WBEZ | Breaking Bad http://www.wbez.org/tags/breaking-bad Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The 10 most controversial TV episodes http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/10-most-controversial-tv-episodes-108657 <p><p><img a="" alt="" and="" before="" breaking="" class="image-original_image" creator="" dunham="" episode="" episodes="" from="" girls="" gone="" has="" href="http://screenrant.com/breaking-bad-ending-finale-interview-vince-gilligan/" in="" internet="" left="" lena="" little="" nuts="" one="" only="" over="" patrick="" s="" so.="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/One Man's Trash .jpg" star="" still="" target="_blank" the="" title=" &quot;Girls&quot; star Lena Dunham and Patrick Wilson in a scene from the episode &quot;One Man's Trash.&quot; (Girls/HBO)" two="" understandably="" vince="" wilson="" with="" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><p>The Internet is going a little nuts over the ending of &quot;Breaking Bad,&quot; and understandably so. With only three episodes left until creator Vince Gilligan&#39;s avowedly <a href="http://screenrant.com/breaking-bad-ending-finale-interview-vince-gilligan/" target="_blank">polarizing</a> finale,&nbsp;each new plot twist is more shocking and sensational than the one before. Plus, a Saul Goodman&nbsp;<a href="http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/09/11/breaking-bad-spinoff-better-call-saul/">spin-off</a>&nbsp;starring Bob Odenkirk is already in the works: another AMC series&nbsp;destined to continue pushing the boundaries of cable TV to a) new levels of borderline hysteria or b) serial drama fatigue.</p><p>Hot button television is nothing new; but oh, how times have changed. For example, the intense shock and dismay stirred up by the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78juOpTM3tE" target="_blank">Red Wedding</a>&nbsp;massacre on &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;&nbsp;makes the once-scandalous aspects of much older shows, like Lucy being (gasp!) pregnant on &quot;I Love Lucy&quot; or the Brady parents sharing a bed on &quot;The Brady Bunch,&quot; seem adorably quaint by comparison.&nbsp;</p><p>But beyond the provocative themes that have persisted throughout many a series&#39; run, from the foul mouth of &quot;All in the Family&quot; patriarch Archie Bunker to the perpetual <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/celebritology/2010/04/the_10_freakiest_moments_in_tw_1.html" target="_blank">weirdness</a> of &quot;Twin Peaks,&quot; certain landmark episodes have also served as cultural powder kegs for audience uproar and debate.&nbsp;</p><p>So, which episodes reign as the most controversial to date? Here are&nbsp;my top 10:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>10. Girls, &quot;One Man&#39;s Trash&quot;</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><p>What&#39;s so controversial about this episode is why audiences found it controversial in the first place. Lena Dunham&#39;s character Hannah has a steamy dalliance with a rich, hunky stranger played by Patrick Wilson. Many viewers cited the impossibility of such an affair, saying that a man who looks like Wilson would never be attracted to an average-looking <a href="http://jezebel.com/5983437/what-kind-of-guy-does-a-girl-who-looks-like-lena-dunham-deserve" target="_blank">schlub</a>&nbsp;like Dunham. Many critics concluded that the episode must have been a <a href="http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/girls-season-2-episode-5-recap" target="_blank">dream</a>; because seriously, how could that ever happen? Insert massive eye roll here.</p><p>Thankfully, countless other viewers and critics jumped in to clarify that yes, a handsome man can still be attracted to a woman who doesn&#39;t look like a supermodel. Also, naked ping pong is okay.&nbsp;</p><p>Honorable Mention: &quot;On All Fours,&quot; the episode in which Adam&#39;s shocking, agressive sex with new flame Natalia looked a lot like <a href="http://hbowatch.com/on-all-fours-did-we-witness-a-rape-on-sundays-episode-of-girls/" target="_blank">rape</a>.</p><p><strong>9. Seinfeld, &quot;The Puerto Rican Day&quot;</strong></p><p>In this Season 9 episode, the &quot;Seinfeld&quot; group become stuck in traffic among the celebrants of a Puerto Rican Day Parade. Kramer accidently sets the Puerto Rican flag on fire with a sparkler and then stomps on it to quell the blaze, inciting an attack from the Puerto Rican mob that leads to Jerry&#39;s car being thrown down a stairwell.</p><p>Obviously, the National Puerto Rican Coaliton was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Puerto_Rican_Day" target="_blank">not pleased</a> with this representation. NBC apologized; and until 2002, the episode was excluded from syndication packages to other networks.&nbsp;</p><p>Honorable Mention: &quot;The Contest,&quot; the episode in which Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer make a bet to determine who can hold out the longest as the&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_contest" target="_blank">master of their domains</a>.</p><p><strong>8. The Simpsons, &quot;The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson&quot;</strong></p><p>Since <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_vs_Homer_Simpson" target="_blank">shenanigans</a> in and around the World Trade Center featured heavily in the plot of this episode, it was removed from syndication following the September 11 attacks. By 2006, the episode come back to syndication in some areas, but with many parts edited out.&nbsp;</p><p>Honorable Mention: &quot;Blame it On Lisa,&quot; in which Lisa Simpson stumbled upon some rat-infested Brazilian slums &quot;painted bright colors...so the tourists would not be offended.&quot; Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2002/apr/09/broadcasting.internationalnews" target="_blank">spoke out</a> against the show for portraying &quot;a distorted vision of Brazilian reality.