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Pop Rocket

Pop Rocket

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Weekly discussion of the culture we all love to love. Join host Guy Branum and panelists Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson, and Margaret Wappler for smart, funny and sometimes sweary chat about everything great in entertainment. Combining comic, journalistic, academic and digital media expertise, the Pop Rocket team will keep you up-to-date on what's most exciting in pop culture.
199 Episodes
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Pop Rocket Ep. 196 Bad Times at the El Royale w/Drea Clark
It’s 1969. Four guests check into the El Royale Hotel: a priest (Jeff Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), and a hippie (Dakota Johnson). They all - save one - have something mysterious going on behind the scenes and the hotel itself is not what it appears to be. When they check in, there’s a storm a-brewin'. Join Guy, Karen, Margaret, and producer/film festival programmer/Who Shot Ya contributor and now Pop Rocket guest Drea Clark as they pick apart Drew Goddard’s neo-noir ensemble Bad Times at The El Royale. They get into the movie's twists, turns, non-linear construction, Cynthia Erivo's breakout performance, and how it's kind of likeQuentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, but not nearly as macho. All Abouts Drea is all about a long read article from The Texas Monthly called The Love Story that Upended the Texas Prison System about the alliance and romantic relationship between a lawyer and an inmate that ultimately brought attention to a nationwide scandal and disrupted the system of abuse of prisoners in Texas. Margaret is all about the second season of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, which covers the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton. Karen is all about The LA Dodgers pulling ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers (as of last Wednesday) in the National League Championship Series. Guy is all about Glenn Close's performance in her new movie The Wife. That's My Jam Karen - Trashcan Sinatras - All Night Margaret - Alvvays - In Undertow. Drea - Tierra Whack - MUMBO JUMBO With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Drea Clark, and Margaret Wappler. You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Pop Rocket Ep. 195 A Star is Born
This week gay America received so much, but in particular, A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who also directed the movie. Guy, Wynter, Karen & Margaret--aka the full panel--got a chance to watch, cry, and be torn apart by the story of a lady who gained the world, but lost the man that she loves. On this episode, we go over the history of this film and all the remakes, share predictions on whether The Academy will hand out statues to Lady Gaga and/or Bradley Cooper, or if they'll have to settle for the less-prestigious adulation from foreign journalists. Plus, Karen pushes back on Sam Adams's Slate article, which argues that "the movie's battle between rock and pop, authenticity and artifice, and art and commerce is outdated at best." All Abouts Wynter is all about the new Halloween starring Jamie Lee Curtis and the kerfuffle over Curtis's views on gun ownership on Fox News. Karen is all about NBC's new primetime airplane sci-fi thriller, Manifest. Margaret is all about the Twitter beef between Lana Del Rey and Azealia Banks over rapper Ye formerly known as Kanye West's MAGA-ness. Guy is all about Katmai National Park & Preserve's Fat Bear Week competition. That's My Jam Karen - Barbara Streisand - Evergreen (Love Theme from "A Star is Born" 1976) Wynter - Lady Gaga - Why Did You Do That? (A Star is Born Soundtrack) Margaret - Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). Guy - Cher - Waterloo With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler. You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Pop Rocket Ep. 194 We Hate the 80s and Brett Kavanaugh Edition w/Ted Alexandro
***Trigger Warning - This episode contains discussion of sexual assault. You may want to sit this one out if hearing this kind of discussion is likely to do more harm than good.*** Current events have us (and many others) reconsidering the way high school and college relationships were depicted in the '80s, particularly in romcoms and raunchy sex comedies. Margaret Wappler hosts our discussion this week with Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and our guest, actor, and comedian Ted Alexandro who has a new comedy special Senior Class of Earth. The panel revisits supposedly harmless, goofball adolescent comedies and considers how they may have influenced the way a whole generation views consent (and yes, we are talking about rape culture). Does a culture that permits youthful experimentation -mistakes and all- open the door to complacency about assault? All Abouts Wynter is all about an article in GQ by author Marian Bull that explains how men can talk to women in their lives about all the triggering stuff in the news involving the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Karen is all about Chris, the new album by Christine and the Queens (aka Heloise Letissier), in particular, the song: Comme si. Ted is all about celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary with his wife, Madalyn, who joins him in Los Angeles this week to promote his album Senior Class of Earth. Margaret is all about Matt Damon's performance as Brett Kavanaugh on SNL. That's My Jam Karen - Selena Gomez - Back to You Wynter - Little Wayne - Uproar (Official Audio) Carter V Ted - Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity Margaret - Noname - Self. With Margaret Wappler, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Ted