February 21, 2014
Barack Obama was first sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2009, and, from that day to this, a battle for the soul of America has been waged. The half-decade since has been one of the most politically polarized periods in U.S. history as conservative talk radio hosts, Fox News commentators, secretive billionaire campaign financiers, the NRA, the tea party movement and right wing celebrities such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have all tried to delegitimize the...
February 7, 2014 |
Nickelodeon's new cartoon was hatched not through traditional television channels but in a Studio City efficiency apartment nicknamed the "Doodle Chamber. " The 41/2 -minute cartoon about two feisty, accident-prone ducks was intended to be a one-off, a little film crafted to entertain fellow animators at a short-film festival held at a New York bar. But in the hurly-burly world of children's television, network executives are desperate to find that next big hit. When animator Gary Di Raffaele, who goes by the name Gary Doodles, got an inquiry from a Nickelodeon executive about his duck cartoon, which he had posted on YouTube: "I thought it was spam," Di Raffaele said.
February 3, 2014 |
"Wallykazam!," you might have guessed from the title, is a show for young people. Premiering Monday afternoon on Nickelodeon, it is a preschool, literacy-based cartoon that essentially takes a "Sesame Street" sound-of-this-letter blackout and works it into a 22-minute story. Wally is a 6-year-old troll with a puppyish pet dragon named Norville, evidently a graduate of the Scooby-Doo School of Diction, and a magic stick that can create things out of thin air, but only if they begin with the letter-sound of the day. (It's like a supernatural Enigma machine.)
January 13, 2014 |
Now here is this unforeseeable artifact, "Chozen," a cartoon series about a gay white rapper, an ex-con (he was set up) living on his sister's couch at a liberal arts college. Premiering Monday on FX, it is from people who make that network's spy-toon "Archer," whose visual style it borrows whole, and from people who made HBO's "Eastbound & Down. " And it is very much as if they had taken these shows - neither of which puts a great point on taste, sensitivity or modesty - and run them at each other very fast.
December 26, 2013 |
After learning that elected officials in the state of California collected more than $200,000 in gifts during 2012 -- which doesn't include the $6.7 million in donations solicited by officials on behalf of their favorite charities and causes -- the group Common Cause issued a report calling for tighter limits on this potentially corrupting influence. One suggestion: "Apply the $10-per-month limit on gifts from lobbyists to also include gifts from the lobbyists' clients. Currently, clients can give up to $440 per year to public officials.
December 23, 2013 |
"Turbo," the racing-snails movie from this summer, is already a cartoon series, "Turbo: F.A.S.T.," suggesting that such an eventuality was in the cards from the beginning (or somewhere near it). That other DreamWorks-made cartoons - including "The Penguins of Madagascar," "Kung Fu Panda" and "Monsters vs. Aliens," all on Nickelodeon - have taken the same route, suggests that, more than an eventuality, it was an inevitability. One difference is that it is being released by Netflix, the streamcaster's first kids' show and ergo a historic moment.