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>7. Married with Children, &quot;I&#39;ll See You in Court&quot;</strong></p><p>Due to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I'll_See_You_in_Court" target="_blank">sex tape plot</a> orchestrated by the already controversial Bundy family, this episode was pulled by the censors and prevented from being aired for over a decade. Showrunner Michael Moye has since claimed that producers dubbed it &quot;The Lost Episode,&quot; both because it never aired and because they felt that they had lost control of the project.&nbsp;</p><p>Honorable Mention: &quot;Her Cups Runneth Over,&quot; another highly sexual episode of &quot;Married with Children&quot; that prompted Michigan woman <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Rakolta" target="_blank">Terry Rakolta</a> to launch a letter-writing campaign urging audiences to boycott the show.</p><p><strong>6. The X Files, &quot;Home&quot;</strong></p><p>While &quot;The X Files&quot; has never shied away from creepy subject matter, this 1996 episode was by far the most horrific. Brief summary: a quadruple amputee mother is caught breeding with her disfigured sons, thereby creating more <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiMq8e2RJA4" target="_blank">montrously disfigured</a> children.</p><p>&quot;Home&quot; was yanked after its initial airing to its graphic nature, making it the only &quot;X Files&quot; episode to be banned from repetition on Fox.&nbsp;</p><p>Honorable Mention: &quot;Irresistible,&quot; one of the few &quot;X Files&quot; episodes to feature a human <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irresistible_(The_X-Files)" target="_blank">serial killer</a> (played by Donald Pfaster) instead of a supernatural entity.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>5. South Park, &quot;Trapped in the Closet&quot;</strong></p><p>In 2006, Comedy Central&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trapped_in_the_Closet_(South_Park)" target="_blank">canceled</a> the rebroadcast of this episode without prior notice, allegedly because parent company Viacom was being faced with threats from Tom Cruise to boycott publicity for <em>Mission Impossible III.</em>&nbsp;Rumor has it that Cruise, who also reportedly&nbsp;<a href="http://freespeechdebate.com/en/case/tom-cruise-sues-south-park/" target="_blank">threatened to sue</a> &quot;South Park&quot; for besmirching his action star image, did not find a gay cartoon version of himself &quot;trapped in the closet&quot; to be particularly amusing.&nbsp;</p><p>Honorable Mentions: &quot;Jared Has Aides,&quot;a 2002 episode later&nbsp;<a href="http://tv.msn.com/tv/episode/south-park/jared-has-aides.1/" target="_blank">banned</a> by Comedy Central. Ironically, this decision was made not because of the AIDS-related material, but due to the portrayal of Butters being abused by his parents.</p><p><strong>4. The Sopranos, &quot;Made in America&quot;</strong></p><p>The anti-climactic fadeout of &quot;The Sopranos&quot; series finale left the majority of diehard fans feeling <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_in_America_(The_Sopranos)" target="_blank">very upset</a>. However, retrospective reviews of the episode have been mostly positive&mdash;likely fueled by the lengthy media discussions that immediately followed the broadcast and caused many viewers to change their interpretations of the ending.</p><p>Honorable Mentions: The much-maligned season finales of &quot;Lost,&quot; &quot;Roseanne&quot; and &quot;Gossip Girl&quot; (Dan Humphrey was GG all along? <a href="http://www.wetpaint.com/gossip-girl/articles/5-reasons-were-mad-that-dan-humphrey-is-gossip-girl" target="_blank">As if</a>.)&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, &quot;Earshot&quot;</strong></p><p>A school shooting on a popular teen drama is a hard sell at any time, but especially in the wake of a real-life tragedy. Such was the case with the infamous &quot;Buffy&quot; episode about a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earshot_(Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer)" target="_blank">high school gunman</a>: originally scheduled to air one week after the shooting at Columbine High School had taken place. &quot;Earshot&quot; did not appear on American television until five months later, but viewers&#39; emotions were still rubbed raw.&nbsp;</p><p>Honorable Mention: &quot;Glee&quot; airing its <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_Star_(Glee)" target="_blank">&quot;Shooting Star&quot;</a> episode just four months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, and receiving a hailstorm of backlash as a result.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Maude, &quot;Maude&#39;s Dilemma&quot;</strong></p><p>&quot;Maude&quot; was a revolutionary sitcom that continually broke new ground in the 1970s, but one episode stands out above the rest. In this iconic two-parter, which originally aired in November 1972, the titular character (played by Bea Arthur) is dismayed to find herself pregnant at 47 and decides to have an abortion.</p><p>Roe v. Wade made abortions legal nationwide <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v_wade" target="_blank">two months later</a>; but members of the clergy still reacted to strongly to &quot;Maude&#39;s Dilemma&quot; being re-run in 1973, and at least 30 stations&nbsp;<a href="http://news.google.co.uk/newspapers?id=AUsNAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=Dm0DAAAAIBAJ&amp;dq=maude%20abortion&amp;pg=3411%2C2835386" target="_blank">pre-empted</a> the episode.</p><p>Honorable Mention: A controversial <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accidents_Will_Happen_(Degrassi:_The_Next_Generation)" target="_blank">teen abortion</a> arc on the Canadian soap &quot;Degrassi&quot; also kept the 2004 episode &quot;Accidents Will Happen,&quot; from airing in the United States for many years.