I Like to Watch

I Like to Watch

Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution

Book - 2019
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"From her creation of the first 'Approval Matrix' in New York magazine in 2004 to her Pulitzer Prize-winning columns for The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum has known all along that what we watch is who we are. In this collection, including several substantive, never-before-published essays, Nussbaum writes about her passion for television beginning with Buffy--as she writes, a show that was so much more than its critical assessment--the evolution of female protagonists over the last decade, the complex role of sexual violence on TV, and what to do about art when the artist is revealed to be a monster. And, she also explores the links between the television antihero and the rise of Trump. The book is an argument, not a collection of reviews. Through it all, Nussbaum recounts her fervent search, over fifteen years, for a new kind of criticism that resists the false hierarchy that places one kind of culture over another. It traces her own development as she has struggled to punch through stifling notions of 'prestige television,' searching for a wilder and freer and more varied idea of artistic ambition--one that acknowledges many types of beauty and complexity, and that opens to more varied voices. It's a book that celebrates television as television, even as each year warps the definition of just what that might mean"--
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780525508960
Branch Call Number: 791.4575 N944i 2019
Characteristics: ix, 366 pages ; 25 cm


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JCLFlanneryC Apr 03, 2020

I've been reading Emily Nussbaum's essays for years, often, without even watching the shows she's reviewing. I always paid attention when I saw her byline; her pieces for the New Yorker have informed many of the ways I think about art. She's an extremely compelling essayist and draws from film, fiction, and art in considering the narratives she reviews. She writes against boring, machismo TV-- I love her pan of "True Detective"-- but resists reductive arguments, as evidenced in her complicated and inconclusive essays about Louis CK, Woody Allen, and revisionism in the era of #metoo. A great book of criticism, again, I don't think you need to have watched these shows to read her reviews, she's a confident and funny writer. I would read her grocery list.

Jan 19, 2020

A collection of essays on television by the Pulitzer-prize winning TV critic for "The New Yorker." I'm of two minds about this book. On one hand, I like Emily Nussbaum's writing; it's witty, opinionated, and she frequently deals with race, gender, and representation. However, sometimes I wonder if some of the shows she looks at ("Vanderpump Rules" for example) are really worthy of intelligent criticism. She is perhaps overly optimistic about the medium and not terribly interested in the flaws inherent in the medium (see below). That said, I enjoyed the book and read it quickly. She reviews key shows of the so-called "TV Revolution," profiles several showrunners (Kenya Barris, Jenji Kohan), and, in perhaps her best essay, "Confessions of the Human Shield," looks at the art and crimes of problematic figures like Louis C.K., Roman Polanski, and Bill Cosby. The title comes from "Being There."


Aug 28, 2019

I enjoy Emily Nussbaum's pieces when they appear in The New Yorker magazine these last couple of years. She is fresh and thoughtful.
Here, not quite as much, in my opinion. I found myself skipping around a bit; and sometimes even skimming the chapters.


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