A.A. Bondy
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For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
BBC America

Saddest Ghost Lamp

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Alessandra Stanley: Newsroom Slacker

In two short days, America's Wrongest Critic will--God willing--reach a milestone: Two consecutive error-free months. Her last corrected byline appeared in the Times on January 17. The last time she had a run like that was during her legendary Correct Period, from December 3, 2004 to March 4, 2005.

Still, one can't but wonder if her review of Fox's new sit-com, "The Loop," was informed just a little by her identification with the predicament of the show's main character, a young airline executive with a complicated personal life who seems to fail upward at work despite being utterly unqualified and even less motivated:
Sam straddles two opposite worlds, and keeps falling in between and on his face. His boss, Russ (Philip Baker Hall), a bullying eccentric, believes that his protégé is a wunderkind who can help restore the ailing airline's fortunes....

Most days Sam can barely get out of bed, and the ideas Russ deems brilliant are last-minute, desperate guesses.

As Sam, Mr. Harrison looks appealingly out of sync at both his job and his hedonistic home. And by showcasing a slacker in a suit and tie, "The Loop" hones in on the common denominator of life as a twentysomething: feeling like an impostor at work and at play.
Replace "Sam" with "Alessandra," "Russ" with "Bill Keller," "airline" with "newspaper," and "twentysomething" with "journalist," and you get the idea.