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>1. Ellen, &quot;The Puppy Episode&quot;</strong></p><p>This unforgettable two-part episode of Ellen Degeneres&#39; late &#39;90s sitcom, in which both she and her character Ellen Morgan&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Puppy_Episode" target="_blank">came out as gay</a>, caused such a furor upon its initial airing that ABC had to issue a &quot;Parental Advisory&quot; at the top of each new episode. The series was cancelled one season later, and both Degeneres and co-star Laura Dern faced career backlash for years afterward. Oprah, who played the small role of Ellen&#39;s therapist in the episode, later said that she received <a href="http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/08/oprah-winfrey-ellen-degeneres-coming-out-backlash/" target="_blank">death threats</a>.</p><p>Today, &quot;The Puppy Episode&quot; is <a href="http://www.emmytvlegends.org/blog/?p=5903" target="_blank">widely regarded</a> as one of the most important and influential broadcasts in scripted television history. Degeneres&#39; career has recovered <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW5jDoD_IYw" target="_blank">quite nicely</a> as well.&nbsp;</p><p>Which episodes would you add to this list?</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 13 Sep 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/10-most-controversial-tv-episodes-108657 The importance of characters we love to hate http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/importance-characters-we-love-hate-108516 <p><p><img 2013="" a="" alt="" angeles.="" at="" breaking="" celebrate="" chris="" class="image-original_image" episodes="" final="" in="" july="" los="" of="" on="" pictures="" pizello="" poses="" premiere="" screening="" series="" sony="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chris%20Pizzello%3AAP.jpg" studios="" television="" the="" title="Anna Gunn, who plays Skyler White on &quot;Breaking Bad,&quot; poses at a premiere screening to celebrate the final episodes of the television series at Sony Pictures Studios on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 in Los Angeles. (AP/Chris Pizzello)" to="" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Actress Anna Gunn, who plays the wife of chemist-turned-meth savant Walter White on the AMC series &quot;Breaking Bad,&quot; wrote a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/24/opinion/i-have-a-character-issue.html?_r=0" target="_blank">powerful op-ed</a> in the<em> New York Times </em>on Friday describing the fan vitriol that has been hurled at Skyler White since day one.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;My character, to judge from the popularity of Web sites and Facebook pages devoted to hating her, has become a flash point for many people&rsquo;s feelings about strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women,&quot; wrote Gunn. Bullseye.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, the immense hatred reserved for Skyler&mdash;while her husband gets the <a href="http://entertainment.time.com/2012/07/09/dead-tree-alert-walter-white-the-greatest-american-antihero/" target="_blank">Greatest American Antihero</a>&nbsp;pass&mdash;is mind-bogglingly sexist, not to mention unfair. How is cheating on your husband and being a bit pushy (or &quot;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/anna-gunn-breaking-bad-skyler-white_b_3810989.html?utm_hp_ref=tw" target="_blank">emasculating</a>,&quot; to quote many an online commentator) in any way comparable to meth-making and murder?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Yes, TV wives from Betty Draper to Carmela Soprano have received the brunt of fan hatred in lieu of their arguably more villanious husbands (how dare they disrupt the lives of our precious antiheroes by showing their non-ladylike emotions!) and from a logical standpoint, most of that criticism is seriously <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/07/16/skyler_white_and_breaking_bad_stop_hating_tv_wives.html" target="_blank">unjustified</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And yet, these venom-spewing haters keep tuning in week after week, hungry to see what their most reviled characters will do next. They spend hours venting in online forums and arguing over the office water cooler, talking about how much they <em>hate</em> these characters with every fiber of their being. But really, don&#39;t you have to<em> love</em> watching these characters at least a little bit to hate them so much?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" fox="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Still%20of%20Marissa_0.jpg" style="height: 263px; width: 300px; float: left; " the="" title="Still of Mischa Barton as Marissa on &quot;The O.C.&quot; (FOX/The O.C.) " />Marissa Cooper from &quot;The O.C.&quot; is a shining example of this paradox. Poor little rich girl Marissa (played by a wooden and consistently annoying Mischa Barton) was universally despised from the moment she appeared onscreen. However, even when many &quot;O.C.&quot; fans campaigned for Marissa&#39;s death and rejoiced when she met her <a href="http://tabloidwhore.blogspot.com/2006/05/oc-marissas-dead-and-im-glad.html" target="_blank">fiery demise </a>in Season 3, a sharp ratings decline in Season 4 proved that most of them had stopped watching&nbsp;in her absence.&nbsp;Perhaps they missed the eye-rolling drama in spite of themselves, or secretly longed for that special brand of chair-throwing crazy that only their least favorite character could provide?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Brenda from &quot;Beverly Hills 90210&quot; also falls into the &quot;characters we love to hate and can&#39;t stop watching&quot; category, along with J.R. from &quot;Dallas,&quot; Sue Sylvester from &quot;Glee,&quot; and practically the entire cast of &quot;The Newsroom.&quot; The list of incessantly watchable, often downright irresistable villains on the silver screen is similarly varied: Hannibal Lector, The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Joan Crawford in &quot;Mommie Dearest,&quot; etc.