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Underrated / Overrated

January 16, 2011

UNDERRATED

Marc Maron: Coming out of the '90s "alt-comedy" boom, Maron's smart, darkly honest style made him a fixture on Comedy Central before jumping to radio with the now-defunct Air America. Now that Maron's DIY podcast called "WTF With Marc Maron," which pairs his near-confessional style of comedy with startlingly frank interviews with comics like Louis C.K., has become a hit, here's hoping Maron finally enjoys that overnight success he's deserved all along.


FOR THE RECORD:
Overrated/Underrated: An item in the Jan. 16 Calendar section's "Overrated/Underrated" column said that "American Idol" had been atop the ratings charts since its 2002 debut. It did not become the No. 1 show until 2005, according to A.C. Nielsen. —

'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work' (2010): We expected this documentary to show the resilient performer behind the unfortunate plastic surgery, but what we didn't expect was its raw depiction of the showbiz hamster wheel that keeps Rivers chasing the public eye by any means necessary. Rather than being a call for pity, it leaves you with a greater respect for the 77-year-old Rivers, who at one point rips a heckler with the venom of a comic half her age.

OVERRATED

The subtlety of 'The King's Speech': Although there's no arguing the fireworks between Colin Firth as the stammering King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his witty speech therapist, something about this presumptive best picture contender left us underwhelmed. Many moments felt plagued by a heavy-handedness that didn't let the movie breathe, right down to a character exclaiming he was "speechless" after the climax. Can't some things remain unsaid?

The fall of 'Idol': Believe us when we say that we'd like nothing more than to have the 10-year reign of "American Idol" atop the ratings finally draw to a close. Yet as much as the departure of Simon Cowell could qualify as a fatal blow for a show that's been showing its age, something tells us the counterintuitive if baffling choices of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and J-Lo at the judges table will be enough to draw viewers (hopefully just) one more year.

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