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

Pretty Much Pop taps in to what today's youth are talking about... or at least what they're writing their term papers on. Our guest Vi Burlew has arisen, a shining figure clad in mail, carrying aloft a shimmering broadsword (...and presumably a trapper keeper; the kids today still use those, right? Damn, we are old.) to bring your hosts Mark, Erica, and Brian this topic about  Continue Reading …

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

Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss Michael Schur's NBC TV show. Is it good? (Yes, or we wouldn't be covering it?) Is it actually a sit-com? Does it effectively teach philosophy? What did having actual philosophers on the staff (after season one) contribute, and was that enough? We talk TV finales, the dramatic impact of the show's convoluted structure, the puzzle of heaven being  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, probably due to those all-too-familiar double standards about wanting women in authority (or, say, running for office) to be assertive but not  Continue Reading …

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

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 about the details. We primarily focus on the two most recent emanations of this beast, The Mandalorian and Rise of  Continue Reading …

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

Perhaps the most lauded graphic novel has been sequelized for HBO, and amazingly, it turned out pretty darn well (with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes rating!). Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by the Cornell psych prof who hosts the Very Bad Wizards podcast. We consider Alan Moore's 1986 graphic novel, the 2009 Zack Snyder film, and of course mostly the recently completed (we hope)  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #22: Untangling Time Travel

Time-travel rules in The Terminator franchise are notoriously inconsistent. Is it possible for someone from the future to travel backwards to change events, given the paradox that with a changed future, the traveler wouldn't then have had the problem to try to come back and fix? Neither the closed-loop series of events in the first film nor the changed (postponed) future in the  Continue Reading …

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

We've all felt at various points (maybe at most points) that some media creation has reached us by mistake, that we are not the target audience. 20th century American TV was aimed largely at a white majority, with a parallel, underfunded channel of content aimed at people of color. So how have things changed? There still seem to be "black shows,"  but how do they fit in to a  Continue Reading …

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 (like by How I Met Your Mother or by Chuck Lorre?), and what parts haven’t aged well? We  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #13: TV Revivals Revived!

A crazy number of shows are now being continued long after their deaths. Revivals (not to be confused with reboots) bring us back to the comfort of old friends, who are now really old. What can a revival's success tell us about why the show was appealing in the first place? Wouldn't you rather see a new work by the same creative team than more of the same? Mark, Erica, and  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #2: Binge Watching (Advance Citizen Release)

What counts as binge watching? Why do we do it? Is it bad for us? Yes, this is a new podcast for the PEL Network. It'll launch formally on July 15, but you can also already listen to episode 1, and if you go pledge a little support on patreon.com/prettymuchpop, you can also hear episode 3 with comedian Yakov Smirnoff as well as more bonus discussion related to this here  Continue Reading …