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In my book, &quot;hate-watching&quot; is an oxymoron, akin to &quot;guilty pleasure&quot; and &quot;airplane food.&quot; To hate-watch a show repeatedly is to have a weird, twisted love for it. To call a fluffy rom-com your &quot;guilty pleasure&quot; means that you love it to death, but are simply too afraid to openly endorse a film that most people consider to be terrible. Airplane food is <a href="http://coolquotescollection.com/7727/the-term-serious-actor-is-kind-of-an-oxymoron-isn-t-it-like-republican-party-or" target="_blank">self-explanatory.</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">So, while there&#39;s nothing wrong with a good heated debate over whether <em>not&nbsp;</em>being able to denounce Skyler White is institutionally sexist (equality for all, even when mud-slinging!), I believe that we should dig even deeper into our culture of hate-watching and ask ourselves why we &quot;hate&quot; so passionately in the first place.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If the opposite of love is <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1049.Elie_Wiesel" target="_blank">indifference</a>, not hate, then perhaps we care more for these characters than we even dare to admit to ourselves.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Maybe, we actually kind of love them.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/importance-characters-we-love-hate-108516 TV writers, showrunners are the new Spielbergs http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/tv-writers-showrunners-are-new-spielbergs-108399 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Getty%20Images.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 349px;" title="Jenji Kohan, co-creator/writer/producer of the hit Netflix series 'Orange is the New Black.' (File: Getty Images)" /></p><div>Steven Spielberg may be best known for directing Oscar-winning films such as &quot;Saving Private Ryan&quot; and &quot;Schindler&#39;s List,&quot; but he actually got his start in television&mdash;helming the pilot for a show called &quot;Night Gallery&quot; in 1969, when he was just 23 years old. The star of that show, Hollywood legend Joan Crawford, tried to get Spielberg&nbsp;<a href="http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/cover-story-steven-spielberg-tackling-tv-on-his-own-terms-1200498890/" target="_blank">fired</a>. She did not succeed.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, Spielberg went on to an illustrious career in film, but never forgot his television roots. Under the TV division of DreamWorks (now Amblin TV), Spielberg produced the mini-series &quot;Band of Brothers&quot; and several other shows, including Showtime&#39;s &quot;The United States of Tara&quot; and the current&nbsp;CBS thriller&nbsp;&quot;Under the Dome<em>.&quot;&nbsp;</em>Another new series, the sci-fi space drama &quot;<a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cbs-orders-steven-spielberg-drama-601934" target="_blank">Extant</a>,&quot; will premiere on CBS in the summer of 2014.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But in this day and age, I wonder &mdash; would a 23-year-old Spielberg, full of promise, imagination and exciting new ideas&mdash; simply decide to stick with TV? Sure, innovation on the small screen is not a recent phenomenon (see Norman Lear&#39;s<em> &quot;</em>All in the Family&quot; and Susan Harris&#39; &quot;The Golden Girls&quot;), but with television becoming more high concept and high quality than ever, 2013 is a great time to be running your own show.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The following list is a sampling of the best TV writers and showrunners in the business today. While a few have acheived success outside the realm of television &mdash;&nbsp;&nbsp;like Fey&#39;s &quot;Mean Girls&quot; and Whedon&#39;s The Avengers&quot; &mdash; all have succeeded in bringing unique, compelling and often gorgeously cinematic stories right into our living rooms.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><strong>Vince Gilligan</strong></p><p>Gilligan is the creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed AMC drama series&nbsp;&quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;&nbsp;He has also written and directed many episodes over the show&#39;s past eight seasons, receiving Emmy nominations for his direction of the pilot and the 2012 episode &quot;Face/Off.&quot; However, Gilligan got his first big break writing the screenplay for the Drew Barrymore film &quot;Home Fries&quot; while still a student at NYU,&nbsp;then by joining&nbsp;&quot;The X Files&quot;&nbsp;as a writer and later executive producer from 1995-2002.</p><p><strong>Jenji Kohan</strong></p><p>Before co-creating, writing and producing the hit Netflix series &quot;Orange is the New Black,&quot; Kohan was best known for creating the Showtime series&nbsp;&quot;Weeds,&quot; which ran from 2005-2012. Before that, Kohan honed her writing skills on shows like&nbsp;&quot;The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,&quot; &quot;Mad About You&quot;&nbsp;and&nbsp;&quot;Sex and the City.&quot; She also produced several episodes of &quot;Gilmore Girls&quot;&nbsp;and won an Emmy as supervising producer of the Tracey Ullman sketch comedy series&nbsp;&quot;Tracey Takes On...&quot;</p><p><strong>Tina Fey</strong></p><p>Fey has the distinct honor of being the first female head writer at&nbsp;Saturday Night Live,&nbsp;which segued nicely into her role as creator/writer/producer/star of the NBC comedy<em>&nbsp;&quot;</em>30 Rock.&quot; Now, Fey is gearing up for <a href="http://www.glamour.com/entertainment/blogs/obsessed/2013/08/tina-fey-just-sold-a-new-show.html" target="_blank">another show</a>&nbsp;that she recently sold to NBC &mdash; a yet-untitled comedy she will be executive producing with Robert Carlock, who also&nbsp;co-produced&nbsp;&quot;30 Rock.&quot; A highly-anticipated &quot;Mean Girls&quot;<a href="http://www.glamour.com/entertainment/blogs/obsessed/2013/01/mean-girls-musical.html">musical</a> is also in the works.