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Tuesday Notebook: "Prison Break," "HIMYM," Some Notes From the Bookshelf ...

By admin Published: January 13, 2009

... and other bits, after the jump.

The presidential inauguration has been much on my mind, and I want to approach it optimistiically. Want to, but can't quite. One reason is laid out in Rick Pearlstein's book "Nixonland":

"At the start of 1965 ... according to the pundits, America was more united and at peace with itself than ever," Pearlstein writes. Lyndon Johnson had been elected president in a landslide and said at his inauguration that "we have achieved a unity of interest among our people that is unmatched in the history of freedom."

Consider what happened next -- what was really already happening -- and you can see why I withhold my optimism.

My academic life has resumed, and I was taken with this passage from "The Longman Anthology of British Literature": "Charles II would soon institute an Act of Oblivion ... forgiving proponents of rebellion by officially forgetting their misdeeds." I like the idea, including in daily life; wouldn't we all like to proclaim acts of oblivion about different troubles? Of course, this didn't work either. Adds the Anthology: "Civil war and revolution could not be erased, nor could monarchy, the Anglican Church, aristocratic privilege, political patronage and the old social heirarchies be revived as though nothing had intervened."

So we just soldier on to the future, carrying the past on our backs.

Fox today said "Prison Break" will end its ever more implausible run this spring. Here's the basic news: "The greatest escape on television comes to an end after four suspenseful seasons when PRISON BREAK returns for the series’ final episodes beginning Friday, April 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX."

Last night's "How I Met Your Mother" was funny and sweet. Liked the "reading a magazine" gag, managed to glide by the celebrity cameos and really liked the way Barney gets to be unrequited; it's a touching note for the show, and Neil Patrick Harris is playing it very well.

The weekend promos for "Two and a Half Men" were kind of odd, since they made such extended use of what was the show's B story -- Charlie and Jake battle for a woman's attention -- while the main story was Alan's romance with his receptionist (and Alan's meeting her mother -- played merrily by Carol Kane). Solid telecast, though, and one that reminded us again that Jake's not entirely stupid, just willfully ignorant.

"American Idol" returns tonight. Sigh.

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