Pop Rocket 173: The Rogue Robots of Westworld...and Beyond

Pop Rocket
Guy Branum
Karen Tongson
Margaret Wappler
Andrew Ti

This week, Guy Branum, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler are joined by Andrew Ti, host of the “Yo, Is This Racist?” podcast. They take a look at HBO’s West World, and sci fi narratives that explore robots with feelings. Season Two just got started and the team is fairly certain it will be just as complicated as the first.

Karen is all about Alexis Bledel in Handmaid’s Tale Season 2, even though it puts a character she cares about through even more difficulties. Margaret and Guy are all about Michelle Wolf’s routine at The White House Correspondent’s Dinner and are very confused about the outrage that’s surrounded it. Andrew is all about Avengers: Infinity War even though he didn’t quite understand the storytelling subtleties of the plot.

The panel will their discuss what they think of West World, its convoluted plot and the idea of sentient robots having feelings.

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Andrew Ti.

That’s My Jam:

Karen Tongson - Maroon 5, SZA - What Lovers Do

Andrew Ti - The Higher Brother - Made in China

Margaret Wappler - The Pointer Sisters - Automatic.

Guy Branum Kacey Musgraves - High Horse

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

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

Judge John Hodgman Episode 350: Duplo Jeopardy

Seth Mnookin

Caleb brings the case against his friend, Ryan. Caleb is ready to get rid of his Lego collection, but Ryan thinks he should keep it in storage. Ryan says that even though Caleb thinks he’s ready to let it go, he will later regret parting with these sets. Who's right? Who's wrong? With Expert Witness Seth Mnookin!

Huge thanks to Expert Witness Seth Mnookin for his extensive Lego knowledge. His latest book is The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy, and it's available wherever books are sold. You can find Seth on Twitter @sethmnookin and his website is

If you have any Lego you'd like to send to Caleb, to help his dreams come true, please email!


This episode is dedicated to Carl Garner Jr., who was tragically killed on Sunday, February 4, 2018, due to gun violence. Listeners of the show will remember him as the student of Eric Little in Kentucky, who wrote the essay about why a hot dog is not a sandwich. Carl's essay can be heard in Episode 243: The Nog Tank.

Carl's aunt has started a Go Fund Me page to help his family with the funeral expenses. Visit to donate.

Folks are also welcome to offer donations to the Lexington Day Treatment Center, where Carl studied with Eric. The address is:

Lexington Day Treatment Center
c/o Stephanie Hong
1177 Harry Sykes Way
Lexington, KY 40504

Flowers may go to:
3792 Red River Drive
Lexington, KY 40517

We wish to express our deepest sympathies to Carl's friends, family and loved ones. Thank you, Carl.


Thank you to Jonathan Reiter for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put out a call for submissions.



Syndicate content