Down The Rabbit Hole Again With Hank

Forgive Hank, sir....he only watches TV, and besides, he's a twit.

Forgive Hank, sir….he only watches TV, and besides, he’s a twit.

Another day, another annoying Washington Post TV review from Hank Stuever. When I last checked in on Hank as he was practicing his craft, he was ridiculing the concept of young parents committing to the care of an unplanned baby without considering abortion. Today, he’s just trying to make his readers as ignorant as he is.

I suppose there no requirement that a TV critic be conversant in literature…but there should be. All drama and entertainment is constrcted on the foundation of the stories and traditions that came before them, and while one can critique popular culture while being ignorant of everything between Beowulf and All in the Family, one cannot do so competently or professionally, both of which, as the TV critic for a major newspaper, Stuever is obigated to do. This is especially true when he presumes to critique a new TV show based on literature, however lightly, as  ABC’s new “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” is.

Right off the bat, Hank lets us know that he knows diddly about Lewis Carroll’s strange and wonderful classic, getting “Alice in Wonderland” confused with its (equally brilliant) sequel “Through the Looking Glass.”  Hank speaks of “Lewis Carroll’s 1865 story of Alice, the girl who stepped through the Looking Glass and saw all those freaky things — rabbits, Mad Hatters, worms, Cheshire cats, etc.”  But Alice never saw any of those things when she stepped through the looking-glass, for that is a different book. “Rabbits, Mad Hatters, worms, Cheshire cats, etc.” were encountered by Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole, one the few things the Disney animated version got right. (By “worms” I’m guessing Hank ie referencing the hookah-smoking caterpillar, which is not a worm. Does Stuever know? Is he just showing contempt for the book and its characters? As Hank would undoubtedly say, “Whatever.”) Continue reading

TV Critics and “The Following”: Let’s Blame Kevin Bacon For Gun Violence!


To read many of the reviews of “The Following,” the new Fox serial killer drama starring Kevin Bacon that debuted last night, one would presume it is worse trash than “Two Broke Girls” polluted by “The Bachelor.” In fact, it is stylish, original, well-acted, infinitely more interesting than dramas the same critics have fallen all over themselves praising like “The Killing,” (which is “Twin Peaks” without the kinkiness and even slower, if that is possible), and scary, which is important, because “The Following” is a horror series, just as “Silence of the Lambs” is a horror movie. What seem to scare many of the soapbox critics more is that the series is on Fox, which, after all, is evil.

The TV reviewers, in their wisdom, have decided that people shouldn’t watch serial killer shows any more, because decent Americans—them— are so traumatized by the Sandy Hook massacre that they all want an end to guns, bloody video games, and any dramatic entertainment depicting violence that doesn’t come from a zombie or a vampire. Thus they savaged Kevin Bacon’s show….not because of its artistic and production values, but because they don’t want that kind of show on TV any more, and insist that the public consists of easily pleased sheep if they don’t feel the same way. Continue reading