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Daily Reads: The Near-Perfect ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ TV’s Best Interracial Couples and More

Daily Reads: The Near-Perfect 'Dumb and Dumber,' TV's Best Interracial Couples and More

Criticwire’s Daily Reads brings today’s essential
news stories and critical pieces to you.

1. The Near-Perfect “Dumb and Dumber.” Dumb and Dumber To” is proving surprisingly divisive, but many have praised it as a return to a time where the Farrellys and Jim Carrey were kings. Grantland’s Tom Carson returns to the original film, which helped start that reign and which Carson calls “near-perfect” (one can only assume it misses perfection by including Deadeye Dick’s “New Age Girl” on the soundtrack).

Comedy duos usually depend on contrast to get laughs: goofball Jerry Lewis vs. urbane Dean Martin, dreamy Laurel vs. practical-minded Hardy, and so on. The Marx Brothers and the Farrellys’ beloved Three Stooges play off the same friction in triplicate. That’s why the beauty — and even, to some extent, the daring — of “Dumb and Dumber” is that Harry is only slightly less IQ-challenged than Lloyd, and spends a lot less time getting exasperated with him than sharing his wavelength and endorsing his dreams. Whatever becomes of these two, they’ll never be able to complain that nobody understands them. That’s the magnificent side of their duncey bond. Read more.

2. The Disney Vault Needs to Be Opened. Disney re-releases its films into theaters and on home video every seven years, with the time in between spent in the “Disney Vault.” But they’ve been less on top of their animated shorts, which are sometimes hard to find. Keith Phipps of The Dissolve says it’s time to open the Disney Vault.

Not only should they be brought back into print, they should be given a good dusting off for the HD era, which has made the features look better than they ever have on home video. Some of the shorts have resurfaced on Netflix and as bonus features on Disney Blu-rays for “Snow White,” “Beauty And The Beast,” and other titles, but they deserve a more comprehensive, Disney Treasures-style approach, if not for physical media, then for HD streaming packages of some sort. Read more.

3. The Fall TV Trade Machine. Last summer, Grantland introduced the Fantasy TV Trade Machine as a way to suggest ways to save good shows. They’ve brought it back again for the fall TV season, with Andy Greenwald writing about how to keep shows like “Mulaney” and “The Affair” around.

The Problem: With its stilted rhythms and hit-and-miss humor, “Mulaney” has been unable to make a case for either its throwback style or its own existence. A drastic shake-up is needed.

The Trades: Fox receives Casey Wilson (from “Marry Me,” NBC) and John Cho (expiring contract from “Selfie,” ABC). CBS receives Seaton Smith (to “Scorpion”) and Zack Pearlman (to “Stalker”). AMC receives Elliott Gould (to “Halt and Catch Fire”).

The Rationale: With “Selfie” canceled, John Cho is suddenly available. Let’s bring him in as Lou’s overtaxed producer. And, to add romantic spark and conflict, let’s rescue Casey Wilson from the squawking ship that is NBC’s “Marry Me.” That show has an even better pedigree than “Mulaney” — it’s the baby of Wilson’s husband, “Happy Endings” creator David Caspe — and, so far, it also has better ratings. But, somewhat perversely, I still think “Mulaney” has more potential. Read more.

4. The History of “You Had Me At…” The line “You had me at hello” went from a remarkably earnest sentiment that worked in context in “Jerry Maguire” to a punchline to meme. Over at Lingua Fraca, Ben Yagoda traced the history of the meme. Read more.

5. Are Professional Music Critics an Endangered Species? 
It’s no secret that film critics have less influence now than in the past, but their prospects are positively rosy compared to those of music critics. American Journalism Review’s Dan Singer wrote about the role of music critics in the digital era, and whether or not their days are numbered.

Album leaks and streaming services like Spotify have democratized the public’s access to music, Weingarten said, and this diminishes the immediacy and impact of reviews written by professionals. “By the time any of those reviews hit, you’ve heard it. You’ve made up your mind,” [Rolling Stone contributing editor Chris] Weingarten said. “The whole idea of sitting down and reading eight grafs about it after all that? It’s almost like, ‘Yeah, I’ve moved on.’” Read more.

6. TV’s Best Interracial Couples. “Selfie” has sadly been canceled, and with it one of TV’s best potential interracial couples, John Cho and Karen Gillan, are no more. That said, interracial couples on television are becoming more common, and Pajiba’s Nadia Chaudhury listed off some of the best.

Glenn Rhee and Maggie Greene, “The Walking Dead.” When it’s the end of the world, race really isn’t an issue, and the show never calls attention to their dissimilar backgrounds. They have more important things to worry about, like cuddling (seriously, if Abraham and Rosita can go at it, with Eugene watching why not these two?) Read more.

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