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Pop Culture Happy Hour
Pop Culture Happy Hour is a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.
1 day ago
10th Birthday Quiz With Kumail Nanjiani And What's Making Us Happy
Ten years ago, we started Pop Culture Happy Hour. And ten years later, it's time to celebrate. Recently, we invited one of our great pals, actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, to join us for a quiz looking back at 2010. And this time, Linda wrote the questions, but she didn't come up with the right answers--our listeners did.
3 days ago
Why You Should Stream Watchmen
The HBO miniseries Watchmen recently earned 26 well-deserved Emmy nominations. And if you haven't seen the series, now is a good time to catch up. It stars Regina King as an ex-cop in Tulsa Oklahoma who's not-so-secretly the masked vigilante Sister Night. Showrunner Damon Lindelof has set the show within a big, weird world that keeps getting bigger and weirder, even as it seeks to comment on some very contemporary, real-world issues. (This episode originally aired on November 6, 2019.)
Aug 7, 2020
P-Valley And What's Making Us Happy
The Starz drama P-Valley is set in a Black strip club in the Mississippi delta. The dancers are acrobatic, artistic and independent. The show is about their labor, but also about a wide variety of stories about power, money, and a community's identity. It's really good, and it's really different from anything else on TV right now.
Aug 5, 2020
Beyonce's Black Is King
Last summer, Beyoncé released an album called The Lion King: The Gift. It was based around Disney's remake of The Lion King — a film that included voice acting from Beyoncé herself, among many others. Last Friday on Disney+, Beyoncé released a movie-length video that's meant to serve as a companion to the album. It's called Black Is King, it's visually grand and sumptuous, and it's got a huge cast — you'll see Lupita Nyong'o, Pharrell Williams, Kelly Rowland, and many looks at Beyoncé's children, her mother, and her husband Jay-Z.
Jul 31, 2020
Indian Matchmaking And What's Making Us Happy
There's marriage, and then there's love marriage. That's the philosophy of Sima, the matchmaker at the center of the new Netflix reality series Indian Matchmaking. And her focus is not helping you find love. It's arranging marriages for young people and their families based on everything from economic and social status to height. The show has gotten a lot of attention, but also some critiques.
Jul 29, 2020
Taylor Swift's Folklore
Taylor Swift was supposed to spend this summer touring with songs from Lover, an album she'd put out last August. Instead, she wound up cooped up at home. The isolation sparked her creativity, leading her to write and record an entire new record in collaboration with producers Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner of The National. It's called Folklore, and it's a massive left turn in terms of style and subject matter. And it's already earned Taylor Swift some of the best reviews of her career.
Jul 24, 2020
First Cow And What's Making Us Happy
Sometimes, all it takes to change your life is a cow. In the new film First Cow, director Kelly Reichardt follows two men who meet by chance and come up with a plan to get rich. All they need is a couple of ingredients. First Cow is a western, a friendship story, a caper movie, and even a meditation on nature. (Pop Culture Happy Hour just turned 10 and we're celebrating... with a happy hour! Join us for a live, virtual event next Thursday, July 30 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. RSVP now and help shape one of our famous quizzes by heading over to NPR Presents. Hope to see ya there!)
Jul 22, 2020
The Baby-Sitters Club
Kristy, Claudia, Mary-Anne and Stacey are back. Netflix has adapted the book series The Baby-Sitters Club, and hopes to reintroduce it to young viewers, nostalgic millennials, and anyone else who longs for days spent with friends when worries aren't too worrisome. Starring a cast of fresh young actors, and a few familiar faces among the adults, the show is getting solid reviews and might be just the thing for summer viewing.
Jul 17, 2020
The Old Guard And What's Making Us Happy
The big summer action movie is one of the things we've been missing this year, and now, we've got one. And it's a good one, too. The Old Guard stars Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne as members of a squad of fighters who have been in the battle game for much, much too long. The Netflix film is based on a series of comics by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández, and Rucka wrote the screenplay. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood is much loved for films including Love and Basketball.
Jul 15, 2020
Floor Is Lava
There's a new game show so silly, so stupid, so low-stakes that we can't stop watching it. Teams of three try to cross a course made of furniture and obstacles without touching the ground. It's called Floor Is Lava, it's based on a game played by children, and let's be honest — it couldn't be played by anyone else. You won't want to miss a minute of the craziest, the wackiest, the goofiest game show on Netflix, because the Floor! Is! Lavaaaaa!
Jul 13, 2020
Tracee Ellis Ross On Black-ish And The High Note
On this bonus episode of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we bring you a conversation from our pal Sam Sanders. Sam recently had a wide-ranging conversation with the one and only Tracee Ellis Ross on his podcast It's Been A Minute. They talk about her work on Girlfriends, Black-ish, and the recent film The High Note--plus, what it's like to be a black creative right now.
Jul 10, 2020
Taste The Nation And What's Making Us Happy
Food media has become one of the many arenas in which debates about inclusivity and justice have taken center stage in recent months. And now, into this troubled world comes Taste The Nation. Hosted by Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi, the marvelous Hulu series visits immigrant and indigenous communities around the United States to explore food. Taste The Nation puts everything from chop suey to pad Thai in cultural, political and culinary contexts, with Lakshmi as your hungry, curious guide.
Jul 8, 2020
John Wick And What's Making Us Happy
Once upon a time, a man named John Wick retired from his successful career as an assassin. But then he returned to it. And across what's now a three-film series, he's been having a heck of a week ever since. In the third film, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, is on the run from foes and former friends alike. This episode originally aired on May 17, 2019.
Jul 3, 2020
Hamilton And What's Making Us Happy
Let's cut to the chase: the Hamilton film has arrived, and it's great. Four years after Lin-Manuel Miranda's show won 11 Tony Awards, you can watch an original Broadway cast performance at home. The film is now available on Disney+. It's a chance to see already legendary performances from Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo, among others, and to see how this sweeping historical story was staged.
Jul 1, 2020
I May Destroy You And Remembering Carl Reiner
Close watchers of smart television know Michaela Coel from Chewing Gum, the acclaimed comedy series she created and starred in. Her new show on HBO is called I May Destroy You. It's just as strong, but finds her going in an entirely new direction. Coel plays Arabella, a writer whose life changes one night while she's sexually assaulted at a nightclub. She is missing pieces of her memory, and as she tries to figure out what happened, the show fans out to consider other questions about sexual ethics and honesty. Plus, we remember comedy legend Carl Reiner, who died this week at 98.
Jun 26, 2020
Da 5 Bloods And What's Making Us Happy
In Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods, four Black war veterans return to Vietnam. They're there to retrieve the remains of a fellow soldier, who died on the battlefield. They're also after millions of dollars' worth of gold bars they'd hidden during the war. Da 5 Bloods was supposed to roll out in theaters this summer; instead, it dropped on Netflix earlier this month. But it's still a major Oscar contender — a war epic that's grand in scope, with generational scars that run deep.
Jun 24, 2020
Giancarlo Esposito On 'Breaking Bad', 'Do The Right Thing' And Facing The Police
Giancarlo Esposito has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies — from several of Spike Lee's early films, to his role as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. In this interview from Bullseye, Esposito talks about the complexity of his characters, his time on The Electric Company and his work on Do the Right Thing. Plus, we talk to him about a very difficult time in his life and working through the trauma of racial profiling.
Jun 19, 2020
In 'On The Record,' Black Women's Voices Get A Needed Spotlight
In 2017, the #MeToo movement brought to light accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct against powerful people in entertainment. Most of the women whose allegations received detailed media consideration were white, and so were most of the men they accused. But late that year, a number of women, several of them black women, alleged sexual assault and other misconduct by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Simmons is the enormously powerful man behind Def Jam. The new HBO Max documentary On The Record tells the stories of some of Russell Simmons' accusers. It includes interviews with a lot of black women about specific worries and conflicted feelings that arise when black women raise allegations against black men.
Jun 17, 2020
The King Of Staten Island And What's Making Us Happy
In The King Of Staten Island, comedian Pete Davidson plays a wayward stoner whose life isn't going anywhere. He still lives with his mom, he doesn't have a job, and his plans for his life involve a vague — and foolish — plan to open "a tattoo restaurant." The film is directed by Judd Apatow, who also made Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Trainwreck. Apatow's movies often involve a protagonist who faces some sort of need to grow up, and The King Of Staten Island may feature the biggest reclamation project yet: Davidson's character barely functions as an adult, and through much of the film, we see a manchild with a lot of growing up to do.
Jun 12, 2020
Central Park And What's Making Us Happy
The new Apple TV+ series Central Park is an animated musical with a lot of interesting DNA. It shares creative and performing talent with Bob's Burgers, Frozen, and Hamilton, among other projects. The show follows the manager of New York's Central Park, who tries to keep the park safe from trash overflows, a demanding public, and city politics.
Jun 10, 2020
The Limitations Of An Anti-Racist Reading List
Sales are surging for books like Ibram X. Kendi's 'How To Be Anti-Racist,' Robin DiAngelo's 'White Fragility,' and Michelle Alexander's 'The New Jim Crow.' That's in part because these titles often appear on so-called "anti-racist reading lists." But what is an anti-racist reading list for? We talk with Lauren Michele Jackson, an Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University, and the author of 'White Negroes,' about the limitations of such lists — which she wrote about in an essay called "What Is an Anti-Racist Reading List For?" for Vulture.
Jun 7, 2020
Digging Into Slate's Black Film Canon
Right now, many of us are thinking about the ways we can start to address the shortfalls in our own knowledge that have grown out of structural racism in every part of life, entertainment very much included. And if you're looking for one place to start, we want to point you toward Slate's Black Film Canon. Four years ago, Slate published a list of 50 great films by black directors. It was put together by Dan Kois and Aisha Harris in 2016, and Aisha came on Pop Culture Happy Hour to talk about it with us. (This episode originally aired on June 7, 2016.)
Jun 5, 2020
Ramy And What's Making Us Happy
It surprised a lot of people when Ramy Youssef won a Golden Globe in January. But it shouldn't have. His show, the half-hour comedy-drama Ramy on Hulu, is a smart, fresh take on a young man navigating family and his Muslim faith. Ramy recently released its second season, and it's added Mahershala Ali to its cast. The result is a show that's well deserving of that Globe, and more.
Jun 3, 2020
A Guide To HBO Max And What's Making Us Happy
You may not have needed another streaming service, but last week, one came along anyway. It's HBO Max, and it's part HBO, part Warner Brothers — and yes, it's where you can now stream all the episodes of Friends. They've put out a modest slate of original programming as well, and it's safe to say some of their new shows are better than others. Is it worth your while? Good question. We run down what's new on HBO Max and what you might find in its deep library.
May 29, 2020
The High Note And What's Making Us Happy
There have been countless movies about real and fictional musicians. And in the new movie The High Note, Tracee Ellis Ross plays the fictional legendary singer Grace Davis. Dakota Johnson plays Maggie, an aspiring record producer and Grace's personal assistant. The two women have to figure out everything from whether Maggie has a future in the music industry to whether Grace should take a residency in Vegas.
May 27, 2020
Why You Should Stream Booksmart, Plus What's Making Us Happy
Last year we talked about the movie Booksmart, and we really, really liked it. It's about two young women about to graduate from high school who spend one last night trying to catch up on everything they missed. Starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, it's the directing debut of actress Olivia Wilde. The comedy came out last summer — and it's currently streaming on Hulu and available to rent on demand. And because so many students are wrapping up their school year and graduating, we thought, what better time to look back at this terrific movie? (This episode originally aired on May 31, 2019.)
