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Why Are Dads?
59 minutes | 2 days ago
Literal holiday madness and Christmas Vacation w. Sovereign Syre
It's a movie about a father who drives himself mad by holding himself to unrealistic holiday expectations, sure, but is it possible that there could be some daddy issues to unpack? Join us and guest Sovereign Syre as we talk about National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. You can find Sovereign on Twitter and on Instagram. Why Are Dads is a show in which hosts Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed attempt to understand what the hell it means to be the grown children of dads and other dad-like figures. And, as they do with all difficult subject matter, they do so by looking through a pop culture lens. You can find us on Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. The Liz Climo "You Are Good" merch can be found here!
58 minutes | 10 days ago
Heroic Dads and Clear and Present Danger w. Jamelle Bouie
Clear and Present Danger is a movie about a CIA agent that stands up to corruption, sure, but is it possible that this movie about a convictions-addled father also has some daddy issues to unpack? We were joined by very special guest Jamelle Bouie—New York Times columnist and NBC political analyst—to discuss this 1994 political thriller classic. You can find Jamelle on Twitter and on Instagram (his photos are great!) Why Are Dads is a show in which hosts Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed attempt to understand what the hell it means to be the grown children of dads and other dad-like figures. And, as they do with all difficult subject matter, they do so by looking through a pop culture lens. You can find us on Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. The Liz Climo "You Are Good" merch can be found here! This is, we should note, the first time we've had an actual dad guest on the show! AND! It's the first time we've watched a "dad movie". Lots of firsts with Mr. Bouie in this episode. Enjoy!
39 minutes | 13 days ago
BONUS EPISODE: Saved by the Bell [Patreon episode]
This is the latest installment of our Patreon-only chats that we wanted to share with y'all because it's the Sunday before Covid Thanksgiving and things are weird! You could probably use a little Bayside in your life, so here we are. If this is the sort of things that appeals to y'all, we have weekly conversations about odds and ends over at our Patreon account. We call these chats "Shootin' the Shit w. Why Are Dads". This week we talked Zack Morris, Richard Belding, and the many dad issues that can be found in the Saved By the Bell universe. Specifically, we talk about the episodes Rent-a-Pop and A Tale of Two Beldings. We recorded this a while back, back before we knew what sort of format Why Are Dads would stick to. The only thing I wish, in retrospect, is that I [Alex] didn't refer to Dustin Diamond as "off the rails". Child stardom is fucked up and kinda (and sometimes very) abusive! On that note, you should totally watch Showbiz Kids, Alex Winter's HBO documentary on child stardom. You can find Why Are Dads here, and on Twitter and Instagram.
51 minutes | 17 days ago
Demystifying Dad and Big Fish with Guest Louisa Smith
Tim Burton's Big Fish is about a man who hopes to get a better sense of who is yarn-spinning father is. Are there larger truths in our parents’ self-constructed myths? In their “amusing lies”? Who were our parents before we were born, anyway? Is it possible to get to know those people? It's another movie about a dad so on the nose with its themes that it is impossible to open with a pithy line about the issues it offers for unpacking. Join Sarah, Alex and guest Louisa Smith as they unpack. Why Are Dads is a show in which we attempt to understand what the hell it means to be the grown children of dads and other dad-like figures. And, as we do with all difficult subject matter, we this by looking through a pop culture lens. Louisa is on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/louisathelast Find Why Are Dads online: https://twitter.com/whyaredadshttps://instagram.com/whyaredadshttps://www.patreon.com/whyaredads EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: https://www.temi.com/editor/t/oIY0SakS3fDIDOlbYVzVCzqvcpDC_NnK0jymGj35BcX0Xxr5XgA_L7O4p6MH6bjG9oNpl6mZvtesKYEpDQRjzyb8T6A?loadFrom=SharedLink
78 minutes | 24 days ago
Charismatic con men, grief and The Royal Tenenbaums
We usually tease the episode with some pithy switcheroo about how the movie is about one thing, but is it possible that there are some dad issues to unpack? But this is a movie that refers to an entire family by the dad's name, so join Sarah, Alex and guest Rachel Vorona Cote as they unpack Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums. Here's Rachel on Twitter, and here is her wonderful book Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today. We are selling this VERY limited run Why Are Dads shirt through November 18th. And here we are on Patreon! And Twitter! And Instagram!
