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TV / Radio


06.20.13: Rick Poynor

From the Archive: Upgrade Yourself!
If appearances matter more than ever, as we are constantly told, the personal makeover has become our most fundamental design task.
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06.02.13: Rick Poynor

The Irresistible Attraction of Self Storage
Self storage centers are places of private and public fascination and I always knew that one day I would succumb.
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10.04.12: Jude Stewart

The World's Smashing-est Kids' TV Show
A review of Karambolage, a kids’ television show produced by ARTE, a French-German arts and culture channel.
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08.29.12: Rob Walker

Focusing On 'Optics'
Optics: The indispensible buzzword for those who analyze pseudo-events.
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07.31.12: Alexandra Lange

The Critical Olympics
What the best sports commentary does is just like criticism: it makes you care about the previously abstract.
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06.04.12: Michael Bierut

I Love the 80s
Miami Vice: the quintessential postmodern design artifact, in all its glory and all its disgrace.
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02.17.12: Alexandra Lange

Downton Abbey: Fell In Love With a House
Downton Abbey, for all its melodrama and dropped teacups, is really the story of falling in love with a house.
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12.23.11: Rick Poynor

How We Learned to Live with Zombies
Zombie films, zombie walks, zombie shops, zombie TV series: our darkest fears are now mainstream.
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07.29.11: Alexandra Lange

The Uses of Cranks
Maybe comedy isn't Larry David's calling.
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07.11.11: Jessica Helfand & Marvin Heiferman

On the Shoulders of Midgets: A Conversation About Reality TV
A conversation about reality TV with Marvin Heiferman and Jessica Helfand.
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05.26.11: Rick Poynor

A Dream World Made by Machines
Adam Curtis’s All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is a complex, demanding, audacious piece of television.
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05.17.11: Michael Bierut

Seven Things Designers Can Learn from Stand Up Comics
Stand up comedy, a high-risk creative enterprise, has interesting lessons for designers.
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04.07.11: Rob Walker

On Radiolab: the Sound of Science
“Radiolab,” a public radio show that breaks from public radio sensibilities, not least in its striking sound.
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09.14.10: Alexandra Lange

NYT Opinionator: If These Walls Could Talk
ABC's Modern Family presents three different families, each defined by the design of their living rooms.
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09.13.10: Alexandra Lange

If These Walls Could Talk
On the ABC sitcom Modern Family, three different families are visually defined by their living rooms.
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08.09.10: Alexandra Lange

Mid-C Decor Striptease
Don’t you love that Matthew Weiner is now teasing us — on Mad Men, of course, what else — with period decor?
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07.25.10: Michael Bierut

Jerry Della Femina, Mad Men, and the Cult of Advertising Personality
A review of Jerry Della Femina's From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor, published in a new edition on the occasion of the debut of the fourth season of the AMC series Mad Men.
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07.19.10: Alexandra Lange

Hung Ceilings: Mystery Solved
Through the wonders of Google maps, I see 300 East 42nd Street, built in 1963 and designed by William Lescazeis a glass curtain-wall building directly across the street.
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07.18.10: Alexandra Lange

Hung Ceilings
Mad Men returns, and now it's time to speculate on the evolution of Peggy’s hair and the meaning of Betty’s dress choices
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06.23.10: Jessica Helfand

The Next Great Graphic Designer
Tonight on Bravo's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" the winning Penguin book cover design will be unveiled, which begs a few questions. We hope our readers will weigh in with their opinions.
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04.20.10: Alexandra Lange

Approving of the Approval Matrix
Now that Bravo just bought the TV show based on New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, who says criticism is dead?
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03.02.10: Mark Lamster

Writer's Voice
My interview with Francesca Rheannon of NPR's Writer's Voice is now online.
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12.16.09: Mark Lamster

Talking Rubens with Leonard Lopate
I'll be appearing on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show this afternoon.
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12.15.09: Alexandra Lange

Playing House
The three living rooms on Modern Family are used as a structuring device, luing us into the character of each respective family.
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11.12.09: Alexandra Lange

The Modernist State
Watch “Living Modern in Connecticut” tomorrow night at 9 on CPTV for a short history of modernism in Connecticut.
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11.10.09: Alexandra Lange