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>David Simon</strong></p><p>As a former beat reporter in Baltimore, Simon&#39;s insider knowledge of city politics and corruption made his HBO drama series&nbsp;&quot;The Wire&quot;&nbsp;one of the best shows on television. Simon served as executive producer and head writer of &quot;The Wire&quot; for all five seasons. After the show&#39;s cancellation in 2008, Simon adapted the non-fiction book &quot;Generation Kill&quot; into an HBO mini-series. He also co-created the current HBO series&nbsp;&quot;Treme&quot;&nbsp;with Eric Overmyer,&nbsp;which will begin its fourth and final season in December.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Joss Whedon</strong></p><p>Whedon began his career as a<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joss_Whedon" target="_blank"> television wunderkind</a> by writing for shows like &quot;Roseanne&quot; and &quot;Parenthood,&quot; then swiftly transitioned into making his own. He is the creator of the iconic cult series&nbsp;&quot;Buffy the Vampire Slayer,&quot; &quot;Angel,&quot; &quot;Firefly&quot; and&nbsp;&quot;Dollhouse,&quot; all of which have earned him a devoted fan following of &quot;Whedonites.&quot; Whedon is also the&nbsp;co-writer of the first &quot;Toy Story&quot; film, writer/director&nbsp;of&nbsp;&quot;Serenity&quot; (a cinematic continuation of his short-lived TV series&nbsp;&quot;Firefly&quot;), co-writer and producer of the 2012 horror film&nbsp;&quot;Cabin in the Woods&quot;&nbsp;and writer/director of the third-highest grossing film of all time, 2013&#39;s &quot;The Avengers.&quot; His new Marvel TV show, &quot;<a href="http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/172437-joss-whedons-shield-comes-to-abc" target="_blank">Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D</a>,&quot; is set to premiere on ABC in September. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Mindy Kaling</strong></p><p>When Kaling first began as writing for the NBC&#39;s &quot;The&nbsp;Office&quot;&nbsp;at age 24, she was the only woman on a staff of eight. Eventually she stepped into the onscreen role of Kelly Kapoor, while continuing to write and direct episodes until the comedy series&#39; end in 2013. Now, Kaling serves as the co-writer, producer and star of her own show, &quot;The Mindy Project,&quot;&nbsp;which will return for a second season this fall. The popular Fox sitcom, which won the 2012&#39;s Critic&#39;s Choice Award for Most Exciting New Series, also makes Kaling the first South Asian-American woman to be the headliner of her own network television show.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Larry David</strong></p><p>David is best known as the head writer and executive producer of&nbsp;&quot;Seinfeld&quot;&nbsp;from 1989 to 1998, and as the co-creator alongside Jerry Seinfeld. But in 2000, David stepped out on his own with the HBO series &quot;Curb Your Enthusiam,&quot; a mostly-improvised comedy in which David played a fictionalized version of himself. The show lasted eight seasons, and won David the Golden Globe for Best Television Series &mdash; Musical or Comedy in 2003.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Amy Sherman Palladino</strong></p><p>After starting out as a staff writer for shows like &quot;Roseanne&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Veronica&#39;s Closet,&quot;&nbsp;Palladino created the beloved mother-daughter dramedy<em>&nbsp;&quot;</em>Gilmore Girls,&quot;&nbsp;which ran on&nbsp;The WB&nbsp;and later The CW<font color="#c2c2c2" size="1">.</font>&nbsp;from 2000-2007. She also created the delightful ABC Family series &quot;Bunheads<em>,&quot;&nbsp;</em>which was cancelled after only one season in 2013. What&#39;s next? Hopefully, more of Palladino&#39;s trademark snappy dialogue and master-shot filming style in a new arena.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Louis C.K.</strong></p><p>C.K. began his television career as a standup comic and comedy writer for late-night talk shows, but in 2009, he made a rather unorthodox deal to bring his semi-autobiographical comedy series &quot;Louie&quot;&nbsp;to television.&nbsp;He accepted the modest offer of $200,000 to a pilot with FX over prospective production deals with larger networks, because the FX execs allowed him full executive control of the show. &quot;Louie&quot;&nbsp;is shot on a red camera setup, and C.K. edits many of the episodes on his personal laptop. In addition to starring, C.K. has served as the series&#39; sole writer and director for going on four seasons.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Shonda Rhimes</strong></p><p>Rhimes has come a long way since writing the screenplays for &quot;The Princess Diaries 2&quot; and the Britney Spears vehicle &quot;Crossroads.&quot; Now, Rhimes serves as the creator, head writer and executive producer of three ABC television series: the long-running medical drama &quot;Grey&#39;s Anatomy&quot;&nbsp;(now gearing up for its 10th season), the &quot;Grey&#39;s Anatomy&quot; spinoff &quot;Private Practice&quot;&nbsp;(which ran from 2007 to 2013)&nbsp;and the current smash hit&nbsp;&quot;Scandal.&quot;&nbsp;On the horizon: a new ABC series in development called <a href="http://jezebel.com/new-shonda-rhimes-show-revolves-around-trucker-turned-l-883521160" target="_blank">Lawless</a>, revolving around&nbsp;the true story of a&nbsp;female truck driver-turned-lawyer.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Lena Dunham</strong></p><p>At just 25, Dunham created the HBO juggernaut &quot;Girls.&quot; She also plays the lead role of Hannah Horvath, in addition to serving as the series&#39; head writer, co-executive producer and sometimes director for two wildly successful seasons (the third season of &quot;Girls&quot; is currently shooting in New York City). And although Dunham&#39;s first big break came as the auteur of the 2010 indie film &quot;Tiny Furniture,&quot; she has firmly cemented herself as a TV sensation, earning two Golden Globes and a showering of critical praise for &quot;Girls&quot;&nbsp;as the millennial answer to &quot;Sex and the City.