25 episodes

Decoder Ring is the show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters.

Decoder Ring Slate Magazine

    • Documentary
    • 4.6, 934 Ratings

Decoder Ring is the show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters.

    The Metrosexual

    The Metrosexual

    In 2003, the word "metrosexual", meaning a well-groomed heterosexual man, exploded all over the English lexicon. It invaded the news, TV, and even American politics. On this episode of Decoder Ring we explore the origins of the metrosexual, and how trend forecasters, marketers, David Beckham, Sex and the City, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy helped make the metrosexual possible.
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    • 38 min
    Gotta Get Down on Friday

    Gotta Get Down on Friday

    Rebecca Black's music video for Friday was Youtube's most watched video of 2011, thrusting the thirteen-year-old Rebecca into a very harsh spotlight. Dubbed "The Worst Music Video Ever Made" Friday was an almost universal object of derision. This is the story of how Friday came to be, and how nearly a decade after it went viral, it sounds so different than it did back then.
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    • 44 min
    Unicorn Poop

    Unicorn Poop

    How did poop get cute? On this episode of Decoder Ring we trace the rise of cute poop from the original Japanese poop emoji to more modern poop toys which rely on the Youtube algorithm to get seen and sold.
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    • 37 min
    Rubber Duckie

    Rubber Duckie

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    How did the humble rubber duck become an icon of bath time? On this episode of Decoder Ring we talk to rubber duck experts, enthusiasts, and manufacturers to find out how the rubber duck evolved, why it's so appealing, and why there are thousands of them lost at sea.
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    • 26 min
    The Shop Around the Corner

    The Shop Around the Corner

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    The 1998 romantic comedy You've Got Mail starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan is about the brutal fight between an independent bookstore, The Shop Around the Corner, and Fox Books, an obvious Barnes & Noble stand-in. On this episode of Decoder Ring we explore the real life conflict that inspired the movie and displaced independent booksellers on the upper west side of Manhattan. This conflict illustrates how, for a brief time, Barnes & Noble was a symbol of predatory capitalism, only to be usurped by the uniting force at the heart of the film: the internet.
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    • 38 min
    Friend of Dorothy

    Friend of Dorothy

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    When Peter Mac was young, he found solace from his troubles in the voice of Judy Garland. He's now been a Judy Garland impersonator for 17 years. On this episode of Decoder Ring we explore the special valence that Judy Garland has for queer people, the history of female impersonation on stage, and what the future might hold for Judy as an icon.
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    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
934 Ratings

934 Ratings

son_of_fire ,

MORE EPISODES

Please make more episodes, I’m dying i need more

cubanita#1 ,

Well done

Enjoying the content, the delivery and the summation. Thoughtfully curated pieces that intrigue. Thank you.

Tusqq ,

Fascinating journeys

Each episode is a trip into some curious rabbit hole — the further and further Willa Paskin takes us in, the more interesting and revealing it gets. Highly recommended.

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