Saturday, April 9, 2022

End of an Era: The Final Print Issue of Entertainment Weekly

Scott D. Parker

It arrived every Friday, and boy, I could not wait.

I can’t say with any certainty if I purchased the debut issue of Entertainment Weekly in February 1989, but I know I began reading the magazine that year. In those pre-internet days, Entertainment Weekly featured writing like my friends and I talked. The stories were encyclopedic, the authors were folks like me (geeks if you will), and the sections became go-to sources of information.

It wasn’t long before I started subscribing as a means to avoid the vicissitudes of magazine stands and delayed delivery. I needed my entertainment fix every week.

The interviews were always in depth and interviewers mostly asked the same questions I would have asked were it me in front of a celebrity with a notepad and pen. It wasn’t long before I grew accustomed to the Top 10 Must List of the week, always cheering when a thing I loved landed on the list.

In those pre-internet days, Entertainment Weekly pretty much kept up with the times. The periodical evolved as the 1990s evolved and shaped and reshaped popular culture. I always looked forward to the big issue showcasing the fall TV shows (although those usually were double issues and I’d have a week without a new issue) or the summer blockbusters or the big music issues. When mega events like the relaunch of James Bond with Pierce Brosnan or the release of the first new Star Wars movie, I could not wait to read the content. The issues were mostly devoured in one sitting, maybe two. It was a rare weekend that ended when I hadn’t read Entertainment Weekly from cover to cover.

I moved from Austin to Denton, Texas, to Kent, Ohio, back to Denton and then back to my hometown of Houston. I carried the subscription with me everywhere I went. When my wife and I married, we discovered we both subscribed and we joined our subscriptions into one. When we moved to the Houston suburbs, Fridays were still a wonderful day when EW would arrive in the mailbox. I would usually consume the Must List between the mailbox and the front door, and, if the cover was particularly important, show my wife as I walked in the door.

A particularly great time to subscribe to EW was during the time when “Lost” was on TV. Every Wednesday, we’d get a new episode. Every Thursday, the folks at the office would hang out in the hallway and talk over what happened. But come Friday, I’d get the latest issue of EW. In it, Jeff Jenson, senior writer and “Lost” guru would recap the episode and deliver in-depth analysis of all the things in any particular scene, be it a book on a shelf or whatever might’ve been in the background. It was essential reading and I always enjoyed Mondays when I could bring Jeff’s wisdom back to the office.

Needless to say, Entertainment Weekly has been with me most of my adult life. I’ll admit I was sad when EW went from being published weekly to only coming out monthly. I’ll also admit I never understood why they didn’t just change the name to Entertainment Monthly. Why not?

But now, in April 2022, the 1,630th issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived in my mailbox, and it is the last one. The last print issue. has been a thing for I don’t know how many years, but now it’ll be the only thing. If EW could read the writing on the wall, realizing that just about everything is fast and digital and on the web, and shift to a monthly rate, then the shift to an all-digital format was also easily predicted.

Yeah, I’ll keep going to because the same content by the same writers is there. There’s even the same font for the various sections. And while I’m fully aware that my next statement will make me sound old, I’ll miss holding the printed magazine in my hands, getting the ink smeared on my fingers if I’m enjoying a cold drink while reading, and circling things with a pen to go and buy later.

The older one gets, the more one values things that have just always been there. And for 33 years, the printed version of Entertainment Weekly has been there with me, chronicling the pop culture events of my life, from my time as a college student to the middle-aged man I am today.

So long, old friend. Thanks for making the journey with me.

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