Pretty Much Pop #32: Judging “The Good Place”

Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss Michael Schur’s NBC TV show. Is it good? Does it actually teach moral philosophy? We talk sit-com tropes, TV finales, the show’s convoluted structure, the puzzle of heaven, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #31: Robin Williams’ Celebrity Struggles w/ Dave Itzkoff

Dave the New York Times culture reporter joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to consider issues raised by his 2018 biography Robin: What is with our f’ed up relation to celebrity, and what are strategies that celebrities use to deal with that asymmetric relationship to the world? Plus, Joaquin Phoenix, interview technique, the value of interviews, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #30: Why Every Film Will Win the Oscar! (A Debate)

The 2020 Academy Awards are imminent (or maybe past, if you’re hearing this later; it’s fine!). Mark, Erica, and Brian, each argue in favor of three of the best picture nominees: that it should win, or maybe just will win. What is it to be an Oscar winner as opposed to the type of film that people actually like?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #29: Martin Scorsese the Auteur w/ Colin Marshall

We consider The Irishman in the context of Scorsese’s body of work and the styles and themes that his films tend to exhibit.

Writer/podcaster Colin Marshall joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about connecting with Scorsese’s sensibility and their status as “art films.” Plus S’s use of music, comments on Marvel, CGI age alternation, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #28: The Alpha Female Trope w/ Margaret Colin

What’s the deal with images of powerful women in media? The trope of the tough-as-nails boss-lady who may or may not have a heart of gold has evolved a lot over the years, but it’s difficult to portray such a character unobjectionably.

Margaret was a lead in Independence Day and The Devil’s Own, is a mainstay on Broadway, and has appeared on TV roles like the mother of the Gossip Girl and as an unscrupulous newscaster on the final seasons of VEEP. She leads Mark, Erica, and Brian through an instructive tour through her career playing assertive women.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #27: For the Love of Star Wars

http://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_027_1-3-20.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 47:45 — 44.9MB) Mark, Erica, and Brian grasp the low-hanging fruit in pop culture to talk about Star Wars: The unique place that these films have in the brains of people of a certain age, how we grappled with the prequels, and why we feel the need to fill in and argue Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #26: We Watch “Watchmen” w/ David Pizarro (Very Bad Wizards)

Covering Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel, the new HBO series and the 2009 film.

Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by David, psych prof at Cornell and host of Very Bad Wizards. How does Moore’s style translate to the screen? How well did the show handle politics? Should there be a second season?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #25: Sports as Pop w/ Sportscaster Dave Revsine

How is spectator sports different from other types of entertainment? Dave (lead studio host for the Big Ten Network and former ESPN anchor) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss the various sources of appeal, team identification, existing in a sports-filled world as a non-fan, watching vs. playing, human interest stories, sports films, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #24: Christmas Viewing: What’s Canon?

Join Mark, Erica, and Brian for a special “snake draft,” where we take turns picking the holiday films and TV specials that we think are (or should be) part of America’s yearly viewing traditions. Compare your intuitions about what is classic or seminal or over-rated with ours!

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

We’re posting this early and ad-free as our holiday gift to you. Snarf it all down right now like a plastic candy cane full of M&Ms!

Pretty Much Pop #23: The Singer Not the Song w/ Ken Stringfellow

Do you just embrace the pure sound of music or does context matter to you, i.e., the artist’s intentions and body of work?

Ken Stringfellow (Posies, R.E.M., Big Star) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about what grabs us about music, how it gets to your ears, singers vs. songwriters, the concept of “genius,” and how this attitude toward music translates to our intake of other media (e.g., favorite film directors).

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Sponsor: Visit skillshare.com/pretty for two months of free, unlimited learning.

Pretty Much Pop #22: Untangling Time Travel

Time travel rules in The Terminator franchise are notoriously inconsistent. Can we change the future or not?

Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by Ken Gerber to talk through time travel rules and plots, covering the randomness of Dr. Who, being your own grandfather, time travel comedies, time loops, freezing time, historical tourism, and more. 

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Sponsor: Visit mackweldon.com and enter the promo code POP for 20% off underwear, sportswear, and more.

Pretty Much Pop #21: Role-Playing Video Games

What constitutes a video RPG? Is there any actual role-playing involved? Our editor Tyler Hislop rejoins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss those video games that are supposed to make you feel like your choices matter, with comparisons to MMO RPGs, table-top role-playing, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Sponsor: Visit skillshare.com/pretty for two months of free, unlimited learning.

Pretty Much Pop #20: Improv Comedy w/ Tim Sniffen

What role does improv comedy play in popular culture? It’s deployed by certain film directors (e.g. Christopher Guest), in some of the TV work of Larry David, Robin Williams, et al. But only a rare show like “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” makes it obvious. Is this art form doomed to live on the fringes of entertainment?

Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by Tim Sniffen to discuss different types of improv, how it relates to other arts, its self-help angle, Second City, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Sponsor: Visit mackweldon.com and enter the promo code POP for 20% off underwear, sportswear, and more.

Pretty Much Pop #19: Race and the Target Audience w/ Rodney Ramsey

Are YOU the target audience of what you watch? While shows used to be aimed at a white majority or “niche group,” now much media aims itself seemingly at everyone.

Rodney Comedian/actor/writer/producer Rodney joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss the experience of watching outside your demographic, whether identifying with characters requires physical commonalities, “black voice,” and the evolving TV landscape.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #18: Stephen King’s Media Empire

Is the most popular writer of our time actually a good writer? Or maybe he used to be good? While you’ve been thinking about those questions, King already wrote another book, so ha!

Mark, Erica, and Brian share their experiences with and opinions about King’s oeuvre and the films and shows that have come out of it.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #17: Comedy as Philosophy w/ Daniel Lobell

Are stand-up comedians the Modern Day Philosophers? This is the premise of Daniel’s podcast, but really, only some comedians express original claims; many just tell jokes. Are those exceptional comics philosophizing? Does telling the whole, tragic truth rule out being funny? Daniel, Mark, Erica, and Brian consider Carlin, Gadsby, Chappelle, and others.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.

Sponsor: Visit Keeps.com/EXAMINED for a free month of hair loss treatment.

Pretty Much Pop #16: 25 Years After FRIENDS

Mark, Erica, and Brian examine the conventions, techniques, and staying power of the beloved ’90s sitcom. Are we supposed to identify with, or idolize, or merely like these people? What makes the formula work, did it sustain itself over its 10-year run, was it successfully replicated, and what parts haven’t aged well?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.

Sponsor: Visit mackweldon.com and enter the promo code POP for 20% off.

Pretty Much Pop #15: Opera As Pop

Opera used to be a central part of European pop culture, Pavarotti was as big a pop star as they come. But still, it’s now the quintessential art-form of the wealthy and snobbish. What gives?

Guest Sean Spyres from Springfield Regional Opera joins his sister Erica along with Mark and Brian to discuss opera’s place in culture (including its film appearances), how it’s different from music theater, the challenges it faces and how it might become more relevant.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #14: UFOs on TV with Investigative Journalist Paul Beban

TV news reporter Paul Beban (ABC, Al Jazeera, Yahoo, and now featured on the Discovery Network’s Contact) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss the appeal of UFO narratives. Do you have to believe to be entertained? What’s the connection to humor, religion, and anti-government venom?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #13: TV Revivals Revived!

Revivals (not to be confused with reboots) can bring us back to the comfort of old friends, who are now really old. But is reviving a show really ever a good idea? Mark, Erica, and Brian consider some successes, failures, and hypotheticals.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.