Quantcast

Video of the Day

Masthead

Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in dick cheney (162)

Tuesday
May232017

In Which We Have Chosen Another Dog

Pet Abuser

by DICK CHENEY

Downward Dog
creator Samm Hodges & Michael Killen
ABC

Every person has a certain frustration about the way the world operates. The tragedy is that each person can never be convinced that their special objection to these goings on is anything less than a predictable malady, akin to the common cold. Convinced her struggles are her own, Nan (Alison Lohman) decides to share her awful life with a dog, a mutt named Martin she rescued. (Martin is voiced by Downward Dog creator Samm Hodges.)

Amy Schumer once had a great sketch about people who constantly mentioned the dogs they rescue. Well, it wasn't so much a great sketch as a painfully obvious joke repeated several times, but it certainly was reflective of something in the culture. Downward Dog has missed out on that, whatever it was, and completely unironically presents the story of a woman who abuses her dog as if she is the hero.

Nan (is she named after bread?) never takes her dog on walks. She allows him to go on all her furniture, and she frequently punishes him by confined him to a small space and telling him that he is bad, even though he is just enacting behavior she has permitted. She allows him to sleep in her bed, which is completely disgusting. You see, dogs often roll around on the ground, where bacteria collects, and to drag those molecules into your sleeping quarters is just asking for various infections.

Obviously she never even read the internet to find out the first thing about what is involved in taking care of a dog. She leaves Martin in alone in the house, with no way of going to the bathroom, for upwards of ten to fifteen hours. This is completely unkind and also terribly unhealthy for the dog's long term health. Martin's on Downward Dog is not even marginally better than when he was at the animal shelter.

Things are even worse when it comes to the rest of Nan's life. In one scene in Downward Dog, she wears a Metallica t-shirt. I was unsure if this was ironically or not, but it came across as completely sincere. She never actually listens to any rock music. Maybe she did before she discovered she did not enjoy it, or before she met her boyfriend (Lucas Neff) who suspect that this woman is a total fake and leaves without saying anything. When he is around, at least he interacts with her dog, the only temporary reprieve of enjoyment or play Martin ever experiences.

Nan works in the marketing department of a clothing company called Crate + Bow, where she articulates her aim as wanting to "change the world." She never gets involved in politics, even though the actual real-life wife of Samm Hodges, much like every woman I know, spends every waking hour posting and e-mailing anti-Trump material. But to actually articulate the passion of real women in Downward Dog would be angering too much of ABC's prospective audience, so they don't do it. Artists should never be such complete cowards.

The Pittsburgh-set Downward Dog is quite an extensive guide for how to be an awful human being. Nan's boss at work is a guy named Kevin (Barry Rothbart). He is openly sexist, and Nan's friend Jenn (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) even references that she has complained about his behavior to HR. I guess nothing came from that. In one scene, the two invade their boss's private office, which is completely inappropriate, and find a white-board with his ideas. From this list Nan derives a diorama which does seem to feature a dress or maybe just a mannequin:

As bad as the diorama is, it is the only thing of any interest this awful person creates. After Martin tears up the diorama, Nan goes with her original idea. Her plan to advertise the various wares of the clothing company she works for is to put a big mirror in front of all their stores that reflects what the customers are currently wearing. The text on the mirror will say, "Look how beautiful you are." Her boss is furious at this, but some corporate overlord witnesses the presentation and is like, "This could work. It's just inauthentic enough to make absolutely no sense." Even that crazy woman who ran J. Crew would have told Nan she was straight garbage.

At first Nan thinks she is fired. Nan is so full of hate after her boss' reaction that she decides to take her considerable anger out on her pet. I loathe people who take their feelings out on others. She does this to Martin:

You know who can't handle their own feelings? Children, but their have an excuse for this behavior. Children want to seem cool by wearing a particular piece of clothing. Children think that a mirror is a good way to advertise a product. Children think every single person is beautiful because they simply haven't seen enough people to know what being beautiful actually means, or that it has meaning at all. A child, a cruel, evil child, might treat a dog this way. A human being never could.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

Tuesday
May162017

In Which We Frenetically Displace Elisabeth Moss

By Numbers

by DICK CHENEY

The Handmaid's Tale
creator Bruce Miller
Hulu

After Netflix thought it was a good idea to make a show glorifying the suicide of children, I can't really fault Hulu for doing the same with adultery. In the most recent episode of The Handmaid's Tale, Elisabeth Moss has sex outside of wedlock five times. For the most part she sticks to straight missionary, and she only enjoys sex one of every five times. (1/5=20%) Each sexual experience that she has is challenging, weird, and has the real chance of being illegal or against her will. Here are my reviews of the sex.