&quot;</p><p><strong>Aaron Sorkin</strong></p><p>Sorkin may not be the most recognizable face to the average viewer, but his reputation as an Emmy Award-winning writer and TV series creator is well-renowned. His list of television credits includes&nbsp;&quot;Sports Night,&quot; &quot;The West Wing&quot;&nbsp;and&nbsp;&quot;Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,&quot; in addition to his current lightning-rod HBO drama,&nbsp;&quot;The Newsroom.&quot; Sorkin is also a celebrated screenwriter (&quot;The American President,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;A Few Good Men&quot;)&nbsp;and in 2011, his electrifying script for David Fincher&#39;s &quot;The Social Network&quot; earned him an Oscar&nbsp;for Best Adapted Screenplay. &nbsp;</p><p>Who are your favorite TV writers and showrunners?&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer for WBEZ and co-host of <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a> a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank"> Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/tv-writers-showrunners-are-new-spielbergs-108399 Is 'The Wire' really the greatest TV show of all time? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/wire-really-greatest-tv-show-all-time-108018 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TheWire.jpg" style="height: 387px; width: 600px; " title="A still from the groundbreaking HBO series 'The Wire.' (The Wire/HBO)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">A stark, low-budget drama that <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2008-03-05-the-wire_N.htm?csp=34&amp;loc=interstitialskip" target="_blank">hardly anyone watched</a> during its five-year run has been named <a href="http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/07/01/the-wire-lawrence-gilliard-chad-coleman/" target="_blank">the greatest TV show of all time</a>&nbsp;by Entertainment Weekly. Other publications such as Time, Vulture, Slate, Complex and Newsweek also have cited <em>The Wire</em>&nbsp;as the best show in American television history, both before and after the HBO series went off the air in 2008.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Responses to EW&#39;s most recent announcement have been mostly <a href="http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20712079_20711820,00.html#21351457" target="_blank">positive,</a> which got me thinking&mdash;how did a series like&nbsp;<em>The Wire</em>&nbsp;become the default answer to queries about &quot;the best show ever&quot; and why does it still resonate so strongly with televison audiences today?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, the reasons that <em>The Wire</em>&nbsp;deserves to be credited as one of the best shows ever (if not <em>the </em>best) could wrap around multiple <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/poverty-in-baltimore-2013-4?op=1" target="_blank">Baltimore</a> city blocks. Created by former police reporter and newspaperman David Simon, the 60-episode series&nbsp;crackled with surprising realism and seared with a social urgency that most audiences had never been exposed to on scripted television before.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Each of the show&#39;s five seasons focused on a different facet of Baltimore city life&mdash;the drug trade, the seaport system, city government and bureacracy, the school system and news print media&mdash;with mostly no-name character actors playing cops, drug lords and corrupt politicians out for blood. The sociopolitical issues were so raw, and the stories so real, that<em> The Wire </em>often felt like a&nbsp;documentary; a mirror reflecting back onto America what we needed to see.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Perhaps for the same reason that the Harper High School episodes of <em>This American Life</em>&nbsp;resonated so strongly with listeners, <em>The Wire</em>&nbsp;was so culturally important at the time (and, with the exception of a<a href="http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/34511/what-happened-to-our-show" target="_blank">&nbsp;misguided final season</a>, flawlessly executed) that it changed the landscape of its medium&mdash;in this case, television&mdash;forever.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, I maintain that plenty of other shows have been just as influential in taking TV to new heights, while also leaving lasting impressions upon their audiences and society as a whole.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Other #1 options to consider:&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em><strong>The Sopranos</strong></em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Although critics may consider it redudant to say that both <a href="http://www.empireonline.com/500/99.asp" target="_blank">the greatest movie</a> and the greatest TV show of all time are about mobsters, I wholeheartedly disagree. If you haven&#39;t seen this exceptional HBO drama about an Italian-American crime family, led by anti-hero patriarch Tony Soprano (the late, great James Gandolfini), I suggest that you start now.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em><strong>Seinfeld</strong></em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;A show about nothing&quot; that changed <a href="http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2012/09/the-25-best-episodes-of-seinfeld.html" target="_blank">everything</a>. In my opinion, the pitch-perfect quartet of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer (in addition to the terrific writing from mastermind Larry David) will remain the pinnacle of comedic greatness for the rest of time.