Category Archives: Dear Television

Dear Television is Jane Hu, Lili Loofbourow, Phillip Maciak, and Anne Helen Petersen. They write epistolary criticism about TV. Each week, the gang will select a different series, issue, or pet peeve, and their correspondence about it will appear here on the LARB blog, Monday through Wednesday.

If you’re looking for blog posts prior to September 2013, you can visit Dear Television’s page on LARB.

Follow us on Twitter (@Dear_Television) and Like us on Facebook for announcements and updates or to suggest possible topics. We like Television Series With Strong Female Leads.

Dear Television is edited by Michael Goetzman.

Dear Television, Masters of Sex, Week 5 Snake

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

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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, Masters of Sex, Week 5 Loofbourow_DTV_Masters_MG_Orig

Sex and the Slightly Unreliable Narrator

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Dear TV, I’D HOPED Masters of Sex would resist following Mad Men down the sepia brick road to the land of overburdened flashbacks, and so far so good; five episodes in, it seems to have a comparatively sane relationship to its past. So far we’ve met Mr. Johnson and the original Mrs. Masters. Mather Zickel’s George Johnson […]


Dear Television, Horror, Week 4 Hitch

Ambivalent about Horror

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Dear Television, TO LOVE HORROR is to love genre. As Annie’s piece on abjection and Phil’s on “Hellmouth” (new meme, anymore?) have both pointed out, discussions of horror very often lead to categorization. Whether in defining the psychoanalytical underpinnings of horror’s affective range or in noting the types of tropes that converge in horror narratives, […]


Dear Television, Horror, Week 4 Maicak_Sleepy

Greetings from Hellmouth, U.S.A.

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Dear Television, THE THING ABOUT American Horror Story is not just its insanity or its abjection or its politics or its provocations — it’s how much of it there is!  As such, the list becomes a common feature of essays about the show, including our own. We don’t write about the monsters; we write about the […]

Dear Television, Horror, Week 4 AHS

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

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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, The New Sitcom, Week 3 Maciak_sitcomimage

The Good Bros of Fox

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Dear Television, HEY, REMEMBER WHEN Fox Tuesdays were the next best hope for a full-on televisual Ladies Night? An evening of television created by female showrunners and structured around Zooey Deschanel and Mindy Kaling? Fox had harvested the fruit of a decade of Tina Fey pioneering and invited us all to sip upon the delicious, […]


Dear Television, The New Sitcom, Week 3 mindy project 2

Are Sitcoms Sincere Again?

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Dear TV, I LOVE JANE’S take on the sitcom-as-Manchild and her point that the contemporary sitcom’s reliance on the manchild lets it get away with some pretty lazy comedic work. It’s all true: I love Schmidt but there’s a limit, and I’m glad he’s hitting some actual consequences this season. Still, I think there are […]


Dear Television, The New Sitcom, Week 3 Samberg

Can the Sitcom Grow Up?

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BROOKLYN NINE-NINE — one of Fox’s new sitcoms — begins with a classic expository trick: the viewer’s first introduction into this world coincides with that of new characters’. (As if they weren’t all new to us.) The pilot presents commanding chief Ray Holt (played by an almost virtuosically stoic Andrew Braugher) to his police precinct, […]


Dear Television, Netflix, Week 2 office_image

Streaming Pam Beesly

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Dear Television, It is the strangest thing to have a long-term fictional love interest. It’s a type of relationship that is very intimate, and very powerful, but it’s fictional. I mean, there is a part of me that is Pam, and a part of him that is Jim, and that part of me is in […]


Dear Television, Netflix, Week 2 OITNB_image

Why We Watch Netflix In The Middle of the Night

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Dear TV, I WENT TO a puppet show last night. It was the story of the little mechanic who runs the human brain (pictured here as a moldy-looking engine room), zipping around adjusting dopamine and pressure levels trying to regulate his human’s behavior. There was one scene when the beleaguered homunculus was trying to get […]