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Pop Culture Happy Hour
13 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
The very funny mockumentary series Wellington Paranormal follows a pair of New Zealand police officers as they investigate strange occurrences in and around that nation's capital city. It's technically a spinoff of the 2014 film What We Do In The Shadows from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. It shares the film's bone-dry, deadpan mix of horror and humor. But what sets Wellington Paranormal apart is how seamlessly it channels that sensibility into the very familiar format of the TV show COPS.
19 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
Our Summer Stories
We're having a summer of carefully and safely going out into the world again. And what happens when you go out into the world is that more things tend to happen to you. The good and the bad, the amazing and the mortifying. In this encore episode, we share some of our favorite — and most embarrassing — summer stories.
24 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
Old And What's Making Us Happy
The psychological horror thriller Old comes with the kind of twist we've come to expect from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan. That twist is right there in the title: A bunch of tourists find themselves trapped on a secluded beach where they all age at an alarming rate.
15 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
On Netflix's new dating competition show Sexy Beasts, contestants go on blind dates where everyone involved is wearing Oscar-worthy prosthetic makeup. It begs the question: are people so desperate to find a mate that they would do so on TV, and without knowing whether their date is hot or not? According to Sexy Beasts, the answer is a resounding yes.
16 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Kevin Can F**k Himself
What would life as a sitcom wife really be like? That's the premise of the AMC series Kevin Can F**k Himself. Annie Murphy plays a woman who exists in a sitcom when she's with her husband, but lives in a moody drama whenever he's not around.
21 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
Naomi Osaka is one of the best tennis players in the world. She's a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, and she's about to represent Japan in the Olympics. And in a new Netflix documentary series, directed by Garrett Bradley, it's clear that these pressures and others have taken a toll on the 23-year-old. What you see in these three episodes also sheds light on her recent decision to withdraw from Wimbledon to prioritize her mental health.
23 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
Boy Bands: A Guide
Boy bands have been a staple of pop music for generations. They've won over millions of fans and provided gateways to fandom and pop-cultural obsession. From New Edition and New Kids On The Block in the '80s to BTS today — with a whole lot of acts like *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys in the middle — there've been countless boy bands to choose from. Today we're offering up a brief modern history of boy bands.
23 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
Space Jam: A New Legacy And What's Making Us Happy
Twenty-five years ago, the movie Space Jam paired Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan. Now, Space Jam: A New Legacy brings together Bugs Bunny and LeBron James. It's now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
22 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
In 2018, Blindspotting was one of the buzziest movies to come out of the Sundance Film Festival. Now, it's has been spun off into a series on Starz, offering a fresh and more expansive take on the movie's themes around incarceration and race. Jasmine Cephas Jones plays Ashely. She had a supporting role in the film, but now she is story's central focus. And there's a colorful cast of new characters and musical set-pieces to boot.
20 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
Britney Spears' Conservatorship: What We Know, And What's Next
For more than 13 years, Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship. Her assets and career have been kept under the control of her father, Jamie Spears, as well as an attorney. A movement called #FreeBritney has pushed for that conservatorship to be lifted — and Spears herself recently gave a speech in court asking for autonomy over her own life. Today, another court hearing will help determine where she stands. So we're breaking down everything you need to know about Britney Spears' conservatorship.
24 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
2021 Emmy Nominations
This year's Emmy Award nominations brought some expected triumphs (Ted Lasso, The Queen's Gambit) and welcomed surprises (WandaVision, Pose). The Crown and The Mandalorian tied for the most nominations for a drama, and Saturday Night Live earned the most nominations for a comedy. HBO and HBO Max came away with the most nominations for a network. We recap this year's nominations: the highlights, the shockers, the snubs and the headscratchers.
12 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
I Think You Should Leave
Two years ago, the first season of the Netflix sketch comedy series I Think You Should Leave introduced viewers to Tim Robinson's distinctive comic voice: It's male, it's often loud, and it varies in tone from belligerent to outraged to defensive to performatively wounded. But because Robinson and his fellow comedians are so good at exposing the deep wells of insecurity and vulnerability beneath that bluff, masculine, angry-doofus surface, the show is also hilarious. Now it's back for a second season.
23 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Black Widow and What's Making Us Happy
When Scarlett Johansson started playing Natasha Romanoff, she was the only female Avenger. And despite multiple appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow never got her own movie. That changes with the release of Black Widow, which looks back on a previously unexplored part of the character's history.
15 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
2021 Songs Of Summer
Every summer gets its own unique soundtrack — a fresh batch of hit songs, all vying for an unofficial title: Song Of The Summer. Often these songs are on the wind, everywhere, dominating not just the airwaves, but also the cultural conversation. And sometimes, a song of the summer is just a great new music discovery. So we gathered together a bunch of NPR Music contributors and asked them to name their Song Of The Summer.
14 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
It might sound like fun to date a glamorous movie star, but in reality, it would probably get very messy. That's the premise of HBO Max's Starstruck, created by and starring New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo. Over six episodes, the romantic comedy series is complicated, funny and charming — treating fame as the isolating pain in the neck it often can be.
15 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
The immersive HBO series Betty follows an eclectic bunch of young women skateboarders navigating adulthood while fostering community within a bro-dominated environment. Based on Crystal Moselle's 2018 film Skate Kitchen, the show returned for a second season, and we think it's worth a look if you haven't checked it out.
25 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
A Dose Of Great New Music
The Pop Culture Happy Hour team is off today, so we thought you might like to check out the latest episode of New Music Friday from the All Songs Considered podcast. It highlights the biggest album releases of the week, across many genres, and it's full of music by big stars and new discoveries. Hosted by Robin Hilton, it's a great way to get caught up on the week in music — and maybe even find your new favorite band.
26 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
Summer Of Soul And What's Making Us Happy
In the summer of 1969, hundreds of thousands of fans flooded Harlem's Mount Morris Park to attend the Harlem Cultural Festival, which hosted the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, and Sly And The Family Stone. Now, some of that footage is unearthed in a new documentary, directed by Questlove from The Roots, titled Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).
17 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
Our Amusement Park Memories
It's summer time after a long stretch indoors, and many of us are returning to the world outside, including amusement parks. We thought it was a good time to bring you an encore episode about our favorite amusement park experiences: the rides, the attractions, the deep-fried snacks and the rigged games of chance.
22 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
Over the years, Hollywood has built movie narratives out of unusual source material, but the dark comedy Zola is one of the first to originate via Twitter. The Sundance hit was inspired by A'Ziah 'Zola' King's series of viral tweets in 2015, detailing her first-person account of a truly bizarre road trip involving exotic dancers, a pimp and a hapless boyfriend. Director Janicza Bravo and her co-writer Jeremy O. Harris have inventively translated much of that thread onto the screen, and it features crackling performances from Taylour Paige, Riley Keough and Colman Domingo.
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