Category: Reviews

A Post-Racial Gilead? Race and Reproduction in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

In the Texas state legislature last month, several women dressed as handmaids sat in silent judgment over the lawmakers who were attempting (yet again) to outlaw an abortion procedure. Since last November’s election, sales of dystopian literature, including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, have skyrocketed. A number of writers, perhaps most notably Rebecca Traister, have… Read more →

A Parable for Our Time: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

“I know this may not seem ordinary to you right now, but over time it will be. This will become ordinary.” These days, words of caution like this sound like they could come from any number of progressive political pundits commenting on the rise of right-wing nationalism and all that it entails. In Hulu’s new… Read more →

I did the unthinkable. I saw Fifty Shades Darker. In theaters. By myself.

It was just as bad as I thought it would be. I can get past the ridiculous plot, the #NotMyChristian controversies, and the people who insisted that it can’t be a very romantic movie if the leads have no chemistry. I will also forgive the editors for lacking finesse in the storytelling, which seemed to… Read more →

A Day at the Smithsonian: Black History Takes Its Place on the National Mall

Like many historians, I was thrilled that the newest Smithsonian museum would be focusing on African American History and Culture. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened in late September, and I reserved tickets two months early to visit with family and friends — this was lucky forethought, since free tickets… Read more →

Revisiting Loving v. Virginia (1967): A Review of Loving (2016)

In June 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Perry Loving married in the District of Columbia. The couple then returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia. In the parlance of the time, Mildred was “colored.” Richard was white. Six weeks later, the local sheriff and his deputies burst into the Lovings’ bedroom in the middle… Read more →

“I Know This Guy”: Humanity in Hamilton’s America

As those of you with more exciting social calendars than mine may not know, this past Friday PBS aired a documentary about the making of the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical. The documentary, entitled Hamilton’s America, provides Hamilfans and relative newcomers alike with backstage passes to the drama we may never get to see…. Read more →

Can Mental Illness Be Funny?

This essay discusses the plot and characters of the most recent seasons of the TV shows You’re the Worst, Lady Dynamite, and BoJack Horseman. Spoilers ahead! In the era of “Peak TV,” there are many shows that are breaking the mold of what viewers may expect to see on the small screen.1 While in the… Read more →

The Salt in the Bottom of the Pretzel Bag: Reflections on Speechless

Last spring, my daughter wrote this poem in her 5th grade poetry class. This may sound like a poem written by a child when a newborn sibling arrives home. But it’s not. My daughter’s feelings of being ignored and pushed aside result from all the time, attention, medical care, behavioral therapy, ridiculously over-qualified babysitters, and… Read more →

Speechless and the TV Representation of Disability

The world of disability activism has been buzzing about the new ABC sitcom Speechless. So, what’s the big deal? While there are certainly shows that have characters with disabilities, there are currently none in which the premise of the show depends on disability as essential to the dynamic in a family sitcom. For the disability… Read more →

“Made in America”: O.J. Simpson, Race, and the Triumph of Toxic Masculinity

Black and white America could not have been further apart than on the morning of October 3, 1995 when a jury acquitted O.J. Simpson in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. While most white Americans responded to the jury’s “not guilty” verdict with horror, many African-Americans rejoiced. Filmmaker Ezra Edelman seeks to… Read more →