Petersen's history is well-sourced (she cites historical, contemporaneous coverage from Advertising Age and others) and highly opinionated (some readers as well as current and former employees might disagree with her take on the publication's editorial direction and relative quality at various junctures). But it's hard to imagine that there's any other human being in the world -- even, possibly, at Time Inc. -- who has watched EW so closely and so thoughtfully for its nearly quarter-century lifespan.
And no wonder: "When I was a young and odd child," Petersen begins her piece, "one of the oddest things I did was collect Entertainment Weekly. … I'd read each issue from cover-to-cover, deciding on its predominant 'themes,' and record this data in an elaborate database program on my Apple IIe. As a finishing touch, I'd give each issue a 'grade,' emulating EW's own, then-novel system of affixing a grade to the media products it reviewed."
Now that you know what you're getting into, start reading here.
*Summer technically doesn't start until June 21.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.