You Thought There Was Only One Murder in the Building?

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on September 18, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Only Murders in the Building‘s Thrilling Second Season

How well do you think you know your floormates? How about everyone in your building? What would you do if one of them died under mysterious circumstances? Any rational person’s first thought would clearly be to start a podcast. Only Murders in the Building explores this reality after Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin) discover a member of their building, Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) dead. The police quickly determine Kono’s death to be an “open and shut case,” but the girl shadowed by death, failed artist of the theater, and cop-show has-been are set to prove otherwise.

Nothing can prepare viewers for the emotional rollercoaster offered by Hulu’s newest trio. Not only will you sound like a psychopath laughing to yourself in the middle of night while watching each plot unfold, but find yourself trying to beat Mabel, Oliver, and Charles to the murderous punchline as well. Each episode is carefully executed as a masterpiece with the perfect balance of drama, suspense, and comedy. It is impossible to ignore the artistry in the directing and overall show writing of Only Murders in the Building. The unseen brilliance behind the sound and music department of the show, as well as one of the most underrepresented communities, is beautifully portrayed in Episode Seven of Season One, “The Boy From 6B.” The episode is from the perspective of Theo Dimas (James Caverly), a deaf character and actor on the show, whose, for lack of a better word, unique history, will leave you with more questions than answers. And for those of you who are diehard fans of genius directing, director Cherien Dabis, closely assisted by Caverly, positioned each “hearing” character in the frame so that Theo could always read their lips in this entirely silent episode. The workmanship and finesse that went into this episode alone is incredible. 

But wait, there’s more! If season one isn’t enough for you, the season two finale aired at the end of August, and it is just as wild of a ride! The stakes are raised in the second season after viewers are left with Season One’s extreme cliffhanger. Season two proves that we have barely met Mabel, Oliver, and Charles in the first season. Being meticulously set up for murder reveals a lot about a person. Each character is elegantly thrust through new personal developments and secrets they probably wished stayed dead. The showrunners explore the deep, disturbing fascination we as a society have created with missing person cases, murder, and even Crime podcasts. The show calls out that we have developed a culture of trauma vulturing that dehumanizes our fellow human beings into sellable stories that are more than high in demand. Despite this unfortunate taste for blood, we so desire in the human condition, you will be dying for more. 

Keeping up and Catching up

by John Downey '23 on April 8, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Keeping up and Catching up

The Kardashians Couldn’t Stay Away From Reality TV

Talia Rueda ’23

The “first family of reality television,” the Kardashians, is back and better than ever. After a leave of absence that gave the family a much-needed break from being surrounded by cameras for 15 years, they are returning to the small screen with a second TV series, The Kardashians, courtesy of a new contract with Hulu and DisneyPlus.

People may ask, why did the Kardashians leave television just to come back a year later? Or, why wouldn’t they renew their Keeping Up With The Kardashians contract with E! instead of signing with different providers? The upcoming series’ newly released trailer, which aired on March 14, offers some answers to these questions.

The trailer opens with a statement from Kourtney Kardashian. She remarks, “Life without cameras was a big change for us,” as a montage plays, featuring moments of her, her fiancé Travis Barker, and their kids. These clips immediately offer a sense of how the Kardashian family has grown and changed since we last saw them. 

Then, Kendall Jenner explains that the series will show a side of the family that viewers have never seen before. This statement led many dedicated fans to wonder how it could be possible for them to see anything more personal than what they have been seeing for the past 13 years. However, Jenner is likely alluding to the fact that she may receive more screen time this time around, as many have said over the years that Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian carried Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Maybe this time around, that will be Jenner’s job.

The trailer also explores how all members of the family have “kind of gone into their own world” in their time off, advancing in their personal lives. Notably, many of the moments that the Kardashians’ fans see on social media and the news will be openly discussed and addressed. One such life event will be Kylie Jenner’s second pregnancy, which was kept fairly private and low-profile.

Khloé Kardashian has always been just the opposite of private and low-profile, appearing extremely open about her hardships and triumphs over the years. Perhaps the most clear example of this is her relationship with Tristan Thompson and his very public cheating scandals. 

