What we’ll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
The triumphant return of fall television plus feminist reading for our inner YA, comedy, and more has us hoping for an excuse to stay in this weekend. (You hear that rain?)
With tonight’s release on Amazon of the entire first season of Transparent, we’ll be binge-watching all ten episodes of this darkly comic drama about the Pfeffermans, an L.A.-based Jewish family, whose paterfamilias, Professor Mort Pfefferman (the excellent Jeffrey Tambor), struggles to come out to each of his adult children as a trans person named Maura. As it turns out the kids (the equally wonderful Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffman, Jay Duplass) are contending with their own mishegoss. With dialogue so familiar you suspect creator Jill Soloway has overheard your personal conversations, and scenes so emotionally intimate you feel like you’re spying on this relatably dysfunctional family. The only bad part about binge-TV is that you’ll miss the Pfeffermans something awful way too soon—the episodes are only a half-hour long.
With a cover blurb from Lena Dunham (“I have so much love for Caitlin Moran”), the new YA novel from smart and smartass feminist U.K. writer Caitlin Moran makes it clear it’s written for anyone who subscribes to Dunham’s brand of body-positive girl power. The somewhat autobiographical tome could likely be considered a fictional prequel to Moran’s 2011 memoir, How to Be a Woman, which covered sex work and pubic hair with equal amounts of humor. In How to Build a Girl, 14-year-old Johanna Morrigan reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, hoping to rise above the insecurities and mundanity of teenagerdom in her provincial English hometown.
Last month Sarah Silverman won an Emmy for her HBO special We Are Miracles, and now our favorite foul-mouthed comedian is releasing the 60-minute set as an album. Silverman, who turns standard fare about race, religion, and politics into bits as supremely laughable as they uncomfortable, doesn’t hold back here. The proof is in the rape joke that’s actually funny.
The Two Faces of January marks the welcome return of Kirsten Dunst as a leading lady, as a tourist in 1962 Italy opposite Viggo Mortenson who plays her husband. When the two befriend an American expat con, the trouble begins, and deepens when a murder puts all three of them on the run. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1988 novel, it’s got all the hallmarks of the celebrated writer—international intrigue, psychological surprises, and sexual tension as titillating as the story’s thrills.
Oh fall TV, what a wonderful reward we get for somehow surviving the hot and hopeless months of summer without you. This week’s premiere schedule is an embarrassment of riches but we’ve picked a few of our favorites starting with the gems from Thursday night, which belongs without question to Shonda Rhimes. Did you dare miss the premiere of Scandal? After last season’s cliffhanger ending that had Olivia and Jake jetting off to who-knows-where it did not disappoint and catching up with our beloved fixer was well worth the wait. And don’t forget about Rhimes’s new show, How to Get Away With Murder, which has all the twists and turns we’ve come to expect from the woman who knows how to get us hooked. Starring Viola Davis as a law professor, it’s part crime-solving whodunit, part drama, and all, well, scandalous. Sunday marks the return of our favorite ensemble cop sitcom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a show both refreshing in its diversity and surprising in its kooky humor that has just enough camaraderie to give us the warm fuzzies. Plus, on Monday, we’ve got a Q&A with Detective Rosa Diaz’s Stephanie Beatriz, who chatted with DAME about playing a badass, what it’s like to be on a cop show in the wake of Ferguson, and why she’s not afraid to tell the world about her acne.
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