Word on the Street
We have begun a bit of a study of Sesame Street in our house.
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11.09.09: Alexandra Lange

Kicking Down the Door
While I love Mad Men, season 3 was not my favorite.
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10.31.09: Mark Lamster

The Shadow Master — Live on Halloween Eve
I'll be discussing the original Shadow Master, Peter Paul Rubens, on the John Batchelor Show.
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10.20.09: Alexandra Lange

Buy It Now
I watched two episodes of the Sundance Channel’s new advertisement for Anthropologie, Man Shops Globe, and failed to be caught up in the drama.
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10.06.09: Alexandra Lange

The Ladies' Paradise
In “Souvenir,” Mad Men welcomes back Joan, looking lovely.
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09.15.09: Alexandra Lange

On the Grid
Mad Men makes use of grids, mixing them with bronze fronds and Harry Bertoia sculpture.
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09.01.09: Alexandra Lange

The Tigertones
I was thrilled by the metion of the Tigertones in this week's episode of Mad Men.
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08.31.09: Alexandra Lange

Suspended Animation
Thirtysomething isn't exactly how I rembered it.
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08.24.09: Alexandra Lange

Shiny and New
On this week's Mad Men, three words I never thought I would hear on a dramatic television show: Ada Louise Huxtable.
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08.21.09: Alexandra Lange

If You Can't Say Something Nice...
A contestant's dress on Project Runway looks no worse than Escada.
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08.18.09: Alexandra Lange

Rearranging the Deck Chairs
I've been thinking about the third season of Mad Men in terms of furniture.
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06.24.09: Alexandra Lange

Spoilsport
Though the BBC teen series Skins isn't boring, I find it icky. Too much sweat, too much drugs, too much barf, too much nudity.
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06.20.09: Alexandra Lange

People in New Houses...
Why is every episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey set at an overdecorated Italian restaurant with a large parking lot?
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06.18.09: Alexandra Lange

Aloysius is Missed
I took my chances to see if the 2008 remake of Brideshead Revisited was as good as the multi-part original.
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06.13.09: Alexandra Lange

Lost Loves
It's slowly dawned on me that the lead character of many shows — Sex in the City, Weeds, The West Wing — is actually grating.
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06.11.09: Alexandra Lange

Dickens is Funny
In the best BBC adaptation of the last five years, Bleak House, Gillian Anderson gives a performance that should wipe Agent Scully permanently from the public mind.
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06.03.09: Alexandra Lange

Evil Ms
A fair number of journalists have mentioned the odd parallelism of the fall of the House of Merdle in Little Dorrit, and the real-life fall of the House of Bernard Madoff.
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06.02.09: Alexandra Lange

Doom
After watching all of the excellent contemporary TV shows, we are back to BBC with The Way We Live Now and The Mayor of Casterbridge.
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05.19.09: Mark Lamster

How We Decide
In the latest episode of CBC's WireTap, "The Deciders," host Jonathan Goldstein walks me through one of those difficult decisions we all are faced with at some point: Should I go to the doctor?
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03.21.09: Mark Lamster

Fishin' for Glory
The King of Kvetch takes to the airwaves tomorrow; I'll be appearing on the latest episode of Jonathan Goldstein's brilliant radio program Wiretap, on the CBC.
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01.21.09: Steven Heller

That Pesky Television Test Pattern
What came first, television or the television test pattern? The origin of the pattern is a story of form following function. Aesthetics were irrelevant to the primary purpose, and the technical draftsmen who anonymously designed it could have never predicted that decades later it would become a nostalgic icon.
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01.11.09: Mark Lamster

If the Wire Cast Was a Football Team
The Baltimore Ravens look pretty formidable going into the AFC Championship game, but I wonder if this squad from Charm City could give them a run for their money.
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11.23.08: Chris Pullman

What I've Learned
After 35 years working for the same company, WGBH in Boston, legendary design director Chris Pullman reveals the ten things he learned.
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10.23.08: Michael Bierut

The Four Lessons of Lou Dorfsman
For over 40 years, Lou Dorfsman designed everything at CBS from its advertising to the paper cups in its cafeteria. Getting great work done in giant institution is supposed to be hard. How did he make it look easy?
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09.30.08: Michael Bierut

