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.

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.

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.

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 #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.

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 #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 #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 #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.

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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.

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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.

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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 #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.