"Evil has a perverse beauty to it. It always has. Satan was an angel before his fall. Whether you see evil in a religious context, demonic in nature, or in a secular manner, as wrongful behavior driven by wanton self-absorption, it requires its opposite, namely good, to give it shape and meaning. What's more, the greater the tension between good and evil the more we can appreciate its presence and its force. … There is no escaping evil, as Einstein instructs. There is only our capacity to see it in all its malevolent forms and to find the resolve and community to contain it. [The Netflix series] House of Cards is a marvelously prepared and delivered primer on evil. Maybe, on a good day, we can use it to remind us of how difficult a life of virtue can be to achieve."
—Dr. Lloyd I. Sederer, Medical Director of the New York State Office of Mental Health, in his article "Evil—Marvelously Portrayed—Why Do You Watch 'House of Cards'?" [huffingtonpost.com, 3/4/14]
"Popularity [of television shows] has become both easier to measure and harder to measure at the same time precisely because there are so many metrics. The most essayed-about show might be Girls. The most tweeted-about show is, statistically, Pretty Little Liars. The most talked-about, right now, is House of Cards. But the most popular show (which is barely essayed-about, rarely tweeted-about, and hardly talked-about) is NCIS, whose audience is literally as big as those three other shows—combined … times two. … [We] might have clicked away from broadcast. But even stuck in what appears to be structural audience decline, CBS still pulls down ratings that make Netflix hits seem like quaint Acela-corridor niche series. The sliver of pop culture we've slid under the media microscope bears little relation to what's sampled by the rest of the country."
—The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, speculating on whether Netflix's much-discussed House of Cards is really a hit show. He adds, "Pop culture critics, who tend to be attracted to the thing that's most popular, mostly ignore the most popular shows on TV, which are lower-brow fare crafted to get high ratings. Meanwhile, a handful of networks whose business models rely on subscriptions rather than advertising amass all the most-talked-about shows on television. And that's how the people reading about TV and the people watching TV live in two separate worlds." [theatlantic.com, 2/14]
"The best movies get made because filmmakers, financiers, champions, and a great many gifted creative people stubbornly ignore the obstacles. The question going forward is how adaptive all these people are. How long will they struggle before they give up on the film business and take their talents elsewhere? And how flexible is the industry itself? As AMC's TV drama Breaking Bad took over the water-cooler conversation in 2013, and television critics dominated Twitter in a way that no movie debaters did, it served to reinforce the fact that film's glory days are over."
—author Anne Thompson, in her book The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System [salon.com, 2/28/14]
"I'm a prude. There, I said it. Indeed, I'm probably more of a prude than I'd care to admit, and certainly more of a prude than I imagined a couple of decades ago. And yet … I don't think it's my prudishness that has led me to this conclusion: There is way too much nudity on cable television these days, especially at HBO and Showtime. Indeed, it has essentially reached the point of self-satire. Nudity in film and its effects on society have been debated since film began, and certainly since it prompted the Hays Code in Hollywood following the occasionally libertine silent-film era. And at this point, those who oppose nudity in film and television have lost."
—Edward Morrissey, writing for The Week. Morrissey chronicles instances in which HBO, especially, has pushed to include more nudity in its shows. He quotes True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto saying that there's a "clear mandate in pay-cable for a certain level of nudity." Morrissey also mentions that in 2012, Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall said at least one HBO executive asked him to put more nudity in his show. Marshall paraphrased the exec, saying, "I represent the perv side of the audience, and I'm saying I want full nudity in this scene." [theweek.com, 3/11/14]
Christian actress Sarah Drew plays Dr. April Kepner on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, and her character is a Christian committed to staying abstinent until marriage. Drew recently told Fox News that her faith has shaped how she hopes April will be portrayed on the show. "For April, the first thing that was revealed was she was a virgin. I waited until I was married to have sex so I understood April's motivations. The writers thought it would be a really cool and interesting story to tell that isn't seen too often." Drew said of Grey's Anatomy executive producer Shonda Rhimes' approach to her character's convictions, "Shonda came to me and said you know a lot about this and to tell [April's] story authentically, we need your input." With regard to her own faith, Drew says, "The reason I love Jesus is because He's a really good guy. He's completely opposed to running around and judging people. I want to be able to show someone who thinks deeply and cares for people and actually tries to live out who Jesus is. That's what I try to do in my daily life." [foxnews.com, 3/4/14]
"When we began Duck Dynasty, we weren't starting it for fame. We started it to get the message of God out there. … We could have easily done a reality show like everyone else. But it's our faith that catches people's eyes because, sadly, it's not something we're used to seeing [on TV] these days." ―16-year-old Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson, who went on to say she believes her faith will help keep her from self-destructing like other teen celebrities. "I get a tweet at least once a day that says, 'I hope Sadie Robertson doesn't turn out like Miley Cyrus.' When you're famous you do get so much attention that I can see how you could just think the world of yourself. I think if you go into it thinking that this is not for me, that this is for God, you'll be OK." [foxnews.com, 3/11/14]
"Twilight, I'm sorry, is about a very unhealthy, toxic relationship. [Bella] falls in love with this guy and the second he leaves her, her life is over and she's going to kill herself! What message are we sending to young people? That is not going to help this world evolve." ―22-year-old actress Shailene Woodley, star of the upcoming action film Divergent, in an interview with Teen Vogue. And in a separate conversation with The Daily Beast, Woodley talked about technology and privacy. "The thing with privacy is I'm just going to make sure that whatever I hold sacred stays sacred. What I hold dear to my heart is nobody's business in the same way whatever you hold dear to your heart is nobody's business, unless you're willing to share that. As far as the hacking stuff goes, I don't really have to worry about that. I'm not a big technology person. I don't even have a smartphone. I don't even have a cellphone! And if I were to have one, it would be a flip-phone. There's a bigger lack of privacy than there's ever been, but there's also a bigger lack of camaraderie and community than there's ever been. I mean … just asking people for directions. Since I got rid of my phone, having to pull over and be like, 'Hey, buddy—do you know how to get here?' I'm talking to people more than I've ever talked to in my life because I no longer have that crutch. The more you get away from all the technological buzz, the more freedom you have." [time.com, 3/12/14; thedailybeast.com, 3/7/14]
"In America, we have a pathology about celebrities. We love it when people start becoming successful, but once they are actually highly successful, we do almost everything we can to destroy their lives."
—Roy Black, attorney for Justin Bieber, defending his client's behavior at a recent deposition. In the deposition, snippets of which have been widely circulated on the Internet, Bieber sometimes acts dismissively or gets enraged at the questions being asked. Black says that being a celebrity can be a tortuous experience. "This kid who did nothing except try to be a success in music has [found his life turned] at times into a nightmare," Black said. "And you wonder why he sometimes fights back against it." [nbcmiami.com, 3/12/14]