In 1990, Jeff Jarvis invented Entertainment Weekly, and one controversy immediately sprang up: their reviews were summed up by a straight-outta-high school letter grade, a grievous affront to the creative community especially the segment of the creative community who got C-minus or below.
Over the years in EW, there have been a number of A’s, even an A-plus once or twice, and rather a lot of F’s. I’ve read every issue I was one of the very first subscribers, and make of that what you will but I don’t remember ever seeing an actual F-minus.
Until issue #943, in which Ken Tucker describes “a book that should never be published”:
You just knew that O. J. Simpson’s aborted book, If I Did It, his “hypothetical” account of his role in the 1994 murder of Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, was going to be leaked. I’ve read a version of the manuscript from Judith Regan’s now-defunct HarperCollins imprint and am here to tell you, there is no guilty pleasure to be gleaned from these ramblings of a craven, whining, self-pityingly aggrieved man.
I think I’ve just been talked out of writing a memoir.
As for the rest of the mag, my favorite section is getting to be Alynda Wheat’s What to Watch, which I suppose is an odd choice since I seldom watch much of anything on television, but her single-paragraph distillations are always fun, and she doesn’t even have to assign letter grades. On the Food Network’s new series Simply Delicioso:
Believe it or not, when you need Latina cred for your network you actually do wanna hire someone named Ingrid Hoffmann.
This is a show it would never occur to me to watch, and yet suddenly it appears almost … interesting. Which, of course, makes me worry if Ms Wheat is in fact the creature I fear most, the woman who can talk me into anything.