On Drezburt, Dan debriefs Heather on HBO's Game of Thrones. Heather explains what the national obsession over the missing Malaysian airliner says about the zeitgeist, and what it means for national policy. Heather and Dan worry that constant coverage of flight MH370 has crowded out important events in Turkey and Venezuela. They close by wondering what TV shows President Obama is watching these days.
On Drezburt, Heather and Dan pay tribute to the late Harold Ramis, then critique Nicholas Kristof's recent column accusing academics of being out of touch. Next, they praise Rosa Brooks's manifesto against Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In. In the work/life balance debate, should obsessive parenting get more criticism? Heather and Dan analyze the proposed smaller Pentagon budget that would drastically shrink the size of the Army. Plus: Why Ukraine will muddle through.
On the premiere of Drezburt, Heather and Dan preview foreign policy at the State of the Union address. They debate whether Obama has failed to make free trade a priority, or whether Congressional obstruction is to blame. Heather praises Democrats for largely holding the line against new Iran sanctions. Next, they discuss the World Economic Forum in Davos, which Dan says has gone "beyond caricature." What is revealed by the massive gender imbalance at Davos? Moving to the crisis in Ukraine, they consider whether the country could splinter. Plus: Why Syria became a catastrophe but Tunisia did not.
On Critic Proof, Alyssa and Dan discuss the cultural impact of the late Nelson Mandela, beginning with Dan's memories of the campus anti-apartheid movement. They marvel at Mandela's transformative prison term and the complex role of his wife Winnie. They then turn to the new pop culture focus on Mandela, including the Idris Elba biopic, Invictus, and World War Z. How does Mandela's family compare with other political dynasties? They also discuss South African movies such as District 9. Pivoting wildly from Mandela, they consider the controversial emergence of Love Actually as a holiday classic. Plus: The bumper crop of political TV shows, in particular House of Cards. (Spoilers throughout.)