62 minutes | a month ago
Invisibility AND masculinity in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is about a dad who shrinks his kids, sure, but is it possible there are some issues to unpack in a movie in which dad can't see or hear his children? Sarah and Alex discuss and heap loads of love unto Rick Moranis. As a bit of "reality" counter-programming we decided to expedite our chat about this beloved family classic. It's got Rick Moranis! It's got Antie! It's got big cookies and giant Legos! Turn your brain off for an hour and let's go back to our childhood and then, of course, ruin that trip by taking about how dads can be... a real situation. Hey! You can find us on: PatreonTwitterInstagram
78 minutes | a month ago
Robot Daddies and Terminator 2 [with Michael Hobbes!]
Terminator 2 is about a boy, his mom, and a killer robot, sure, but is it possible that a movie about a surrogate cyborg father has some daddy issues to unpack? Join Sarah, Alex and Michael Hobbes as we discuss the best movie of 1991. Our guest Michael Hobbes is a reporter for HuffPost. He is also the co-creator and co-host of You’re Wrong About and Maintenance Phase. Terminator 2 is a movie about two robots from 2029 to present day  Los Angeles. One is sent by resistance leader John Connor to protect his childhood self from the second robot, which is sent back by Skynet—an AI neural network dedicated to eradicating humans. The movie follows young John Connor (Edward Furlong), his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) and their robot protector (Arnold Schwarzenegger as they try to survive the pursuit of T-1000 (Robert Patrick) while also doing whatever possible to stop the technological developments that will make possible the future human/robot wars.
73 minutes | a month ago
Plague, abandonment and Roy Cohn in Angels in America
Angels in America is about plague in the Reagan 80s but could it be possible that there are some daddy issues to dissect in a work about a people abandoned by God? Join Sarah, Alex and Emma as they talk Angels, Roy Cohn and Cohn protege young Donald Trump. We watched the Mike Nichols adaptation of Tony Kushner’s 1991 play about AIDS and homosexuality in the 1980s. Big, big dad themes. It follows the lives of two couples, one gay and one straight-ish. Louis and Prior are our gay couple, and Louis leaves Prior after he is diagnosed with AIDS. And it follows the lives of Joe and Harper Pitt, and Joe’s mom Hannah. They are Mormons having relocated to New York for Joe’s career, and Joe, it turns out, is closeted. Joe works at the law office of Roy Cohn, the McCarthyist lawyer and power broker—also closeted—and we see Cohn struggle through his diagnosis and reconciling his own mortality. Our conversation focuses primarily on Louis, who leaves Prior in the face of his diagnosis, and Cohn, who we wanted to talk about because Donald Trump was, for a brief period anyway, a Cohn protege and really it seems like as character, morality and philosophy go, he made quite an impact on a young Trump. We will also mention Belize, a gay man who is friends with Louis and Prior, and comes to find himself in the often awkward position of being Roy Cohn’s nurse. He is played deliciously by Jeffrey Wright.
