Discover the hilarity hidden in the classics. Never read 'em? No problem. Join Jackie, Rachel, and Theo each Thursday as they break down the “great works” of Western literature for you and decide whether they should stay in the canon - or become cannon fodder.
Dune: Our Friends the Worms
They said it couldn’t be done, but we did it! That’s right - in ONE episode, we manage to discuss all 800 pages of the sci-fi classic Dune, by Frank Herbert. Today as a guest, we have the world’s greatest Dunespert! (No, not Frank Herbert.) Rachel virtue signals about gummy diversity. Jackie explains K-pop boys to us. Theo realizes he’s had two Fremen by his side all along.
Topics include: GumbyxPokey, the best athlete’s foot medication, David Lynch, Timothée Chalamet, Sting, heterosexuality, spoilers, sperm rights, Dr. Purple Lips, the New Jersey of space, Jimmy Stewart voice, dragon seduction in Dungeons & Dragons, a true Jessica, the weirding way & the weirding woman, ichthyosaurs, servant time, Stinky the Hutt, Big Brother the Hutt, Hutt-shaming, riding the worm, concubators, an original book idea, and book juice.
Content warning: eugenics, sexism, racism, fatphobia, pedophilia
Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness: A Conversation with Author Ruthanna Emrys
Today we have a special guest: Ruthanna Emrys, author of the neo-Lovecraftian Innsmouth Legacy series. Ruthanna gives us a quick rundown of H.P. Lovecraft’s life and work, and we have a great time discussing The Whisperer in Darkness, starring our most gullible protagonist yet (and maybe some aliens???).
Topics include: brains in jars, Star Trek vs Star Wars, Orlando Bloom, secret fish people ancestry, human skin suits, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, cutting-edge migraine treatments
Recommendations and References from Ruthanna and Rachel:
Ruthanna’s Reading the Weird blog series on Tor.com, with Anne M. Pillsworth
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Laundry Files series by Charles Stross
All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts by Sonya Taaffe
Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Content warning: animal death, body horror, racism, sexism, antisemitism
Dostoevsky’s The Dream of a Ridiculous Man: Electronic Jaculas
Today, (most of) the gang reads a short story by Dostoevsky, in which a ridiculous man has a significant dream and won’t shut up about it. Theo is a birthday boy producer! Jackie is too old for a milk carton yet too young for a Smuckers jar. Rachel is insulted by someone who should really know better. Topics include: the 3 host problem, Wheaties, Count Chocula, Dracula Weekly, Drac of the Month, Got Milk ads, convoluted insults, Colossal D, dead Russian juice, inhuman plumbers, Super Mario, the humanity of Italians, Lil Wayne, the Human Centipede (yes, again), Jay-Z and Pushkin, Russian Orthodoxy, birthday exhumations, Gogol, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Mormonism, Twilight, Eloise, Skipperdee, and Weenie/Ouini, Pinocchémon, The Sixth Sense, Ready or Not, butt-ass, and King Philips.
Content warning: extended discussion of suicide
Wuthering Heights Finale: Enough Mush for Two
In this episode, we wrap up the final 9 chapters of Wuthering Heights. Things get weird! Like… so weird it’s honestly astonishing this was written before the advent of the internet. Theo doesn’t know anything about wrestling. Jackie exercises her right to womanterrupt. Rachel has a slight falling out with Nelly Dean. And unfortunately for Jackie, our pronunciation consultant Joshua strikes again. Topics include: Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense, AI, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Charlie Kauffman, snake huggability, marsh holes, rustic himbos, the ideal FTC audience member, our pronunciation consultant, the afterlife, Anna Karenina, the Great Gatsby, Atonement, and Romeo and Juliet.
Content warnings: suicidal ideation, domestic abuse, death
Wuthering Heights 2: Minchin’ and Munchin’
In this episode, chapters 10 through 24 are no match for the fearless FTC gang, who continue to unravel the gothic, ghostly tale of Cathy and Heathcliff, along with the useless Mr. Lockwood and the shrewd housekeeper Nelly, who everyone agrees is a huge meddler. Is she a hapless rube forced into the middle of the action by those stronger than her, or is she simply a messy bitch who loves drama? Rachel finds a huge bag of donuts. Jackie proves she can continue a joke train forever. Theo cries over spilled milk. Topics include: bad juju, throat punches, the ethical treatment of composers, horse changes, brain fevers, cousin love triangles, going all f****n’ Sherlock Holmes mode, and embarrassing teenage love notes.
Content warning: death, violence, domestic abuse, animal cruelty
Wuthering Heights 1: A Strange Choice of Favourites
In this episode, Rachel and Jackie revisit a book their teenage selves did not truly appreciate, having at the time no taste for the grotesque and cruel - Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Now that all that has changed, the gang has no trouble diving into chapters 1 through 9 for your listening pleasure, as well as discussing the brief but brilliant life of its author. Rachel makes a thinly-veiled request for the human centipede jokes to stop. Jackie avers that chests and breasts are somehow two different body parts. Theo hopes against hope for more cat/rabbit confusion. Topics include: Angria and Gondal, weak constitutions, 34-hour days, Helene and Barry, fiddle-crushin’ fools, ice cold little people, and applesauce revenge. Content warning: racism, death, substance use, child abuse, violence
I just listened to the latest episode about Wuthering Heights, and as someone who’s never read this book because I thought it would be boring and drone on, listening to the three hosts tell the story seems like a MUCH better decision! The humor they add as they recap the story is so refreshing and I also love how they think about the author’s intentions and why Bronté made certain decisions. I’ll definitely be listening to this podcast in the future and can’t wait for the next episode!
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “titillating” as “arousing mild sexual excitement or interest”
Thank you Nell!
A trio of goofy yet insightful people that play off of their synergy to create an enjoyable discourse into books that makes me feel like I’m at the table with them.
It’s really fun to discover books I haven’t read and remember books from school in an organic way where I can absorb the book and laugh a lot too.
The mirth and creativity of the humor helps immerse me; it doesn’t feel like I’m being lectured at by someone pretentious and I get to enjoy the content of the book as well as the people sharing it as well. I became a fan pretty quickly.