Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour is a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.... Show More

Episodes

September 21, 2020 17 min
It was not your usual Emmy Awards ceremony. Because of the pandemic, there was no crowd, and host Jimmy Kimmel worked mostly alone. People accepted their awards from home. But surprisingly enough, it turned out pretty well. Schitt's Creek, Watchmen, and Succession all had big nights. And it was kind of fun to watch people dressed up in their own living rooms.
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September 17, 2020 22 min
In the new horror film Antebellum, Janelle Monáe plays an enslaved woman on a plantation run by Confederate soldiers. She's desperate to escape. But Monáe also plays a successful contemporary author and speaker with a beautiful family, living a life of success and wealth. But does the film successfully tie the story together? Note: This conversation discusses specific spoiler-y plot points to explore how those roles fit togethe...
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It's hard to predict how the current pandemic will affect the work of artists in television and film and theater, but that doesn't mean we can't try. What will change? What won't change? How might creators react? Today, we're stepping back to make some guesses about the future of pop culture and think about what's to come.
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September 13, 2020 28 min
A special bonus feed drop from the NPR podcast It's Been A Minute With Sam Sanders. Billy Porter is a force to be reckoned with. A Tony Award-winning Broadway performer. A fashion icon with unforgettable red carpet looks. An Emmy Award-winning actor (with another nomination under his belt this year). Currently, Porter stars in the acclaimed FX show Pose, all about New York's underground ball culture in the 80s and 90s. It&#...
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In the Netflix film, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, the plot is easy to follow. A young couple played by Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons drives through a snowstorm to the farmhouse where Plemons' character grew up. They have dinner with his parents, played by Toni Collette and David Thewlis, then they drive home. That's it. That's the movie. Simple, right? Wrong! This is a Charlie Kaufman movie, and that means thin...
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September 8, 2020 21 min
The fantasy adventure Avatar: The Last Airbender aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. But this year, as the pandemic struck, the animated series became one of the biggest streaming hits on Netflix. In the world of Avatar, some people are essentially equipped with superpowers: They can bend fire, water, earth, or air. Only the Avatar — in this case a 12-year-old boy named Aang — can develop the power to bend all four elements and...
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September 3, 2020 23 min
The biggest movie so far to be bumped from theaters to home viewing during the pandemic is Disney's Mulan. The live-action reimagining of the 1998 animated musical doesn't have songs or a cartoon dragon. But the story still finds young Mulan disguising herself as a man so she can fight in her father's place.
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August 30, 2020 15 min
The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards took place Sunday night. The telecast was in the shadow of a pandemic, in the midst of major civil unrest, and in the aftermath of actor Chadwick Boseman's death. The VMAs couldn't have live audiences, so we got a lot of pre-taped performances in front of green screens from artists like BTS. Plus, it was a big night for masked Lady Gaga.
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Back in 1989, we met Bill S. Preston and Ted "Theodore" Logan in the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. They returned in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in 1991. And now, almost 30 years later, they're back. In Bill and Ted Face the Music, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves return as... well, Bill and Ted, respectively. And this time, they'll need not just their triumphant band to save the world, but also ...
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August 27, 2020 4 min
In October, Pop Culture Happy Hour will publish episodes five days a week. Also, Aisha Harris will join us as a fourth permanent host.
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August 25, 2020 20 min
The best horror is the horror that feels true. That's one of the reasons the new HBO series Lovecraft Country works. Set in the 1950s, it follows a young Black man who sets off with his childhood friend and his uncle to search for his missing father. A series of connected stories follows these characters around and through the very real dangers of being Black in America, and not just in the Jim Crow South. But it also throws in...
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August 20, 2020 25 min
The world of politics is not pretty, even in high school. That's one of the takeaways from the new documentary Boys State, about a week-long program sponsored by the American Legion. In it, a thousand Texas high-school boys form political parties, nominate candidates, and hold elections to form a government. The film shows how a few of these students think about politics and running for office. And it considers how they've ...
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August 18, 2020 14 min
The mega-franchise Star Trek has produced a slew of movies and ten different TV series — the latest of which is a brand-new animated comedy called Star Trek: Lower Decks. The show was created by Mike McMahan, who worked on Rick And Morty, and it tells the story of some of the least powerful officers on Starfleet's least important starship, the U.S.S. Cerritos. And, because it's animated, we also get epic battles, space zomb...
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Ten years ago, we started Pop Culture Happy Hour. And ten years later, it's time to celebrate. Recently, we invited one of our great pals, actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, to join us for a quiz looking back at 2010. And this time, Linda wrote the questions, but she didn't come up with the right answers--our listeners did.
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August 11, 2020 19 min
The HBO miniseries Watchmen recently earned 26 well-deserved Emmy nominations. And if you haven't seen the series, now is a good time to catch up. It stars Regina King as an ex-cop in Tulsa Oklahoma who's not-so-secretly the masked vigilante Sister Night. Showrunner Damon Lindelof has set the show within a big, weird world that keeps getting bigger and weirder, even as it seeks to comment on some very contemporary, real-wor...
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August 6, 2020 21 min
The Starz drama P-Valley is set in a Black strip club in the Mississippi delta. The dancers are acrobatic, artistic and independent. The show is about their labor, but also about a wide variety of stories about power, money, and a community's identity. It's really good, and it's really different from anything else on TV right now.
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August 4, 2020 18 min
Last summer, Beyoncé released an album called The Lion King: The Gift. It was based around Disney's remake of The Lion King — a film that included voice acting from Beyoncé herself, among many others. Last Friday on Disney+, Beyoncé released a movie-length video that's meant to serve as a companion to the album. It's called Black Is King, it's visually grand and sumptuous, and it's got a huge cast — you'...
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There's marriage, and then there's love marriage. That's the philosophy of Sima, the matchmaker at the center of the new Netflix reality series Indian Matchmaking. And her focus is not helping you find love. It's arranging marriages for young people and their families based on everything from economic and social status to height. The show has gotten a lot of attention, but also some critiques.
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July 28, 2020 20 min
Taylor Swift was supposed to spend this summer touring with songs from Lover, an album she'd put out last August. Instead, she wound up cooped up at home. The isolation sparked her creativity, leading her to write and record an entire new record in collaboration with producers Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner of The National. It's called Folklore, and it's a massive left turn in terms of style and subject matter. And it&...
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July 23, 2020 23 min
Sometimes, all it takes to change your life is a cow. In the new film First Cow, director Kelly Reichardt follows two men who meet by chance and come up with a plan to get rich. All they need is a couple of ingredients. First Cow is a western, a friendship story, a caper movie, and even a meditation on nature.
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