82 minutes | 2 months ago
Absentee dads, legacy, Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein
Frankenstein  and Young Frankenstein are about mad scientists who have to come to terms with their creations, sure, but is it possible that movies about men who create monsters have daddy issues to dissect? Frankenstein is about a man who tries to figure out how to create life without the involvement of his fiancée and—surprise!—he becomes an absentee dad. Young Frankenstein is about a dad who tries the opposite. Join Sarah and Alex as they discuss. - In Why Are Dads, Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed attempt to understand what the hell it means to be the grown children of dads and other dad-like figures. And, as they do with all difficult subject matter, they do so by looking through a pop culture lens. https://www.podpage.com/why-are-dads/
40 minutes | 2 months ago
Self-Absorption, Dad and The Squid and the Whale
It’s a cult classic about 1980s Brooklyn intellectuals falling apart at the seams, sure, but Sarah and Alex sort through The Squid and the Whale’s many dad themes and issues. What happens when mom and dad decide to go their separate ways and everybody has to come to terms with how much of a prick dad has been this whole time? We were joined by the delightful writer, actor and musician Sean Nelson to discuss The Squid and the Whale, the 2005 Noah Baumbach classic starring Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, William Baldwin and Anna Paquin.
24 minutes | 2 months ago
Manhood and Friday
It's a classic 90s stoner comedy, sure, but Sarah and Alex sort through Friday's many dad themes and issues. What happens when, confronted with bullies and vengeful drug dealers, you feel compelled to stand your ground? Friday is, of course, the 1995 cult classic. It was written by Ice Cube, who also stars in the film, and was directed by F. Gary Gray. Taking place in South Central LA, it's about Craig, who just got fired from his job on his day off. He spends the day with Smokey (Chris Tucker) who has smoked all the weed he was supposed to sell and subsequently gets in trouble with his supplier, Big Worm. There is a huge, amazing ensemble of characters who come in and out of their lives including Regina King, Nia Long, Bernie Mac, Tiny Zeus Lister, and John Witherspoon. Even if you don't know the movie, you certainly have heard some of the sayings and dialogue from it, most famously 'Bye, Felicia' and like literally every one-liner that Chris Tucker says. Oh! You can support us on Patreon here!
54 minutes | 2 months ago
Dad issues abound in Top Gun
It's about a handful of guys competing against each other at a top tier Navy flight school, sure, but Sarah, Alex and special guest Clementine Ford unpack Top Gun's dad themes and there is plenty to sort through. What happens when, haunted by questions about your father's death and legacy, you become the cockiest fighter pilot in the Navy? Top Gun is, of course, the story of Maverick, Goose, Iceman and a bunch of 1980s cool dudes competing for the Top Gun trophy but it's also stuffed to the brim with dad themes. For Maverick, who grew up haunted by the specter of his father, everyone he encounters becomes—whether he knows it or not—a father figure. We talk all the dad themes, military themes, and—of course—homoeroticism Tony Scott stuffed into this 1986 classic.
64 minutes | 3 months ago
Deescalation with Dad... and Kevin Costner
What if dads taught their kids to deescalate rather than to retaliate? To prioritize love over conflict? What if men learned from their trauma, and shared their lessons with their families? The War is an under-appreciated classic — a kids movie that tries to show the destructive nature of cycles of violence. It is hokey and fantastic, but it dares imagine another way for dads to be. You don’t have to have seen this 1995 Kevin Costner and Elijah Wood vehicle about addressing post-Vietnam trauma to appreciate our conversation about this movie, which has a little something for everyone. And we are joined by friend of the show Kasai Richardson, a writer and educator who knows this movie well because it was a staple in his family. The War helped Kasai to better understand his own father’s struggles with trauma and post traumatic stress. This one was a joy.