May 22, 2020
Great Recent Movies We Missed And What's Making Us Happy
This is not a normal summer movie season. Theaters are closed, big projects are delayed, and we're missing the flood of new films that would usually have already started. But you don't have to go without movies. That's because even if you see a lot, you miss even more. We do too, and that's what we're talking about today: some recent films we missed that are well worth your time. Plus, we remember the lives and work of Fred Willard and Lynn Shelton.
May 20, 2020
The Great And What's Making Us Happy
Hulu's new series The Great bills itself as "An Occasionally True Story." And it's a big story: a sweeping epic about Russia in the 1700s, full of palace intrigue, sex and violence, and the rise of Catherine the Great. Elle Fanning plays Catherine, and Nicholas Hoult also stars as the sociopathic emperor Peter. The show shares a lot of thematic DNA with the 2018 film The Favourite -- it was created by one of the film's screenwriters, Tony McNamara. And it's more than willing to scramble history in the service of a good story.
May 15, 2020
The Movies Of 2000 And What's Making Us Happy
Twenty years ago, before the Harry Potter movies or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie landscape looked really different. Take a look back at some of the movies that came out in 2000 and why we think they're still relevant today.
May 13, 2020
Never Have I Ever And What's Making Us Happy
The new comedy Never Have I Ever is a great binge from Netflix. It might remind you of a lot of warm and funny shows about navigating high school. Its hero is an Indian-American girl named Devi. She is juggling her friends, the boys she's interested in, and plenty of drama at home. One of the creators is Mindy Kaling, who gives the show some of the same energy she put into The Mindy Project. Devi is a little confused, a little selfish, and very consumed by her dreams of romance
May 8, 2020
Normal People And What's Making Us Happy
When a popular book becomes a television series, the stakes are high. Sally Rooney's novel Normal People is no exception, and the very good Hulu adaptation has finally arrived. The new series tells the story of Marianne and Connell, who go to high school together in Ireland. We follow the couple for a few years as they drift toward adulthood, sometimes apart and sometimes together. And while the show features other characters like their mothers and friends, it's mostly a study of Marianne and Connell and how their relationship shifts.
May 6, 2020
Derry Girls And What's Making Us Happy
Derry Girls might remind you of a lot of warm and funny shows about high school. It has the group of loyal friends, the adventures and humiliations, and the slow progress toward adulthood. But these kids are taking on these challenges in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. It's a time when an ordinary day can be interrupted by everything from an encounter with soldiers to breaking news of violence. Still, high school rolls on, and high school students do too.
May 1, 2020
Michael Jordan Documentary The Last Dance And What's Making Us Happy
In the mid-1990s, sports teams didn't get any bigger than the Chicago Bulls. Led by supermegastar Michael Jordan, the Bulls won six NBA championships in eight years. And now, ESPN is presenting a ten-part documentary series all about them. The Last Dance follows the Bulls' final championship season, and it dips back into history to look at how the dynasty was made. Plus, what's making us happy this week.
Apr 29, 2020
Nintendo Switch Game Recommendations And What's Making Us Happy
We've been playing games. Stuck at home, exhausted from streaming all the good TV we can find, looking for distractions, we've all been exploring games for the Nintendo Switch. And not just Animal Crossing, either. We've been trying adventure games and puzzle games, beautiful games and silly games. And we have a few to recommend.
Apr 24, 2020
Toddler TV Recommendations And What's Making Us Happy This Week
Staying in can be hard on everybody. But it's a special kind of hard for little kids and the people who love them. So we're here to help, with some TV recommendations for those who are toddling through isolation. We've brought some ideas for things to watch that we hope will delight your littlest quarantine companions, and maybe you as well.
Apr 22, 2020
HBO's Run And What's Making Us Happy
A woman sitting in her car gets a text message. It says "RUN." She texts back the same thing: "RUN." That's the beginning of a new HBO series, also called Run, that tells you what happens next. Starring Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson, Run is part romantic comedy, part thriller, and part road trip.
Apr 17, 2020
The Regrettable Television Pop Quiz And What's Making Us Happy
Today, we're excited to be bringing back a classic Pop Culture Happy Hour segment — the Regrettable Television Pop Quiz. We've each brought clips of some of our favorite regrettable shows, and our fellow panelists will have to see if they can guess the source. Plus, what's making us happy this week.
Apr 15, 2020
Survivor And What's Making Us Happy
Started out eating rats, and now they're here. Forty seasons in, Survivor is midway through a season where former winners are playing against each other. And as you'd imagine, it's a doozy. From which season is best to which winner is best to whether host Jeff Probst is a hero or a villain, we take a look at why Survivor has been a staple of TV conversation for 20 years.
Apr 10, 2020
Pop Culture Solutions To Quarantine Problems And What's Making Us Happy
Let's talk about solutions. Specifically, solutions to the problems we're running into entertaining ourselves at home. There's a lot to watch and read and hear, but there's also a lot that we're missing--like live sports, concerts, and spending nights out with friends. And we've got some ideas about how to fill those voids.
Apr 8, 2020
Tiger King and What's Making Us Happy
Almost three weeks ago, as isolation at home tightened its grip on many of us, Netflix released the documentary series Tiger King. It seemed to capture a binge-ready audience at just the right moment, and it's been burning up social media channels ever since. Tiger King tells the story of a man who calls himself Joe Exotic, who bred and exhibited big cats and other animals in a sketchy private zoo. Joe is now in prison, convicted of hiring someone to kill an activist named Carole Baskin. She tried to shut down his business and became his nemesis.
Apr 3, 2020
Schitt's Creek and What's Making Us Happy
Schitt's Creek is a Canadian comedy from the minds of Eugene Levy and his son Daniel follows a wealthy family that falls on hard times. They have no choice but to retreat to the small town they bought as a joke.
Apr 1, 2020
Short Bursts Of Joy To Change Your Mood
There are plenty of binge recommendations out there if you find yourself with a lot of free time in isolation. But with work at home, and kids at home, and everything else going on, you might be busier than ever. That's why our focus today is happiness in small bites. Quick jolts of energy to brighten up even the worst days.
Mar 27, 2020
Book Recommendations To Read While Isolating And What's Making Us Happy
There's no wrong time for a good book. But as we tape this, many people are stuck at home more than usual, which makes it an exceptionally right time. So we're here to pass on some book recommendations we hope will make your isolation feel a little less isolated.
Mar 25, 2020
Family Friendly Crowd Pleasers: Three Things To Stream Your Whole Family Can Enjoy
When you're staying in, it can be hard to keep everybody happy. But never fear, we're here to help. We've got a few recommendations to keep everybody in the family happy and stave off cabin fever.
Mar 20, 2020
New Music Discoveries And What's Making Us Happy
Every year, the South by Southwest music festival provides a showcase for many hundreds of musicians, who travel to Austin, Texas, from all over the world. But this year's festival was canceled due to concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus. And even though this year's festival isn't happening, NPR Music still found a ton of amazing new artists. To prepare for South by Southwest each year, we listen to countless hours of music in search of discoveries to share, from this year's Austin 100.
Mar 17, 2020
Three Pop Culture Recommendations To Calm Your Nerves
There's a time for excitement, for the things that make us angry or scare us silly. But then there are all the other times. Sometimes we want something that will calm us down and slow our heart rates. We recommend some calming pieces of pop culture.
Mar 13, 2020
Emma., Clueless, And What's Making Us Happy
Jane Austen's Emma tells the story of a young woman who knows what's right for everyone else and knows very little about herself. In a new film adaptation directed by Autumn de Wilde, Emma is as foolish and as endearing as ever. Even some who don't know Emma might know Clueless, the 1995 Amy Heckerling film that's now 25 years old. We discuss how both films work as Jane Austen adaptations.
Mar 11, 2020
The Invisible Man Is Transparently Creepy
Being stalked by a tormentor you can't see is scary enough on its own. But the film The Invisible Man suggests that the worst part might just be the fact that no one would believe you. In writer and director Leigh Whannell's new adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel, Elisabeth Moss plays Cecilia, a woman who finally escapes an abusive partner. But soon, she senses that he's everywhere, following her.
Mar 6, 2020
Onward And What's Making Us Happy
Tom Holland and Chris Pratt have already worked together as pals of the Avengers. And now they provide the voices of two elves in the latest film from Disney and Pixar, Onward. These two elves are brothers, and they go on a classic quest to find a magic jewel. They just need a van, a map, and their mom.
Mar 4, 2020
When Project Runway launched in 2004, competitive reality shows were in their infancy. Now, they're in their mature pantsuit years, but the series, now in its 18th season, rolls on. The show moved from Bravo to Lifetime, and last season it returned to Bravo with a new cast. Host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn have been replaced by Karlie Kloss and season 4 winner Christian Siriano. But the sewing machines continue to buzz, and it's still hard to make a dress in a day.
Feb 28, 2020
Love Is Blind And What's Making Us Happy
The Netflix plan to take over television has extended to dating shows for a while. But perhaps they've never made one so weird, so baffling, so cringe-inducingly embarrassing for everyone involved as Love Is Blind. And you probably know someone who's watching it. In this series they insist on calling an experiment, couples sit in separate cells that they call pods, where they can hear each other but not see each other. And once they've had a conversation or two, if they're getting along, they get engaged. And only then do they meet. Will any of them make it to the altar?
Feb 26, 2020
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire begins with a woman named Marianne assigned to paint a woman named Heloise. It's the second half of the 18th century, and the portrait is the best way to present Heloise to a man who might marry her. In writer and director Céline Sciamma's film, it's relationships between women that are at the center of the story — a story about art, sex and navigating limited choices.
Feb 21, 2020
Sonic The Hedgehog, Fan Service, And What's Making Us Happy
The new movie Sonic the Hedgehog is about this hedgehog — who runs fast. Ben Schwartz voices the Hedgehog, Jim Carrey is the evil Dr. Robotnik, and James Marsden is also in there somewhere. When the film's trailer first dropped last fall, Sonic's appearance — the legs! the teeth! — creeped a lot of people out. The studio went back and redesigned the character completely, which got us thinking about the power of fan reaction.
Feb 19, 2020
Revisiting To All The Boys I've Loved Before
In 2018, Netflix had a big hit with its adaptation of Jenny Han's YA novel To All The Boys I've Loved Before, a high-school rom-com with a big heart. Stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo are now back in the sequel To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. Before you check that one out, we wanted to revisit our conversation about the first film. (This episode originally aired on September 5, 2018.)
Feb 14, 2020
Birds of Prey and What's Making Us Happy
Margot Robbie played Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad in 2016. Now, she's back in Birds of Prey. It finds Harley crossing paths with characters played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and a very bad villain played by Ewan McGregor. The film provides the backstory for the team that will become the Birds of Prey, and it develops the character of Harley beyond her relationship with the Joker.
Feb 10, 2020
2020 Oscars Recap
We are wrapping up the 92nd Academy Awards. Parasite took home the Oscar for best picture--the first time a film not in the English language has one the prize. Parasite also took home awards for best director, international feature, and original screenplay. Acting awards went to Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix, and Renee Zellweger.
Feb 7, 2020
2020 Oscars Preview And What's Making Us Happy
The Oscars are Sunday night, and while some of the races have clear front-runners, plenty still seem to be up in the air. As always, we're ready to help you put together your watch list, and prepare for your Oscar pool by giving you some of our own guesses.
Feb 3, 2020
2020 Super Bowl
On Sunday night, the Kansas City Chiefs came from behind to beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV. But of course there was more than football — there was also an exuberant, hip-shaking halftime show from Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
Jan 31, 2020
Bad Boys For Life and What's Making Us Happy
In 1995, while Will Smith was on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Martin Lawrence was on Martin, the two teamed up for the cop buddy movie Bad Boys. They reunited in 2003 for Bad Boys II, and now, almost 17 years later, they're back in Bad Boys For Life. Bad Boys For Life comes to theaters in a very different atmosphere around policing than existed in 1995. And the cops in the film have changed, too: There are still car chases and guns and bad guys, but there are also grandkids and deteriorating vision, and there's even Vanessa Hudgens.
Jan 27, 2020
2020 Grammys Recap
We've just gotten done watching the 62nd Grammy Awards. Billie Eilish swept the night's four biggest categories and won five Grammys overall. But two major news events cast shadows over the ceremony: the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and a scandal inside the Recording Academy which includes allegations of vote rigging and sexual misconduct.
Jan 24, 2020
Cheer, Dare Me, And What's Making Us Happy
Competitive cheerleading is on a pop culture roll. Netflix recently dropped the documentary series Cheer, about a highly successful Texas squad. And USA is midway through the series Dare Me. Based on Megan Abbott's book of the same name, Dare Me is a moody thriller about a charismatic cheer coach and the best friends who are at odds over her influence.
Jan 22, 2020
Ford V Ferrari
Cars that are going very fast have been cinema staples for decades. In the Oscar best picture nominee Ford v Ferrari, we find out a little about what it can take to make them go that fast. Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, the film indeed tells the tale of an epic battle of Ford versus Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966.
Jan 17, 2020
Uncut Gems And What's Making Us Happy
A gambler, a rock, a ring, and Kevin Garnett are the primary ingredients in Uncut Gems, a thriller directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. Adam Sandler stars as compulsive gambler Howard Ratner, and the film is so tense that calling it tense seems completely inadequate.
Jan 15, 2020
The L Word: Generation Q
From 2004 to 2009, the Showtime TV drama The L Word examined the lives of a group of queer women in L.A. The show was uneven, but it also marked an important milestone for queer representation on television. Now, the series has a sequel called The L Word: Generation Q. It's moved to a different L.A. neighborhood, it's added a diverse cast of new young stars, and it catches us up on the lives of Bette, Alice, and Shane, among others.
Jan 10, 2020
1917 And What's Making Us Happy
The war epic 1917 startled a lot of awards watchers Sunday night when it won the Golden Globe for best dramatic film. That's in part because it's just now going into wide release. 1917 is directed by Sam Mendes and follows two young World War I soldiers who are sent on a dangerous mission to deliver a crucial message. And just to increase the level of difficulty a little, the whole movie is crafted to look like one continuous shot.
Jan 6, 2020
2020 Golden Globes Recap
We've just gotten done watching the Golden Globes. In TV, Succession, Fleabag, and Chernobyl won multiple awards. As for the movies, big winners included 1917, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Awkwafina, and Taron Egerton. We saw big speeches, a few surprises, and lifetime achievement prizes for Ellen DeGeneres and Tom Hanks.
Jan 3, 2020
We Revisit Friends
Created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, Friends was little more than a bunch of pals who hung out, dated and broke up with each other and a variety of guest stars, and had unrealistically large apartments. But 25 years later, it's still popular in endless reruns and on Netflix.
Jan 1, 2020
Our 2020 Pop Culture Resolutions and Predictions
It's New Year's Day, so it's time to make some resolutions for 2020. We'll talk about what we want to change, how we hope to improve our lives, and what we plan to do. We'll also check in on last year's resolutions just to keep ourselves honest. We'll also make some predictions for the new year, and we'll undertake the often painful job of seeing whether we got anything right 12 months ago when we did the same thing.
Dec 27, 2019
Little Women And What's Making Us Happy
Greta Gerwig was nominated for an Oscar for directing 2017's Lady Bird. She's following it up with an adaptation of Little Women that features two of her Lady Bird stars, Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet. Ronan plays Jo, the free-spirited March sister. She's joined by Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. Gerwig also wrote the script, which makes some changes to the story and the structure of Louisa May Alcott's book.
Dec 25, 2019
What has ears, tails, Andrew Lloyd Webber music, and the Idris Elba/Taylor Swift duet you've been waiting for all your life? That's right, it's Cats, the new film adaptation of the musical that became a surprise smash in the 1980's. The movie directed by Tom Hooper, who also made the Les Miserables adaptation that won Anne Hathaway an Oscar. Cats wrestles with how to present a variety of cat characters, dance numbers, and even a drug-induced catnap.
Dec 20, 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker And What's Making Us Happy
It's time to say goodbye to a story that began in 1977 with a movie then known as Star Wars. Nine films later, this branch of the saga concludes with Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. In this chapter, director J.J. Abrams attempts the almost impossible by trying to bring all this in for a landing. Scavenger Rey, her friends Finn and Poe, and the mysterious Kylo Ren are all back for one last lap, and so are brief glimpses of many faces from movies past.
Dec 18, 2019
Our 15 Favorite Things Of 2019
We loved a lot of things in 2019. And now, as the year comes to a close, it's time to give you just a taste of some of our favorite things of the year. We've got movies, music, television, and theater. (Support your local station at donate.npr.org/happy)
Dec 13, 2019
The Mandalorian, Baby Yoda, and What's Making Us Happy
The Mandalorian is the highest profile and most expensive original series to debut on the Disney+ streaming service. Set in the Star Wars universe soon after the fall of the Galactic Empire, it follows a be-helmeted, be-armored bounty hunter played by Pedro Pascal. He goes rogue to protect the most memeable thing to hit the Star Wars universe since Han shot first.
Dec 11, 2019
What's the opposite of a love story? It might be the new Noah Baumbach film Marriage Story, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple we meet when they're just starting their divorce. For the next two hours, we watch them argue and negotiate over how to separate and how to co-parent their young son. Marriage Story also stars Laura Dern and Ray Liotta as aggressive divorce lawyers and Alan Alda as a gentler hand who tries to give less combative representation. Baumbach both wrote and directed the film, which is now streaming on Netflix. And the film recently picked up six Golden Globe nominations.
Dec 6, 2019
The Irishman And What's Making Us Happy
The movies and the mob have made a winning combination for decades. The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Departed — and that's on top of television projects like The Sopranos. Now, Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese brings you The Irishman, and he's put together quite a cast. Robert DeNiro plays a hit man, Joe Pesci is his boss, Al Pacino is Jimmy Hoffa, and that's before you even get to Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano and others. In a sign of some of the changes shaking up the industry, The Irishman comes to you via Netflix, and is available to stream now. (Donate to a local station at donate.npr.org/happy)
Dec 4, 2019
The Morning Show
Apple TV Plus launched a few weeks ago, and its highest profile series was unquestionably The Morning Show. Apple spent a massive amount of money on it and landed a cast that includes Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. It's the story of a morning news show that winds up in turmoil after the male anchor is fired following allegations of sexual misconduct. Aniston plays the female anchor left to pick up the pieces with a new partner, and Witherspoon is the local reporter who unexpectedly gets hired by the show after she goes on a rant while she's working at her previous job and the video goes viral.
Nov 29, 2019
A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood And What's Making Us Happy
Who can possibly play Fred Rogers? That's a question that the new film A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood tries to answer with a performance from Tom Hanks as the beloved TV host. In the movie a journalist played by Matthew Rhys has a transformative experience with Rogers that reshapes his relationship with his troubled father. A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is directed by Marielle Heller, who most recently made the Melissa McCarthy film Can You Ever Forgive Me? It uses unconventional techniques to place the journalist's story within Rogers' land of make believe.
Nov 27, 2019
Whodunit? Was it Jamie Lee Curtis? Chris Evans? Michael Shannon? Don Johnson? Toni Collette? This is the question at the center of the marvelous new comedy Knives Out. The film is directed and written by Rian Johnson, of films like Looper and Brick as well as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The stellar cast goes on and on to include Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, LaKeith Stanfield, and, playing the man in the whodunit to whom it was done, Christopher Plummer.
Nov 22, 2019
Frozen 2 And What's Making Us Happy
1.3 billion dollars will buy a lot of ice. That's how much Frozen made after its release in 2013. The film also gave Disney princess fans two new favorites in sisters Anna and Elsa, and it made a star of Olaf the talking snowman. Now the band is back together for Frozen 2, which finds Anna and Elsa on yet another adventure.
Nov 20, 2019
Netflix's The Crown is back for season three, and it's got a fresh polish in the form of a brand new cast playing the British royal family. This time out, the great Olivia Colman steps into Claire Foy's sensible brown shoes as Queen Elizabeth. This season follows the Royals from the mid-60s to late 70s, as we watch them contend with both external events — labor strikes, a mine disaster, a possible coup — and with internal strife — Margaret's wild ways, Charles coming-of-age, and the fact that Philip's still the same insufferable prig he always was.
Nov 15, 2019
Dolly Parton's America And What's Making Us Happy
Dolly Parton might be one of the most famous women in the United States. She's one of our great country singers, she produces television including an upcoming Netflix series, and she has her own theme park. And now, inevitably, she's the subject of a podcast. The nine-episode series, Dolly Parton's America, from Jad Abumrad of Radiolab, talks about Parton's life, her music, her home, and what she means to other people.
Nov 13, 2019
There are a lot of Christmas movies with a lot of different inspirations. The new film Last Christmas, is inspired by Wham! song of the same name. The film is directed by Paul Feig and written by Bryony Kimmings and Emma Thompson, and stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. It tells the story of a woman who's struggling to get back on her feet after an illness knocked her out.
Nov 8, 2019
Stephen King's novel the shining was about a haunted hotel and a boy named Danny Torrance with psychic powers. In 2013, Stephen King wrote a sequel. In that book Danny Torrance is all grown up, but still haunted — literally and figuratively — by the ghosts of his past. He's played by Ewan MacGregor in the new film Doctor Sleep, which adapts King's novel.
Nov 6, 2019
HBO's series Watchmen is not strictly an adaptation of the landmark comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons — it's technically a sequel. It stars Regina King as an ex-cop in Tulsa Oklahoma who's not-so-secretly the masked vigilante Sister Night. It also stars Don Johnson and Tim Blake Nelson, alongside Jean Smart and a very odd Jeremy Irons, who are both playing characters from the comic. Showrunner Damon Lindelof has set the show within a big, weird world that keeps getting bigger and weirder, even as it seeks to comment on some very contemporary, real-world issues.
Nov 1, 2019
How To Survive The Election Year
We know — you're tired. The next presidential election is still just over a year away, but it feels like the last one never ended. And if that's how you feel, imagine what it's like for folks who cover this stuff for a living. We asked Ayesha Rascoe and Danielle Kurtzleben from the NPR Politics Podcast to tell us what pop culture they turn to when they need a break.
Oct 30, 2019
Dolemite Is My Name
Dolemite Is My Name is a new Netflix biopic about comedian Rudy Ray Moore, who created a flamboyant alter ego and became a blaxploitation legend in the 1970s. The film stars Eddie Murphy, who's joined by a fantastic cast that includes Keegan-Michael Key, Tituss Burgess, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps and Wesley Snipes. It's a behind the scenes look at the making of the 1975 cult hit film Dolemite.
Oct 25, 2019
Jojo Rabbit And What's Making Us Happy
Jojo Rabbit is already an Oscar favorite. The dark comedy from director Taika Waititi won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival. That's preceded a best picture nomination in 10 out of the last 11 years. Based on a 2004 novel by Christine Leunens, the film follows Jojo, a German boy who remains loyal to Adolf Hitler as World War II winds down. In fact, he envisions the leader as his imaginary friend.
Oct 23, 2019
Even if you've seen a lot of movies about class struggle, you can bet you've never seen one like Parasite. From director Bong Joon-ho, it tells the story of two families, one with a lot of money and one that's just struggling to get by. Parasite won the top prize, the Palme d'Or, at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and it's South Korea's entry into this year's Oscars race.
Oct 18, 2019
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and What's Making Us Happy
The Emmy-award winning series Breaking Bad chronicled the transformation of Walter White, a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher played by Bryan Cranston, into a ruthless and deadly crystal meth kingpin. It ended in 2013, after six seasons. The show also starred Aaron Paul as Cranston's punching-bag of partner-in-crime, Jesse Pinkman. Now, series creator Vince Gillgan has written and directed a new Netflix movie that explores what happens to Jesse in the immediate aftermath of Breaking Bad's finale.
Oct 16, 2019
A Conversation With Terry Gross
Last month at an Advertising Week event in New York, Linda Holmes had the chance to sit down with a legend of public radio and of good conversation. Terry Gross has hosted Fresh Air since 1975. She still brings listeners daily conversations about news and books, film and science. Today, we're sharing an edited version of that conversation.
Oct 11, 2019
The Politician And What's Making Us Happy
Ryan Murphy and his collaborators are responsible for everything from Glee to American Horror Story. And now, they've made their first project for Netflix. It follows Payton Hobart, a high school student determined to be president of the student body, and one day the United States. Murphy has gathered another of his impressive casts: Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bob Balaban, Bette Midler, and of course Jessica Lange.
Oct 9, 2019
Our 2019 Fall Book Preview
Summer is turning to fall where we are, and that means it's time for a couch, a blanket, and a book. Fiction and nonfiction, essays and memoirs, we've got some ideas for things you can read this fall. And we're bringing in a couple of our favorite book lovers to help us out.
Oct 4, 2019
Joker And What's Making Us Happy
In the new Todd Phillips film Joker, Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, an aspiring comic. Neglected by the world and beaten down everywhere he turns, Fleck does what any discouraged clown would do: he becomes a menace.
Oct 2, 2019
The Netflix series Unbelievable brings together a group of actresses including Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, Dale Dickey and Danielle MacDonald. It's based on a true story about a young woman named Marie who was sexually assaulted and pressured by the police into recanting her story. Based on reporting from ProPublica and the Marshall Project, the series follows Marie, but also the two detectives who, much later, gave her case a chance to be solved.
Sep 27, 2019
Fall Movie Preview And What's Making Us Happy
In our fall movie preview, we will cover the ones we're excited about, the ones you'll be hearing more about, and the ones that might be picking up awards in a few months. Whether you like comedies or dramas, and whether you like to see your films in a theater or in the comfort of your own home, we're here to give you the scoop.
Sep 23, 2019
The 2019 Emmys
It was a huge night for Fleabag and a coronation for Game Of Thrones, and there were a few surprises and big moments along the way. The awards got spread out quite a bit this year, including a historic acting win for Billy Porter, several awards for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Ozark.
Sep 20, 2019
Downton Abbey And What's Making Us Happy
If you thought the end of the series Downton Abbey would be the end of the Crawley family's adventures, a new film has arrived to prove you wrong. The movie continues the story of this very wealthy group and their loyal staff. The large cast is reunited, from sharp-tongued dowagers to scheming butlers. And this time, the King and Queen are coming for a visit.
Sep 18, 2019
Anyone who's surprised at the big weekend the new film Hustlers had at the box office probably shouldn't be. Not only does it star popular women like Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, with drop-ins from Cardi B and Lizzo, but it got very good reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival. What's not to like? Hustlers is based on the true story of a group of women who danced at a strip club together and later drugged and scammed some of their wealthy Wall Street customers. Directed by Lorene Scafaria, the film is already generating awards buzz for Jennifer Lopez.
Sep 13, 2019
The Goldfinch And What's Making Us Happy
Donna Tartt's 2013 book The Goldfinch won a Pulitzer Prize for its story of a boy whose mother dies in a bombing. It's an epic tale of grief, abandonment, friendship, drugs, and a stolen painting of a goldfinch. Now, The Goldfinch has been adapted into a movie starring Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Nicole Kidman, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, Finn Wolfhard and Sarah Paulsen.
Sep 11, 2019
Steven Universe: The Movie
The animated show Steven Universe has told the story of a human-alien hybrid boy and the race of alien women called Gems who've helped raise him on Earth. The show has told lighthearted stories of life in the fictional Beach City — and headed to space for a more epic saga about a group of intergalactic leaders, a past rebellion, and a plot to destroy the world. Creator Rebecca Sugar has said that there will be more episodes, but for now, Steven Universe: The Movie has just premiered on the Cartoon Network.
Sep 6, 2019
It: Chapter Two And What's Making Us Happy
The 2017 movie It was a massive blockbuster, and became the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time. Adapting the Stephen King novel of the same name, it tells the story of seven misfit kids in the late 1980s, and a supernatural being that preys on children in a small town in Maine. The sequel revisits the kids 27 years later — they're now played by the likes of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader.
Sep 4, 2019
The Movies Of 1999
Just about every week, we talk about what we're watching or reading or listening to right now. Today, we're doing something different. We're going back 20 years to talk about some of the movies of 1999, including Drop Dead Gorgeous, Office Space, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. We'll talk about what holds up, what looks really different, and what we miss the most.
Aug 30, 2019
Fall TV Preview
It's autumn again. And that means we're getting a wave of new television. So it's time for the annual fall TV preview. Whether you like superheros or detectives, broadcast or cable or streaming, we're here to share what we're excited to see.
Aug 27, 2019
The 2019 MTV VMAs
We just spent three hours watching the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, which are never really about awards so much as moments: big performances and the memes and soundbites we may or may not remember for years to come. This year's show brought lots of Taylor Swift, and Missy Elliott, not to mention Lizzo, Normani, Lil Nas X, Rosalía and more.
Aug 23, 2019
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and What's Making Us Happy
The gang takes a look at Amy Sherman-Palladino's award-winning comedy, starring Rachel Brosnahan as a '50s housewife-turned-comedian. And, as always, What's Making Us Happy this week. Guests: Writer Katie Presley and Weekend Edition Books Editor Barrie Hardymon. (This episode originally aired on January 19, 2018.)
Aug 21, 2019
The panel discusses Netflix's new wrestling comedy GLOW with NPR's Code Switch Kat Chow. (This episode originally aired on June 23, 2017.)
Aug 16, 2019
Where'd You Go, Bernadette And What's Making Us Happy
In Maria Semple's novel Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Bernadette Fox is a wife and mother who mysteriously vanishes from her ordinary life in the middle of a personal crisis. Her daughter is left to piece together what happened. The new film adaptation is directed by Richard Linklater and stars Cate Blanchett as Bernadette.
Aug 14, 2019
Of all the TV shows about monstrous rich people, the HBO series Succession might be one of the most cutting. It follows heartless media mega-mogul Logan Roy and his ruthless children as they try to outmaneuver each other. And while the family is awful, the show is great. And if you're not watching it, you're missing out on a lot of high-quality scheming.
Aug 9, 2019
Veronica Mars And What's Making Us Happy
Back in 2004, Veronica Mars was a high school student working for her private-eye father on the side. After three seasons on the air and a crowdfunded movie in 2014, Veronica is back. Now an adult and still a detective, Veronica tackles a fresh mystery in a set of new episodes available on Hulu. She still works with her father, she's still in love with reformed bad boy Logan Echolls, and she still has a one-liner for nearly every occasion.
Aug 7, 2019
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
The new film Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham. The two play their characters from the Fast & Furious franchise, spun off into a fresh adventure. They race a mechanically enhanced super soldier played by Idris Elba to recover a deadly virus before it can melt the entire population of the planet into a series of small puddles.
Aug 2, 2019
The Farewell And What's Making Us Happy
In The Farewell, Akwafina plays Billi, a young woman whose beloved grandmother back in China is diagnosed with lung cancer. The family decides not to tell the grandmother that she's got only months to live — a decision that Billi strongly disagrees with. The Farewell was written and directed by Lulu Wang based on a piece she did on This American Life.
Jul 31, 2019
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood is writer-director Quentin Tarantino's ninth film. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a fading western actor named Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as his loyal stuntman Cliff Booth. It's set in the changing Hollywood of 1969, and in many ways, it's a breezy romp through studio backlots and makeup trailers — but hanging over every frame is the threat of violence, in the form of a very real historical tragedy — the brutal Manson family murders in the Hollywood Hills. It's glossy L.A. nostalgia laced with grisly violence — it's peak Tarantino, but does it work?
Jul 26, 2019
Queer Eye is back for a fourth season, so we figured it'd be interesting to review our first impressions of the series, back when it premiered last year. We talk about the show's broader mission statement, the new Fab Five, and how thoroughly the world has changed since the first iteration of the show went off the air. (This episode originally aired on February 21, 2018.)
Jul 24, 2019
Jeopardy! has been in the news a lot this year, both for James Holzhauer's historic championship run and for Alex Trebek's recent cancer diagnosis. But when we talked about the long-running game show last year, it was just an eternal juggernaut. (This episode originally aired July 11, 2018.)
Jul 19, 2019
The Lion King And What's Making Us Happy
For the last few years, Disney has been turning its beloved animated films into live-action revamps . But this revamp isn't live-action — even though it looks like it is. The digital animation is ridiculously advanced, bringing Simba, Mufasa, Scar, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa to eerie, ultra-realistic life. The voice cast is full of ringers — Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover and Beyoncé. But do the changes they make to the story — and the songs — improve on the original?
Jul 17, 2019
We Go To The Opera
What has music, neon signs, classic cars, and Vegas gangsters in a dramatic story of love and death? Believe it or not, it's the Metropolitan Opera's production of Rigoletto, which we recently checked out in New York. Not only did we see the show, but we went backstage to see how they make the show happen.
Jul 12, 2019
Los Espookys And What's Making Us Happy
Los Espookys is a very odd HBO comedy series about a group of horror-loving friends who start up a business that provides scary experiences for their clients.The six-episode series, which is now four episodes into its run, is co-written by two of its stars — comedians Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega. Its biggest-name co-star, Fred Armisen, also co-wrote the pilot.
Jul 10, 2019
In the film Midsommar, writer-director Ari Aster follows up his cult horror hit Hereditary with a film about a literal cult. Florence Pugh plays a young woman who tags along with her awful boyfriend and his pals to a remote Swedish village as they enact their bloody rituals. We discuss the sun-drenched Scandanavian creepiness.
Jul 5, 2019
Spider-Man: Far From Home
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tom Holland's Peter Parker deals with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame by not dealing with it — he takes a class trip to Europe, attempting to leave his great power, and his great responsibility, behind.
Jul 2, 2019
Songs Of Summer, 2019 Edition
It's our second annual songs of summer spectacular! Every year at NPR Music we debate which hits might be remembered as "the song of the summer" — sometimes it's a frothy pop song, or a star-packed hip-hop banger, or simply a song that gets played on the radio over and over again until we're beaten into submission. This week we're bringing in a revolving cast of my colleagues from NPR Music, each of whom will play us one song — one nominee to be the unofficial Song Of The Summer for 2019.
Jun 28, 2019
'Yesterday' Imagines A World Without The Beatles
In Yesterday, Himesh Patel plays Jack Malik, an English singer whose career is going nowhere. His parents don't understand him, but he's got the support of his friends — especially Ellie, his manager, played by Lily James. One night, Jack gets hit by a bus at the precise moment of a worldwide power outage. When he wakes up, he learns that he's in a world where the Beatles never existed. So he starts playing their songs — the world soon hears them for the first time, and Jack finds his entire life upended.
