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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Screens: “If you’re going to start, you might as well start big,” an ambitious person once said. Ned Benson must have been paying attention, because for his first... By Cameron Meier 9/17/2014
The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

Music: Prodigy, better known to ’90s rap aficionados as the prodigious half of Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep, has made a successful career operating on... By James Courtney 9/17/2014

Best Tattoo Shop

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013

Best Fajitas

Best of SA 2012: We wracked our brains over this one. Fajitas are pretty much all the same, no? Kinda like huevos rancheros. Our mind then drifted to a certain middle sister's wedding rehearsal... 4/25/2012
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George López and his trained team of 'hotdogs' won't 'Take Me Out'

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Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present (8pm Mon, HBO)

Marina Abramović is called the grandmother of performance art, but she’s not like any grandmother I’ve ever known. In this documentary, she shows that she is still committed to messing with our minds after a long and painful career in the artistic trenches. And I mean “painful” quite literally. Abramović’s canvas is her often naked body, and she has submitted it to slapping, fasting, whipping, and other indignities to challenge our notions of reality.

That makes her sound like a madwoman, but the Abramović we meet is down-to-earth, droll, even self-deprecating. We learn what makes her tick and what her work signifies on the eve of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. As a TV critic who watches the same old, same old every day (sitcoms, cop shows, and other formulaic entertainment), I appreciate her fervent desire to make us see life afresh. After experiencing her work, you’ll never again take sitting in a chair or walking through a doorway for granted.

I only request that, after you finish reading this blurb, you slather it with mustard and eat it.

Baby Daddy (7:30pm Wed, ABC Family)

This new sitcom has a very old premise. A baby is dropped on a guy’s doorstep, meaning he and his two male sidekicks must fumble with diapers, bottles, and other unmanly domestic tasks. Baby Daddy exploits our weakness for gender stereotypes, not to mention cute baby antics. The soundtrack fills with awwww’s whenever little Emma smiles at the silly men trying to take care of her. Could there be a cheaper sitcom ploy?

At least, that’s what I thought at first. But cast members Chelsea Kane, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, and Tahj Mowry won me over with their comic skill. And, dammit, that baby really is adorable. I’m just going to set aside all pretense of critical detachment and end this review with awwww...

Take Me Out (7pm Thu, Fox)
In this dating series, one dude after another tries to impress a bunch of dimwitted women standing at consoles. If he’s not hunky enough, they switch off the console’s light. “If you’re not turned on, turn off!” brays host George López.

López is just awful in his role as the so-called Love Doctor. He seems to think his jokes are funny just because they’re raunchy. “Let the hot dog see the buns!” he shouts by way of introducing another piece of beefcake to the ladies.

I’m ready to sue the Love Doctor for malpractice.

Twenty Twelve (11pm Sat, BBC America)

As the world counts down to London’s 2012 Olympics, so does British TV, in its inimitable way. This Office-like sitcom takes us inside the London commission tasked with pulling off the games, from branding to managing traffic flow. The joke — so deadpan it’s devoid of any obvious punchlines — is that Britain can’t do anything right. Our bureaucratic heroes take themselves seriously, as does the mock-somber narrator, and they all maintain their serious façades even as the wheels fly off the bus.

Led by Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey, the cast members effortlessly nail their character types, including the pretentious PR expert who doesn’t really know what she’s talking about and the infrastructure expert in a perpetual state of panic.

Twenty Twelve proves that Britain can do at least one thing right: make fun of itself.

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