In the trailer, Khloé Kardashian is shown expressing how she struggles to trust Thompson. Fans have seen Thompson’s cheating scandals play out in real-time from the outside looking in, and now, they can “keep up” with how Khloé Kardashian has handled the continuous betrayal.

The trailer also showcases more of Kourtney Kardashian and Barker’s relationship, from its beginnings to their more recent journey of trying to have a baby together.

Last, but certainly not least, the trailer hints at Kim Kardashian’s devastating, complex struggle with her divorce from Kanye West. While viewers are certainly aware of West’s recent actions by now and understand the clear reasons that Kim Kardashian would not be able to stay in a relationship with him, they will be intrigued to see how one of the most influential women in the world handles such a tribulation.

At the end of the trailer, the family reinforces the ways in which they stick together with an iconic remark, ”never go against the family,” which has been one of their key values throughout all of their successes and failures.

The Kardashians airs on Hulu and DisneyPlus on April 14.

Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

by The Cowl Editor on October 28, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood’s Chilling Dystopian Vision

Tully Mahoney ’23

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a chilling exposé of a dystopian reality in which an extreme regime overtakes the US government and creates an ultra-patriarchal, religious state known as the Republic of Gilead. The novel is told from the point of view of a Handmaid, Offred, whose only duty is to produce children for a Commander, a Gilead official, and his wife. She is subjected to participate in a “Ceremony,” a non-consensual ritual that Handmaids undergo in order to conceive children. The main themes that Atwood highlights in the novel are women’s limited choices, the subjugation of women in patriarchal societies, and the female desire for independence.

Some events that take place in The Handmaid’s Tale are very contradictory of the Christian faith, yet the extremist government in the novel justifies these acts using Christianity. Non-consensual sex, adultery, murder, and pre-marital sex are just a few examples of this phenomenon. Such acts are fundamental sins and appear contradictory to a religious state. Atwood’s deep dive into an extremist interpretation of theology, paired with an equally extreme patriarchal mindset, led her to stray from typical Christian dogma. 

On sites like GoodReads, some readers gave The Handmaid’s Tale poor ratings due to Atwood’s lack of usage of quotation marks. These reviewers ignore the importance of her message and instead cling to grammatical choices. Atwood is fully aware of when and where it is proper to use quotation marks, yet she broke this rule with intention and purpose. If one’s main argument against a novel is its grammatical correctness, then they are not truly looking at its deeper meaning. 

The Handmaid’s Tale will make readers love it while simultaneously hating it. There were sections of this novel that hurt to read, forcing some people to picture uncomfortable scenes that they would have never imagined, even in their wildest dreams. A book that makes a reader cringe as they read, yet compels them to keep reading, is a book that is worth one’s time. This dystopian world is a feminist’s nightmare, yet its terrifying reality opens readers’ eyes to the warning that Atwood is attempting to convey as she demonstrates what life would be like if humans adhered to extremist misogynistic views. Notably, the sense of horror present throughout The Handmaid’s Tale is not only limited to its women and their lack of independence, but is also seen in the men who have near-total power in their society, yet show no signs of joy, happiness, or love, which are three components of truly living.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel that is important for people of all walks of life to read. History is taught because everyone must learn about the past to not repeat its mistakes. Reading The Handmaid’s Tale can help prevent the realization of a society like described in the novel, one that allowed for a horrible reality for women.

Atwood has a wonderful ability to make a distant reality feel real. Readers are able to see Offred’s world, feel her contempt, and hear her conversations, which will transform their current views on the society in which they live. The Handmaid’s Tale feels very slow in the beginning half, but it is worth pushing through because this section of the text provides a lot of context for its second half, which will leave readers unable to put the book down.

The Handmaid’s Tale has been made into a Hulu TV show for those who are less inclined towards reading or like to pair their books with imagery in film. This reviewer must note that she could not get past the first episode because she felt like it strayed too far from the book and was not an accurate depiction. Nevertheless, the series does a fair job of conveying the general idea of the novel.