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‘The Chair’ Review: A Humorous Commentary on the World of Academia

Sandra Oh, Nana Mensah, and Holland Tyler on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

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An entire show focused on a dilapidating university English department had the very real potential of being extremely boring and niche with its heavy ode to literature. However, Netflix’s original series The Chair, starring the fabulous Sandra Oh, is a humorous commentary on the world of academia, cancel culture, ageism, sexism, and transracial adoption.

The bulk of the humor rests on the shoulders of Ji-Yoon (Oh) and Joan (Holland Taylor) the only women in the department alongside Yaz (Nana Mensah). Ji-Yoon is the first woman department head to take the position just as enrollment is crumbling by 30%.

What’s meant to be a momentous moment in her career turns into a shit show when she’s tasked with putting out daily dumpster fires.

In the short six episodes, we’re quickly introduced to the complicated lives of Ji-Yoon and her colleague/lover Bill Dobson, one of the younger professors who’s under intense scrutiny for making an insensitive and ignorant reference to nazis.

The Chair Humorously Comments

Sandra Oh on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

There’s a strong balance between personal and professional lives as the underlying tension displayed immediately between Bill and Ji-Yoon ignites a budding romance, amid the dean’s increasing pressure for Ji-Yoon to let Bill go.

Ji-Yoon’s a powerful woman who isn’t afraid to stand up against university systems that oppress women and women of color. And despite her ability to properly handle her work life, her home life seems to be teetering.

Her daughter Juju is a spitfire who is ready to speak her mind at any moment. Whether to diss her halbi, cross personal boundaries scaring off babysitters, and telling Ji-Yoon how she feels about her transracial adoption.

The real dynamic duo is Juju and Bill. As Bill’s healing from the loss of his wife and empty-nesting after sending his daughter off to college, he finds comfort in taking care of Juju while he’s on suspension.

The Chair Review

Ji-Yoon and Dobson on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

Juju’s lack of connection with Ji-Yoon is saddening, as it stems from Ji-Yoon’s absence due to her tireless job. However, by the end of the season, the growth between mom and daughter is emotionally beautiful.

Yes, I shed a few tears.

The decision to use an English department as a commentary vessel is ingenious. Historically, academia is full of jaded tenured professors who are generationally out of touch. But, an English department is stereotypically overrun with crotchety old pretentious men.

Some of whom are definitely ready for retirement.

Yaz is a Black professor whose class has quickly become the most popular in the English department. With her classes yielding the most students, this causes jealousy among the other educators, putting her tenure track in harm’s way.

The Chair Review

Ji-Yoon and her daughter on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

When she’s denied the distinguished lectureship and begins to feel helpless as a woman of color at Pembroke, she considers taking an offer from Yale. However, Ji-Yoon’s desperation to rebuild the department full of diverse women convinces Yaz to stay.

Yaz’s character doesn’t receive as much screentime as she deserves. Most of the attention is placed on Dobs and the rest of the professors fighting desperately to hold onto their power.

Furthering the theme of sexism, Joan’s office is displaced in the basement underneath the gym. As a professor who’s been with the university just as long as her male counterparts, she finds her situation outrageous and greatly sexist.

Yet, by the season finale, after Ji-Yoon’s been ousted as the head of the department, she strategically chooses Joan to replace her. This feels like a win for the women and especially Ji-Yoon, as her vision of change continues.

While there hasn’t been any official word about a second season, Season 1 paved the path for deeper topics to be pursued. Especially the romance between Ji-Yoon and Bill. So I can’t imagine the show won’t receive another green light.

If you’re someone who shutters at the idea of being immersed in the academic sphere even fictionally, don’t worry. The Chair is a show you can enjoy on the pure basis of humor and emotional family drama. And of course Sandra Oh!

21 Underrated TV Shows You Need to Watch


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Inga is an avid TV watcher and critic, focusing a majority of her articles around LGBTQ+ representation in the media.

What to Watch

9 TV Shows to Watch After Thanksgiving Dinner

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9 TV Shows to Watch After Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a time for reconnecting with friends and family and indulging in some delicious meals. 

But after all the turkey, sides, and pie is cleared off the plate, the only acceptable activity is binge-watching some feel-good TV shows. 

Here are some post-Thanksgiving dinner show suggestions:

 

Virgin River

You’ll be just as surprised as Mel to fall in love with the picturesque town of Virgin River. Come for the views, stay for Jack. 

 

Hart of Dixie

Dr. Zoe Hart arrives in Alabama looking for a fresh start and learns that the Southern way of living might actually be what’s best for her. 

 

Gilmore Girls

An unbreakable mother and daughter bond, a charming town that would make any Lifetime movie jealous… plus, an unspoken love for coffee? Say no more.

 

Selena + Chef

You might know her as a Disney Channel actress and pop star, but now, she’s adding chef to her resume. And since Thanksgiving is all about food, this is one show you don’t want to pass up. 

 

The Cleaning Lady

You might think it’s odd that a mafia crime drama made the list, but at its core, the series is about family and how far two dedicated and loving moms would go for their family. It’s a thrill from beginning to end! 

 

Walker

The modern-day update to the Chuck Norris classic hones in on family above everything, with a side of roundhouse kicks. 

