Posts Tagged ‘TV’

At the intersection of pop culture and social change

I’ve always been a pop-culture junkie. Growing up, my mom and I would watch Laugh-In together in her bed, and although my father warned me that my college degree in TV and film would never get me anywhere, I’m glad to say that at least on this, he was wrong.

portable-tvI never doubted the power of pop culture to influence the world around us. After all, I might not be working in the field of social change if I hadn’t been inspired to make a difference by The West Wing. I might not be running my own freelance writing business if it weren’t for the examples of strong, independent women I saw in countless TV shows and films during my formative years, or the seriously strong influence of singer/songwriters like Tori Amos.

But pop culture was always more of a personal obsession — until now. The whip-smart folks at AndACTION have created a super-cool project that uses stories from TV and film to elevate issues being championed by nonprofit organizations and foundations.

In their own words:

AndACTION is a pop-culture hub that gives nonprofits inside intel on upcoming and recent film and TV storylines on the issues they care about. We hunt down leads and suggest creative ways to use them and make a meaningful difference. By recognizing the power of pop culture, nonprofits can engage new audiences – and be a step ahead of what everyone will be talking about tomorrow.

AndACTION connects do-gooders with storytellers, raising everyone’s profile with the ultimate goal of driving positive change. Think about it: Would you rather tune into a political speech on C-SPAN or watch a couple episodes of House of Cards? Okay, some people love doing both, but the fact is that AndACTION puts to work the proven idea that stories have unparalleled power to change hearts and minds.

Pop culture, storytelling and social change are three of my favorite things, so imagine my delight when I was asked to begin contributing content to AndACTION’s blog and other projects. Every so often, worlds collide in the best possible way. Kind of like something you think only happens in the movies.

I’m thrilled for the chance to write about the intersection of pop culture and social change on a regular basis. Check out my first post for AndACTION, which takes a look at how pop culture is helping to topple one of the last -isms left: ageism.

And stay tuned. There’s much more on the way.

“House” fails while Hugh Laurie prevails

The TV show House isn’t very good anymore. But Hugh Laurie just keeps getting better and better.

I’ve always been a big fan of the show, particularly Hugh Laurie. His performance is consistently excellent and, well, I have a crush on him, too. (Full disclosure.)

For the most part, it’s been a quality show. It’s hit some rough spots, like the Survivor-esque competition to fill the empty spots on House’s team a few seasons ago. But it’s always managed to bounce back.

I don’t think it will this time. The new characters are just attempts to re-boot old ones that didn’t work all that well before — again, on House’s team. The smart, sexy, spunky brunette; the awkward yet brilliant neophyte. There’s a reason the earlier incarnations aren’t still around.

"House" fails while Hugh Laurie prevails

There’s some hope in the current House-Wilson storyline (and Robert Sean Leonard is always excellent, too, not incidentally), but I think this is it. The show hasn’t jumped the shark yet and I hope it doesn’t. But I predict this is the last season.

I think even the writers can tell. Perhaps I’m sensing their heavy sighs of disinterest. Sometimes you can almost hear it in the storytelling.

But despite that, or maybe because of it, Hugh Laurie’s performance keeps getting better and better — in sometimes subtle and stunning ways. I’ve always been in awe of his acting (and accent) on the show. Over eight seasons, the way his character has developed and evolved is brilliant and visceral, it seems. Laurie has gotten inside the skin of Gregory House. He’s extremely comfortable there. His exuberant disregard for the rules (and largely, often sadly, other people) is effortless. When House is in pain, what Laurie shows us is heartbreaking. It’s humanizing.

But as the show seems like it’s becoming broader (perhaps unintentionally veering toward self-parody), Laurie is becoming more intimate. I wish I could pinpoint the episode — it was within the last week or two — but there was a moment. Someone said something to him, and in response Laurie/House said more with the twitch of an eye than pages of dialogue ever could.

Hugh Laurie knows Gregory House better than I’d bet many people know their own selves. Some of that is being an actor; some of that is being a genius, which I think Laurie is, particularly in this role.

So no matter how bad the show might get — and I do hope it improves — I will keep watching. Because I can’t wait to see what Hugh Laurie does next.

There’s a time to wait

I have a great idea for a blog post. I just don’t have the energy to write it today.

And you know what? I decided that’s okay. In fact, I decided it’s wise to wait.

What I want to write about isn’t time-sensitive. And I’m tired. So very tired. Too tired to do it justice.

Today is my first day off in, well, I’ve lost track. Delighted to have so much work, but since finishing everything yesterday I’ve done pretty much nothing. Read, watched TV, napped. Which I’m completely fine with.

There's a time to wait

I kept trying to start the post I want to write – and still will, very soon – but finally realized that I just didn’t have it in me today. So I’d never be able to write the piece I really want to write, and it’s a topic I feel strongly about.

Sure, sometimes you just have to crank things out. Like this little rumination, which keeps me true to my word of blogging three times a week.

But when you have the luxury of time — and something you’d like to savor the act of doing, rather than just doing it for the sake of completion — it’s better to wait.

So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll wait. And probably take another nap.