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.

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

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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 #68: Raised by Wolves: Biblical Sci-Fi

Brian, Erica, and Mark reflect on this weird sci-fi HBO Max series by Aaron Guzikowski and Ridley Scott. How much are we supposed to understand? Can we identify with any of the android and/or wild child and/or murdering characters? Is the imagery too heavy handed? How does it compare with Westworld, The Walking Dead, etc.? Warning: Spoilers ahoy! So watch it yourself or let us reveal its craziness to you.

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

Pretty Much Pop #52: The Twilight Zone from Serling to Peele

Something’s strange… Is it a dream? If it’s a morality tale with a twist ending, you’re probably in the Twilight Zone.

Brian, Erica, Mark, and guest Ken Gerber are in it this week, discussing the thrice revived TV series. Does the 1959-1963 show hold up? What makes for a good TZ episode, and does Jordan Peele’s latest iteration capture the spirit? We talk about episodes new and old, the 1983 film, plus comparisons to Black Mirror and David Lynch.

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

PMP#50: MJ’s Last Dance w/ Seth Paskin

Brian, Erica, Mark, and Seth from The Partially Examined Life interrogate the 10-part ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan’s Bulls’ six championships.

Was it worth ten hours? Does its time-jumping structure work? Is it really hagiography, or is the vision of ultra-competitiveness repulsive? Why are sports amenable to creating cultural icons? Does the doc’s success mean many more?

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

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!

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 #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.

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 #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.

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 #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.

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 #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 #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 #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 #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.

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