67 minutes | 3 months ago
Surviving Dad and A Nightmare on Elm Street
It’s about a lascivious dream demon, sure, but Sarah and Alex unpack Nightmare on Elm Street’s Dad themes and there is plenty to sort through. What happens when you realize that your parents' self-serving attempts at keeping you safe push you even further into harm’s way? And when you find yourself on the hook for their sins? Nightmare on Elm Street is, of course, the story of Nancy Thompson—a teenage girl who is stalked by Freddy Krueger, a burned man equipped with razor-like fingers. She learns that the demon was once a man in their neighborhood, a man named Freddy known for murdering children, who—after getting free on a legal loophole, was burned to death by a gang of local parents. These parents include her mother, who is now a drunk, and her father, who is an unfeeling cop. Freddy attacks and kills her friends Tina and Rod, and eventually her boyfriend Glen, and she is tasked with surviving. — Beyond that, Nightmare on Elm Street comes out at an extraordinarily fascinating time—it’s right around when America’s obsession with serial killers is starting to mature and when the Satanic Panic is beginning to take shape. If you follow Sarah’s work generally, particularly her writing on Ted Bundy for The Believer or her and Michael Hobbes' work on You’re Wrong About, you know that all of these factors play heavily into her areas of interest, and this is a great companion piece to a lot of her existing body of work. Also, thanks to feedback we received on Twitter regarding where slasher movies intersect with the popularity of serial killers in popular media, we recorded an additional piece for this episode and so what you’re hearing here is actually base don two conversations. There are so many accompanying texts that you might be interested in, from the Michelle Remembers episodes of You’re Wrong About to articles form Psychology Today, and you can find all of those in the show notes. And one other note is that the McMartin Case, which Sarah will mention later in the episode, is one of the initial phenomena that would metastasize into what we now know into the Satanic Panic. If you want to dive further into the cultural context, or refresh what you already know: The End of Evil [Sarah Marshall on Ted Bundy for The Believer] You’re Wrong About on The Satanic Panic You’re Wrong About on Michelle Remembers Conviction: Season II [by Gimlet Media] Dr. Anthony Tobia views Nightmare on Elm Street through a psychologist’s lens [Psychology Today] More on the McMartin case in the LA Times Check out C Money Burns on Bandcamp and on Twitter Check out Carolyn Kendrick's music online Why Are Dads is produced by Carolyn Kendrick with support from Knack Factory. It was created by Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed. Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed are Executive Producers.
58 minutes | 3 months ago
Disappointing Dad and Dirty Dancing
It’s about dancing, sure, but Sarah and Alex unpack Dirty Dancing’s dad themes and there is plenty to sort through. What happens when you disappoint your father by putting his own ethical code into action? A young woman gets radicalized and dance becomes a metaphor for sex and revolution. Dirty Dancing is, of course, the 1987 Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze oft-maligned “chick flick” that is about dancing, yes, but also lefty politics, reproductive rights, and—if you’re Sarah—imagining Jerry Orbach’s nipples. We are lucky to be joined in this conversation by our friend the wonderful Candace Opper. Original music by Carolyn Kendrick, who also produced the episode. Additional beats provided by Funky Fresh Lesh.
47 minutes | 3 months ago
Emotional Intimacy and Jaws
It is about a shark, sure, but Sarah and Alex unpack Jaws' Big Dad Energy by looking at its larger themes in the context of their own experiences with fathers and dads. Jaws, of course, is Steven Spielberg’s wildly popular 1975 adaptation of Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel. The film is about at least one literal dad: Brody. And it’s about other men who remind us of our respective dads, sorting through their egos and masculinity while in pursuit of this shark. Sarah is also the co-host of You're Wrong About. Alex is also the host of Nashville Demystified. This episode was produced with support from and overside by Mary Dooe. It was produced by Carolyn Kendrick. Original intro song and interpretations of 'Show Me the Way' to Go Home and 'Spanish Ladies' by Carolyn Kendrick. Other original music by Mosart Nunez.
3 minutes | 4 months ago
Hey! This is the trailer.
Sarah Marshall [You're Wrong About] and Alex Steed [Nashville Demystified] attempt to understand what the hell it means to be the grown children of dads and other dad-like figures. And, as they do with all difficult subject matter, they do so by looking through a pop culture lens. They try to understand their own dads, their relationships with those dads—and very possibly your relationship with your dad—by looking at fatherhood, and masculinity in television, film, and other popular [and unpopular] media. There are a lot of podcasts about being a dad. This is not that. This is dad crit. Produced by Carolyn Kendrick and Alex Steed for Knack Factory.
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