Mad Men: Pitch Perfect
AMC's ad agency drama Mad Men, from the producer of the Sopranos, is beginning its second season. Like The Sopranos, the show finds human drama in an unexpected setting. And where The Sopranos had whackings, Mad Men has client presentations.
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07.11.08: William Drenttel

I Was A Mad Man
Mad Men takes place in 1960. Just seventeen years later, I went to work at an ad agency and became a Mad Man. This is my story...
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11.04.07: Nichelle Narcisi

Except You
Nichelle Narcisi, winner of last month's Command X competition at the AIGA Next Conference in Denver, presents "Except You," her proposed campaign to raise the voter participation rate for 18 to 24 year olds.
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06.11.07: Michael Bierut

Everything I Know About Design I Learned from The Sopranos
Last night, after eight years, 86 episodes, and untold quantities of gobbagool, The Sopranos finished its run on HBO. And this is what we've learned, from a design point of view.
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03.18.07: Rob Walker

TV Land
Buying, selling, updating, restoring and “flipping” for quick profits — it all ran together, but I watched even when I couldn’t remember if the title of a certain show was “Flip This House” or “Flip That House.”
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01.19.07: Jessica Helfand

The Karaoke Effect
The lure of American Idol, in these early weeks, lies in precisely this shaky space: that illusory bubble populated by thousands of fame-seekers who fervently believe in their own righteous, if highly fictional talent. It's cultural fallout. Just as the karaoke singer imagines him or herself live and in concert before the screaming fans, so, too, does the illusion persist once the microphone is turned off.
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01.29.06: Jessica Helfand

The D Word
HGTV's sunny splendor of twenty-seven minute remodels and inexhaustible inspiration: fodder for the DIY devotee.
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12.19.05: Adrian Shaughnessy

Charles Dickens and The BBC
Who would have guessed that a BBC costume drama would provide us with Exhibit-A in the defense's case — that a mass audience can be engaged without pandering to base instincts?
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07.31.05: Jessica Helfand

Why Bugs Don't Belong on TV
On today's TV screens, the station-identification logo sits tethered to the surface, like an annoying rash that won't quite disappear. You think you've kicked it when — WHAMMMO — there it is again, blemishing the patina of an otherwise perfectly good viewing experience.
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06.10.05: Jessica Helfand

The Cut: When Life Imitates Art (I Mean Design)
CBS Television debuted its new series, The Cut, (modeled after other reality shows such as NBC's The Apprentice)about "16 aspiring designers."
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04.26.05: Adrian Shaughnessy

The Designer as Buffoon
The "Designer as Buffoon" phenomenon can be seen in two big-budget, prime-time advertising campaigns currently showing on British television. Both Ford and Ikea are promoting their respective products by offering us pumped-up caricatures of designers and inviting us to guffaw at them.
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03.03.05: Lawrence Weschler

The Aural As An Architectonic Challenge
What are the people over at Transom.org up to? As it happens, this month is a very good time to pay them a visit: for the next several weeks, Walter Murch — the phenomenally smart and inspired film and sound editor — will be continuing to hold court there.
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01.03.05: Dmitri Siegel

Mysterious Disappearance of Carol Hersee
The story of Carol Hersee's portrait as Test Card F: since it first appeared in 1967 on BBC2, Carol's face has been on-air for over 70,000 hours.
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11.29.04: Jessica Helfand

Donald Trump, Art Director: Not The Real Thing
Not until now has Pepsi opened itself up to a public makeover on national television, a redesign in the hands of a smattering of aspiring capitalists, a group whose combined knowledge of design principles might be characterized as, dare I say it — negligible.
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05.01.04: Jessica Helfand

Time Waits for No Fan

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04.15.04: Jessica Helfand

Graphic Flanerie
Graphic Design's real power comes from its ability to reach us through any of a number of means, both real and virtual, now and later. This ability to transcend the everyday and resonate in the heart, the soul, the mind and the memory—this is graphic design's reality, its legacy, and it is, decidedly, a reality that is more than a sum of its parts.
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02.03.04: Jessica Helfand

You're Going to Hollywood, Baby

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11.12.03: Jessica Helfand

Implausible Fictions
At what point does the designer's interpretation threaten to skew, or misrepresent or somehow implausibly amplify information in a manner that might be considered irresponsible?
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