Pop Rocket

Pop Rocket is a high-octane 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, 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 this week.

Pop Rocket Episode 120: The End of Girls with Las Culturistas

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Matt Rogers
Guests: 
Bowen Yang

This week, the Pop Rocket panel has some extra help to talk about the 5 years and 6 seasons of Girls that ended this past Sunday from the New York based comedy duo Las Culturistas. As you can imagine, the gang has a lot to say during this post mortem. They talk about whether we got closure from the final episode, and whether Lena should have just stopped at the penultimate episode. Did the producers of Girls do enough to deal with the lack of racial diversity on the show over the 5 years? What role did nudity and sex play on show, and why was it so refreshing? Was Elijah used as a trophy or seen as a peer by Hannah? And did we think that this was a genuinely funny show? All of these questions will be answered, plus Bowen and Wynter are all about new video games, and Matt can't stop listening to the new Gaga. In lieu of jams this week, we get a master class in the signature segment on the Las Culturistas podcast, "I Don't Think So Honey"-- things get rowdy.

We also want to thank everyone who donated during the MaxFun Drive this year, and give a particular shoutout to those who donated on our shows behalf. Tweet at us if you made a donation to us and didn't receive your voicemail from Karen Tongson.

If you will be in the Los Angeles area this Friday, April 21st, make sure to check out Matt and Bowen's improv group Pop Roulette at UCB Sunset at 10:30 p.m.

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Bowen Yang, and Matt Rogers

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Episode 119: Pop Rocket Likes It Raw with April Wolfe

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Guy, April Wolfe, Karen, Wynter
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
April Wolfe

On this week's Pop Rocket, Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell and Karen Tongson are joined by LA Weekly film critic April Wolfe for a deep dive into the French horror film Raw by director Julia Ducournau. The movie centers on Justine, a young vegetarian who, along with her sister, is studying to become a veterinarian. When Justine is pressured to eat a rabbit's kidney at a party, that act unleashes all her carnal desires, such as the desire to eat people. When Raw screened in Los Angeles, theaters handed out barf bags to moviegoers because some people can't handle the graphic realism. In this episode, you'll find out why April considers this to be one of the best horror movies of all time. Karen Tongson impresses with a quick history lesson on French veterinary science, and Guy and Wynter explore the ways fear of female sexuality plays such a core role in horror films.

Also in this episode, April's all about the Anne Hathaway film "Colossal", Wynter's all about that Pepsi ad, Guy's all about Shit Town and Karen thinks folks should get into season three of "Grace & Frankie". Plus, the gang shares their favorite jams, but this week Guy's jam isn't a song. It's the horrific footage of the United passenger getting dragged through the plane.

It's a jam-packed episode. Enjoy!

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and April Wolfe.

That’s My Jam:

April Wolfe - Kleenex/ Liliput - Hitch-Hike
Karen Tongson - Lionel Richie - You Are
Wynter Mitchell - Iggy Azalea - Mo Bounce

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hartfor MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 118: Game Shows

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

In honor of the premier of Guy Branum's new truTV show, the gang is talking about game shows this week! Karen reminisces about the implicit corniness of 70's and 80's game shows, Wynter talks about the accessibility differences between quiz shows like Jeopardy and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, and Margaret tells us about the time she was on The Price is Right. Plus, we learn about Wynter's new obsession with ASMR-adjacent Youtube click-holes, and Guy tells us why he was stunned by the latest episodes of Feud, Girls, and the gang discuss the series finale of Big Little Lies. Finally, the gang tell us which tracks they can't stop listening to.

**There are many plot revealing spoilers in this episode, particularly about the series finale of Big Little Lies**

Rocketeers, don't forget to tune into Guy Branum's NEW tv program called Talk Show The Game Show every Wednesdy at 10/9c on truTV, with a premier date of April 5th!

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Margaret Wappler

Jams:

Margaret Wappler - Sit Down - James
Wynter Mitchell - That's What I Like - Bruno Mars
Karen Tongson - Maggie Rogers - Alaska
Guy Branum - Conceptual Jam - Donate to Maximum Fun!