Sex with the chauffer

Max Minghella has a tiny body. Sex with him is like cradling a really smooth, hairless vase. Elisabeth Moss has to sort of bend her knees to appear shorter than him. This fuck was encouraged by Mrs. Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski), who stood on the other side of the room and averted her eyes. It was not immediately clear whether or not Minghella had even ejaculated until a follow-up scene where Moss shouted, "You don't feel pregnant right after the guy gives you his load, gosh!" and then immediately apologized. What this intercourse lacked in sensuality it made up for when Moss got a little bit into it despite herself and took a breath. C+

Sex by proxy

Moss stood outside a supermarket completely still. She told Alexis Bledel (Alexis Bledel) that she was sorry they removed her clitoris for being a lesbian. She touched Alexis Bledel's hand and they talked about getting together in early May. Even though they both had gloves on, the touch was substantial and erotic. Afterwards, Bledel drove a car over a guy's head (ouch!) and Moss had her first orgasm of the episode, although perhaps not the last. One benefit of those large red smocks is that you can touch yourself quite discreetly. Afterwards, Bledel was apprehended at gunpoint and driven to a secure location. C

Sex with the Commander

Joseph Fiennes has this weird crusty film at the corners of his lips. This is supposed to be what happens when men receive absolute power: they stop wiping their mouths. Unfortunately for Joseph, his wife has to hold Moss in her arms while he penetrates Elisabeth for the purpose of procreation. It still seems completely unrealistic to me that a man would struggle to keep an erection in such a situation. I mean he's a Commander; his title says it all.

The Handmaid's Tale is remarkably averse to showing a penis considering that American Gods shows about five per episode and even had one scene where a guy looked up and saw a framed picture of a dick. During this particular sexual assault, Fiennes started stroking Moss' thigh and grunting a smidge, which caused her to immediately launch into a prolonged voiceover. Later, she stormed into his office where they play Scrabble and pouted. He should have been like, "I'm already married." B+

Sex with a married African-American fellow

The flashbacks are the most painful, bourgeois part of The Handmaid's Tale, as we slowly realize how disturbed and evil American society was before it became a Puritan dystopia. Moss meets Luke (O.T. Fagbenle) waiting for hot dogs at a food truck. I was unclear on why hot dogs would require extensive preparation, but all the hot dogs I eat cost a dollar and are excavated from the hot water of some guy's creepy cart. Luke begins cheating on her wife during his lunch hour, where he has these prolonged, flirty meals with Moss before the following conversation occurs:

Moss: I want you to leave your wife.
Luke: OK.

The sex that occurs previous to this has the most prolonged, awkward foreplay imaginable. Compared to all the other sex on the show, it feels similarly inauthentic. Moss takes so long to disrobe, and she makes eye contact the entire time she is doing so. Is this really how she has sex IRL? Isn't the point to simply get naked?

My number one pet peeve during sex is laughing. If you are laughing during sex you are probably not enjoying it very much, or concerned about your own pleasure. That means you are paying too much attention to the other person. Sex is supposed to be an intimate, not communal act.

Moss appears to have no discernible orgasm during this intercourse, either. Mayhap she is categorically incapable, or she sensed it would probably become a gif. Luke informs Moss that he is in love with her, and then afterwards he marries her and gives her a child. So like, this is the message we are giving to adulterers now - it's going to work out. No wonder Trump is president and I'm writing TV recaps. A+

Sex with the chauffer II

After she is threatened by Mrs. Waterford, Moss is feeling particularly rebellious. She sneaks out of the house to embrace the teenagesque body of Max Minghella in his shed, one more time with feeling. He seems to really care about what happens to her and gives her hair a few strokes once she untucks it from her white bonnet. Her eye contact here is constant, and she throws out a lot more moans than she ever did with her husband, I guess to imply, wow, she is really psyched for this fourth time she has had sex in the past 48 hours. It is nice to have a healthy libido, but whenever I see two white people pressed against each other the only thing I can think of is Shia LaBoeuf. D

I realize The Handmaid's Tale is not really supposed to be primarily about how much the handmaid in question is enjoying sex, but I am really tired of watching fake sex on television. Not that they should do it for real like on The Americans, but can't they at least give us a sense of the frenetic displacement sex provides in ourselves and others? The Handmaid's Tale falls down when it begins to feel like staged melodrama. I guess all of this half-hearted sex will make sense if it turns out that Moss' character is a closeted lesbian, which they seemed to go to great pains to suggest during her lunch with Luke. If it is the case that she only enjoys women, what happened to pretending?

