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Starpulse Contributing Writer
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My name is Jeffrey Malone, and I like liking things. I view reality through the lens of pop culture. I can also be found at jmunney.wordpress.com, jeffmalonesdreamblog.wordpress.com, Twitter, and YouTube.

'Saturday Night Live' Season 41 Season Finale Recap: Fred Armisen/Courtney Barnett

5/22/2016 11:05pm EDT
SNL Fred Armisen Courtney Barnett
It hardly feels like Fred Armisen, one of the longest-tenured “SNL” cast members of all time (11 seasons), has ever left 30 Rockefeller Plaza. He has returned to cameo 7 times in the 3 years since departing, and he regularly collaborates with other “SNL” vets on his current regular gigs, “Late Night” and “Portlandia” (both produced by Lorne Michaels). But he has shown restraint this season, only appearing once before (to memorialize David Bowie). So while his first time as host is in no way long overdue, it is also not overkill. Speaking of cameos, several other alums also stop by, as befit...
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'The Middle' Season 7 Finale Recap: 'The Show Must Go On' For A Graduating Brick

5/19/2016 9:30am EDT
'The Middle' Season 7 Finale Recap: 'The Show Must Go On' For A
Last year’s season finale of “The Middle” set such a benchmark, with Sue’s high school graduation managing an emotional catharsis that set a series high point. It would have seemed completely inadvisable to ever even attempt another episode like that one. But there are some more graduations left for the Hecks, and it turns out this show still has plenty left in the tank when it comes to celebrating its own characters. Brick’s middle school completion prompts a retrospective similar to that for Sue last year, with a few appropriate twists. This moment does not have quite the same oomph (midd...
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'Saturday Night Live' Recap: Drake

5/16/2016 7:47am EDT
'Saturday Night Live' Season 41, Episode 20 Recap: Drake
Drake now finds himself in a select crowd of entertainers who have not just pulled “SNL” double duty as both host and musical guest, but done so multiple times. His first double threat gig was a highlight of Season 39, so in terms of potential hosting quality, he is a fine selection. But what about timeliness? He certainly remains big in the music world, but he is not quite as huge in the culture at large the way other repeat double dippers (Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus) have been. But he has the acting chops, so when it gets down to it, who cares? As for the material he is given, it repr...
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'The Middle' Recap: 'Find My Hecks'

5/12/2016 9:55am EDT
'The Middle' Season 7, Episode 23 Recap: 'Find My Hecks'
Two eternal conundrums of modern life strike the Heck family in the penultimate Season 7 episode of “The Middle.” Axl and Sue wage a battle of privacy vs. security with their parents while Brick struggles to reconcile personal achievement with romantic commitment. The former is a conflict with no easy answers while the latter has a simple solution but the potential for a lot of distractions. These are struggles that could easily lead to the dissolution of relationships. While the Hecks hardly handle them with maximal chill, they ultimately find a way to remain clearheaded. After all, while ...
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'New Girl' Recap: 'Wedding Eve'/'Landing Gear'

5/11/2016 9:05am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5 Finale Recap: 'Wedding Eve'/'Landing Gear'
As a show whose core strength is its ensemble, one might think that focusing on a season-long arc would not be “New Girl’s” key to success. But if the plot is about the ensemble, then there should be nothing to worry about. Such is the case with Season 5 revolving around the buildup to Schmidt and Cece’s wedding. This year has not been perfect, but when it has faltered, it has usually been when it has strayed from this guiding principle. With the finale set at the actual nuptials, the stage is set for the main cast to shine, with some support from the supporting characters that have success...
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'Saturday Night Live' Season 41, Episode 19 Recap: Brie Larson/Alicia Keys

5/8/2016 1:30pm EDT
Saturday Night Live
“SNL” has a tendency to book recently anointed Oscar winners and nominees as hosts. Last year, it was J.K. Simmons a few weeks before the ceremony, and Michael Keaton a couple months after. This season, it is Brie Larson’s turn, with the holiday serving as a tie-in to her award-winning role. It is a sound strategy, as that Academy recognition generally guarantees that these people can act. They do not necessarily have to be funny, so long as they fulfill their roles just as the writing asks them to. Brie proves herself perfectly capable, and the writing lives up to her level.

Church Ch...
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'The Middle' Recap: The Best 'Not Mother's Day' Ever!

5/5/2016 10:15am EDT
'The Middle' Season 7, Episode 22 Recap: The Best 'Not Mother's
Usually when “The Middle” features Frankie making a big, bold declaration about how a holiday celebration is going to be different this year, it tends to go haywire. But “Not Mother’s Day” actually kind of accomplishes what it sets out to do. Frankie genuinely does not want to be bound by the stress of a family gathering and announces that everyone is free to do as they please. (We’ve heard that before…) Amazingly, everyone does end up doing their own thing, resulting in an episode that has four, or maybe even five, subplots. There is some connective tissue, as Frankie decides that everyone...
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'New Girl' Recaps: 'Dress'/'Return To Sender'

5/4/2016 9:07am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episodes 19 And 20 Recap: 'Dress'/'Return T
Schmidt and Cece have to take care of a few last-minute items in anticipation of their nuptials, as do their friends, who are pretty much matching their stress levels. In a lot of ways, this season of “New Girl” has been about the lead-up to this wedding. This is a show that has utilized premieres and finales for weddings before, so it does not feel all that out of the ordinary. So there is no need for the loft crew to make any major changes to their identities, but now that it is two of their own forming a union, they see the need to emphasize the best of who they are.

That quest for perf...
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What's New & Expiring On Netflix In May

4/29/2016 10:35am EDT
What's New & Expiring On Netflix In May
May your Netflix-ing be forever chill. And there are plenty of reasons why it should be in the near future! Leading the charge is Season 2 of the Emmy-nominated crime thriller “Bloodline” on May 27. Set in the Florida Keys, it is the sort of show that your parents or TV-addicted aunt probably love.

Chelsea Handler is bringing Netflix into the talk show game, with her eponymous “Chelsea” debuting on the 11th. New episodes will stream Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and there will be 90 episodes per year.

The second in Adam Sandler’s four-film Netflix deal, “The Do-Over,” drops on the 27th...
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'The Middle' Recap: 'The Lanai'

4/28/2016 10:11am EDT
The Middle The Lanai
“The Middle” has a knack for identifying in a low-key way natural phenomena that are simple but powerful. The First Spring Day Warm Enough to Wear Shorts and Sunbathe and Otherwise Believe That Life Is Worth Living is not an official designation, but it is absolutely real, isn’t it? As an integral part of the seasonal cycle of life, it is unassuming, but profound. It certainly can be counted on to affect people’s behavior. With the sun shining and the mercury rising, the good moods are dominating and with them so is confidence. But with that disposition in rare supply in the preceding month...
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