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Michael Larson on Press Your Luck
James - Laid
That Poppy

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Pop Rocket Episode 117: 1997 in Music

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

This week the gang is here to talk about the year 1997 in music and culture. There are a surprising number of 20 year old infallible pop hits that were influenced by a number of factors; the internet, CD-R's, Princess Diana passing, the death of Gianni Versace, the 24-hour news cycle, and of course Tupac and Biggies deaths. Wynter and Karen make it clear that they had the best 1997 as they were living in the city of possibilities (San Francisco), Margaret tells us why she doesn't know any Spice Girls songs, and we find out which panelist played sax in a ska band. Plus, in lieu of jams, we hear from each of the panelists what podcasts they are listening to lately.

And remember, if you haven't yet become a member or upgraded your membership, please do it before the end of #MaxFunDrive. Margaret Wappler has vowed to send every new person that joins a denim jacket w/ a celebrity inside, Karen Tongson will eat weird vending machine food for you and Guy Branum will share his family's fruit cobbler recipe. And his family is from Arkansas!

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Margaret Wappler

Podcast Recommendations:

Margaret Wappler - Baby Geniuses
Karen Tongson - Minority Korner
Guy Branum - Las Culturistasr

We made a special playlist with all of the songs we talked about in this week's episode (plus some other gems).

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Pop Rocket Episode 116: Bonus! Jesse Thorn Interviews Guy

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Jesse Thorn

This week we have a bonus Pop Rocket episode for all of you Rocketeers!
Jesse Thorn, our boss and creator of Pop Rocket, interviewed Guy for Pop Rocket's sister show Bullseye with Jesse Thorn about his new truTV show Talk Show the Game Show. Although the Bullseye interview won't air for a couple of weeks, Jesse wanted to release this episode to you, our beloved listeners, as a thank you for your continued support.
As I'm sure you know by now, it is the MaxFun Drive, the 2 weeks out of the year where we ask you, our listeners, to give back in whatever way possible. You can go to the MaxFun website to donate at whatever level you can. You can also pick up some awesome thank you gifts, among which is the INCREDIBLE Pop Rocket enamel pin designed by Megan Lynn Kott. We really can't make this show without you and we so appreciate anything that you can give. Make sure to make some noise about your contribution to Maximum Fun by using the astag #MaxFunDrive.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Pop Rocket Episode 115: Ladies Loving Ladies with Tara Jepsen

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Tara Jepsen
Guests: 
Lisa Loeb

Guy, Wynter, and Karen are joined by comedian and actress Tara Jepsen to examine Hollywood's depiction of lady love on the big screen, and TV.

The panel delves into what gets them all hot and bothered, and what just gets them bothered. Plus, Tara throws down for her sapphic sister Rachel Maddow over Trump's tax releases, Guy discusses the wonder that is Throwing Shade the TV show, Wynter reports back from SXSW, and Karen is all about drunk Asians on Fresh Off the Boat.

But there's more! Pop Rocket debuts our newest segment, 4 Questions, with our first guest Lisa Loeb! Everyone should check out her new album Feel What U Feel. It's a jam-packed show, Rocketeers!

With Guy Branum,
Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson
Tara Jepsen
and special guest Lisa Loeb.

That's My Jam:

Tara Jepsen - Herb Alpert - Spanish Flea
Karen Tongson - Maria Katindig Dykes - Triste
Wynter Mitchell - Drake - Teenage Fever
Guy Branum - Las Culturistas Podcast
Lisa Loeb w/ Craig Robinson - Feel What U Feel

Each week we'll add everyone's jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 114: FX's Feud with Karen Kilgariff and April Wolfe

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Kilgariff
Guests: 
April Wolfe

This week, Guy and Margaret are joined by the host of My Favorite Murder, Karen Kilgariff, as well as LA Weekly film critic April Wolfe to talk FX's Feud, the Ryan Murphy miniseries Guy describes as "the most important story in the gay canon". Also, GUY BRANUM KNOWS WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN GAME OF THRONES SEASON SEVEN!!! Like, for real. No joke.

