Linda Holmes

On Monday's Morning Edition, Hayden Planetarium director and pop-culture go-to science guy Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene the story of how he came to lend a hand to Superman.

It's just about that time when members of the press begin to attend screenings of Les Miserables. I hereby vow to engage in none of the following conduct.

1. Throw crusts of bread at the screen and yell, "HEY, JEAN VALJEAN, ARE YOU HUNGRY?"

2. Do my imitation of Amanda Seyfried singing "There are so many questions and ah-nswers that somehow seem wrong," even though it's really funny and quite terrifying.

3. Refer to the short-haired Anne Hathaway as "Ruth Buzz-y."

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Neda Ulaby has a story about Chuck Lorre, the producer whose name is attached to three of the five highest-rated comedies on American television last season: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and Mike & Molly.

Full disclosure: The first thing I said when I saw that Rob Delaney would be talking to NPR's Audie Cornish on today's All Things Considered was that I was curious to see whether he had ever said anything on Twitter — where he has almost 670,000 followers (including me) as of this writing — that they thought they could read on the radio. It's an exaggeration. But not by that much.

Yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks, two black men who had auditioned for The Bachelor, who claimed that the show discriminates against people of color both in choosing the primary bachelor/ette and in choosing the people he or she will have to choose from.

More than 7 million people were watching as Felix Baumgartner sat at the edge of his space capsule yesterday 24 miles off the ground and got ready to jump, in what was known as the "Red Bull Stratos" project, better known as the "space jump." I saw it myself; he opened the door, and there was something there that certainly seemed to be space.

American Idol has always been a show with two audiences: the real one and the imagined one. The real one has a median viewer age of about 50, while the imagined one has a median age of about 15. You don't see the real audience frantically waving signs during the live show, but the imagined one. Idol enjoys presenting itself as a phenomenon for excitement-hungry teenagers, but in fact, it's just as much a phenomenon for their parents.

The following exchange has played out over and over in the last ten days:

Point: "NBC's coverage of the Olympics stinks, because everything is tape-delayed and cut to shreds, and also the announcers are awful and they only care about American athletes, and by the time I get to watch anything, I already know what happened."

Counterpoint: "People are watching in huge numbers."

Point: "But quality."

Counterpoint: "But business."

When you look at Batman with a coldly analytical eye — and he's hard to avoid these days, with The Dark Knight Rises set to come out Friday — a few things stand out as potential red flags: the secrecy, the lair, the attraction to danger, the blithe self-sacrifice, the ... cape.

It's unusual, all of it, you have to admit. Sure, he's handy to have around in an emergency, and you can't beat a fella who can be summoned with a giant light in the sky in the event you've got no cellphone reception.

But is he entirely ... well?

Highland Hospital in Oakland has what's supposed to be an emergency room, and that's where the documentary The Waiting Room is set.

But as it turns out, at a big public hospital in Oakland, an ER only does so much actual trauma care; it only handles so many things you would usually think of as emergencies. The rest of the time, it functions as a primary care health provider that's not at all designed to be one — largely for people who have no insurance.

They really give it away in the title, don't they?

In 1994, a 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared in Texas. In 1997, a man showed up in Spain and claimed to be the 16-year-old Nicholas. He wasn't – he was a 23-year-old con man – but he managed to get himself brought to the United States with a passport in Nicholas' name. He moved in with Nicholas' family. They accepted him as Nicholas.

It's that time again.

As I did last year at this time, I'll be spending this week at the Silverdocs documentary festival in Silver Spring, Md. If you've been reading the blog for a while, you're very familiar with this project, as it was the first place I saw a couple of fairly high-profile documentaries including Being Elmo and Buck, but also where I saw a couple of smaller movies that became favorites, including Resurrect Dead: The Mystery Of The Toynbee Tiles. (Available on Netflix streaming! Do it!)

The best read of the day is likely to be the A.V. Club's conversation with Mike Schur, the showrunner of Parks And Recreation, who begins a walkthrough of the show's fourth season. [The A.V. Club]

It's a question that kicks around endlessly without resolution: Can men and women really be just friends? On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Faith Salie and Mario Correa, hosts of WNYC's RelationShow, about this very topic.

Summertime, and the television is cheap as all get out. It's a time of reality shows and burned-off episodes and barely-publicized imports.

And it's a time of TV movies.

Most of the time, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick covers the Supreme Court. She's been doing that for the last 13 years. But recently, you may have seen her name floating around in connection with the piece she recently wrote that she discusses with Scott Simon on Saturday's Weekend Edition.

Meryl Streep asks an interesting question about the fact that movies aimed at women often make a lot of money and still lose out to big-budget summer tentpoles when it comes to actually getting made: "Don't they want the money?" [The Guardian]

If you make movies that have anything to do with science, please note: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, pays attention.

If you're into the pastime of lamenting the state of publishing and bookstores, it's very important that you read this post from The Atlantic about the tiny number of bookstores that existed in the United States in 1931 and what that meant for publishing and reading. It's a great reminder. [The Atlantic]

There is a certain honesty with which I believe critics must exist — a willingness to look yourself in the eye. A willingness to say, "This is the absolute truth as I experienced it."

I come not to praise the Burger King bacon sundae, nor to bury it. I come merely to point out that sometimes, the particular flavor of contempt with which you choose to address something is as important as the contempt itself.

Today in great fun: a look at the execution of difficult stage directions, such as — but not limited to — "Exit, pursued by a bear." [The Guardian]

It's safe to say that if you find yourself on the new Lifetime show My Life Is A Lifetime Movie, something has gone wrong. [Crushable]

Bret Michaels has given Tom Cruise the thumbs-up for Cruise's performance in Rock Of Ages. So that's one thing you don't have to worry about today. [L.A. Times]

The advent of serious, thoughtful, artistically ambitious television has brought us many marvelous shows: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Good Wife. And the growth of comedies with strong points of view has allowed oddball projects like 30 Rock and Community to emerge and earn praise.

It's always an interesting feeling when people react to things completely differently than you do, and this is a great example — this newspaper account talks about how James Corden dedicated his Tony Award (for One Man, Two Guvnors) to his girlfriend, and calls it "cringeworthy." I was going to say "adorable." [The Telegraph]

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