Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is the executive editor of Pandagon.net and the author of the book, It's A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Recent Articles

Six Seasons and a Movie!

Community finally comes back on the air tonight to finish up its third season, and it's kind of a big deal for the show's rabid fans.

(Flickr/reway2007)

Community returns tonight after NBC unceremoniously put it on hiatus halfway through its third season, and it's a television event you would have had a hard time not knowing about if you spend any time online. While few expected the low-rated cult hit to see a fourth season, fans at least felt they needed closure, and far more for this show than for other single-camera critical darlings like it, such as 30 Rock or possibly even Arrested Development. Why? Because despite its well-deserved reputation for kooky, abstract humor, Community has some of the best-developed characters on television.

A Home for the Hip Hipster Bashers

The TV show Portlandia is the last stand between the cool and the uncool fedora haters. 

(AP Photo/Kristina Bumphrey)

Portlandia, or as it’s known around my place, “Stuff White People Like: The TV Show aired its season finale on March 9, having successfully bested Mad Men as the show whose impact on the cultural discourse furthest outstrips its ratings. The kind of people who pen magazine articles defining the culture’s official watercooler topics spring directly from the educated, anxiously hip urban middle class that Portlandia captures so perfectly, giving it a massive edge in this contest. Beyond just being an entertaining black hole of self-referential humor, however, Portlandia signals an important shift in the zeitgeist.

A Social Network of One's Own

Pinterest is quickly becoming the safest place for women to socialize on the Internet.

(Flickr/GoodNCrazy)

I initially visited Pinterest after hearing its praises sung for being a remarkable organization tool with a social component, but all I saw at first were pictures of clothes, interior-design ideas, and cheesy photography coupled with “inspirational” mottos and prayers. Few things make me hit the “unsubscribe” button faster than seeing a black-and-white picture of a lake emblazoned with pabulum about living life to the fullest, but my hostile reaction belied a bit of the internalized sexism in the heart of even the most stalwart feminist. After all, I love fashion and design, so why wouldn’t I want to see more of it if not for the fear that it might be too girly?

A Homeric D'oh

The Simpsons celebrates a television milestone but where has all the edge gone?

(Flickr/wallyg)

Watching The Simpsons now is like watching the movie version of the Broadway show based on John Waters’ classic Hairspray. The form is the same, but the spirit just isn’t there. When the 500th episode of the show aired Sunday night, I couldn’t be bothered to care. The main problem is that the show jumped the shark more than a decade ago and, while it still manages to pop off plenty of laugh lines, it lacks the satirical heart that made it truly groundbreaking when it made its debut 23 years ago.

Whitney's Public, Private Struggle

It's a lot harder for mega-celebrities to manage their public and private personas.

I hadn’t thought of Whitney Houston in years but, about a month ago, her name actually came up in conversation. My boyfriend and I were talking about the lyrics to “Whatta Man,” the Salt-n-Pepa/En Vogue song, and he singled out “And he knows that my name is not Susan” as a particularly clunky line in an otherwise smooth pop song. “Oh, it’s a reference to a Whitney Houston song called ‘My Name Is Not Susan,’” I reminded him. That’s how famous Houston was in the early 1990s—rappers could drop a reference to one of her lesser-known songs, which only ever peaked at number 20, and still count on audiences knowing it.

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