Jun 26, 2019
We Spoil Avengers: Endgame
When Avengers: Endgame came out in late April, it got good reviews and it did huge business. As with everything we talk about, we didn't want to spoil it for you, so some of its biggest developments went un-analyzed. But no more. We thought this one deserved a second look before we bid this chapter of the Marvel Universe farewell. So today, we're discussing and revealing with abandon.
Jun 21, 2019
Toy Story 4 And What's Making Us Happy
The Toy Story movies have been skittering around the closets of our hearts for almost 25 years. Anchored by Woody the sheriff, voiced by Tom Hanks, they're central to the story of Pixar. Now we're up to Toy Story 4. This time, Woody has to protect a homemade toy named Forky, voiced by Tony Hale. Forky may just be a spork with a face, but he's special to Bonnie, the little girl Woody lives with.
Jun 19, 2019
Big Little Lies Returns For Season 2
When Big Little Lies came to HBO, it boasted a cast full of stars: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz and Laura Dern. For season two, they upped their game by adding Meryl Streep. The end of season one solved a mystery the show had been circling, and season two is about the aftermath.
Jun 14, 2019
Late Night And What's Making Us Happy
In the movie Late Night, Mindy Kaling plays Molly Patel, a woman who gets her big break in the writers' room of late night host Katherine Newbury. Newbury, played by Emma Thompson, is on thin ice with the network and wants to add Molly as a way of diversifying her very white and very male writing staff. But once Molly gets there, she finds that being considered a diversity hire comes with challenges of its own. Late Night also features John Lithgow, Denis O'Hare, and Reid Scott.
Jun 12, 2019
Olivia Wilde Is Quizzed On Buffalo Wild Wings
A few weeks ago we talked about the wonderful new teen comedy Booksmart. the film is directed by Olivia Wilde, who is also an actress known for her roles on House, The O.C., and Tron: Legacy. In this bonus episode, you'll hear Wilde's recent appearance on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. She played 'Not My Job' where she was quizzed about Buffalo Wild Wings.
Jun 10, 2019
The 2019 Tony Awards
We are recapping this year's Tony Awards. James Corden was back as the host, and it was a big night for the musical Hadestown and the Irish play The Ferryman. The musicals Tootsie and Oklahoma! also picked up multiple awards.
Jun 7, 2019
You Should Watch Fleabag. Here's Why.
In 2016, Phoebe Waller-Bridge presented the world with Fleabag. She not only writes the show, but she stars in it too. She plays a young woman only referred to as Fleabag who is bruised by external and internal struggles. And in 2019, the show came back for a wonderful second and, we're told, final season.
Jun 5, 2019
Rocketman is a new biopic about queer rock icon Elton John. It is in many ways a typical rise-and-fall, dangers of fame kind of rock star biopic. But there is a difference: this is a full-on jukebox musical on film. And star Taron Egerton doesn't just lip-sync — he actually sings.
May 31, 2019
Booksmart and What's Making Us Happy
In the new movie Booksmart, two young women about to graduate from high school spend one last night trying to catch up on everything they missed. Starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, it's the directing debut of actress Olivia Wilde. The cast also includes Jessica Williams, Billie Lourd, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow and many more. And we really, really like it.
May 29, 2019
Our Great Big Theater Roundup
We recently packed up and road-tripped to New York to check out some selections from the current Broadway theater season. We went to musicals and plays, revivals and new works, and we have a lot of thoughts.
May 24, 2019
Aladdin and What's Making Us Happy
Aladdin is the latest Disney live-action remake of an animated classic. The 1992 original starred Robin Williams as the genie, and this time it's Will Smith. The genie is still blue and there's still a mischievous monkey. But director Guy Ritchie has some ideas of his own, too.
May 20, 2019
Game Of Thrones
After eight seasons, 73 episodes, and way too many characters busting out the phrase "bend the knee" all the time, HBO's Game of Thrones has come to an end. And there's a lot to unpack.
May 17, 2019
John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum and What's Making Us Happy
Once upon a time, a man named John Wick retired from his successful career as an assassin. But then he returned to it. And across what's now a three-film series, he's been having a heck of a week ever since.
May 15, 2019
Pokémon Detective Pikachu
The Pokémon universe has brought the world television cartoons, trading cards, video games, plush toys, the mobile-game sensation Pokemon GO, and a string of animated movies. Now, the franchise makes the leap into live action with a big-budget summer blockbuster called Pokemon Detective Pikachu.
May 10, 2019
People We're Pulling For and What's Making Us Happy
Everyone needs inspiration. And we need it too. So from time to time, we pause just to single out some of the people whose work we're appreciating. People from whom we want more. We call this segment People We're Pulling For.
May 8, 2019
Long Shot: Charlize Theron And Seth Rogen Mix Romance And Politics
While summer is a time of spectacles and sequels, there is always time for love. The new romantic comedy Long Shot stars Charlize Theron as a beautiful and sophisticated presidential candidate and Seth Rogen as the grubby speechwriter with her on the campaign trail.
May 3, 2019
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and Comedies About Music
We revisit our 2016 discussion of the film Popstar. We The also look at back at other films that find humor in the foibles of musicians.
May 1, 2019
Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos in Pop Culture
Nothing fascinates the world like a meteoric rise. Except, of course, for a spectacular fall. The story of the Silicon Valley startup Theranos and its young founder Elizabeth Holmes has both. And the coverage it's received has been huge. There's the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, the podcast The Dropout, and the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. Today we look at three ways of telling the same story.
Apr 26, 2019
'Avengers: Endgame' and What's Making Us Happy
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought us Iron Man movies, Thor movies, Captain America movies, Avengers movies, and many other superhero franchises over the last decade, and they all feed into one epic that ties up many of the loose ends. Today we're talking the juggernaut to end all juggernauts, Avengers: Endgame.
Apr 22, 2019
On Wednesday, Beyoncé released two major projects. On Netflix, a new documentary captures the process of putting on headlining appearances at last year's Coachella Music Festival. She also surprise-released a double-length live album that contains just some of the highlights from Beyoncé's two ambitious Coachella performances. Both projects are called Homecoming, and they help immortalize a huge stage show full of dancers and drum lines and impeccable choreography and songs that reach across Beyoncé's career.
Apr 19, 2019
Our Summer Movie Preview
It's time again for our summer movie preview. We'll take a shot at guessing hits and misses, and we'll tell you what we can't wait to see.
Apr 17, 2019
We Offer Some Pop Culture Advice
Today we open up the vault to finally bring you a segment we recorded back in 2016 with our pal Audie Cornish. You'll hear us live in Seattle offering advice on some classic pop culture problems.
Apr 12, 2019
The Twilight Zone and What's Making Us Happy
It's been 60 years since The Twilight Zone first aired, with the voice and eventually the face of its creator, Rod Serling. Now, CBS All Access has brought the anthology series back in a new incarnation. This time, the host is Jordan Peele. He is also an executive producer, and the big cast includes Adam Scott, Kumail Nanjiani, Steven Yeun, Chris O'Dowd, Tracy Morgan, Sanaa Lathan, and a whole lot more.
Apr 10, 2019
For the last four seasons, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has followed Rebecca Bunch as she pursued love, dreaded her mother, and tried to address her mental health. The show stars Rachel Bloom as Bunch, who created the show with Aline Brosh Mckenna. Now, it's all over, and we're going to talk about it.
Apr 5, 2019
Shazam! And What's Making Us Happy
"Shazam!" is what young Billy Batson says to morph into a big red superhero. It's also the name of the new movie about him. Starring Zachary Levi as the big lug in the suit, Shazam! makes for a lighter DC Comics movie.
Apr 3, 2019
Boost Your Mood With Pop Culture Serotonin
Spring is here, but it's been a long winter. And we're a little overwhelmed by the news of the world, so we're taking a moment to share some of the things that lift our spirits in a segment we call Pop Culture Serotonin.
Mar 29, 2019
What We Do In The Shadows: A Comedy With Bite
The comedy series What We Do In The Shadows imagines what a slacker reality show might look like if all the roommates were vampires. The show is based on a 2014 film of the same name, which was helmed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. A new cast of vampires inhabits the FX show.
Mar 27, 2019
The new Hulu series Shrill follows Annie, a young writer. She's trying to get her career moving, figure out what's up with her sort-of boyfriend, and learn to feel good about her body. Annie is played by Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant, who developed Shrill with TV writer Ali Rushfield and with Lindy West. West wrote the 2016 book of the same name that forms the backbone of the show.
Mar 22, 2019
Us is Jordan Peele's follow up to his 2017 film Get Out. The film stars Lupita Nyong'o as a mother whose whole family is confronted by their own doppelgängers.
Mar 20, 2019
Music Discoveries From SXSW 2019
The South by Southwest music festival brings together artists from around the world to perform in big venues and small ones, on sidewalks and sprawling stages. Every year, we bring back some musical discoveries that just might be your next favorites.
Mar 15, 2019
The much-praised Hulu series PEN15 is about two middle-school girls who feel like they might never figure out how to grow into adults. The show was created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle and Sam Zvibelman. And the hook is that Erskine and Konkle play versions of themselves as kids, awkwardly surrounded by actual tween actors.
Mar 13, 2019
The Other Two
Comedy Central's very funny new show The Other Two is about the older siblings of a newly minted YouTube star. His fame makes them feel overshadowed in some of the ways you might expect. But it's also a chance for them to look out for him, and to learn a lot about the broad outlines of fleeting fame.
Mar 10, 2019
The All Songs Considered SXSW Preview
NPR Music is heading to South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. It's a huge feast of musical discovery that brings together bands and fans from around the world. All Songs Considered convened a panel to preview some of the new discoveries we're most excited to see and hear.
Mar 8, 2019
Captain Marvel is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the first movie to give a woman the lead role. Brie Larson stars as a badass space-warrior fighting in an intergalactic war between two alien races. Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, albeit digitally de-aged, because Captain Marvel is set in the '90s.
Mar 4, 2019
Remembering Luke Perry
If you came of age in the 1990s, you might know Luke Perry as the rebellious teenage fantasy boyfriend Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. But you also might know him from the original movie version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Or as Archie's dad on Riverdale. Perry was only 52 when he died on Monday. We take a moment to celebrate Perry's contributions to pop culture.
Mar 1, 2019
Today we're diving into the complicated and tangled world of Netflix's Russian Doll, a series anchored by a dynamic performance from Natasha Lyonne. She co-created the series with Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler.
Feb 25, 2019
2019 Oscars Recap
Green Book is your best picture, and Bohemian Rhapsody and Roma took a bunch of the top prizes, too. And it all got done in a ceremony without a host. We're breaking it all down: the winners, the speeches, the songs, why we're mad, and why we're glad.
Feb 22, 2019
2019 Oscars Preview
Where will you find rock bands going up against jazz pianists, superheroes, and scheming women in beautiful dresses? At this year's Oscars. We're going to talk actors, directors, and much more. We'll also make some predictions, so we might help you win your Oscars pool.
Feb 20, 2019
A Pop Culture Quiz
Pop Culture Happy Hour is in its ninth year, so Linda decided to write a quiz about the ninth seasons of television shows. Stephen and Glen faced off against one of our favorite podcast teams, Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings of The Nod. This episode was recorded live at the Bell House in Brooklyn.
Feb 15, 2019
The Oscar-Nominated Documentaries And Foreign-Laungage Films
We're diving into the Oscar-nominated documentaries and foreign language films. We'll tell you which ones to watch and where to find them, which might make you the star of your Oscar party.
Feb 11, 2019
The 2019 Grammys
This year's awards were a big night for Childish Gambino and Kacey Musgraves. It was also a night of strong performances from artists like Janelle Monae and Cardi B. And don't forget Diana Ross, who wished herself a happy birthday a month and a half early.
Feb 8, 2019
'The Lego Movie 2'
The Lego Movie was a surprise commercial and critical hit. It starred Chris Pratt as an every-man construction worker named Emmet and Elizabeth Banks as a rugged bad ass called Wyldstyle. Together, they saved the Lego world. Now, five years later, Emmet is back — and so is the fusillade of cameos, both surprising and not so surprising — to take on a new threat to the extruded plastic world.
Feb 4, 2019
The 2019 Super Bowl
Another year, another Patriots Super Bowl win. But was it a high scoring game? It was not. In fact, no one had even scored a touchdown when Maroon 5 came out to headline the halftime show. We recap the game, the halftime show, and the commercials.
Feb 1, 2019
Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice and Green Book
What do Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice, and Green Book have in common? Two things: one, they're nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars; and two, they're based on events in the lives of real people. Today, awards season leads us to a wide-reaching conversation on some very different movies.
Jan 30, 2019
Tidying Up With Marie Kondo
If you've noticed your friends have been a little more "tidy" than usual, or your thrift store a bit better stocked, it might be because of Netflix. The streaming series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has spurred an organizational renaissance. Or at least a conversation about one.
Jan 25, 2019
Roma and What's Making Us Happy
Alfonso Cuarón directed the award-winning film Gravity in 2013, and won an Oscar for it. Now he's back with a movie that's equally ambitious, and much more personal. Roma is inspired by Alfonso Cuarón's childhood, and the movie tells the story of Cleo, a nanny and housekeeper in 1970's Mexico City.
Jan 23, 2019
We Get It Now
Despite how firm our opinions often seem when we first declare them, there have been times when they've changed. During our recent live show at the Brooklyn Podcast Festival, we took a moment to talk about some things we have different feelings on now then we once did.
Jan 18, 2019
In 2000, director M. Night Shyamalan presented Unbreakable, the story of two men whose epic tales of good and evil collided. Then came 2016's Split, a stealth sequel. Now, Shyamalan wraps up the trilogy with Glass.
Jan 16, 2019
The Masked Singer
The Masked Singer isn't your everyday singing competition. Based on a South Korean format, each week we learn the identity of the elaborately costumed "celebrity" who gets voted off. So far, we've unmasked football player Antonio Brown, and comedian Tommy Chong.
Jan 11, 2019
If Beale Street Could Talk
After winning an Oscar in 2017 for Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins is back with If Beale Street Could Talk. This time, he adapts a James Baldwin novel for the screen.
Jan 7, 2019
The 2019 Golden Globes
Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody unexpectedly won big. So did thanking your parents and going on just a little too long. It's the wee hours of Monday morning, and we are wrapping up this year's big winners and big surprises.
Jan 4, 2019
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and What's Making Us Happy
The sci-fi series Black Mirror has always been about changing technology and its usually dark implications for the future. Its latest episode, Bandersnatch, is itself the result of new technology developed at Netflix. As you watch it, you make your own on-screen choices that determine which of several possible endings you reach.
Jan 2, 2019
Fox canceled Brooklyn Nine-Nine at the end of its fifth season, but much to our delight, NBC picked it back up again. It's coming back for a sixth season starting on January 10th, and we thought that would make it just the right time to revisit our conversation about it.
Dec 28, 2018
Our Pop Culture Resolutions and Predictions
Today, we look back on our 2018 resolutions to see how we fared, and make some new ones for the year to come. We also make our fearless pop culture predictions for the next 12 months, and see how last year's predictions panned out.
Dec 26, 2018
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and a little Aquaman
The animated Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse focuses on one of the Spider-People who has come along in the years since the world first met Peter Parker, in 1962. In the film, Miles Morales is a Brooklyn teenager who acquires spider-powers at the same time he discovers that there are other versions of himself across alternate dimensions.
Dec 21, 2018
Our 15 Favorite Things Of 2018
It's the end of the year, and that makes it the perfect time to talk about the things we loved the most in 2018. From Black Panther, to Crazy Rich Asians, to the viral moments you might have missed, we are rounding up our fifteen favorites of the year. So get ready for a whole lot of recommending.
Dec 19, 2018
Mary Poppins Returns
In 1964, the original Mary Poppins made Julie Andrews a movie star and introduced a generation to Dick Van Dyke's regrettable Cockney accent. Now, Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda head up Mary Poppins Returns.
Dec 14, 2018
The Favourite and What's Making Us Happy
The Favourite, set in the early 1700s, tells the story of Britain's Queen Anne and two women who are jostling for her favor. Rachel Weisz plays the Queen's close adviser Sarah, and Emma Stone plays an ambitious servant named Abigail who has her eye on a bigger prize.
Dec 12, 2018
Sam Sanders Chats With Guy Branum
Comedian Guy Branum joins NPR's Sam Sanders to talk about his new book My Life As A Goddess and the many challenges presented by a mostly white, hetero-normative comedy scene.
Dec 7, 2018
Hallmark Holiday Movies
What's warm and fuzzy, emotionally manipulative, and desperate for attention almost every hour of every day? Linda's dog, sure. But also the Hallmark Channel's endless supply of holiday movies and the competitors nipping at their heels.
Dec 5, 2018
Our Favorite Christmas Songs
You can't have an abundance of Christmas songs without also having an abundance of opinions about Christmas songs — songs we love, songs we hate, songs we love when they're sung by one person, but hate when they're sung by another. This week on Pop Culture Happy Hour, we've convened a special panel to tackle our favorite songs for the season.
Nov 30, 2018
Ralph Breaks The Internet and What's Making Us Happy
Wreck It Ralph was a hit when it came out in 2012. Ralph Breaks the Internet picks up where that film left off, and is even more ambitious than its predecessor. This time, Ralph travels to the Internet — which gives the movie a lot of material to work with.
Nov 28, 2018
It's been three years since the Rocky movies were reborn with Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan as Apollo Creed's son, Adonis. Now, in Creed 2, Adonis is up against the son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed his father in the ring in 1985.
Nov 23, 2018
Widows and What's Making Us Happy
Widows is not your average heist movie — director Steve McQueen and co-screenwriter Gillian Fylnn have created something far more interesting. The film also has a star-studded cast that includes Viola Davis, Daniel Kaluuya, Michelle Rodriguez, Brian Tyree Henry, and Liam Neeson.
Nov 21, 2018
Die Hard turned 30 this year. So as the season of Season's Greetings approaches, it's time for the Pop Culture Happy Hour conversation we've always been dying to have.
Nov 16, 2018
In the Amazon thriller Homecoming, Julia Roberts plays a caseworker at a facility that helps soldiers re-adjust to civilian life. Or at least that's what she thinks it does. But calls from a mysterious boss and sessions with a young soldier make her question everything.
Nov 12, 2018
Remembering Stan Lee
Stan Lee helped create some of the most indelible comic book characters in American popular culture, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Black Panther. He died Monday. He was 95.
Nov 9, 2018
'Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj' and 'Busy Tonight'
There are a bunch of new shows to pay attention to this season, and today we're talking about two of our favorite talk entries — Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj and Busy Tonight.
Nov 7, 2018
Nobody's Fool is a Tyler Perry movie, but maybe more important at the moment, it's a Tiffany Haddish movie. Haddish plays Tanya, who fears her sister is being catfished in an online relationship.
Nov 2, 2018
The Haunting of Hill House
The Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House tells what is, in many ways, an old-fashioned ghost story. Moving between the past and the present, the series traces the effects of trauma on a family that once chose to spend a summer living in a house that is up to no good.
Oct 31, 2018
Wildlife, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, tells the story of a marriage in crisis in 1960's Montana. Based on a novel by Richard Ford and directed by actor Paul Dano, it's told from the point of view of a young teenager watching his family fall to pieces.
Oct 26, 2018
Beautiful Boy and What's Making Us Happy
Beautiful Boy is a story of addiction starring two Oscar-nominated actors. Timothée Chalamet plays Nic Sheff, who's addicted to crystal meth. Steve Carell plays David Sheff, his journalist father who's struggling to help him get well.
Oct 24, 2018
It's been forty years since the release of the classic horror film, Halloween. Since then, the franchise has wandered through its own house of horrors in the form of sequels and reboots. The newest Halloween throws all of those additions out, and assumes that only the 1978 original ever happened.
Oct 19, 2018
Big Mouth and What's Making Us Happy
If you've been longing for a cartoon that covers the really important questions — like how to manage lust, and how to avoid your embarrassing parents — you are in luck. Big Mouth, Netflix's animated comedy series about the horrors of puberty, is back for a second season.
Oct 17, 2018
In Venom, Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist who's trying to rebound from a major setback in his career. But Eddie's plans are halted when he's overtaken by a violent — and gooey — alien symbiote.
Oct 12, 2018
'First Man' and What's Making Us Happy
First Man tells the story of Neil Armstrong's life in the decade leading up to his walk on the moon. Ryan Gosling stars as Armstrong, and it's directed by Damien Chazelle. It's the second time they're teaming up after the huge commercial and critical success of La La Land.
Oct 10, 2018
The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give finds teenager Starr Carter caught between two worlds — her mostly black neighborhood and a white prep school. When her friend Khalil is killed by a police officer, she's forced to reconcile these two very different parts of her identity. We're joined by Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, hosts of The Nod podcast.
Oct 5, 2018
A Star Is Born and What's Making Us Happy
Lady Gaga stars opposite Bradley Cooper in the latest retelling of A Star Is Born. It's also Cooper's directing debut, with a cast that includes Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, and Dave Chappelle. We're joined by Ari Shapiro to break down the singing, the glamour, the tears, and the wonder of Sam Elliott's voice.
Oct 3, 2018
A Simple Favor
What has Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, menswear looks, mysteries, and YouTube's most cheerful mom? It's the stylish, mischievous, and sometimes darkly funny thriller A Simple Favor.
Sep 28, 2018
Fall Movie Preview
We're excited for a whole bunch of new movies this fall. Today, we dive into our 2018 Fall Movie Preview and talk about as many of them as we can — from the big studio flicks to the festival favorites and everything in between.
Sep 26, 2018
All-Books Edition: Volume 2
We recommended a lot of stuff during our 'All-Books' episode. So please enjoy this second volume (see what we did there?) of the All-Books Edition of Pop Culture Happy Hour, again led by our extra special panel.
Sep 21, 2018
Forever And What's Making Us Happy
Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen star in the new Amazon series Forever. The two of them play a middle-aged married couple named Oscar and June, who are in a bit of a rut. Along the way, they find themselves in an unexpected situation that challenges their thinking about the permanence of marriage. Today, we dive into this very curious relationship comedy. Guest: Aisha Harris
Sep 18, 2018
2018 Emmy Awards
We're here to fill you in on everything you need to know about the 2018 Emmys. On a night we were constantly reminded how diverse this year's nominations were — the winners were mostly white. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Game of Thrones won the top awards. Guest: NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans.
Sep 14, 2018
On the Books: An All-Book Edition
Today, we take a break from TV and movies to talk about some of our favorite books we've read — and what books we're most looking forward to this fall.
