Author Archives: Anne Helen Petersen

Dear Television mcconnaissance

The McConnaissance: An Alternate Reading

| by

Dear Television, IN EPISODE TWO of HBO’s stunning new series True Detective, the laconic Rust Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey, spends a significant amount of car time with his partner, Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson), trading quips and offer the audience veiled truths about themselves. It’s a trope of the procedural: cops, even female ones, are […]


Tags:

Dear Television, Girls AHP_DearTV_11414 MG Original

Truthers and Darers

| by

WHEN I WAS A KID, every girl I know played Truth or Dare. It’s a girl sleepover rite of passage, after all, which is part of the reason that, in the second episode of Girls Season Three (released in tandem with the first), Adam has no idea how to respond when a Shoshanna, operating in […]


Christmas-on-TV, Dear Television FamilyStone

The Christmas Movie: A Hate/Need Relationship

| by

Dear Television, HERE’S THE THING no one wants to admit about televised Christmas movies: they’re all horrible. Don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful moments in every Christmas movie: when Kevin rigs the entire house to look like a party dancing to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” for example, in Christmas classic Home Alone, or […]


Tags:

Dear Television, The Music Video MusicVid

How to Make a Music Video About Nothing: Ke$ha, Pitbull, & “Timber”

| by

Dear Television, WE WATCH MUSIC VIDEOS for three overarching and often related reasons: hotness, dancing, and story. You might not like to admit to the first one, but the amount of hotness in videos can only suggest that we like it. Whether the video is for Drake or Tim McGraw, Miley Cyrus or Celine Dion, […]


Dear Television, SNL hutcherson

Good, Giving, and Game: Towards a Theory of SNL Hosting

| by

Dear Television, WHEN PHIL FIRST emailed to ask if we wanted to cover this week’s Saturday Night Live, he was not optimistic: “It’s a new one, but it’s with WhoGivesAShitJoshHutcherson.” (It was also with HAIM, whose employment of “bass face” merits a column unto itself.) But people do care about Josh Hutcherson — the Youngs […]

Dear Television, Week 7 AHPimage

In Praise of Quitting

| by

Dear Television, I’VE QUIT ONE JOB, I’ve quit two sports, I quit one (very ill-advised) diet. I finish all my books and once I start an article, I can’t stop reading it. But I quit television shows all the time — and more to this week’s point, I quit Homeland before Season Three even started. […]


Dear Television, The Good Wife, Week 6 PetersenDearTV.cached

There Will Be Peplum: On the Television Uniform

| by

Dear Television, WHEN I WAS YOUNG, my favorite show was Star Trek: The Next Generation. There are many reasons for this love, but chief among them was the uniforms. I loved how legible they were: how you saw a color, and a number of pips on the collar, and you immediately knew what that person did […]

Dear Television, Masters of Sex, Week 5 Snake

You Won’t Read This Review of “Masters of Sex”: The Problem of Episodic Criticism

| by

I WANT TO TALK with you about Masters of Sex. I want to talk about Michael Sheen’s acting, Lizzy Caplan’s costuming, and the friction between its serial and series elements. I want to tell you that the weepy, one-dimensional wife got, at least temporarily, less weepy, and that the show, for its initial resistance to […]


Dear Television, Horror, Week 4 AHS

The Exquisite Repulsion of “American Horror Story”: An Essay on Abjection

| by

Dear Television, An African-American albino. A 200 year old woman who looks 45. A vagina that destroys all that enters it. A MINOTAUR. This is the stuff of abjection, and American Horror Story: Coven is overflowing with it. You hear that word — abject — and think of something done horribly, wretchedly. In Coven’s premiere, the Supreme […]


Dear Television, Netflix, Week 2 Netflix_image

The New Canon

| by

This week, Dear Television — Jane Hu, Lili Loofbourow, Phillip Maciak, and new addition Anne Helen Petersen — will be addressing Netflix. We have little interest in rehashing the arguments that the trade papers have done before, and better — “Is Netflix a network? Is Netflix paying too much? Why does Netflix persist in torturing […]