I’m aware that this isn’t the hottest possible take, given that Alexis Bledel already won an Emmy for her role in the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale—but her performance in Season 3 Episode 2, “Mary and Martha”, was incredibly acute and powerful. Too many (ok, yes, fine, not enough) rewatchings of Gilmore Girls have contributed to making this more surprising for me than it perhaps should be, but, wow:
The entire emotional arc of the episode is carried by the camera lingering on the tension and anticipated grief and implied, learned suffering that she carries in her face. One loooong shot after another, unrelieved by overbearing soundtrack or the other devices prestige TV uses when it can’t trust its actors to carry their weight, she builds up the self-doubt and uncertainty that stand in the way of an otherwise obvious denouement, one which probably seemed like a foregone conclusion at the end of the previous season.
Her performance lets do the show do what it does at its best, imbuing completely banal interactions with painfully expressive weight, letting an overhead shot of a car blocking traffic become a heart-breaking emblem of connection.
At Book Riot via The Millions, five writers inspired by Octavia Butler, whose birthday was Thursday, write about her influence on them. I happen to be in the middle of Fledgling and I’m loving it, so it’s a timely topic for me!
The Huffington Postpublished a fascinating and somewhat contentious oral history of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, which had its twentieth birthday this week.
“Fuck that guy”, writes a fictional J.K. Rowling, claiming she is not at all sorry she killed Cedric Diggory. “If I had my way, the entire fifth book of the series would have been a long description of what a terrible time Cedric Diggory was having in hell.” (via Above Average)
Guess what ELSE is being adapted on streaming TV these days: Anne of Green Gables! This may be even more exciting than Handmaid’s Tale, although nothing will ever replace Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie in our hearts. The NYT wrote a long feature about how the new adaptation brings out the darker side of Anne’s lonely, maltreated childhood that was always present but subtextual in the books.
We missed this when it first came out a couple weeks ago: Brian Edwards penned a nuanced exploration of Homeland‘s attempts this season to interrogate and perhaps undo the Orientalism it hath already wrought, and the “double bind” it faces by still needing to play on our suspense and anxieties. Very worth reading. (at the LA Review of Books)
The SCP Foundation just wrapped its contest for writing SCP-3000. If you haven’t come across the Foundation before in your Internet itinerations, you can think of it as a collaboratively-written X-Files—the contest is a particularly interesting way to see how something like that comes together.
Previously.tv summarizes season 1 of ER in one headline per episode. There are many gems, but my favorite is “Oh My God We Get It Jen And Mark Like To Fuck (Not That The Interminable “Ma Benton Needs To Go In A Home” Arc That Starts Here Is Much Of An Improvement).”
An amazing human on the internet wrote a hilarious in-depth study of the art collection of Mike and Carol Brady (at wearethemutants.com, found via Longreads). Favorite excerpt: “The wall space in the office vestibule suffered three different paintings in five years. This had a disorienting effect on the kids and may explain why Greg once abducted a goat.”
Margaret Atwood, whose Handmaid’s Tale is going to be on Hulu soon, penned an essay about the book’s sudden relevance to the events of today (via NYTimes).
Vulture writes of The Good Fight‘s strange dualities and inner contradictions. The article is full of clever and unexpected insights. The one thing I think they miss is the duality of the white privilege on the show–the white characters are forced to confront their privilege, yet they are only front-and-center on this show because of an inherently conservative TV structure where known quantities (more likely to be white) get top billing.
We can never resist a good long article on Rebecca Solnit, feminist hero, and inventor of mansplaining. (via Elle)