Pop Rocket

Ep. 186 Joyful Pop Culture w/ Matt Bellassai and Bari Finkel

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Margaret Wappler, Matt Bellassai, Karen Tongson, and Bari Finkel
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Matt Bellassai
Guests: 
Bari Finkel

This week, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler get happy with Matt Bellassai and Bari Finkel, the host and producer of Pineapple Street Media's Unhappy Hour podcast. Today's show is like a Snuggie for one's soul. The panel dishes on the pop culture that brings us pure joy, from songs that compel us to dance, to the spots we gravitate toward on the Internet when we need a dose of adorable. Go ahead, try not to smile when you listen to this episode.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about the Vulture interview by David Marchese with Kathleen Turner. Bari is all about the birthday and career renaissance of the child actor twins Cole Sprouse and Dylan Sprouse. Matt is all about Beyonce and Jay-Z's On The Run II concert. Karen is all about the season 4 premiere of The Food Network's Episode 7 of Chopped Grill Masters.

With Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler,, Matt Bellassai, and Bari Finkel.

That's My Jam:

Bari - Beyonce - If I Were a Boy/You Oughta Know (live).

Matt Mamma Mia Soundtrack - Mamma Mia.

Karen - Maroon 5 - Girls Like You feat. Cardi B..

Margaret - James Blake - Choose Me.

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. 185: “Eighth Grade” and Awkward Adolescence w/ NPR's Linda Holmes

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Linda Holmes, Karen Tongson, and Margaret Wappler
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Linda Holmes

***Warning - this episode contains spoilers***

This week, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler chat it up with pop culture maven and Pop Rocket's own podcast godmother Linda Holmes, the host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. The ladies revisit that wonderfully awkward time of their lives of Clearasil and body self-consciousness also known as 8th Grade while doing an in-depth exploration of Bo Burnham's debut film Eighth Grade. The movie centers around this socially awkward teen girl who tries really hard to fit it and be popular at school, but can't quite get there. Karen, Margaret, and Linda harken back to the drama of that time in their own lives, and also flesh out whether one of the scenes in the movie should--or not--be labeled a #MeToo moment.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner's latest article in the NYTimes Magazine about Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand company Goop and how it went from Paltrow's Martha Stewart-like project to a 250 million dollar company. Linda is all about a new (and disappointing) study on inequality in film out of USC Annenberg that highlights the lack of progress in inclusion in film. Karen is all about Episode 7 of The Affair, specifically the scene that features “sapphic dabbling in a yurt” between Helen (Maura Tierney) and Sierra (Emily Browning).

With Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, and Linda Holmes.

That's My Jam:

Linda- Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone.

Margaret - Nine Inch Nails - Down In It.

Karen - Debbie Gibson- Only In My Dreams.

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. 184: "Who is America?" w/ "UnREAL" Creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

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Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

We've got a SUPERSIZED Pop Rocket for our first-ever Friday release, so strap yourselves in! This week, Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, and Margaret Wappler are joined by TV powerhouse Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, co-creator and executive producer of the Lifetime drama UnREAL.
The crew discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime series Who Is America. Not unlike his previous series, Da Ali G Show, which aired on HBO in the early aughts, Cohen continues his controversial schtick of interviewing people in character while trying to get them to humiliate themselves all for our viewing pleasure. They draw the connections between Cohen's comedy and Sarah's show UnREAL. The fourth and final season of UnREAL recently came out on Hulu.

Jonathan Gold

First, the crew pays tribute to the late, great Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold. Gold was the city's unofficial ambassador whose reviews propped up great restaurants on the verge of going out of business, gave a spotlight to forgotten histories, but more than anything taught Angelenos to be less afraid of their neighbors.

The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval

Two weeks ago Guy created the Pop Rocket Seal of Approval and quickly submitted its first nomination: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. This week we had enough of a quorum to hold our first-ever vote. Guy, Margaret, and Karen each weigh in with the pros and cons of awarding this prestigious honor to The Rock, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro comes in hot with her own opinions (but no voting rights). Will The Rock earn Pop Rocket's first ever Seal of Approval? Find out!

With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro.

That's My Jam:

Margaret - Demi Lovato - Sober.

Karen - Lisa Loeb - Stay (I Missed You).

Sarah- Nina Simone - Ain't Got No, I Got Life (Live).

Guy - Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The Middle .

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. 183: "Sorry to Bother You" w/ Kevin Avery

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Margaret Wappler and Kevin Avery
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Kevin Avery

***Warning - this episode contains major spoilers***

This week, Guy Branum and Margaret Wappler are joined by Bay Area comedian and two-time Emmy winning writer Kevin Avery. He was head writer on Totally Biased w/ Kamau Bell, staff writer on Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver and writer on The Jim Jeffries Show. The gang is deep diving into Boots Riley's new movie Sorry to Bother You. Guy, Kevin and Margaret discover that, like Sorry to Bother You's Cassius Green, they all worked as telemarketers. Plus Guy reveals the film's best actor and Kevin tells us about the time he asked Boots for help on a short film.

