Why aren’t you fired yet? 14 television characters who inexplicably held onto their jobs

1. Dwight Schrute, The Office
With The Office’s fake-documentary aesthetic and mundane workplace setting, NBC’s American version of the show typically thrived for a realism uncommon to network sitcoms. (It looked especially grounded when compared to fellow Thursday night comedies Community and 30 Rock, which frequently…

The hole in the middle: 16 shows whose lead characters are their least interesting

1. WKRP In Cincinnati, Andy Travis
Building a television ensemble is a tricky proposition. There must be enough outsized characters to keep the laughs (or the drama) coming, but the show also has to stay grounded. To manage this balancing act, shows often end up building around a down-to-earth lead who acts as…

Killing the mood music

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d

“No TV and no beer make Homer go crazy”: 14-plus alternate realities within television shows

1. Switched At Birth, “Ecce Mono” (2013)
A heartfelt ABC Family drama about two teenage girls who were, well, switched at birth seems like an unlikely place to find a fanciful flight into an alternate reality, but that’s just what Switched At Birth did in season two’s “Ecce Mono.” When family patriarch John suffers a…

Fuck! The A.V. Club staff’s favorite uses of the F-word in media

This week’s question comes from reader Wade Carney:

What should be your state’s official rock song?

This week, reader Matthew Bernat asks: Not that anyone living outside of Massachusetts’ I-495 would know, but this winter, elected representatives introduced competing legislation to name an official state ‘rock song.’ The (ahem) contenders: Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’ vs. Modern Lovers’ ‘Roadrunner.’ For me, it’s no…

Hitting “pause” on pop culture

This week’s question comes from reader Chris Weiderman: “Sometimes I wish all of pop culture would hit “pause” for a year or so and let me catch up on everything I’ve missed. Why start in on season 1 of Homeland, when I need to be watching The Americans now?

Re-visiting the pop culture moments of 1983

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

Reaching new depths of desperation: 11 (mostly lousy) sequels released in 1983

1. Jaws 3-D
As a quick look of the following list will confirm, picking the worst sequel of 1983 is an exercise in futility. But when it comes to choosing which has the greatest disparity in quality between itself and the original, Jaws 3-D may be the undisputed winner (or loser, as it were). After flirting with the…

Separating art from its creators

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d

What book or series of books should be made into a TV show?

This week’s question: What book or series of books should be made into a TV show?

What have been the best TV moments of the year?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

Never leave the cave without it: 13 good performances in terrible movies

1. George Clooney, Batman & Robin (1997)
Joel Schumacher’s campy take on Batman had already derailed the characters in Batman Forever, with its gleefully overacting villains and garish neon colors. But Batman & Robin took the series to its nadir, amplifying Schumacher’s grating direction with a pun-heavy script (by…