Sep 12, 2018
Celebrating Women in Music With Turning the Tables
NPR Music's ambitious Turning the Tables series re-imagines the popular music canon by putting women and non-binary musicians at the center. All Songs Considered recently had a great conversation about the project, and today we bring that conversation to your Pop Culture Happy Hour feed.
Sep 7, 2018
Pop Culture Serotonin and What's Making Us Happy
Not every day can be Friday, not every bit of weather can be sunny and not every plate can have cookies on it. That's why we love our pop culture serotonin — the stuff we watch, read and listen to that boosts our mood and makes us feel better. Today, we share some of our favorites.
Sep 5, 2018
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
The Netflix young adult romance To All The Boys I've Loved Before tells the story of a high school pair who may or may not — but come on, they will — end up together. You've probably seen it on your Twitter feed, and today we assemble a very special panel to talk about it.
Aug 31, 2018
Fall TV Preview and What's Making Us Happy
It's almost the end of the summer, which means it's time for Pop Culture Happy Hour's fall TV preview. We're telling you what new shows we're excited about, and which ones we think are built to last. Guest: NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans.
Aug 29, 2018
Ryan Coogler's Marvel film, set largely in the richly imagined Afro-futurist utopia of Wakanda, is by turns intimate, immediate and — most importantly — original. Guest: Code Switch's Gene Demby. (This episode originally aired on February 16, 2018.)
Aug 24, 2018
BlacKkKlansman and What's Making Us Happy
BlacKkKlansman tells the story Ron Stallworth — a black police detective who infiltrated the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. On today's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we dive into the most talked about Spike Lee movie in years. Guest: Code Switch's Gene Demby
Aug 21, 2018
2018 MTV VMAs
Last night the VMAs honored some top songs and artists including Camila Cabello, Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. The show also recognized Aretha Franklin—sort of. And trotted out Aerosmith—again. New York Times editor Aisha Harris joins us for a recap.
Aug 17, 2018
Crazy Rich Asians and What's Making Us Happy
This week, we talk about the charming romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, which has been lauded as groundbreaking for its all Asian and Asian-American cast. Guests: NPR's Mallory Yu and Code Switch's Kat Chow.
Aug 16, 2018
Remembering Aretha Franklin
The "Queen of Soul" died today at age 76. She was a gifted pop singer, gospel singer, R&B singer, and even opera singer. We talk with All Things Considered's Audie Cornish about the unforgettable Aretha Franklin, and the utter abundance of music she left us.
Aug 15, 2018
Blockers and Game Night: Playing Catch-Up On Comedies We Missed
Most of this summer's blockbusters are already out. That makes it a great time to catch up on a couple of surprisingly well-reviewed comedies. In this episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, we talk about Blockers and Game Night.
Aug 10, 2018
Pop Culture Punching Bags and What's Making Us Happy
Every once in a while, we decide to defend the seemingly indefensible pieces of pop culture that everyone loves to hate. Today, we put on our boxing gloves to defend the honor of some of pop culture's most notorious punching bags. Guests: Audie Cornish and Guy Branum.
Aug 8, 2018
Sorry to Bother You
The indie movie Sorry to Bother You is a summer hit. Lakeith Stanfield stars as Cassius Green, a telemarketer whose world spirals into chaos. Code Switch's Gene Demby and Shereen Meraji have some very different views on the film.
Aug 3, 2018
Eighth Grade and What's Making Us Happy
This week, we're talking about Bo Burnam's breakout festival hit Eighth Grade. Kayla Day, played by Elsie Fisher, is a middle-schooler who gives pep talks on YouTube and yearns for friends she can talk to. Guest: New York Times editor Aisha Harris.
Aug 1, 2018
Breath Of The Wild
Video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild drops you into a world of sweeping vistas and challenging weapons, and it gives you a vast area to explore. It's an adventure and a challenge, and there are lots of different ways to play. Guest: Code Switch's Gene Demby.
Jul 27, 2018
Mission: Impossible - Fallout and What's Making Us Happy
We're taking to the streets, the skies, the water and the glitzy high-class nightclubs to talk about Mission: Impossible - Fallout on this episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour. Guest: Chris Klimek.
Jul 25, 2018
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Under the blue skies of summer, what could be more welcome than ABBA songs? That's right, eight years after a big cast whooped it up in the film adaptation of the jukebox musical Mamma Mia!, there's a sequel. Today, we're talking about the all-singing, all-dancing, all-silly extravaganza that is Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Jul 20, 2018
Skyscraper and What's Making Us Happy
Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, has fought all kinds of things in the movies. Earthquakes, criminals, zoo animals. And now, he's up against a building. On today's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we're defying gravity and saving our families.
Jul 18, 2018
Hannah Gadsby's Netflix Special 'Nanette' With Kumail Nanjiani
Hannah Gadsby's Netflix special arrived in late June and has become a genuine phenomenon. It's an hour that starts as standup and morphs into something else entirely. Guest: Comedian, actor, and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Kumail Nanjiani.
Jul 13, 2018
Sharp Objects and What's Making Us Happy
Before Gillian Flynn wrote Gone Girl, she wrote Sharp Objects. Now, HBO has produced an adaptation starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, and Chris Messina. Guest: NPR Weekend Edition books editor, Barrie Hardymon.
Jul 11, 2018
Jeopardy! — the juggernaut, the pop culture monster, the game show to shave your mustache to and then grow it back again. Guest: NPR Music's Marissa Lorusso.
Jul 6, 2018
Ant-Man And The Wasp, Plus What's Making Us Happy
The sequel to 2015's Ant-Man is just as light and inconsequential, but a forgettable villain and an over-complicated plot means it has to work harder — and it shows. Guest: writer Chris Klimek.
Jul 4, 2018
The Mister Rogers Documentary 'Won't You Be My Neighbor'
Using archival footage and new interviews, Morgan Neville's film explores what how Rogers' unusual children's show came to be and what his legacy is for tens of millions of kids who are now tens of millions of grownups. Guest: Daisy Rosario of NPR member station WAMU.
Jun 29, 2018
The Songs Of Summer
Stephen Thompson and our pals at NPR Music road-test the songs the songs of the summer.
Jun 27, 2018
The panel chats about some of their favorite cooking shows including Top Chef, Chopped and Chef's Table. Guests: Weekend Edition editor Barrie Hardymon and Code Switch's Kat Chow. (This segment originally aired on September 9, 2016.)
Jun 22, 2018
Jurassic World, Jurassic Park and What's Making Us Happy
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom takes a bizarre but not unwelcome left turn. How does it compare to 2015's mediocre but hugely successful revival and the original 1993 film? Guest: Chris Klimek.
Jun 20, 2018
The Great Big Stand-Up Roundup
You can find new stand-up specials just about every week. In fact, you can find so many that it's hard to keep track of them all. So we spent this episode recommending eight standout specials. Guest: Pop Culture Happy Hour producer emeritus and Ask Me Another producer Mike Katzif.
Jun 15, 2018
Incredibles 2 and What's Making Us Happy
The action of this animated sequel, which picks up where The Incredibles ended 14 years ago, is fresh and inventive, but the laughs aren't. Guest: NPR Code Switch host Gene Demby.
Jun 11, 2018
The Tony Awards and Remembering Anthony Bourdain
The Tony Awards paid off for The Band's Visit, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the Angels in America revival and a scrappy theater kid named Bruce Springsteen. Also we remember chef and television host Anthony Bourdain, who died last week.
Jun 8, 2018
Ocean's 8 and What's Making Us Happy
Ocean's 8 great cast and some clever commentary about women and Hollywood make it a whole lot of fun. Guest: Bim Adewunmi, senior culture writer at Buzzfeed and co-host of the Thirst Aid Kit podcast.
Jun 6, 2018
The Paddington Movies
At last, we take a deep, overdue dive into the sweet, tangy jars of emotional marmalade that are the Paddington films. Guests: writer Chris Klimek and librarian Margaret Willison.
Jun 1, 2018
Law & Order and What's Making Us Happy
We talk about one of the most durable franchises in television history. Guests: Librarian Margaret H. Willison and Sarah D. Bunting, the East Coast Editor of Previously.TV
May 30, 2018
'Cobra Kai' Is A Surprisingly Good 'Karate Kid' Reboot
Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso are still at it in Cobra Kai, a surprisingly interesting look at what happens later to people who peak — or crash — in high school. Guests: All Things Considered Host Audie Cornish and NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans.
May 25, 2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story and What's Making Us Happy
The odds of successfully telling the origin story of the Star Wars trilogy's lovable rogue are approximately 3,720 to 1. After a sluggish start, Solo: A Star Wars Story beats those odds. Guest: NPR Music's Daoud Tyler-Ameen.
May 19, 2018
The Royal Wedding
Normally, royal weddings are like the Oscars: a lot of pomp, but no real surprises. But when Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, the audience sat up and took notice. Guests: Weekend Edition Editor Barrie Hardymon and Librarian Margaret Willison.
May 18, 2018
Deadpool 2 and What's Making Us Happy
Ryan Reynolds once again assumes the role of a deadly mercenary who makes many references to various pop culture properties while disemboweling folk a lot. Guests: Writer Chris Klimek and Daisy Rosario of NPR Member Station WAMU.
May 16, 2018
The Half-Hour Drama Flourishes With 'Vida'
The new Starz half-hour drama tells the story of two young women who learn a lot about their mother when they go home to deal with the consequences of her death. Guest: Daisy Rosario of NPR Member Station WAMU.
May 11, 2018
Tully and What's Making Us Happy
Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, the film stars Charlize Theron in an often brutal look at the emotional and physical tolls of parenthood. Guest: Weekend Edition Editor Barrie Hardymon.
May 9, 2018
BBC America's cat-and-mouse spy show is a classic genre piece executed very well. We talk about its tension and its great lead performance from Sandra Oh on this week's episode. Guest: Code Switch's Kat Chow
May 4, 2018
A Quiet Place and What's Making Us Happy
The shush-iest film to become a hit in quite some time gets some overdue attention from the panel on this episode. Guest: Writer Meryl Williams.
May 2, 2018
Leaving 'Hamilton' And 'Failing Up' With Leslie Odom Jr.
Broadway's original Aaron Burr sits down with host Linda Holmes to talk about his new book, how it feels to hear ugly things about your career, and what he wants to do now that he couldn't before.
Apr 27, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War and What's Making Us Happy
The Avengers try to keep a space-tyrant from performing cosmic genocide. The film doubles down on character interactions both familiar and unfamiliar. Guest: Code Switch co-host Gene Demby.
Apr 23, 2018
After seven seasons, Shonda Rhimes' roller-coaster of a drama screeches to a final halt as Olivia Pope and the team try to get out of one last scrape and Olivia tries to make it to Vermont. Guests: All Things Considered host Audie Cornish, NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans, and NPR Music's Sidney Madden.
Apr 20, 2018
Summer Movie Preview and What's Making Us Happy
The panel predicsts the hits and flops, tell you what they're looking forward to, and help you spend that ticket money wisely. Guest: Aisha Harris, host of Slate's Represent podcast.
Apr 18, 2018
Pop Culture Dichotomies
Star Trek vs. Star Wars? The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones? Gale vs. Peeta? Batman vs. Superman? The gang breaks down their favorite pop culture dichotomies. Guest: NPR Books editor Petra Mayer. (This segment originally aired on November 14, 2014.)
Apr 13, 2018
Antiques Roadshow and What's Making Us Happy
To talk about the PBS institution that celebrates used stuff and how much it may or may not be worth. Guest: Jesse Thorn, host of NPR's Bullseye and the head honcho of the Maximum Fun podcast network.
