Yucking Up “The Walking Dead” to a Few More Emmys: Comic Tips from Three Great Dramas–“Justified,” “The Wire,” and “Breaking Bad”

Granted it’s a zombie apocalypse; granted it’s exhausting peeking around every corner; granted Atlanta in the summer without air-conditioning is brutal.  But come on, let’s have a little levity. There’s a fine line between tragedy and comedy.  Shakespeare knew this as he preceded the haunted and soon to be hysterical Hamlet in the graveyard with a pun-contest with a local gravedigger.  Even Mercutio, after he was stabbed, found time to squeeze out a groaner:  “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.” And what works for the Bard, certainly bears true for three of my favorite dramas. Justified (FX) In Justified, Timothy Oliphant is sentenced to his home town of Kentucky after going all Dirty Harry in the opening scene of the opening episode.  He is forced to not only deal with his childhood buddy and current supremacist outlaw Boyd Crowder, the most verbose, eloquent, polite and delightful psychopath… Read More…

Attack of the Teenage Snow-Day Zombies: Resuscitating the Watching Dead

We heard its slow steps trudging up from the cellar—one foot was obviously dragging.  I swear we could hear the drool splashing on the floorboards.  It snarled.  It hated the daylight—even cloud-covered sunshine deflected off the snow.  We stood in its way and we were going to pay for it… “I was in the middle of an episode!” it roared. You may have seen the snow-day zombies in your own home.  They’re easy to spot.  They still look a bit like those pictures on the wall —but they’re meaner and generally have distinct characteristics. Bloodshot eyes Dirty, standing-in-weird-places hair Hunger so severe they don’t know they’re hungry anymore Aggressive, attack-first tendencies Extremely protective of their turf—namely, their remotes It’s not quite the parking lot of the Center for Disease Control, but we are nearly as hopeful as those running pollyannas in Season 1 of the The Walking Dead.  Maybe there… Read More…

Don Draper & Tony Soprano: Smoking Alpha-Males at Mid-Life Crisis

The pilot episode of Mad Men tracked the 1960 day-in-the-life of the smoking, charming, Don Draper at mid-climb up the slippery advertising ladders of Manhattan.  He’s confident, women roll out of bed with him and greasy-haired society boys wish they could be him; what’s not to like?  Then, in the episode’s final scene, he pulls into the driveway of his domestic life in the suburbs.  And to boot, his wife is a model and his kids are cute. It’s a great “reveal” that sets the tone for the rest of the double-life that is “draped” from the rest of the world.  As the series moves along, we discover plenty of dark secrets including a war-time identity switch and an odd California marriage to a doomed nice lady.   There’s this tightrope walk that my wife and I have with many of these successful cable protagonists.  Do we want Walt to… Read More…