The camp level in the Feud discussion is high, while the analysis runs deep. Plus, April tells us about her affection for a French vegan turned cannibal in RAW; Margaret explains what happened to the real-life daughters of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford; Karen is legit scared by the Remy Ma/Nicki Minaj; Guy divulges the series of events that occurred which enabled him to read a GoT season 7 script.

With Guy Branum, April Wolfe, Karen Kilgariff and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Elliott Smith - Say Yes
Karen Kilgariff - Rihanna - Desperado
April Wolfe - Orties - Plus Putes Que Toutes Les Poutes
Guy Branum - Nicki Minaj - No Frauds

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hartfor MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 113: Get Out

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

This week, Guy, Wynter, Margaret, and Karen talk about Jordan Peele's newest horror film Get Out*. They discuss the racial and political implications of the film, Wynter contextualizes the role of black people within the horror genre, and the gang discuss their favorite scenes from the movie. As always,the panel tells us what they are all about this week. Karen talks about 45 eating America's meat of choice with ketchup, Margaret recommends a memoire and Wynter talks about Feud. Plus Guy keeps us up to date on his latest obsession with Calypso, and the rest of the gang provide their latest jams.
*Please note that this episode is rife with spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, please keep this in mind!

With:

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Margaret Wappler

Jams:

Guy Branum - Calypso Rose - Leave Me Alone
Margaret Wappler - Sharon Van Etton - End of the World
Wynter Mitchell - Phonte - Something
Karen Tongson - Go West - King of Wishful Thinking

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Key and Peele's "Shining" Sketch
Helen Rosner "Actually, How Donald Trump Eats His Steak Does Matter

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Pop Rocket Episode 112: Facebook Grab Bag with Chris Schleicher

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Chris Schleicher

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. After the craziness of the Oscars on Sunday, we needed to calm down and talk about our favorite Facebook discussions from the official Pop Rocket Facebook group! Guy, Karen, Margaret, and special guest Chris Schleicher are here to talk about traumatizing movie scenes, TV shows that make them cry, and films that are better than the books they're based on. Plus, perhaps the best Jams so far in the history of Pop Rocket (imho)!

By the way, if you want to hear the panel's thoughts on the 2017 Oscars ceremony, check out our Bonus episode released earlier this week!

With Guy Branum, Chris Schleicher, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Intro - Mica Levi (from "Jackie")
Karen Tongson - Hello Stranger - Barbara Lewis
Chris Schleicher - Ne Me Quitte Pas - Michel Legrand (from "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg")
Guy Branum - Someone in the Crowd - Justin Hurwitz (from "La La Land")

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hartfor MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Bonus Episode 112: Oscars Special with Chris Schleicher

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Guy, Margaret, Chris, and Karen
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Chris Schleicher

This is a rush edition of Pop Rocket focusing on The Oscars. Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler, Karen Tongson and special guest Chris Schleicher waste no time in dishing on cinema's biggest night. They skip the "all abouts" and jams and get right to the WTF of it all--the best picture debacle, Casey Affleck and Brie Larson, bad hair, bad clapping and Hacksaw Ridge. Plus, we'll get to the bottom of why Margaret Wappler wants to be Taraji P. Henson's eyebrows when she grows up.

Guy Branum explains why he has a problem with standing ovations, and reveals a fact about director Ezra Edelman (OJ Made in America) that blew him away.
Margaret Wappler hearts Natalie Portman's performance in Jackie and, apparently, Taraji P. Henson's eyebrows.
Karen Tongson analyzes the ways Moonlight was successful in moving the lens away from gay white people.
And Chris Schleicher gets all Zapruder film in breaking down the Best Picture fiasco and gives us his theory about Faye Dunaway.

Dive in!

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, and Chris Schleicher

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Viola Davis' acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress
Elaine Stritch's 2004 Emmy's speech

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org