It’s got to be Girls for the lead. The most recent episode of Lena Dunham’s HBO series, titled ‘One man’s trash’, lit up my Twitter like nothing else last week (except maybe that meteor, on which you need to read Elif Batuman in The New Yorker), and while it will be some time before we see it here, at least we can read about it. In That sex scene on last night’s Girls, Emily Nussbaum for The New Yorker followed up her recent article about the series. Part – but only part – of why she liked the show so much was its tender display of sex:
… the Hannah/Josh scene was so intimate that it felt invasive: raw and odd and tender. That’s a nearly unheard-of quality in sex on cable television …
For other thoughtful and sympathetic responses, see Maureen Ryan at The Huffington Post, Hanna Rosin at Slate, Matt Zoller Seitz for Vulture, and ‘Emily’ at xojane (who quotes some responses that are less sympathetic), and also – although not quite so sympathetic – Brian McGreevy in Don’t call Lena Dunham ‘brave’ for Vulture. There are many more links below, as I endeavour to offer every Sunday, with h/t thanks this week to @KeyframeDaily, @glennhroe, @annehelen and @MethuenDrama.
• Mapping out BBC Television Centre: the BBC’s Bill Thompson is great on Google capturing the inside of TVC before it
goes to the knacker’s yard gets sensitively redeveloped as luxury condos.
• Science on TV – it’s not dumb, but it could be smarter: @AliceBell is very good in the Observer on the limitations of television science; she also has suggestions for how it could be better.
• Seitz on Southland – a mercifully understated look at the unmerciful world of L. A. cops: as Southland starts its fifth season in the States, Matt Zoller Seitz hymns the virtues of the series for Vulture – he is right, too, it’s a great series.
• Connie Britton is a late bloomer: Susan Dominus profiles the star of Nashville for The New York Times.
• BBC radio drama at 90: Jeremy Mortimer on Cecil Lewis, the producer of the first radio drama broadcast on 16 February 1923; his BBC blog includes a wonderful photo of Lewis (above).
• All you need is a girl and a gun: a wonderful post – with a host of wonderful images – by The Cine-Tourist about the famous quote that everything thinks is from Godard but which Jean-Luc himself himself has ascribed to Griffith.
• More than just another day Underground: at Bright Lights David L Pike writes extensively and interestingly about Anthony Asquith’s 1928 feature which is playing in some cinemas now – and here’s the new BFI trailer:
• Scandals of classic Hollywood – In like Errol Flynn: a great read (also with great pictures) from Anne Helen Petersen at The Hairpin.
• Sir Alfred simply must have his set pieces: David Bordwell is as effortlessly revelatory as ever on Hitchcock’s 1934 The Man who Knew Too Much, recently released in a restored print by Criterion; you can read his (and Kristin Thompson’s) earlier thoughts on the film here.
• Over there: Robert Hedley and Harriet Power for Theatre Communications Group explore whether new plays have a better chance of being successful in the States than in Britain.
• Edith Wharton by design: Jason Diamond for The Paris Review on the traces of the writer and her late nineteenth-century world in mid-Manhattan.
• The way they live now: reviewing John Lanchester’s Capital for The New York Review of Books, Michael Lewis reflects (brilliantly) on London in the 1980s and the impact of American banking:
The new American way of financial life arrived in England and created a new set of assumptions and expectations for British elites—who, as it turned out, were dying to get their hands on a new set of assumptions and expectations.
• A loaded gun: Patrick Radden Keefe on Amy Bishop reminds us just how good The New Yorker can be in telling stories about our world and its darkness.
• Exterminating angels: that excellent cultural historian Mike Davis posts a fascinating blog for the London Review of Books that links LAPD rogue cop Christopher Dorner with the tragic tale four decades back of Mark Essex.
• Royal bodies: … and the main LRB magazine online has another must-read piece in the form of Hilary Mantel meditation on Marie Antoinette, the Duchess of Cambridge and assorted royals in between.
• The culture of violence: a major and essential dossier from writers at the LA Times.
• Dancing in empty Beijing: perhaps it is because my son Nick is studying in China that I am particularly fascinated by stories from there, but I think this Ian Johnson essay for the NYRB about folk artists at temple fairs during the Chinese New Year would interest anyone; there are also some terrific video embeds.
• We don’t already know the broad outlines of literary history: Ted Underwood on how we can use data mining to learn more about literary history.
• Wikipedia and the British Library: the BL’s Wikipedian in Residence (until the end of April) Andrew Gray has some suggestive ideas about how institutions can work with the endlessly evolving encyclopaedia.
• Our guide for working with cultural data: Lev Manovich’s detailed how-to guide.
• Fresh Guacamole: … and finally, here courtesy of Showtime and director PES is one of the five films in contention for Best Animated Short at next week’s Oscars: