The Year in Review
Thanks for choosing Adam Lambert as one of 2009’s Entertainers of the Year. His American Music Awards performance didn’t bother me even remotely as much as the furor that followed. Anyone who’d seen Lambert’s pre-American Idol work on YouTube knew what to expect. I don’t know what his post-Idol career will be like, but finding out will be half the fun.
I expected to find Paranormal Activity somewhere in this issue, given that it was ridiculously profitable and scarier than that other low-budget hit The Blair Witch Project. I’m not sure which is more frightening: being dragged out of bed by an invisible monster or reading a best-movies-of-’09 list without Paranormal on it.
You call Grey’s Anatomy one of the worst TV series of the year when there are a lot of truly dreadful shows on the air? Sure, the enduring drama has lately been overshadowed by edgier fare. But it’s still solidly entertaining, and the relationship between Drs. Yang and Hunt is nothing short of transcendent.
Janalen Riccinto Samson
Editor-at-large Ken Tucker responds: As you say, there are scores of awful shows, so when I’m forced to choose a mere five, I pick them for reasons ranging from woeful execution (Jay Leno is being packaged terribly) to, in the case of Grey’s, a steep decline in quality. Yes, I could have opted for something more glaringly bad, like Three Rivers. But these lists are meant to make overriding, constructive points, and here it’s to urge the now-pointless, repetitive Grey’s to get more creative or hang it up.
I was shocked you named Miley Cyrus’ ”Party in the U.S.A.” one of the best singles of the year. The song seemed more out of place than Cyrus’ calculated reference to Jay-Z in the lyrics. Though your critic deserves credit for her honesty, she might have wanted to keep her adoration to herself. It’s a major blemish on her usually solid music criticism.
Critic Leah Greenblatt responds: Jamie, even though I would love to remain unblemished in your eyes, I can’t — I honestly love this song. And you’re right: Like many of the best pop songs, ”Party in the U.S.A.” is undoubtedly built by (possibly nefarious) committee. But this one makes me giddy enough to live with my shame.
Your year-end Movies and TV sections proved that you do indeed understand the spectacle of entertainment. You recommended what’s good for me (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Sons of Anarchy) and what’s truly enjoyable (I Love You, Man; Glee). But it would have been nice if your best-fiction list had offered the same sense of humor and escapism. After all, there’s more to fiction than stories of oppression, death, and grief: Reading can be fun, too!
The Best & Worst double issue is doubly awesome — especially the TV coverage. Not only is it a worthy look back at all the entertainment that I savored over the last 12 months, it also serves as an invaluable guide to the shows I should have been watching. I’ve got some serious catching up to do.