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This column ran in today’s inside beat, the weekly entertainment section of The Daily Targum. That neat photo of me ran above the column, meaning my face is now famous.

Whether you’re a freshman involved in your seventh ice-breaker of orientation, looking for an easy way to start a conversation at a party, or just chatting at a bus stop, there is one no-fail topic for people our age: old school Nickelodeon.

Before you throw your newspaper computer down and announce to everyone that you remember “Rugrats,” take a moment to read on. This is not a column remembering the good old days. Instead, I’m attempting to help the Rutgers Internet community raise the level of intelligent discourse surrounding the programs we all remember.

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from harpercollins.com

The following is my review of Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, which ran in the inside beat section of the Daily Targum today.

We humans like to think of ourselves as rational. We think things through, we reason, we make the best decision possible. After all, isn’t that one of the main traits separating us from other life forms?

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This is the unedited version of my story that ran in today’s (4/3) Daily Targum.


This year’s geek starting lineup. Both bearded men and the one wearing the blue suit have been eliminated.
(Michael Desmond/The CW)

TV critics and audiences look at the onslaught of reality programming that has gobbled up precious airtime with a mix of disdain and guilty pleasure. No one defends the presence of these unscripted ratings giants, but everyone–whether they admit it or not–has enjoyed at least one reality show in their life.

For many critics, the secret program of choice is The CW’s “Beauty and the Geek,” now entering it’s fifth season. Perhaps this is because the show, produced by Ashton Kutcher, tries honestly to show the human side of the contestants. The shift of concentration, from the usual “Real World”-ish bickering and drama to the mental and social growth of those involved, is the show’s redeeming quality.
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I know Pete already gave you his review of “Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds Concert,” but since I wrote one for the newspaper, I figured I’d post it here too. NOTE, this is not the same version that was up last night.  This is the final version that will run, as sent to me by my editor.


Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert

Directed by: Bruce Hendricks

by: Tom Wright-Piersanti

When Hannah Montana sold out every stadium in America in a matter of minutes, parents across the country fell to their knees and let out a collective scream. Disney heard that scream, and its response was swift and – more importantly – profitable.

Those of us unlucky enough to have missed out on the hottest concert ticket in a decade can still catch the teen queen in her silver screen debut Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. For $15 (that’s the price for kids, too), you can spend roughly 75 minutes having glitter thrown in your face.

Hopeful filmgoers should act quickly though, as Disney released it to a very limited number of theaters, and it’s only running for one week.

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In Monday’s edition of The Daily Targum, I couldn’t help but notice what seemed like an interesting connection to Facebook in one of its ads. The Days Without Hate, an “event” that took place early in November, took out a full two-page ad to promote their cause. In extremely fine print, the ad listed hundreds of names, ostensibly the names of those who were intimately involved in helping the campaign in one way or another. However, this was not the case. How do I know? Because, while glancing over the ad, I noticed my name there. I was not intimately involved with Days Without Hate.

Then, I remembered what involvement I had – I was invited to join their Facebook group. I more or less thought, “Sure, I don’t like hate, I’m in,” and that was that. I quickly realized – the only involvement in this campaign needed to be recognized as an official participant was to click a virtual “Accept” button. Should that be all that is needed? Probably not. But if Facebook is going to take away from students’ study time and make their grades worse, maybe the least it can do is help inflate the rest of a resume. So…50/50 job here, Facebook. Then again, come to think of it, I did not practice hate during the days the event went on, to my recollection. Upon further consideration, thanks to Days Without Hate and the Targum for richly earned credit.

This is the unedited version of my article that ran in today’s Targum. The actual article can be found HERE. They spelled my name wrong on the website.

When Bob Barker retired from the hit afternoon game show “The Price Is Right” after nearly 35 years of hosting this past June, he left a crater in the world of television. Barker was a legend, always professional and always pleasant. His replacement would be scrutinized, gone over with a fine-toothed comb by fans. So who else to fill the role on TV Guide’s “greatest game show of all time” than… Drew Carey?

Carey, who is a comedian, creator of the ABC sitcom “The Drew Carey Show,” and former host of the American version of the improv program “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was certainly a questionable choice to fill Barker’s enormous shoes. Nothing against him – he has always been a funny guy, easily ingestible in small doses, and seemingly friendly to the folks around him. But he just wasn’t Bob Barker. In a way, it would have been impossible to pick someone who could really fit the bill. So the producers decided to do what every single game show has been doing since the aftermath of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”—they hired a comedian beyond his glory days to play the role of host.

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Reaper has been on for a while now, and I’ve already expressed my support here on the blog.  But I recently wrote a newspaper review of it, so I figured I would share it with you.  I have to break out of this no-post slump somehow, right?

The actual newspaper version, edited and all, can be found HERE.

The CW has been the pleasant surprise of the new fall TV season, finding an identity through gems like “Gossip Girl” and “Aliens in America.”  But the real standout for the network isn’t an East Coast “O.C.” clone, and it isn’t “Malcolm in the Middle” set in a post-9/11 world.  CW’s greatest achievement is “Reaper,” the best new show of the season on any network.

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Here’s an article I wrote for inside beat in today‘s Targum. This is the unedited version, it varies quite a bit from the printed version, which can be found HERE.

Right now there is a show that features some of the best acting, writing, directing, cinematography and music on television, and odds are, you don’t watch it. It’s not on HBO or Showtime, and you didn’t see its cast crowding onto the stage at the Emmys. It is “Friday Night Lights,” the NBC drama about a small town in Texas and its football team, and it is as close to perfect as a TV show can get.
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