People often talk about movies or TV shows being “critic proof”—they can succeed despite bad reviews. But whether or not critics have much bottom-line impact, they’re part of a more important conversation: What does it mean that we like what we like? (Alyssa Rosenberg hosts.)
On Critic Proof, Alyssa and Emily compare two TV shows about Washington, House of Cards and Scandal. They explain how they came around to Scandal. They discuss the show’s sex scenes and handling of race, which seem edgy by network television standards, and ponder whether it will go off the rails. Turning to House of Cards, Alyssa explains why she’s been underwhelmed by the much-hyped Netflix drama. Does either show capture DC journalism accurately? And why is it so hard to write a compelling show about politics? (Spoilers throughout.)
On Critic Proof, Alyssa talks to Michael about race on television. Michael discovers that HBO’s Girls isn’t just for girls, and Alyssa argues that Lena Dunham’s not racist, but her show’s first season had a race problem. Alyssa argues that better racial portrayals would lead to TV that is more interesting, and Michael is skeptical that writers should worry about their audience’s self-esteem. Is shallow criticism trivializing the charge of racism? In closing, Michael and Alyssa applaud Donald Glover’s appearance on Girls as a black Republican.