Your weekly supply of smart things to say about pop culture.
Michael J. Fox: The Making of an Icon
The Back to the Future films were among the most popular choices on Netflix this year, and for good reason: We can all use a few extra doses of Michael J. Fox right now. As he publishes his fourth memoir, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, we look back on his truly iconic career, from Reaganite teen Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties and rebellious time traveler Marty McFly to crusader for Parkinson’s Disease research.
Through it all, he’s remained bitingly funny and refreshingly honest about his own Parkinson’s diagnosis, incorporating it into stellar performances on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Rescue Me, and The Good Wife and The Good Fight. In this episode, we break down what’s so appealing about Fox, what makes his legacy so special, and why he's the legend we need right now.
Stream to the Extreme: The State of Streaming TV and Why Binge-Watching Is One of the Only Good Things We’ve Had in 2020
Would any of us being surviving the pandemic without binge-watching comforting old TV and finding some new favorites along the way, too? We certainly wouldn’t, which made us want to catch up on all things streaming TV, with our friend and the go-to guy for the scoop on the streaming business, Vulture.com West Coast Editor and Buffering and streaming TV columnist, Joe Adalian.
Joe gives us the rundown on all the streaming services, including some you may not have heard of that offer free viewing, tells us if anyone is seriously challenging Netflix’s reign, and offers some tips on how to decide which services are worth your subscription dollars. He also shares his favorite quarantine binges, and we share a few of our favorite new binge-watches from the last six months.
Subscribe to Joe Adalian’s Buffering column at Vulture Joe’s must-read behind-the-scenes feature on Netflix: Inside the Binge Factory
Pop Literacy Is All About That Pop Life with Pop Star Goddesses
In a very special return episode, we talk about the fantastic, and oh-so-perfectly timed new book Pop Star Goddesses, by Pop Literacy co-host Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. A beautifully illustrated collection of biographies of pop divas from Adele to Shakira and Beyonce to Solange, Pop Star Goddesses arrives to share how an incredibly deep bench of talented, inspiring women in pop music are shaping the larger culture with their skills, performances, and passion.
We talk about how, just like the goddesses of ancient culture, our pop stars have much to teach us, from the resilience of Britney Spears and career transformation of Jennifer Lopez to Pink’s badassery and Kelly Clarkson’s down-to-earth relatability. And, just as Pop Star Goddesses provides a gorgeously-packaged, inspiring read in our current time of global crisis, we also discuss a few other recent female musical biographies that have moved us, including a memoir about Loretta Lynn’s famous friendship with Patsy Cline, and the Jessica Simpson autobiography that surprised us in a lot of really great ways.
Pop Star Goddesses: And How to Tap Into Their Energies to Invoke Your Best Self by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong Pop Star Goddesses playlist at Apple Music Pop Star Goddesses playlist at Spotify Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust: My Friendship with Patsy Cline by Loretta Lynn Open Book by Jessica Simpson
How Did The Brady Bunch Become A Pop Culture Icon?
The Brady Bunch never got higher than No. 31 on the ratings charts, and it was far from a critical favorite or a television masterpiece. But it's celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with loving tributes to its theme song, its opening credits, its iconic house, and that perfectly symmetrical, blended family of three boys and three girls who had only the tiniest problems to solve within a half-hour every week.
Pop Literacy co-host Kimberly Potts has written a new book, The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch, investigating how such a middling show gained such cultural staying power—and she's talking with co-host Jennifer Keishin Armstrong about what she learned.
Carrie Fisher, Feminist Princess and Hollywood Queen
She was the child of a Hollywood couple notorious for their public breakup, an iconic sci-fi princess, the wife of a great singer-songwriter, a brilliant author and screenwriter, a caustic comedian, a great sidekick, a monologist, and a fierce advocate for mental health awareness. Carrie Fisher packed many lives into her time on earth, even though it was all too short. This week, we pay tribute to her many identities and massive pop culture impact with Sheila Weller, the author of Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge—the first definitive biography of Fisher since her death in 2016 at age 60.
Let’s Make the Most of This Beautiful Day … and Talk to Author Gavin Edwards About His New Book on Mister Rogers
The cardigan, the sneakers, the voice so soothing it should be its own brand of stress therapy. We speak, of course, about Mister Rogers, and we speak about him this week with New York Times bestselling author Gavin Edwards, whose new book is a prescriptive biography of all things Fred Rogers.
Prescriptive because, in Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever, Gavin not only builds on the legend of Mister Rogers, he shares the many ways the beloved children’s television star walked the walk of the life lessons he shared with generations of viewers, and offers suggestions for how we can, too.
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A new fave?
I stumbled upon this podcast after hearing they did an episode on boybands and their significance on pop culture. I thought the episode was very thorough in its discussion. Looking through their episode archives, it looks like they have a great variety of guests that ranges from authors to screenwriters. Glad to gave discovered this podcast and looking forward to future eps!