All Abouts
Margaret is all about Bhad Bhabie- a troubled Florida teen turned rapper based off of a performance on Dr. Phil where she was a guest with her mom. There's this really smart analysis of the Bhad Bhabie phenomenon in the NY Times by Jamie Lauren Keiles who breaks down what she means for the entertainment industry.

Kevin is all about not being about Drake's latest song and the dance challenge it spawned that's sweeping the nation: In My Feelings. The challenge even got Will Smith dancing on a bridge.

Guy is all about the hard-working, talented, and badass Korean-Canadian actress Sandra Oh, who has had to work twice as hard to get half as far in entertainment. She's finally getting her due as the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for an Emmy in the category of lead actress for Killing Eve.

With Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler, and Kevin Avery.

That's My Jam:

Margaret - The Coup - 5 Million Ways to Kill a C.E.O.

Kevin- Justin Timberlake - Higher Higher.

Guy - Years & Years - All For You.

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. 182: HBO's Sharp Objects and The Wappler Test

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

This week, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Karen Tongson discuss HBO’s Sharp Objects. It’s based on the Gillian Flynn Novel of the same name and is about a woman, Camille Preaker, played by Amy Adams, who returns to her childhood home to combat her personal demons and look into a number of unsolved murders.

Margaret is all about Won't You Be My Neighbor?, the Fred Rogers biopic that’s guaranteed to conjure up feelings of love and kindness even in this divisive time. Karen is all about the second season of the Netflix series GLOW, especially the eighth episode, which may be the show’s crowning achievement. Guy is all about the video game Fobia on Steam, which finally gave him the type of gaming that he can embrace.

The group will give their thoughts on the HBO series Sharp Objects, including why Amy Adams works so well playing a real person. They also discuss what makes the HBO television production model work so well, and why that might change in the future. Plus, they’ll introduce some new elements to the podcast: The Wappler Test and the Pop Rocket seal of approval.

The Pop Rocket 2018 Summer Book Club is a go! We’re reading Crazy Rich Asians. Join the Facebook group and get in on the conversation.

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret - Kiira - Messy.

Karen - Swingout Sister - Breakout.

Guy - Pitbull - Free Free Free.

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 Julian Burrell.

Pop Rocket Ep. 181 Unplugged: Declaring Independence from Glowing Screens

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

This week, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Karen Tongson are declaring their independence from screens, push notifications and batteries. That’s right, it’s all about the pop culture that you’ll still be able to experience after the grid goes down.

Margaret is all about The Moment app which displays just how much time you spend on your phone every day, which she hopes will help keep her phone out of her motherhood. Karen is all about LeBron James being signed to the LA Lakers and everyone celebrating something good finally happening for the Lakers. Guy is all about the Amazon Prime movieThe Little Hours which features plenty of effective comedy and just the right amount of Aubrey Plaza.

The group will take an extensive look at modern media that doesn’t require a screen; everything from drawing, tarot cards, The Joy of Cooking, the card game Set and so much more

The Pop Rocket 2018 Summer Book Club is a go! We’re reading Crazy Rich Asians. Join the Facebook group and get in on the conversation.

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret - My Bathroom Is a Private Kind of Place.

Karen - 10,000 Maniacs - These Are Days

Guy - Betty Who - Taste.

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 Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Julian Burrell.

Pop Rocket Ep. 180: Dietland is Unapologetically Fat w/ Lindy West

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Lindy, Guy, Karen, Margaret
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Lindy West
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

This week, Guy Branun, Margaret Wappler and Karen Tongson are joined by Lindy West, New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author of the book Shrill to discuss the AMC show Dietland and one of TV’s best fat characters ever: Plum Kettle.

Lindy is all about is all about the UK show Grand Designs, which offers a respite of pleasantness in the current world of television. Margaret is all about Michelle Goldberg's NYT op-ed We Have a Crisis of Democracy, Not Manners, which takes a look at the morality behind Sarah Huckabee Sanders being kicked out of a restaurant. Karen is all about The World Cup, especially the Group that includes Mexico, Sweden, Germany and South Korea. Guy is all about the Netflix series Alex Strangelove a show with a lot of potential…but suffers from the unfortunate issue of being stuck in white suburbia.

The group will take an extensive look at Dietland and the history of fat characters on television. Why is it that even the “good” takes on this archetype often end up feeling incomplete? What would it take for people to get past the message of “body empowerment” when writing stories about fat bout fat people?

The Pop Rocket 2018 Summer Book Club is a go! We’re reading Crazy Rich Asians. Join the Facebook group and get in on the conversation.

With Lindy West, Karen Tongson, Guy Branum and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret - The Carters - NICE.