Apr 11, 2018
Bill Hader stars as a depressed hit man who wants a fresh start in acting but can't seem to get one. And the HBO comedy-drama asks questions most antihero shows won't. Guest: NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans.
Apr 6, 2018
Roseanne and What's Making Us Happy
The panel chats about the Roseanne revival and how the show's politics intersects with the politics of Roseanne Barr. Plus, what's making us happy this week. Guest: Hanna Rosin, Co-Host of Invisibilia.
Apr 4, 2018
The panel chats about Love, Simon; the first big American studio film to give a gay teenager the kind of story that John Hughes gave straight kids in the 1980s. Guest: Dave Holmes, Editor at Large for Esquire.com.
Mar 30, 2018
Ready Player One and What's Making Us Happy
Spielberg returns to his cinema-as-thrill-ride roots in this adaptation of Ernest Cline's YA novel. Guest: The Verge's Tasha Robinson.
Mar 28, 2018
Isle of Dogs
The panel chats about the new Wes Anderson film Isle of Dogs, a stop-motion-animated film about loyal dogs exiled to a lonely island. Guest: Film critic Chris Klimek.
Mar 23, 2018
SXSW 2018 Wrap
The panels shares some of their favorite new music discoveries from this year's SXSW Music Festival. Guests: NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael and music writer Katie Presley.
Mar 21, 2018
The panel High Maintenance, HBO's anthology series about a marijuana dealer and his clients in New York City. Guests: Weekend Edition editor Barrie Hardymon and All Things Considered host Audie Cornish.
Mar 16, 2018
Talk Show Talk and What's Making Us Happy
The panel chats about some of their favorite talk show guests and what makes an ideal host-guest dynamic. Guest: Comedian Guy Branum, the host and creator of TruTV's Talk Show the Game Show.
Mar 14, 2018
Donald Glover's Emmy-winning comedy returns for second season that includes sharply drawn characters and an appreciation for the problems with success. Guests: Code Switch co-host Gene Demby and It's Been a Minute host Sam Sanders.
Mar 9, 2018
A Wrinkle In Time and What's Making Us Happy
Director Ava DuVernay's adaptation of the classic Madeleine L'Engle novel is devoid of cynicism, filled with beautiful images and deeply moving. Guest: Daisy Rosario of NPR member station WAMU.
Mar 5, 2018
The 2018 Oscars
Last year's Oscars were wildly unpredictable. This year's were very predictable, with big wins for The Shape Of Water, all the actors who were expected to win all along, and Jordan Peele.
Mar 2, 2018
Our 2018 Oscars Preview
The team takes a moment to consider the upcoming Oscars in categories big and small. They probably won't end with anyone handing over the wrong envelope. But wouldn't it be surprising if they did? Guest: NPR Film Critic Bob Mondello
Feb 28, 2018
The Regrettable Television Pop Quiz
The panel tries to stump each other with clips from the weirdest TV they could find. Guest: All Things Considered host Audie Cornish.
Feb 23, 2018
Annihilation and What's Making Us Happy
Alex Garland's new sci-fi thriller is very weird, and we loved it. Guests: Writer Chris Klimek and Daisy Rosario of NPR member station WAMU.
Feb 21, 2018
The Netflix series "Queer Eye" is a reboot of the 2003 phenomenon, not a retread. They've dropped "For the Straight Guy" from the title, reflecting the retooled makeover series' updated, and slightly broadened, mission. Guests: Tobin Low and Kathy Tu, co-hosts of Nancy, a podcast from WNYC studios.
Feb 16, 2018
Black Panther and What's Making Us Happy
Ryan Coogler's Marvel film, set largely in the richly imagined Afro-futurist utopia of Wakanda, is by turns intimate, immediate and — most importantly — new. Guest: Code Switch's Gene Demby.
Feb 14, 2018
The Winter Olympics
Sam Sanders joins the panel to talk about his memories of the Sochi Olympics, the way young athletes handle attention and athleticism itself, what we love watching during this year's games in Pyeongchang.
Feb 9, 2018
Darkest Hour and What's Making Us Happy
The panel discusses the Oscar-nominated film Darkest Hour, which stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Guest: Aisha Harris, host of Slate's Represent Podcast.
Feb 5, 2018
The Super Bowl
The Eagles won a thrilling victory in the Super Bowl on Sunday night, to the delight of Philadelphians everywhere. Tom Brady of the Patriots proved fallible, while Justin Timberlake was ... just fine. Guests: Code Switch's Gene Demby and writer Katie Presley.
Feb 2, 2018
Roxane Gay latest book is the memoir Hunger. It's about her relationship with her body, with trauma, and with her own history. In September 2017, host Linda Holmes and Gay sat down at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. They talked about writing, about bodies, about the closeness people feel with her when they've read her work.
Jan 29, 2018
The 2018 Grammys
We recap the highlights of this year's Grammy Awards, including a sweep by Bruno Mars and memorable performances from Kendrick Lamar and Kesha. Guests: NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden.
Jan 24, 2018
The gang discusses Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, Phantom Thread. The story about the twisted relationship between a dressmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his muse (Vicky Krieps) just earned six Oscar nominations. Guest: KJZZ Senior Producer and Daniel Day-Lewis super fan Sarah Ventre.
Jan 19, 2018
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and What's Making Us Happy
The gang takes a look at Amy Sherman-Palladino's award-winning comedy, starring Rachel Brosnahan as a '50s housewife-turned-comedian. And, as always, What's Making Us Happy this week. Guests: Writer Katie Presley and Weekend Edition Books Editor Barrie Hardymon.
Jan 17, 2018
The Florida Project and Remembering Dolores O'Riordan
The panel talks about the Florida Project, Sean Baker's small-scale but memorable film set at a motel near Disney World. Then, we take a moment to remember Dolores O'Riodan, the lead singer of the Cranberries, who died suddenly at age 46. Guest: Code Switch's Gene Demby.
Jan 12, 2018
I, Tonya and What's Making Us Happy
This week's show takes a look at an emerging awards contender in the acting categories: I, Tonya, the semi-mockumentary retelling of the life of Tonya Harding, controversial figure skater. Guest: Librarian Margaret H. Willison.
Jan 8, 2018
The Golden Globe Awards
Recent stories of sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood inspired black dresses and unexpected guests at the Golden Globes. Plus, Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and she spent nearly all her time talking about the long struggle for justice for women. In the actual awards races, Three Billboards, Ladybird, and Amazon scored.
Jan 5, 2018
Pop Culture Resolutions and Predictions, Plus What's Making Us Happy
Code Switch's Kat Chow joins the panel as they say goodbye to 2017 by revisiting their resolutions and predictions from last year and making new ones for 2018.
Jan 3, 2018
Host Linda Holmes talks with actor John Cho (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Star Trek) about why he misses doing broad comedies, his decision to join The Exorcist, what it's like being the subject of internet fandom, and his new film Columbus.
Dec 29, 2017
Black Mirror and What's Making Us Happy
The panel chats about Black Mirror, Netflix's sci-fi anthology series. The fourth season premiers today. Guests: film and theater critic Chris Klimek and Brittany Luse, co-host of The Nod.
Dec 27, 2017
Our 15 Favorites Of 2017
The panel runs down their 15 favorite TV shows, movies, books, video games, and trends of 2017.
Dec 22, 2017
The Post and What's Making Us Happy
The panel chats about the Post, Steven Spielberg's latest film which follows the Washington Post's decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. The movie stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. Guest: All Things Considered Film Critic Bob Mondello.
Dec 20, 2017
Our Hanukkah Special
While you may have wrapped up your Hanukkah celebrations, we wanted to share a conversation about the role that Hanukkah plays for kids and adults, and some of the pop culture that surrounds it. Guests: Weekend Edition Editor Barrie Hardymon and KJZZ Senior Producer Sarah Ventre.
Dec 15, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi and What's Making Us Happy
Writer/director Rian Johnson joins the Star Wars franchise to deliver a chapter that's fast, fun and freewheeling, even as it introduces surprising nuance to the classic Dark Side vs. Light Side beef. Guest: NPR White House Correspondent Tamara Keith.
Dec 13, 2017
The Shape of Water
The panel talks about the Guillermo del Toro film about a woman racing to save her not-quite-human true love from the bad guys. Guest: NPR Arts Desk Correspondent Neda Ulaby.
Dec 8, 2017
The Disaster Artist, The Room, and What's Making Us Happy
James Franco's The Disaster Artist tells the story of the making of The Room, one of the most famous awful movies of all time. The panel sits down to talk about Franco's vision and his muse. Guest: NPR Music's Marissa Lorusso.
Dec 6, 2017
Call Me By Your Name
Luca Guadagnino's lush adaptation of Andre Aciman's novel stars Timothee Chalamet as a teenage prodigy who falls in love with a visiting grad student played by Armie Hammer. Guest: All Things Considered Film Critic Bob Mondello.
Dec 1, 2017
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The panel reviews Martin McDonagh's polarizing new film, which stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell. Guest: Code Switch co-host Gene Demby.
Nov 29, 2017
Pixar's latest animated film follows young Miguel through an adventure that teaches him about family and remembrance. Code Switch's Shereen Marisol Meraji joins the panel to talk about the film and the Disney short Olaf's Frozen Advenure.
Nov 24, 2017
Black-ish and What's Making Us Happy
The panel checks in with the ABC sitcom Black-ish, then share what's making them happy this week. Guests: Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, co-hosts of The Nod.
Nov 22, 2017
The panel chats about why they love Lady Bird, the coming-of-age film written and directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan.
Nov 17, 2017
Justice League and What's Making Us Happy
The gang discusses DC Comics' latest movie, featuring Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Cyborg. That, plus What's Making Us Happy this week. Guests: NPR Music
Nov 15, 2017
Murder On The Orient Express and Cozy Murder Mysteries
The panel tackles Kenneth Branagh's new Agatha Christie remake — and picks a few recommendations for when you just want to snuggle under blankets and watch a murder get solved. Guests: Weekend Edition Editor Barrie Hardymon and Librarian Margaret H. Willison.
Nov 10, 2017
This Is Us, Speechless, and What's Making Us Happy
All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro joins the panel to disuss This Is Us, NBC's hit family drama. Then, All Things Considered Host Audie Cornish tags in for a chat about ABC's new sitcom Speechless. Plus, what's making us happy this week. (This episode originally aired on December 6, 2016.)
Nov 8, 2017
Pop Culture Advice With Audie Cornish
The Pop Culture Happy Hour gang answer some pop culture advice questions, including balancing recaps with television consumption and if you should try to expand your girlfriend's pop culture tastes.
Nov 3, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok and What's Making Us Happy
The panel takes on the latest from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with help from Code Switch co-host and established Taika Waititi fan Shereen Marisol Meraji.
Nov 1, 2017
Stranger Things 2
After a highly successful first season, the Netflix monster mystery returns. But does it overcome the challenges that have plagued sequels for decades? Guest: TV Critic Eric Deggans.
Oct 27, 2017
American Vandal and What's Making Us Happy
The panel discusses American Vandal, the Netflix mockumentary series that's a hilariously precise dissection of our cultural fascination with true crime narratives. Guest: Mallory Ortberg of Slate's Dear Prudence.
Oct 25, 2017
Author, comedian, and fake internet judge John Hodgman talks about his new book Vacationland, mediating internet disputes, writing a serious book after a lot of fake facts, and lots more.
Oct 20, 2017
Shark Tank and What's Making Us Happy
NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith joins the panel to talk about the oddly successful and often bizarre ABC series that brings entrepreneurs to beg for money from rich people.