Pretty Much Pop #47: Sitcom Premises: Genius, Bonkers and Otherwise

Sitcoms traditionally provide a cozy, relatable, changeless environment, but streaming and serialization have changed this. What are the limits on the format?

Mark, Erica, and Brian consider After Life, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Community, the Parks & Rec reunion, the Space Force pilot, the stain of Chuck Lorre, and much more. Plus, which weird premises are real: a quiz!

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

Pretty Much Pop #46: “Casual” Games with Diner Dash’s Nick Fortugno

The famed game designer joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss fundamental questions about gaming and what makes a casual game. We touch on everything from crosswords to Super Meat Boy.

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

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Pretty Much Pop #45: Film Riffing with MST3K’s Mary Jo Pehl

Mary Jo was a writer/performer on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and has gone on to make jokes during movies for Rifftrax Presents and Cinematic Titanic. She joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about the joke-writing process, riffing styles, what kinds of films make for good riffing, the MST3K legacy, 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.

PMP#43: The Korean Wave w/ Suzie Oh

Parasite, K-Pop, and K-Dramas have reached the U.S. as part of Hallyu, an official Korean effort to expand cultural influence. Suzie Hyun-jung Oh joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to decode the zeitgeist in hopes of understanding films like Snowpiercer, A Train to Busan, The Burning, A Taxi Driver, etc.

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 sunbasket.com/pretty and use promo code pretty to get $35 off healthy, delicious meal deliveries.

Pretty Much Pop #42: Star Trek Lives Long and Prospers (Intermittently)

In light of Star Trek: Picard, Brian, Erica, Mark, and Drew Jackson discuss our most philosophical sci-fi franchise. What makes a Trek story? How do you world-build over generations? How did Picard measure up? Plus Trek vs. Wars and step-children like The Orville and Galaxy Quest.

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

Pretty Much Pop #41: Made-for-TV Musicals w/ Craig Wedren

Why are we now seeing a resurgence of musical TV shows? Craig has created musicals for many TV shows (like Glow, Shrill, and Wet Hot American Summer) and joins Mark, Erica, and Brian due to his work on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.

We talk about narrative excuses for breaking into song, musicals on TV vs. film vs. stage, musical episodes on non-musical shows, and more. Watch Craig’s daily Sabbath Sessions at facebook.com/craigwedrenmusic.

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

Pretty Much Pop #40: #MeToo Depictions in TV and Film

Heavily watched media like Bombshell, The Morning Show, Unbelievable, and 13 Reasons Why attempt to cover sexual assault and harassment while still entertaining. Does that work? Erica, Mark, and Brian consider what makes for a sensitive as opposed to a sensationalized portrayal.

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

Pretty Much Pop #39: TV and Other Plans in Subjunctive Stasis

A discussion of what to watch during lockdown is what happens when you’re busy making plans about what to include in a hypothetical discussion of what to watch during lockdown.

Join Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk Tiger King, Star Trek, Parks & Recreation, Devs, Zoey’s, 13 Reasons Why, Ozark, Westworld, Larry David, endless tributes to the dead, anthology shows, unreleased pilots, and circus arts. Plus Tyler returns to talk Buffy, video games, 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 #38: Costuming w/ Whitney Anne Adams

http://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_038_3-24-20.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 54:17 — 50.1MB) How does clothing mesh with set design, cinematography, sound design, etc. to create the mood in a film? Whitney designed for and dressed leads and crowds on The Great Gatsby, the Happy Death Day films and several indie flicks. She joins Erica, Mark and Brian to discuss how clothes Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #37: Everything is LEGO

Why has a children’s toy become a brand attached to virtually every media type, partnering with the most ubiquitous franchises, and serving as a pastime for many adult hobbyists who will gut you if you call LEGO a “children’s toy.”

AFOL Brian Hirt talks with co-hosts Erica Spyres and Mark Linsenmayer about creative play vs. following the printed directions, building purists vs. anthropomorphizers, LEGO qua corporate overlord, LEGO media, and more.

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

Pretty Much Pop #36: Criticism with Noah Berlatsky

Do we need professional critics regulating our entertainment intake? Noah writes for The Washington Post, NBC News, The Guardian, Slate, Vox, The Atlantic, etc., and he now joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about the function of criticism, criticism as art, and the joy of negativity. We talk 1917, Midsommar, Marvel vs. Scorsese, Yesterday, Bob Dylan, Twilight, and more.

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

Pretty Much Pop #34: Escape Rooms and Other Puzzlers w/ Adal Rifai (Plus Bonus Aftertalk)

The comic and the tragic are well-established modes within entertainment, but what about the puzzling? Riddles may have been a chief pastime in days of yore (well, they’re featured in Oedipus and The Hobbit, anyway), but does this way of being entertained have a place in today’s age of mass media? Improviser and podcaster Adal Rifai joins Mark, Erica, and Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #33: The Heroine’s Journey w/ Vi Burlew

How has Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” as famously leveraged for Star Wars evolved with more female action heroes in film? Vi Burlew joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk not only about Rey, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and Mulan, but also bring in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Working Girl, and of course Road House.

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 #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.