Andrea brings the case against her friend Joe. Joe has adopted a minimalist lifestyle, and has vowed not to own more than a single car-load's worth of belongings. Andrea thinks he's shunned material possessions to an extreme degree and should acquire some creature comforts. Who is right, and who is wrong? Only one man can decide.
Special thanks to Jon Ahjudah Barr for suggesting this title.
Jason Kottke, master collector of the internet's most fascinating links (assembled at his website, kottke.org), shares some current favorites. He recommends diving in to explore the world's unexplained sounds and David Chang's new PBS show, The Mind of a Chef, airing now on PBS and also available online.
Years before he became famous in Britain for skewering celebrities on Popworld and Nevermind the Buzzcocks, Simon's Amstell's childhood ambition was to be on TV. And unlike most kids with dreams of TV stardom, he made it a reality -- but found it less fulfilling than he had hoped. Comedian, writer and TV host Amstell joins us this week to share his experiences in the entertainment industry, including navigating the delicate line between crafting clever comedy and bullying his celebrity guests as a TV host, writing and starring in Grandma's House, a sitcom with parallels to his own life, and seeking enlightenment on a Shamanic quest in South America.
In this era of constant hustle and bustle, who can keep up with what's HOT and what's NOT in these United States? Fortunately, expert stuff-ranker Jordan Morris joins us this week to fill us in and set us straight.
Brian K. Vaughan has the kind of strange and epic vision that's made for science fiction and fantasy. He's written award-winning comic book series like Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man, and crafted otherworldly storylines for several seasons of Lost.
His works are notable for their intimacy and beautiful, meticulously crafted characters, despite grandly epic settings. His most recent comic book series Saga is a prime example: Vaughan presents a fundamentally domestic story of parents trying to give their child a good life, backed by a colossal, galactic war. He joins us this week to share why he enjoys storytelling on a grand scale. Vaughan also explains why writing stories about lesser-known comic characters -- like Marvel's weird wildman Ka-Zar -- can be preferable to writing about the big names like Spiderman, and he tracks how fatherhood has affected his writing.
A collection of the first six issues of Brian K. Vaughan's monthly comic book series Saga is available now.
(Embed or Share this interview with Brian K. Vaughan)
Please be advised: the content in this week's Outshot may be objectionable to some listeners.
As more details emerge surrounding the BBC's recent horrific pedophilia scandals, Jesse recalls a special episode of the satirical UK television series Brass Eye, called Paedogeddon. The episode was made in response to a similar panic about pedophilia in Britain over a decade ago. Here's a look at Brass Eye's take on media hysteria.
One of the best films we saw at Sundance this year was Chris Morris' Four Lions. It's a satirical look at a London-based group of terrorists. UK-born terrorists, specifically. In the Q&A after the film, Morris talked about the sheer idiocy of terrorists he'd read about in his research, and he was unflinching in satirizing the would-be murderers. What's most remarkable about the film, though, is that these horrible, horrible doofuses are also quite human. That's a pretty remarkable achievement in my book.
The movie opens in a couple of cities November 5th, and it spreads across the country from there. Don't miss it.
The sci-fi adventure series Doctor Who has been a fan favorite for more than 40 years. The original run of the show, from 1963 to 1989, is mostly remembered by Americans for its cheesy special effects and distinctly British eccentricity. A series revamp in 2005 dispensed with the former and kept the latter - it's a huge hit, both critically and commercially, in the UK.
This month the fifth series of the new version of the show launched on BBC America, with a new head writer (the highly acclaimed Steven Moffat), a new Doctor (Matt Smith) and a new companion (Karen Gillan). Moffat, Smith and Gillan are our guests on this Sound of Young America. They talk bout the significance that Doctor Who held in their lives, and about what it's like to put a personal stamp on a revered cultural phenomenon.
Jesse Armstrong is one of the co-creators and writers of the BAFTA-winning BBC sitcom Peep Show. (A BAFTA is like a British Emmy.) Now entering its sixth series, with a US version in development at Spike TV, Peep Show is a funny, but cringe-inducing, depiction of the lives of two twenty-something flat mates, played by past TSOYA guest David Mitchell and comedy partner Robert Webb (above). Its first season recently became available in the US on Hulu. No less an authority on UK comedy than Ricky Gervais called it "The only British thing that I was really blown away by in the last few years."
