Every week, I post what I have been listening to, watching and reading lately.
I really didn’t mean to take so much time off from these posts, but life has been exhausting lately and the only music I’m really listening to is the Hamilton soundtrack.
Because it was too dark during my normal 5:30am running time for me to feel safe, I joined a gym. I listened to music on the treadmill just once before I remembered how boring it was. Cue podcasts. When I went to the gym years ago, there was a TV podcast that I loved and got so excited when it was available. I can’t remember who produced it (maybe NPR or EW?) or who was on it, only that it was a round table of critics making fun of and discussing TV each week. In essence, it was everything I loved in one place.
So far, the podcast that most fills that gaping hole in my life is Extra Hot Great, put out by Previously.TV, and is somehow related to Television Without Pity (RIP). Though I wish the episodes were timed better to my 45 minute runs (most are about 2 hours, but they also offer shorts throughout the week), I just love hearing smart people arguing about TV. Another plus: there is LOTS of cussing.
A few other favorites:
Not Ready for Primetime Podcast
Two people nitpick at the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live. I still ADORE SNL, so I have absolutely found my people, though I am much easier on this show than these two are.
Buzzed has several thoughtful podcasts, and Another Round might be my favorite. Heben and Tracy cover politics, race, literature and pop culture from a black feminist perspective. It’s the #nerdland of podcasts. Also, Another Round is perfectly timed to my treadmill journey (ugh, that sounds so dumb). They do great little gif-heavy promos of their episodes here.
I hadn’t heard of Katie Nolan until I saw this–her TV show is on Fox Sports, a channel that, to me, only exists for baseball, but now I LOVE her. I will admit to zoning out a bit when she talks about the NFL, but she’s smart and has no problem telling it like it is.
Are there any other pop culture podcasts over 30 minutes that I should know about? I subscribe to so many. I also just realized I should make playlists of my favorite shorter podcasts, like 99% Invisible and What’s the Point? so they can just play on while I’m treadmilling it up (I CANNOT make running on a treadmill sound exciting).
The premise of this show–a college kid works at a country club in the 80s–was so promising, plus RICHARD KIND is in it AND David Gordon Green and Steven Soderbergh are involved! The Knick is GREAT and so is Pineapple Express. But everything happens that you think would happen and it’s not as laugh-out-loud funny as I hoped. I gave up after two episodes but I do hear the siren song of Richard Kind calling me so I might watch more episodes in the background while I’m doing other things.
One of the main reasons I paid for Hulu was Difficult People, which stars two of my very favorite comedians, Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner, as shitty people trying to make it in the entertainment business in New York (Julie blogs, Billy acts, and they both do stand up). There are rapid-fire pop culture references (more than the Gilmore Girls and certainly not as highbrow), smart commentary about technology (Julie’s relationship with Twitter especially), and SLLS fave GABY SIDEBE. When I started watching it, Katie asked if it was cringey, and while there are some Larry David-esque moments, there’s not enough space for you to be uncomfortable. These characters talk A LOT, and you forget about the cringey parts because they move onto the next joke really quickly.
I’m also enjoying You’re the Worst (season 1), as well as the current seasons of Fargo, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bob’s Burgers (Gene has been GOLD this season), Undateable (it’s LIVE, y’all!) and Last Man on Earth, in addition to everything else I’ve mentioned recently. Oh! And Jane the Virgin is back! It’s a good time to be alive.
DVR ALERT: Today is the Halloween episode of ESPN’s Around the Horn! Now, I know this isn’t a sports blog (though I already mentioned Garbage Time and actually refrained from discussing the Bill Simmons podcast), but last year’s episode was hilarious and the costumes are on the pop culture edge of sports (think Drake).
Uncovering the Secret History of Myers-Briggs. I have been aware of Myers-Briggs for as long as I can remember, as my mother was certified and I remember meeting MBTI expert Otto Kroeger in the 80s. This piece on Isabella Briggs reminded me of every Scientologist expose that I have read, and it’s a really interesting journey into her life.
“I was killed when I was 27”: the curious afterlife of Terence Trent D’Arby. This is a completely fascinating piece about the music industry, racism, and the press of being famous.
The Brutal Economics of Being a Yoga Teacher. I have always liked to think yoga is special and free from capitalism, but it clearly is not, and this made me really sad.
The Real Downtown LA Murder Hotel that Inspired Lady Gaga’s American Horror Story. I take issue with the title: I know Gaga is a draw this season but she is not the whole show. Ryan Murphy, absolutely. Sarah Paulson, I’m ok with that. Denis O’Hare? YES PLEASE. You’re thinking: “But Melissa, you HATE horror movies and you have never even watched this show.” That is correct, but I do love reading stories of old Hollywood and unsolved mysteries and haunted scary buildings. Especially when there are vintage pictures!
What pop culture have you been getting into this