I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution. Emily Nussbaum.

I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution

Random House, June 2019. Hardcover. New. Item #219324
ISBN: 0525508961

From The New Yorker's fiercely original, Pulitzer Prize-winning culture critic, a provocative collection of new and previously published essays arguing that we are what we watch.



"Emily Nussbaum is the perfect critic--smart, engaging, funny, generous, and insightful."--David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon

From her creation of the "Approval Matrix" in New York magazine in 2004 to her Pulitzer Prize-winning columns for The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum has argued for a new way of looking at TV. In this collection, including two never-before-published essays, Nussbaum writes about her passion for television, beginning with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show that set her on a fresh intellectual path. She explores the rise of the female screw-up, how fans warp the shows they love, the messy power of sexual violence on TV, and the year that jokes helped elect a reality-television president. There are three big profiles of television showrunners--Kenya Barris, Jenji Kohan, and Ryan Murphy--as well as examinations of the legacies of Norman Lear and Joan Rivers. The book also includes a major new essay written during the year of #MeToo, wrestling with the question of what to do when the artist you love is a monster.

More than a collection of reviews, the book makes a case for toppling the status anxiety that has long haunted the "idiot box," even as it transformed. Through it all, Nussbaum recounts her fervent search, over fifteen years, for a new kind of criticism, one that resists the false hierarchy that elevates one kind of culture (violent, dramatic, gritty) over another (joyful, funny, stylized). I Like to Watch traces her own struggle to punch through stifling notions of "prestige television," searching for a more expansive, more embracing vision of artistic ambition--one that acknowledges many types of beauty and complexity and opens to more varied voices. It's a book that celebrates television as television, even as each year warps the definition of just what that might mean.

Advance praise for I Like to Watch

"This collection, including some powerful new work, proves once and for all that there's no better American critic of anything than Emily Nussbaum. But I Like to Watch turns out to be even greater than the sum of its brilliant parts--it's the most incisive, intimate, entertaining, authoritative guide to the shows of this golden television age."--Kurt Andersen, author of Fantasyland

"Reading Emily Nussbaum makes us smarter not just about what we watch, but about how we live, what we love, and who we are. I Like to Watch is a joy."--Rebecca Traister.

New Book

Price: $28.00

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