Alexandro. You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Pop Rocket Ep. 192 The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval - Is It Rachel’s Time to Bloom? Plus Destination Wedding
We’ve got another full panel! This week, Guy, Wynter, Margaret, and Karen tackle the ornery romcom Destination Wedding, starring Gen X darlings Winona and Keanu. Does their star-power shine bright enough to carry an entire film wherein they’re the only two people with dialogue? Has Hollywood discovered how to effectively harness their charm and charisma? You’ll find out as the panel weighs in on these questions and more. The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval The full quorum convened to vote on another nominee for the Pop Rocket Seal of Approval. Listeners will remember that the last time a quorum was convened, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did not receive enough votes from the three panelists present--Guy, Karen & Margaret. He was denied the award based on damaging GOP convention and Ballers-related critiques. In this episode, the panelists vote on whether to grant the accolade to Crazy Ex Girlfriend star and creator Rachel Bloom. Will her boundary-pushing musical-making hustle and sexualization of the hot, Asian bro win the judges over? Jam Abouts = All Abouts + That's My Jam Wynter is all about André & Sarah - the sixth episode in the Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen Amazon series Forever. Karen is all about the new Paul Feig film A Simple Favor starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding. Margaret is all about the 3rd season of HBO's Insecure. Guy is all about the adorably cute YouTube video series Kids Try by HiHo Kids. With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler. You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Pop Rocket Ep. 191 2018 Summer Jams
Between the VMA's and Yom Kippur, we've got our own version of the high holidays here at Pop Rocket: The SUMMER JAMS episode! We will anoint OR NOT anoint the title of Song of the Summer to the most banging artist of the past few months. And yes, the band is back together again. The full panel - Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell (don't forget) Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler - put on their Grammy judge hats and measure up the best cuts from music makers this past season. What criteria make a tune a summertime anthem? Is it the dance beat? The song's ubiquity? The convertible factor? A dark city feeling? Does the magic of Cardi B's "I Like It" rest solely on its sample of Peter Rodriquez's I Like It Like That? Is Zedd, Marren Morris, Grey's "The Middle" too much negotiation and not enough sex, love, and urgency? Find out which song made Silas get down like no one was watching and which panelist has a knack for converting jams into pet cat lullabies. Shout outs also go to honorable mentions and listeners' suggestions that didn't quite make the cut. All Abouts Margaret is all about Mandy Moore's newly remodeled mid-century modern home in Pasadena. Wynter is all about TV writer and producer Linda Bloodworth Thomason's op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter where she channels a glowing fury and details the misogynistic bullying she faced from disgraced former CBS CEO Les Moonves. Les Moonves, Go fuck yourself! Karen is all about the post-BBC reboot of The Great British Baking Show. Guy is all about Cynthia Nixon's appearance at the old school, crusty Brooklyn gay bar The Metropolitan before the New York Governor Primary. With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler. Summer Jam Finalists: Cardi B - I Like It Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The Middle Ariana Grande - R.E.M. Maroon 5 - Girls Like You Lizzo - Boys Years & Years - All For You Migos - Walk It Talk It Drake - In My Feelings Drake - Nice For What Calvin Harris feat. Dua Lipa - One Kiss Troye Sivan - Bloom Summer Honorable Mentions: Big Freedia feat. Lizzo - Karaoke Years & Years - If You're Over Me Matt Rogers - Be A Bitch To Your Friends (This Pride) Aloe Blacc - Brooklyn in the Summer You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Pop Rocket Ep. 190 Our Pumpkin-Spiced Fall Preview
It’s time, once again, to start deleting programs from our DVRs to make room for new ones. It's almost fall, y'all, which means award shows and the arrival of new network comedies, dramas, dramedies, and what have you. Sooooo Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, and Wynter Mitchell let us in on all the films and TV shows they're most excited about this upcoming season. Rocketeers, this here preview is the closest most of us will get to an actual harvest. The guys pick over the latest crop of entertainment offerings, including the Murphy Brown reboot, the end of Big Bang Theory, American Horror Story's upcoming convergence of its former Murder House and Coven seasons, the Italian supernatural horror film Suspiria, buzz around Lady Gaga's performance in A Star is Born, and Chloë Sevigny's disappointment over the toning down of the "smash the patriarchy" vibe in her new biopic Lizzie, about Lizzie Borden, notorious for killing her parents with an axe in 1892. All Abouts Karen is all about the actor Geoffrey Owens, who played Elvin on The Cosby Show, talking to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America about work, labor shaming, and the false idea that some jobs carry more dignity than others. Wynter is all about Succession, which is HBO's new drama loosely based on Rupert Murdoch and his family. Guy is all about Support the Girls starring Regina Hall. With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh. That's My Jam: Wynter - Ariana Grande - R.E.M. Karen - Genesis- That's All. You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Pop Rocket Ep. 189 HBO's Insecure Season 3 w/ LA Times Film Reporter Tre'vell Anderson
Hop on the PARTY LYFT as we jam out for the long-awaited return of our favorite newlywed Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh. She joins Karen Tongsen and frequent favorite Pop Rocket guest LA Times Film Reporter Tre'vell Anderson as they get into their thoughts on season 3 of HBO's Insecure. The crew touches on the careers of the leading ladies- specifically white privilege problems at Issa's nonprofit We Got Y'all, Issa's side gig as a Lyft driver, and Molly's experiences at her new black corporate law firm. They also talk about which characters they want moved from periphery to center. Do they miss Issa's ex, Lawrence? And do they buy into Molly's polyamorous relationship? Or is she's really just a glorified side b****? All Abouts Wynter is all about the horror film Hereditary. Tre'vell is all about the new musical covering the life and times of the Motown group The Temptations called Ain't Too Proud. Karen is all about more Asian American representation in Hollywood via John Cho's new thriller Searching. That's My Jam: Tre'vell - Teyana Taylor - WTP Wynter - DJ AM - Unreleased Mixes. Karen - Christine and the Queens- 5 dollars You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. With Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Tre'vell Anderson. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Ep. 188 Crazy Rich Asians (The Movie) with Alonso Duralde & Andrew Ti
We did the book, now we're doing the movie! Goddess Guy Branum and dyke-about-town Karen Tongson are joined by fellow MaxFun host Alonso Duralde of the movie podcast Who Shot Ya? and returning favorite Andrew Ti, host of the podcast Yo, Is This Racist? to talk Crazy Rich Asians. Listen in to find out who the gang thought had the breakout performances? Did the food porn in the book match up with the food porn on screen? Who would be the leading man in the sequel? Was the movie "Asian enough"? In lieu of our regular segment That's My Jam, Andrew shares one of his favorite Chinese language covers of a Western hit and how he really felt about all the Asian language covers in the movie. Also, the gang offers up some real talk about the movie's celebration of #AsianJoy, the uncomfortable ways that class played out in the film, and colorism among Asian ethnicities. All Abouts Andrew is all about Season 3 of the Syfy TV series The Expanse. Alonso is all about the new comedy Support the Girls starring Regina Hall. Karen is all about the social media eruption over the prominent queer-identified theorist Avital Ronell and her alleged sexual harassment of a male graduate student. Guy is all about the other Asian American centered movie you should be paying attention to Netflix's To All The Boys I've Loved Before. With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Andrew Ti, and Alonso Duralde. You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
Ep. 187 Summer Book Club: Crazy Rich Asians
Goddess Guy Branum returns from his book tour just in time for Pop Rocket's annual Summer Book Club. He joins Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler to finally dig into Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians book trilogy. By the way, the movie Crazy Rich Asians is out in theaters now. Go watch it! Kwan's trilogy is essentially about the crazy rich people of Singapore, but the main story in the first book Crazy Rich Asians centers around Rachel and Nick-a young couple who've been dating for two years. They're both professors living in contemporary New York. Very much in love- Nick finally invites Rachel to travel to Singapore to meet his family. Curiously, Rachel knows nothing about them and once she gets there realizes that they are insanely, filthy, rich billionaires. The panelists give us their rundown of the most fascinating themes and threads in the books including: the food, the fashion, colonialism's legacy, money vs. class, tensions between Singaporeans and mainland Chinese, hierarchies among Asian nations, assumptions about Oliver T'sien's sexuality, and then they decide who from the book they'd marry, fuck, kill, (and add to their book club). As if that weren't enough, one of the panelists--and we won't say which one--muses, "Maybe she was dickmatized?" Feel free to guess which one of our esteemed panelists said that in the comments section below. All Abouts Margaret is all about the Kevin Kwan's descriptions of Astrid's fashion "it-girlness." Astrid is Nick's cousin who is super beautiful, posh, and interesting. She's every panelists favorite character in the series. Karen is all about the reading list in the second book China Rich Girlfriend that is given to a character who is undergoing an image makeover. The character hires an image consultant who is trying to teach her about all the "right" things to talk about and all the "right" cultural references to use in conversation. Guy is all about the pineapple tarts described in the book in that they represent the very fascinating place of colonialism in Singapore's history. Spoiler alert: Singapore was under British rule for about 400 years. These tarts are an Asian modification of a French dessert that represent nostalgia, warmth, and memories of home, but also symbolize status. With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, and Margaret Wappler,. That's My Jam: Margaret - Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris - One Kiss. Karen - Faye Wong - Summer of Love Guy - Aretha Franklin - Freedom from Blues Brothers movie You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter. If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram. Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.
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