Karen - Germans - Cruel

Lindy - Bobby McFerrin - Don’t Worry Be Happy.

Guy - Lizzo - Boys.

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 Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Julian Burrell.

Pop Rocket Ep. 179: What's in YOUR (pop culture) Bubble? w/ Jordan Morris and Sudi Green

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Sudi, Guy, Jordan, Karen
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Jordan Morris and Sudi Green
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson

This week, Guy Branun and Karen Tongson are joined by Jordan Morris, writer of the new Maximum Fun scripted series Bubble, and Sudi Green, former Totally Biased w/ Kumau Bell production assistant, current model and current writer for Saturday Night Live. In honor of Bubble the team will discuss which shows and films help create their safe bubble from the rest of the scary world.

Jordan is all about is all about Hearts Beat Loud, a summer film that offers the perfect respite from the deluge of CGI battles on the silver screen. Sudi is all about the book Educated, a memoir from Tara Westover that’s startlingly dark, but compulsively readable. Karen is all about The Showtime series The Affair, which just began its latest season and has all the hetero-disaster-kink that fans of the show have come to expect. Guy is all about the Netflix film Set it Up, a rom-com that’s getting a lot of love online… but he just couldn’t quite get into.

The group will take an extensive look at their personal pop culture bubbles; the things that help define their outlook on life in an unchallenged way. But as this country feels more and more divided, not just politically but in media tastes, what shows and films are there that transcend the borders of the Bubble and unite everyone in their consumption? They’ll provide the answers.

With Sudi Green, Karen Tongson, Guy Branum and Jordan Morris.

The Pop Rocket 2018 Summer Book Club is a go! We’re reading Crazy Rich Asians. Join the Facebook group and get in on the conversation.

That’s My Jam:

Sudi - Rachel Crow - Dime.

Karen Tongson - Huey Lewis and the News - Do You Believe in Love?

Jordan Morris - Rachel Cantu - Love Rush.

Guy Branum - Calvin Harris (with Dua Lipa) - One Kiss.

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 Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Julian Burrell.

Pop Rocket Ep. 179: Strike a Pose with Las Culturistas

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Guy, Bowen, Matt, Karen, Margaret
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Matt Rogers
Guests: 
Bowen Yang
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

This week, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Karen Tongson are joined by Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers, the hosts of the Las Culturistas podcast. The gang will discuss the show Pose which focusses on the Ball culture of 1980’s New York.

Bowen is all about everything going down at E3, especially the long-awaited crossover madness that is Kingdom Hearts III. Margaret is all about Ocean's 8, a film that may be full of missed opportunities, but also has enough iconic moments to make it worth the watch. Karen is all about Hannah Gadsby and her newest show Nanette which showcases plenty of laughs and an explanation for why she’s quitting comedy. Matt is all about the trailer for A Star is Born. Guy is all about the Netflix show Lost in Space a sci-fi show that he says is a perfect example of “Competence Porn.”

The group will take an extensive look at Pose, including which characters they enjoy (and which they can’t stand), how they first learned about Ball culture, and why fans of Ru Paul’s Drag Race might enjoy the show.

With Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler, Karen Tongson, Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers.

That’s My Jam:

Matt Rogers - Shea Couleé - Crème Brûlée.

Karen Tongson- Christine and the Queens - dis-moi

Margaret Wappler - Bryan Ferry - Slave to Love.

Guy Branum - Little Big Town - Summer Fever.

Bowen Yang - Big Freedia - Play feat. Goldiie

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 Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Julian Burrell.

Pop Rocket Ep. 178: We Say Goodbye to The Americans

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Margaret, Alonso, Karen
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Alonso Duralde
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

**Warning: This episode contains spoilers from The Americans series finale. If you, like Margaret, want to avoid the spoilers, skip from 7:01 to 14:20.**

This week, Margaret Wappler and Karen Tongson are joined by Alonso Duralde, one of the hosts of the Max Fun podcast Who Shot Ya?, a movie podcast that isn’t hosted by dude-bros. The gang will discuss the finale of FX Series The Americans and the effect of the Cold War on pop culture.

Alonso is all about is all about National Drive-In Day, which is on June 6th but can absolutely be celebrated all month. Margaret is all about Ali Wong’s new Netflix Special Hard Knock Wife , which has gained a lot of attention for being equal parts hilarious, honest and raunchy. Karen is all about the finale of The Americans which - SPOILER ALERT - she and Alonso will discuss in detail.

And in honor the Russian spy drama coming to an end, the team will take a look at what effect the Cold War, nuclear anxiety and cloak-and-dagger politics had on pop culture, both in the modern context and in the 80’s.

With Margaret Wappler, Karen Tongson and Alonso Duralde.

That’s My Jam:

Alonso Duralde - The Police - Miss Gradenko.

Karen Tongson- Sting - Russians

Margaret Wappler - The Smiths - Ask.

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 Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Julian Burrell.

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