propaganda on Congressional War Votes”


Previously on Braindead: Everyone’s being weird, including Wheatus (wants to start a war with Syria, eats brains out of Tupperwares) and Ella (draws pictures of baby seals). Luke is a total cheater, Dean Healy is a big old bug man, and SRB-54 is a thing. Also, Gareth is a giant slut-shamer, so Laurel had to dump him. This part is accompanied by a lot of phallic imagery. Cute, guys, but Masters of Sex did it better.

When we open, Laurel is watching a very cheesy anti-war ad that accuses Wheatus of basically orchestrating the war in Syria to benefit the one percent. Luke comes in to get Laurel’s feedback, and she wonders why he doesn’t just let her do it, because it’s a dumb ad and the one percent has nothing to do with the war. But Luke tells her it’s PAC money paying for it, so they can’t coordinate. They can, however, do the other kind of coordinating, where they tell the PAC all of their thoughts and feelings about the commercial, and the PAC does what they want. (Gareth had to make a similar distinction, if you’ll recall, back when he accidentally got a bunch of bug-infected Republicans to make a website about assassinating liberals.)

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Braindead 1×09: “Taking on Water: How Leaks in D.C. Are Discovered and Patched “


Previously on Braindead: This week’s previouslies are purportedly sung by Jonathan Coulton’s ghost after he was attacked by spacebugs and his head exploded. I hope this doesn’t mean that he won’t be singing the previouslies anymore! (Unless he’s handing off singing duties to Aaron Tveit, in which case: so long, Jonathan.) So yeah, anyway, Rochelle and Gustav tied up Bug-Man Kevin and followed him to a secret room, and then there was a whole thing where fake Syrian witnesses were used to try to convince Senators to vote for war. And re: Ella and Wheatus, Jonathan Coulton’s ghost agrees with us that “The way they get it on is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”

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Braindead 1×08: “The Path to War Part One: The Gathering Political Storm”


Previously on Braindead: Head explosions, bioterrorist fears, political arguments, thrown pencils… you know, the usual. We end with a satirical spacebug commercial framed as a drug ad, complete with the sexual and anti-alcohol side effects. Oh, and Laurel’s dad, Dean Healy? is TOTALLY infected.

As has been happening frequently in the last few episodes, we open right on the last moment of the previous episode, with Luke welcoming Laurel back to the real world after her little brush with torture over at the FBI. In the waiting room outside Luke’s office Gustav’s phone, which can detect high-frequency transmissions from spacebugs, goes wild. He and Rochelle try to sneak up closer to Dean, and Scarlett says snottily, “You’re gonna need to find a way to silence that.” Seriously. For one thing, I think even people with half their brains missing are going to catch on to your little app if you don’t silence it.

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