 

A Million Little Things

A group from Boston bond under the unlikeliest of circumstances and get a much-needed wake-up call following the death of a close friend. 

 

La Brea

Though it falls into the “sci-fi mystery” category, La Brea hinges on a family determined to find their way back to each other despite all the obstacles standing in their way and all the sacrifices needed to be made.

 

Dream Home Makeover

If there’s ever a time to get inspired for a home makeover, it’s after the holidays (and during Black Friday when everything is on sale!) And the McGee family is the cherry on top! 

 

This Is Us

This is… a no-brainer. No show captures the essence of what it means to be a complicated, loving, flawed, and fulfilled family more than this NBC drama.

 

Angel the Series: Why The Series is The King of Found Family Shows

27 TV Characters Who Would Cook a Mean Thanksgiving Dinner


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Dead to Me

When Is ‘Dead to Me’ Season 3 Coming Out?

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When Is 'Dead to Me' Season 3 Coming Out?

There’s been a lot of buzz about the upcoming third season of Dead to Me, which will, unfortunately, also be the final season of the Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini-led comedy drama.

When Will Dead to Me Season 3 Premiere?

Well, the wait is thankfully almost over because the series is set to hit Netflix on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. 

And that means, you’ll have the whole entire weekend to binge watch all 10 episodes to see how Jen Harding and Judy Hale’s adventures come to an end. 

It’s been a bit since new episodes aired, however, with Dead to Me Season 2 dropping on the streaming giant in May 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic along with Applegate’s MS (multiple sclerosis diagnosis) delayed the upcoming season significantly, so it’s understandable if you don’t actually remember where things left off. 

How Did Dead to Me Season 2 End? Let’s Recap! 

For starters, a dog digs up Steve Wood’s body with his brother, Ben, getting the dreaded call. Judy and Jen find the money that Steve was laundering for the Greek mafia behind the frames of Judy’s art paintings, which allows them to buy out the house and get a new car for Charlie with a shiny new bow on top. Unfortunately, on their way home, they get into an accident with another vehicle… and it’s revealed that the driver that hit them is Ben, who has an empty bottle of liquor by his side. He’s a little banged up, but he drives away.  This is honestly messy, so I’m glad we’re on the cusp of the new season. And on top of all of that, Charlie finds the letter that Jen wrote (and Judy didn’t destroy), which probably includes way too much information about what’s going on. 

Dead to Me Season 3 Trailer

Applegate on Filming the Final Season

Applegate, who recently received her much-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, told Variety that while filming the new season of the Emmy-award winning drama amid her MS diagnosis was challenging (she had to use a wheelchair to get to set because walking was difficult and painful), she remained dedicated to finishing out the story for fans, which we truly admire and are grateful for.

When the creative forces behind the show asked if she wanted to pull the plug since they felt like they were “torturing her,” she replied, “But I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no: We have to finish this story. It’s too important to our hearts; too important to our souls. And we have to give this gift, not only to ourselves — there are people that love these characters, and we’ve got to let them have their closure too.’ So, if that meant me having to take a break in the middle of the day so I could go sleep — or me just leaving because I couldn’t do anymore — then that’s what we had to do.”

And knowing how much dedication went into it will make watching this season so more rewarding and gratifying.

 


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Editorials

7 Adan Canto Movies and TV Shows to Watch

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Adan Canto Movies and TV Shows to Watch

You’re probably here, looking for Adan Canto movies and TV shows, because of The Cleaning Lady. And if that’s the case, welcome! 

And if that isn’t the case, well, what are you waiting for? Go watch The Cleaning Lady! Canto is exceptional in the crime series as Arman Morales opposite Elodie Yung’s Thony De La Rosa. 

However, if you’re all caught up with the FOX drama and looking for more Canto to grace your TV screen, check out some of his other projects below!

 

Designated Survivor – Netflix

Canto starred in the ABC-turned-Netflix drama as the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States and Vice President-elect of the United States, played by Kiefer Sutherland.

 

 

Agent Game – Netflix

In this indie spy thriller, Canto is a member of a team of operatives tasked to bring in a CIA officer on a mission to detain and relocate foreign nationals for interrogation. The film also starred Mel Gibson, Katie Cassidy, and Jason Isaacs.

 

2 Hearts – Netflix

Based on a true inspirational movie, Canto plays Jorge, a Cuban exile who overcomes a hardship in life while falling in love with a flight attendant, Leslie, played by Radha Mitchell.  

 

Bruised – Netflix

Halle Berry stars as Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter looking to find redemption and courage to face her demons.  Canto stars as Justice’s boyfriend and manager, Desi.

 

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Disney+

Canto thrilled as the Brazilian mutant Robert Da Costa aka Sunspot.

 

The Following – The CW

Canto starred as Paul Torres,  also known as Billy Thomas, was one of Joe’s Followers, who found himself in a complex love triangle.

 

Blood & Oil – Apple TV

In the short-lived series, Canto starred as AJ Mendendez, a role he took over from Yan Gellman, who appeared in the pilot. AJ was a geologist working with oil tycoon Happ Briggs and developed a romantic relationship with his daughter, Carla. The star-studded series, that was prematurely canceled, also starred Don Johnson, Chace Crawford, and Rebecca Rittenhouse.


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