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Caryn James

TV Review: Oprah’s OWN Network, Where Fluffy Meets Smart

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 2, 2011 3:32 AM
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  • 20 Comments
Oprah Winfrey has the amazing ability to say things – or rather make pronouncements - that might sound alarming from other people. As she told Barbara Walters about starting OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, “People deserve to have value-centered, inspirational programming.” What? Imagine that value-centric statement coming from some tea-partying Sarah Palin clone and it takes on a far less innocuous tone.
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TV Review: A Wonderful, Demented "Doctor Who" Christmas Special

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 22, 2010 2:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If Michael Gambon is in it, I’m there – but he’s just one reason to watch Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, an energetic, goofy, time-traveling special that sideswipes the Dickens tale and takes off on its own demented path. I’m not praising this as a Doctor Who fanatic. I like the series just fine, but its premises -- the Doctor crashing into new planets, times and adventures -- are often more intriguing than the results, even when the Doctor runs into Vincent van Gogh, as he did this season.
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Best On Screens This Weekend

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 17, 2010 2:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
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Ricky Gervais’ Edgy HBO Special

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 15, 2010 7:01 AM
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  • 2 Comments
I used to think that the title of funniest, edgiest (and the two are connected) comedian around was an impossible choice between Chris Rock and Eddie Izzard, but Ricky Gervais’ HBO stand-up show has him closing in on them. He has always been so cheerful and good-natured that he gets away with skewering the most outrageous targets. In the new special -- innocuously called Out of England 2, premiering Saturday -- he is as funny as ever but even darker.He sounds harmless enough. His voice veers into a falsetto as he imitates a disheartened goat sent as a gift to a starving African family: “A week ago I was gamboling around the Cotswolds!” But the same falsetto turns up as the voice of the suspicious, illogical side of Gervais’ own mind when he sees a Muslim at the airport. He races giddily along telling stories about Christmas presents and insurance coverage, then ends with lines that don’t so much punch as sting. Where was God when some supposed Act of God like a tree falling on a car happened? ‘”I was in Africa that day,” God says, “giving AIDS to babies.”
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