Goddess Guy Branum returns from his book tour just in time for Pop Rocket’s annual Summer Book Club. He joins Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler to finally dig into Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians book trilogy. By the way, the movie Crazy Rich Asians is out in theaters now. Go watch it!
Kwan’s trilogy is essentially about the crazy rich people of Singapore, but the main story in the first book Crazy Rich Asians centers around Rachel and Nick-a young couple who’ve been dating for two years. They’re both professors living in contemporary New York. Very much in love- Nick finally invites Rachel to travel to Singapore to meet his family. Curiously, Rachel knows nothing about them and once she gets there realizes that they are insanely, filthy, rich billionaires.
The panelists give us their rundown of the most fascinating themes and threads in the books including: the food, the fashion, colonialism’s legacy, money vs. class, tensions between Singaporeans and mainland Chinese, hierarchies among Asian nations, assumptions about Oliver T’sien’s sexuality, and then they decide who from the book they’d marry, fuck, kill, (and add to their book club). As if that weren’t enough, one of the panelists–and we won’t say which one–muses, “Maybe she was dickmatized?” Feel free to guess which one of our esteemed panelists said that in the comments section below.
Margaret is all about the Kevin Kwan’s descriptions of Astrid’s fashion “it-girlness.” Astrid is Nick’s cousin who is super beautiful, posh, and interesting. She’s every panelists favorite character in the series. Karen is all about the reading list in the second book China Rich Girlfriend that is given to a character who is undergoing an image makeover. The character hires an image consultant who is trying to teach her about all the “right” things to talk about and all the “right” cultural references to use in conversation. Guy is all about the pineapple tarts described in the book in that they represent the very fascinating place of colonialism in Singapore’s history. Spoiler alert: Singapore was under British rule for about 400 years. These tarts are an Asian modification of a French dessert that represent nostalgia, warmth, and memories of home, but also symbolize status.
That’s My Jam:
Margaret – Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris – One Kiss.
Karen – Faye Wong – Summer of Love
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In this episode...
- Guy Branum
- Karen Tongson
- Margaret Wappler
About the show
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.
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