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em><strong>Breaking Bad</strong></em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Like <em>The Wire</em>, this groundbreaking AMC drama also exposes the dark and seedy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/07/case-breaking-bad-televisions-best-show/54565/" target="_blank">underbelly of American life</a>: shocking, grotesque, cinematic and brilliant in equal measure. Stunning, career-high performances from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as the world&#39;s most empathetic meth connoisseurs are just icing on the cake.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em><strong>I Love Lucy</strong></em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Iconic&quot; doesn&#39;t even begin to describe this beloved sitcom in terms of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/15/enduring-appeal-love-lucy-proves-television-is-no-wasteland/" target="_blank">cultural impact</a>, not to mention sheer hilarity. More than 60 years after it premiered on network television,<em> Lucy&nbsp;</em>still makes me laugh out loud:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/A3w4ps14_IU" width="420"></iframe></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Do you believe that&nbsp;<em>The Wire&nbsp;</em>deserves the top spot? If not, which show would you choose?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer for WBEZ and co-host of <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2" target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/wire-really-greatest-tv-show-all-time-108018 Addicts on film and TV: accurate or insulting? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/addicts-film-and-tv-accurate-or-insulting-107787 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Don%20Draper.jpg" title="Is Don Draper an alcoholic? (AMC/Mad Men)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">The season six finale of <em>Mad Men&nbsp;</em>airs this Sunday, and while many viewers are anxious to see whether that <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2013/jun/06/mad-men-season-six-theories" target="_blank">Megan Draper as Sharon Tate</a> conspiracy will come to fruition, others can&#39;t help but wonder: will Don admit that he has a drinking problem?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Slate recently published a piece about Don&#39;s <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/tv_club/features/2013/mad_men_season_6/week_11/mad_men_don_needs_to_go_to_alcoholics_anonymous.html" target="_blank">obvious alcoholism</a> that got tongues wagging. After all, what came off as a retro gimmick in <em>Mad Men</em>&#39;s earlier season (&quot;Oh, they&#39;re drinking booze at the office. In the morning. During business meetings. Why can&#39;t my office be cool like that?&quot;) has turned into something far more sinister. Now, it would appear that Don is just a few drinks away from completely losing it.</p><p>Jon Hamm does a great job in bringing pathos and realism to Don&#39;s downward spiral; however, other actors have been less convincing in their portrayals of addicts in denial. Sometimes they are at the mercy of bad writing or direction (i.e. when the screenwriters and/or director did not do their research in determing how an addiction actually affects a person and the people around them); while in other cases, the actor&#39;s own scene-chewing gets in the way of delivering a nuanced and truly accurate performance.</p><p>In any event, here are my picks for the best and worst portryals of addiction in the following categories:</p><p><strong>Alcoholism</strong></p><p>Best:</p><ul><li>Meg Ryan in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111693/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>When a Man Loves a Woman&nbsp;</em></a>(Okay, the film itself is a tad melodramatic, but the effect that her character&#39;s drinking has on her family&mdash;especially her husband realizing his role as an enabler&mdash;feels heartwrenchingly real.)</li><li>Denzel Washington in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1907668/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Flight</em></a></li><li>Jack Lemmon in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055895/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Days of Wine and Roses</em></a></li><li>William H. Macy on the Showtime drama&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1586680/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Shameless</a>.&nbsp;</em></li><li>I also can admit, without a hint of irony, that Nicolas Cage&#39;s suicidal alcoholic in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113627/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Leaving Las Vegas&nbsp;</em></a>was the role he was born to play.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>Worst:</p><ul><li>Marcia Cross on <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0410975/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Desperate Housewives</a>,</em></li><li>Helen Hunt in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223897/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Pay it Forward&nbsp;</em></a></li><li>Joan Allen in <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365885/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The Upside of Anger</a>. </em></li></ul><p>All three women&nbsp;play characters with an unfortunate case of &quot;rom-com alcoholism,&quot; meaning that their drinking doesn&#39;t amount to much more than a character quirk and quickly resolves itself by the story&#39;s end.</p><p>I wasn&#39;t so crazy about watching John Belushi comically guzzle entire bottles of whiskey in <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077975/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Animal House</a>&nbsp;</em>either, considering his real-life struggles with addiction and eventual death from a drug overdose.