It is the Georgetown Voice’s 50th anniversary week. To celebrate, the Halftime Leisure editorial team got together to review our favorite Halftime posts. To start things off, we selected from one of our most popular article topics: television.
Anna: “I Might Be Obsessed with You” by Natalie Chaudhuri
(Editor’s note: I edited this article so I may or may not be partially biased ;) I loved You, even before Natalie wrote this piece, so when I saw this on my editing list I was really intrigued to see if I wasn’t the only weirdo out there into this twisted series. One of the things that really drew me back to the show episode after episode was the unique narration by Joe (Penn Badgley). I was beyond excited to read this article and see Natalie play off of Joe’s truly chilling narration. Natalie’s piece not only gives the reader a good (but not too telling) summary of You, but also points out all of its pitfalls. She isn’t afraid to call out Netflix for its missteps in this show (glorification of stalking for one?). When writing a review, writers often tend to go either of two ways: glorify the show, thinking they owe the show some mercy, or rip the show a new one. Yet, Natalie maneuvers the fine line very well in her article, delivering a review that makes me want to rewatch the show and also text all my friends to engage in a discussion about how Netflix normalizes murder.
John: “Hasan Minhaj’s New Series, Patriot Act, Is Relevant And Here To Stay” by Mary Mei
I’ll admit it, I have invested myself more in politics than perhaps I should. A significant portion of my free time is spent reading the news and keeping up with the metaphorical torrent of modern America. Every once in a while though, I’m able to step back, relax, and unwind with some good television. The only problem is much of that television is late-night comedy. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. I can really appreciate Mary’s impressions of Patriot Act because she hits all of the beats of what makes a good political comedy show. It’s clever, it’s focused, it’s nuanced, and it knows how to not take itself too seriously. On top of that, her differentiation between this show and others of the genre is key. While the comparisons to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver are apt, the distinction of not having a desk really distinguishes Patriot Act from other political comedy shows in the currently crowded field.
Sky: “With a Powerful Lead, Russian Doll Is an Intricate Vision of Heart” by Inès de Miranda
I’ve actually never seen Russian Doll, but after reading (and editing) Inès’ review, I can confirm that it has been first on my Netflix queue for the past two weeks. In my opinion, one of the defining factors of a great review is that the reader doesn’t need to have seen the subject of the review in order to still enjoy the piece, and this article really succeeds in that respect. One of my absolute favorite things about this piece is Inès’ use of quotes from the show. The quotes are attention-grabbing (“The universe is trying to fuck with me and I refuse to engage” is something I have simply been unable to forget since reading it for the first time two weeks ago) and give the article a unique, yet comprehensive structure. Each quote introduces a paragraph about a different aspect of the show—from foul language to the actors’ chemistry—and a great assessment of why each is important. By blending analysis with excellent writing, Inès offers insight into the show’s use of characterization and setting, as well as the universal themes of regret and loneliness. She ends her review with a mandate: “Watch this show. Watch it again and let me know what you get from it.” And after reading this piece, you wouldn’t dream of disobeying her.
Juliana: “The Magic of Mrs. Maisel” by Claire Goldberg
Fun fact: At this point, I’ve already watched three shows with my parents because of Claire’s articles. One of them was The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I read this article and then—months later, mind you—remembered it existed and was like, “I have to watch this show.” What I love about this review is that Claire truly pulls you into her favorite things about the show and walks you through what makes them amazing. She spends three paragraphs on Joel (Michael Zegen), but it doesn’t feel long at all—it’s just funny and fascinating and effortless. Plus, she uses all caps, and we love those here at Halftime. Bottom line is that the show is great, Claire is great, and I wouldn’t know what to watch without her.