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The 2012 Emmy Nominees for Best Television Series and the Top Ten Highest-Grossing Movies

A political reading.

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Girls: America’s twentysomething daughters are having casual unprotected sex, swapping STDs, smoking crack, throwing abortion parties, begging their parents for money, and eating cupcakes in the bath together.

Modern Family: Portrays gay couplehood and gay parenthood as not only tolerable, but completely, mundanely normal.

Mad Men: Peggy struggles to get respect in the workplace, Joan bravely faces single-motherhood, and every male character is a drunk, immature horndog facing some degree of obsolescence.

Breaking Bad: A warning for America: When people lack access to affordable health care, they may have no choice but to take on second jobs as meth kingpins.

Homeland: U.S. drone strike in Iraq kills innocent children, inspires would-be catastrophic terror attack on American government.

Game of Thrones: Boobs! Also: an exploration of female power within a conservative patriarchy.

30 Rock: Liz Lemon is a fortysomething who doesn’t have kids or a husband, but does have a great career (mostly involving managing a writers’ room full of man-children).

The Big Bang Theory: Why are these guys so obsessed with science? Why don’t they make more references to the awe-inspiring works of the Almighty?

Veep: Bipartisan cynicism abounds, but even the most minor green initiative—making all congressional cafeteria utensils biodegradable—is crippled by the influence of the oil industry.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: In one episode, Larry indulges the fashion obsession of his girlfriend’s 7-year-old “pre-gay” son by giving him a sewing machine for his birthday.

Boardwalk Empire: It seemed perfectly appropriate for Angie to die alongside her lesbian lover, Louise, rather than next to her husband, Jimmy.

Downton Abbey: Pity the poor Crawleys, who bask in opulence yet live listless, constrained lives.


Marvel’s The Avengers: An intergalactic struggle ensues over the Tesseract, a limitless source of clean energy. Eat it, Big Oil.

The Hunger Games: The extreme class disparities in Panem—the wealthy elites force poor children to fight to the death for their entertainment— are like something out of an Ed Schultz nightmare.

The Dark Knight Rises: Okay, fairly conservative: Bane is something of an Occupy Wall Streeter on steroids (literally?) who heeds the masses to steal from the “one percent.”

The Amazing Spider-Man: The selfish desire of Oscorp’s CEO to extend his own life at any cost leads to the creation of the havoc-wreaking lizard-man.

Brave: Scottish princess battles magic spells, gender norms.

Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax: Listen up, kids: Natural resources are to be protected, not utilized by industry, even if it means fewer Thneeds.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted: Isn’t interspecies camaraderie just the multiculturalism of the animal world?

Ted: Though it’s difficult to read politics into the story of a stuffed animal who has sex with a human woman, he does smoke pot.

Men in Black 3: Agent K and Agent J work under the assumption that Americans and immigrant aliens can and should co-exist peacefully (hint, hint).


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