Pretty Much Pop #92: Collectibles and Collecting w/ Matt Young

What drives someone to collect Star Wars figures or Transformers or LEGOs or whatever else?

Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by guest Matt Young of the Hello from the Magic Tavern and Improvised Star Trek podcasts to talk about this potentially expensive and life-eating habit.

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Pretty Much Pop #91: Pet Culture w/ Trainer Hannah Branigan

What is with the weird relationship we Americans have with our pets? Many of us treat them as our babies, yet of course they’re our captives.

Dog trainer Hannah Branigan, host of Drinking from the Toilet, joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about pets as entertainment, as hobby, and as pandemic companions. How can we make this relationship as beneficial as possible for all involved, and how can learning to be a better pet owner inform our treatment of other people?

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

PMP#88: Indie Animation w/ Benjamin Goldman

Animation is so labor-intensive that it seems designed for corporate domination a la Disney. Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by animator Benjamin Goldman to discuss doing animation on your own.

What qualifies as “indie?” What are we as adult viewers looking from this medium? How do images relate to narration? How realistic should the animation look? You may want to watch Benjamin’s short film (currently featured by The New Yorker) “Eight Nights.”

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Pretty Much Pop #86: What Irish Means w/ Black 47’s Larry Kirwan

St. Patrick’s Day has passed: What sort of representation of Ireland has made it to the U.S. through such celebrations? Who gets to decide what’s authentically Irish?

Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by writer and musician Larry to talk about his immigrant experience, covering history, music, humor, language, slurs, stereotypes, and his new book Rockaway Blue.

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Pretty Much Pop #84: Musician Memoirs w/ Laura Davis-Chanin

Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest memoir author Laura talk about the appeal of this type of book whose production has exploded in recent years. We each read a book, covering Elvis Costello, Carrie Brownstein, Ozzy Osbourne, and Debby Harry respectively. How are these better than a film depiction or documentary biography?

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Pretty Much Pop #83: Disabled and Other-Abled Representation w/ Kayla Dryesse

Media representation of disability needs improvement, as does inclusion of disabled actors and writers. Playwright Kayla joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about hurdles, disability culture, negative stereotypes, and how disability relates to comedy and horror.

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Pretty Much Pop #81: Radio vs. Podcasting w/ Jason Bentley

Jason was music director at KRCW, the LA NPR station, is also a DJ with a lot of experienced interviewing musicians, and now hosts a new podcast, The Backstory. He joins Mark and Erica to discuss the creative and business possibilities of podcasting in comparison to radio, what their futures may hold, and his own journey between the two media.

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

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Pretty Much Pop #80: Reliving Groundhog Day (and Palm Springs, Russian Doll, etc.)

Happy Groundhog Day! The ’93 film has had dozens of imitators spanning various genres in recent years, but the idea goes back more than a century. Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest Ken Gerber touch on popular and obscure examples examples from film and TV to explore the philosophical themes and storytelling techniques. 

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Pretty Much Pop #79: The Fargo Formula w/ Tamler Sommers (Very Bad Wizards Crossover)

On the darkly comic ’96 film and the 4-season crime show. Mark, Erica, Brian, and Tamler from VBW consider its style, “tundra western” setting, “Minnesota nice”, gender issues, stunt casting, absurdism, and more. Yes, there are spoilers, but it barely matters.

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Pretty Much Pop #77: The Big Screen Experience

What’s the post-COVID future of movie theaters? Mark, Erica, and Brian compare past moviegoing habits and reflect on the big-screen vs. small-screen decision. How would we optimize the theatrical experience? We consider films affected like Tenet, Soul, etc.

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Pretty Much Pop #76: Wonder Women (84 and Others) w/ Vi Burlew

Returning heroine Vi (now a grad student in comics history) joins Erica, Mark, and Brian to put the new film in context, bringing in the weird ideas of WW’s creator as shown in the 2017 biopic Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Do the new film’s themes actually make sense? We talk political ideals, truth, love, feminist utopias, ’70s TV, and more.

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Pretty Much Pop #75: Our Great British Baking Show w/ Stephen Carlile

What explains the immense quarantine-time popularity of this quaint reality cooking show? What do we get out of watching talented amateurs bake things? Stephen, famous for playing Scar in The Lion King on Broadway, joins Erica, Brian, and Mark to consdier the format, context, and appeal of the show.

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

Pretty Much Pop #74: Micro Comedy w/ Tiffany Topol

What has the Internet done to comedy? Tiffany, purveyor of social media bits and song parodies, joins Erica, Mark, and Brian to think about new ways of making and consuming comedy over TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media. Maybe given current events we should describe the goal as something other than “going viral”?

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Pretty Much Pop #73: Beloved Bad Films w/ Manos’ Jackey Neyman Jones

What makes a film transcendently bad? A cult classic, as opposed to merely unwatchable? Child Jackey appeared in 1966’s Manos: The Hands of Fate, and she joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss growing up in community theater, being reintroduced to her family movie by MST3K, and the over-confident auteur. 

We also touch on Birdemic, Catwoman, The Happening, and Battleship, as well as films about the making of bad films: The Disaster Artist, Best Worst Movie, Ed Wood, and Dolemite Is My Name

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Pretty Much Pop #72: Comic Book Supremacy w/ Fred Van Lente

Fred writes for Marvel and his own Evil Twin Comics, in both non-fiction (e.g. Comic Book History of Animation, Action Philosophers) and stories (e.g. Marvel Zombies, Cowboys vs. Aliens). He even wrote a play about Jack Kirby.

He joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss playing in the Marvel sandbox, the role of humor, comic-to-movie transitions, and more. Learn more at fredvanlente.com.

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Pretty Much Pop #70: RISKy Confessional Comedy w/ Kevin Allison

Kevin (The State, RISK!) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about his telling/curation/coaching of confessional stories. Do they have to be funny? True? How does this form relate to essays a la David Sedaris? How personal is too personal (or indicative of PTSD or something)? What’s the role of craft in this most populist endeavor? Listen at risk-show.com.

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

Pretty Much Pop #69: Story Songs w/ Rod Picott

Plenty of songs try to tell stories, but do the pop song format and narrative really mix? Songwriter and short story author Rod Picott joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about classics by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, formative nightmares like “Leader of the Pack” and “The Pina Colada Song, borderline cases like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and more. How does this form relate to theater, videos, and commercials?

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