Armstrong has also written for other acclaimed television series, including the sketch series That Mitchell & Web Look and the political satire The Thick of It.
MaxFun Contributor Matthew Phelan spoke with Armstrong from the UK.
Matthew Phelan: You've said that you and co-creator, Sam Bain, and the show's stars [David] Mitchell and [Robert] Webb, met in something called a "writing team experiment" within the BBC …
Jesse Armstrong: Yeah. [laughs] It was fascinating because there is a definite mystique around American writing techniques in the UK--the long runs, the more successful audience figures. We have a problem getting mainstream comedies to work and people often think that it may be something to do with [not using] the team system. I think there are interesting things about having teams of people on a show, but I definitely don't think it's a magic bullet.
So, this was a really ill-thought-through plan to create a British, team-writing situation. The people behind it thought that, to do a team show, you got six people (in this case who didn't know each other) in the room with a producer and a one-line idea--which was, "What if there was house that was squatted and these people all lived together." We wrote the script between the six of us. Each taking, one sixth of the script and we came up with this horrible, kind-of "Frankenstein's monster" as anyone would imagine. Anyone with any knowledge of the US system knows that you still have a show creator who writes the pilot, sets the tone.
So, that was disastrous, but we went into it not knowing David [Mitchell] and Robert [Webb] and came out knowing them quite well, as we sniggered behind our hands and went, "Oh, god. This is terrible what we're doing, isn't it?"
Click "Read More" for more with Peep Show Co-Creator Jesse Armstrong, including audio of the full interview.
I've gushed in the past about Chris Morris, the brilliant British satirist whose series "The Day Today" and "Brass Eye" are two of the funniest television shows of the past twenty years. They're news parodies -- a bit like the Daily Show, only even funnier. As in many of the best Daily Show bits, the target is the media, not current events. The team behind the shows devolves jargon into nonsense, sports into mental retardation and drama into absurdity. The result is absolutely amazing.
The Day Today and Brass Eye were preceded by a no-less-brilliant radio program, called On the Hour. It's probably the funniest audio comedy I've ever heard, and now it's available on CD and MP3 for the first time, more than 15 years after it first aired.
You can buy each season of the show in a 4-CD box set from the label re-releasing them, Warp Records. Both On the Hour, Vol. 1 and Volume 2 are available on Amazon for $29 each, as well. The real deal, though, is in iTunes, where you can get each series for $11.99:
On the Hour Vol. 1 (iTunes)
On the Hour Vol. 2 (iTunes)
Below: Prince Edward's Head, a quick commercial from the show.
And Alan Partridge on Badminton:
Graham Linehan an Irish comedy writer. His first major series, co-created with writing partner Arthur Mathews, was Father Ted, which is perhaps the single most iconic British sitcom of the 90s. He worked on hilarious shows like Big Train, Brass Eye and The Day Today, and recently created The IT Crowd. The IT Crowd, an office sitcom set in the IT support room of a faceless corporation, is currently running Tuesday nights on IFC.
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Graham Linehan is the next guest on TSOYA, and I thought I'd post this hilarious sketch from a show he worked on, the late-90s British sketch series Big Train. That this is like the sixth point on his resume is pretty remarkable.
Fascinating BBC documentary on Jay-Z's opus "Reasonable Doubt." Jay is so alarmingly eloquent off record, it's hard to imagine he could be so eloquent on record. And he does it without sounding like he's trying.
Jay has a lot going for him, but his greatest strength is the effortlessness of his flow. It comes so smoothly and easily that, as he points out himself, the secondary and tertiary meanings of his lyrics can fly past. What's special about Reasonable Doubt is that it's a cohesive statement of purpose -- the beats match the effortless expansiveness of Jay's flow. The lyrics do too, but they have an edge to them -- they betray the fear of the hustler's lifestyle.
There are MCs who can portray that dark side as convincingly as Jay. Scarface, for example, rhymes with such amazing weight that he can convey that darkness with just a twist of the pitch of his voice. There aren't any, though, who can convey that fear in such a way that you don't even notice it until you think back on a line, or a verse, and find yourself emotionally sucker-punched.
Sauce Money says something really great in the film, talking about his collaboration with Jay on Bring It On. He says he heard Jay's verse and "started looking for the nearest Subway. Because I'm not gonna top that."