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Drug Addiction</strong></p><p>Best:</p><ul><li>Ryan Gosling in<em> <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468489/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Half Nelson</a></em></li><li>Edie Falco of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1190689/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Nurse Jackie </em></a></li><li>Aaron Paul of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903747/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Breaking Bad </em></a></li></ul><p>These actors never fail to blow me away with their spot-on performances. Plus, everyone in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117951/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Trainspotting&nbsp;</em></a>(also one of my favorite films),&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180093/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Requiem for a Dream</a>&nbsp;</em>(particularly Ellen Burstyn&#39;s character) and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0283003/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank"><em>Spun&nbsp;</em></a>(terrible movie, eerily accurate junkies) left me with chills. Oh, and Christian Bale in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0964517/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank"><em>The Fighter</em></a>&mdash; Oscar well-deserved.</p><p>Worst:</p><ul><li>Sandra Bullock in <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0191754/?ref_=sr_2" target="_blank">28 Days</a></em></li><li>Al Pacino in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086250/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Scarface</em></a></li><li>Val Kilmer playing Jim Morrison in <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101761/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The Doors</a>. </em></li></ul><p>They all play completely unrelatable characters who&nbsp;have nothing under the surface&mdash;their character&#39;s drug use is either too understated and romantized (Kilmer), laughably over the top (Pacino) or just tritely inconsequential and unrealistic in every way. Bullock and her participation in the most inauthentic rehab I&#39;ve ever seen on film.&nbsp;</p><p>However, the award for worst &quot;addict&quot; of all time must go to Elizabeth Berkely on that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZqBR67le8c" target="_blank">very special episode</a> of&nbsp;<em>Saved by the Bell </em>(caffeine pills?<i>&nbsp;really</i>?)&nbsp;</p><p>If there was an Oscar, Emmy or Razzie category for Best Portrayal of an Addict, who would you nominate?</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/addicts-film-and-tv-accurate-or-insulting-107787 Clever Apes #21: Secret lives of nuclear scientists http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-11-08/clever-apes-21-secret-lives-nuclear-scientists-93868 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/thumbnail.png" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="589" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-08/secret lives blog.png" title="Marius Stan and Dan Pancake lead double lives on top of their scientific pursuits. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer/Michael De Bonis)" width="604"></p><p>In pop culture, we tend to pigeonhole scientists into a few stereotypes: out-of-touch nerds (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DUkGjWVOlc">Jerry Lewis’ Nutty Professor</a>), bumbling head-in-the-clouds types (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5cYgRnfFDA">Doc Brown</a>) or obsessed madmen (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H3dFh6GA-A">Dr. Frankenstein</a>/<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZCIPb2XTms">Moreau</a>/<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqkeemU7fyk">Jekyll</a>/<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iesXUFOlWC0">Strangelove</a>). In truth, research shows that the <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2010/05/reconsidering_the_image_of_sci.php">picture is a bit more nuanced</a>, but scientists still have to work uphill to convince people they are three-dimensional people.</p><p>Which is what makes it so much fun to pull back the curtain on the secret identities of a couple of local players in nuclear science. It would be one thing if their after-hours passion was playing in a cover band or tap dancing (both noble pursuits). But in the case of Marius Stan and Dan Pancake, these guys are entitled to some serious hipster cred.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size: 8px;">Listen to the episode: </span></strong></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483814-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Secret lives mix for web.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><a href="https://blogs.anl.gov/expertsguide/marius-stan/">Marius Stan</a> is a chemist, physicist and computational materials scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, doing theoretical work and computer modeling on materials for nuclear reactors and such. He also has a <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2256387/">recurring role </a>on what might be the best show on television, <em>Breaking Bad</em>.</p><p>Dan Pancake runs <a href="http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2009/news090908.html">nuclear cleanup projects </a>at Argonne, spearheading the technically complex work of removing radioactive uranium and plutonium from the lab. He’s also a chef and restaurateur, owner of a new (and <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-11/features/ct-dining-0811-vettel-autre-monde-20110811_1_berwyn-tuttaposto-dining">well-reviewed</a>) fine-dining <a href="http://autremondecafe.net/">Mediterranean restaurant in Berwyn</a>.</p><p>On this edition of Clever Apes, we reveal the secret lives of nuclear scientists. Just think of what other hipness lurks below the surface in labs and biology departments across our region.</p><p>As always, don’t forget to subscribe to our <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, and find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 22:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-11-08/clever-apes-21-secret-lives-nuclear-scientists-93868