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is the former vice president of the United States.


Monday
May082017

In Which The News Of The Day Remains Poor

A Lonely Lie

by DICK CHENEY

Great News
creator Tracey Wigfield
NBC

Nothing short of a writer's strike could ever stop the people who work in television from making shows about themselves. These approximations/reflections had various levels of reality built into them until NBC's Great News, which concerns a local New Jersey newscast that does stories about homicides in Texas for some reason. Accepting this level of seriousness is pretty much de rigeur these days – imagine a television show being important to anyone outside of the people who star in it? – but it took me back to 1988.

I argued strongly and with visual aids of Dan Quayle's face on the head of a horse that I should have been the vice president on the 1988 presidential ticket. You see, Dan would spend most of his free time hate-watching Murphy Brown, the seminal CBS sitcom that in a way created all of us. He would post on the show's messageboards begging the creators to give investigative reporter Frank Fontana more screen time, or a spin-off called Fontana.

Candice Bergen did a service to every single person hovering around the age of 40 on this show. She was presented as a recovering alcoholic who later decided to have a baby in 1991, and a situation that was all completely fine. This state of affairs incensed Dan Quayle a lot. "Why would an attractive single woman have a baby?" he screeched, tearing his hair out and jutting his pelvis at me as if I were unsure how children were in fact produced.

Murphy Brown actually had a real job. In those halcyon days, Murphy Brown creator and all-around legend Diane English made it seem like people cared what the news reported. Granted, national newcasts did have a lot more weight when CBS was like one of seven channels you got on the air. Murphy had this beautiful office that had no windows, but it was still very cozy. I still don't understand why she had all these magazine covers on the wall; maybe she had a print background. All her coworkers were for the most part sexist assholes, but she just put them in her place. When she went home, she had this great house where she was sleeping with her cute house painter (Robert Pastorelli, predictably dead of a drug overdose in 2004) who hung around. I never really understood that relationship until my wife explained it to me.

Murphy Brown was actually referenced by Dan Quayle publicly in the 1992 presidential race, because he hated the idea of a woman having a child without a man that much. I guess he thought it was real or maybe just important, and it kind of was. Candice Bergen had just the right amount of toughness and grit to have a baby and keep on working her job. You had to admire her; also she was perfect in every conceivable aspect. She even wore pantsuits at home, even when she was just relaxing comfortably after a tough day.

Briga Heelan plays a producer named Katie in Great News. Her Jewish mother gets a job as an intern on her newscast, which leads to her shouting "Mom!" a lot when her mother screws up which piece of tape they should be running before air. Creator Tracey Wigfield does not really care how actual news is produced. Great News is more going for how it was revealed that the entire run of Newhart was just a dream of the character in The Bob Newhart Show. Despite being evidently Irish, Katie has a Jewish mother named Carol Wendelson, played by the Armenian-American comedian Andrea Martin.

Since the entire show is really about whatever Catholic upbringing Tracey Wigfield suffered through as a child, it would only have been appropriate for her to cast herself in the lead role. (As The Mindy Project showed, she is a fantastic comedic performer.) Looking back at 30 Rock, the insanely verbose show that Wigfield wrote with Tina Fey, I don't understand 60 percent of the jokes that were made in it. Like Great News, the show is about a talented woman who falls in love with her gruff but exasperating boss. This storyline has not aged well after Bill O'Reilly harassed all those women, and yet the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace is treated very lightly in Great News.

Nicole Richie plays one of the show's two anchors. All of her jokes are about what a terrible millennial she is, and most of her sentences end with a hashtag of some sort. An extremely recurring joke is that Richie's character, Portia Scott-Griffith, will say a word that has a double meaning for people of each generation. For young folks, it will mean the name of a rapper, but for older people it will represent a food product. Are you laughing, because if you are not, or if you do not know the name of every single working rapper today, you will not enjoy Great News.

As Dan Quayle feared, none of the women or men in Great News are married or are particularly concerned about their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. "I'll never have a real relationship," Katie tells her mother as she goes through the e-mails of a guy who is living in her apartment for a week, even though Briga Heelan herself is married with a kid. This is how you know that Great News is someone's nightmare – there is no chance of any of these fictional characters reproducing or caring for children, which maybe is for the best. They are a lot more invested in topics like a bear rampaging through Central Park or the comfort of hugging your mother in the workplace when you feel sorta down.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find an archive of his writing in these pages here.