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Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Get obsessed with us. Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Join arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris - plus a rotating cast of guest pop culture aficionados. The Happy Hour team leaves room at the table for exploring a range of reactions and opinions on every bit of the pop universe. From lowbrow to highbrow to the stuff in between, they take it all with a shot of cheer.

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Episodes

The Great Pottery Throw Down, What's Making Us Happy, And Remembering DMX

The Great Pottery Throw Down is one of the gentlest, kindest and warmest competitive reality shows you will ever see (even when things literally explode). The UK series is now streaming on HBO Max. The dishes, the bowls, the handles, the crying ? it's all right there to help you relax at the end of even the longest day. Plus, we take a moment to remember rapper DMX, who died today at 50.
2021-04-09
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Bad Trip

In the Netflix movie Bad Trip, Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery play best friends who take a road trip from Florida to New York City. The twist in Bad Trip is that each scene is also an elaborate prank, blending fiction and reality - with the mayhem taking place as real unsuspecting strangers look on.
2021-04-08
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Frances McDormand: Essentials

Over the course of her long, varied and distinguished career, actor Frances McDormand has won two Oscars - and her performance in Nomadland this year could win her a third. Pop Culture Happy Hour explores some of the great work she's done.
2021-04-07
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Chadwick Boseman: Essentials

Chadwick Boseman is nominated for an Oscar this year for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. It's his final onscreen role ? he died of colon cancer in August. Before that, Boseman played historical figures including Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and James Brown. And of course, he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther. And today we're talking about some of those essential performances.
2021-04-06
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The Father

In The Father, Anthony Hopkins plays a character whose fierce independence is complicated by his worsening dementia. Olivia Colman plays his daughter Anne, who keeps trying to hire carers to help look after him. But the structure of the film is more complicated than that, as director Florian Zeller finds ways to keep viewers guessing. The Father is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.
2021-04-05
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Top 10 Muppets And What's Making Us Happy

When we asked our listeners to tell us which Muppets were their favorites, we knew you'd all come through. More than 6,000 people cast over 18,000 votes, and those votes have been tallied. This is the PCHH audience's definitive ranking of the best Muppets.
2021-04-02
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Our Favorite Muppets

When The Muppet Show arrived on Disney Plus in February, it got us talking: who are our favorite Muppets? And which Muppet do we most identify with? Today, we're discussing all things Muppets and finding out where we fit in Jim Henson's felt universe.
2021-04-01
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Godzilla Vs. Kong

Godzilla Vs. Kong is a collision of two classic film franchises. As the sequel to 2017's Kong: Skull Island and 2019's Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, the film's excessive plot largely serves as window dressing for a heightened epic battle. However, its action-packed story also neglects to properly acknowledge the complicated layers of these two cinematic monsters.
2021-03-31
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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues its march across Disney Plus, it needs a buddy show, specifically The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Both old allies of Captain America, the two find themselves up against villains, a therapist and sometimes each other.
2021-03-30
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Die Hard

There's no wrong time to talk about an influential Hollywood classic. So that's why we are talking about Die Hard. We will never get tired of Hans Gruber versus John McClane ? Alan Rickman versus Bruce Willis ? the real clash of the titans. So that's why we are bringing you this encore episode.
2021-03-29
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Beverly Cleary: Essentials

Legendary children's author Beverly Cleary died last week at the age of 104. Cleary wrote more than 40 books over about 50 years. Her characters, like Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, entertained kids for decades. So we decided to talk about some of Cleary's essential books.
2021-03-27
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Sound of Metal and What's Making Us Happy

Sound Of Metal tells the story of a heavy-metal drummer, played by Riz Ahmed, who experiences sudden hearing loss that changes every facet of his life. The film is nominated for six Academy Awards - including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.
2021-03-26
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King Of The Hill

If you're looking for the next show to binge, we've got a great suggestion for you. The animated sitcom King Of The Hill ran on FOX from 1997 to 2010, and all 13 seasons are now streaming on Hulu. The show, created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels pokes gentle fun at its characters without mocking them.
2021-03-25
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Audience Questions: What Should I Watch?

For a year, many of us have found ourselves planted at home, with a lot more time on our hands for movies and television. Maybe you've already finished the umpteenth binge-watch of your favorite show, or you're just in a very different headspace than you were a few months ago. Today, we're teaming up with the hosts of the Movie Therapy podcast to help a few listeners out with some personal recommendations.
2021-03-24
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2020 Best Books: Book Club Ideas

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books of the year in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. Today, All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro gives us his recommendations for your next book club.
2021-03-23
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Favorite Concert Films

It's been more than a year since live concerts were a safe way to experience music. We miss the roar of a blissed-out crowd and experiencing art at the moment of its creation. Therefore, it feels like a good time to talk about some of our favorite concert films from Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, and Aretha Franklin.
2021-03-22
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Justice League And What's Making Us Happy

The 2017 film Justice League had a famously rocky road to the big screen and premiered to polarized reactions. Following an extended online campaign by Zack Snyder's hardcore fanbase, the director has gone back and recreated his original vision for the film, now called Zack Snyder's Justice League.
2021-03-19
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Raya And The Last Dragon

Raya And The Last Dragon is an animated Disney movie without musical numbers, without romantic intrigue and with a largely Asian cast. It's about the pursuit of peace, the need for trust and a young warrior who assembles a ragtag team of misfit heroes to save the world.
2021-03-18
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Steven Yeun: Essentials

Steven Yeun's filmography reveals a remarkably varied career. From his breakout role as Glenn Rhee in The Walking Dead to his work with directors like Bong Joon-ho and Boots Riley, Yeun can easily jump between playing enigmatic cosmopolitan characters and endearing supportive boyfriend characters. As awards season kicks off, Pop Culture Happy Hour revisits great performers and a few of their essential performances. Today, we're spotlighting Yeun, whose role in Minari makes him the first Asian-American nominee for a lead actor Oscar.
2021-03-17
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Oscar Nominations 2021

The Oscar nominations are out, and in the lead is Mank. The David Fincher-directed film about the writing of Citizen Kane picked up the most nominations with 10, while other films including Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Minari, and Judas and the Black Messiah performed well, too. We'll get into what surprised us and what disappointed us. And this year, more than ever, you can check out the eligible movies from the comfort of your own home.
2021-03-15
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2021 Grammys Recap

After a six week delay due to COVID-19, we did finally have a Grammys ceremony, hosted by Trevor Noah, with loads of socially distanced performances and big wins for Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion, and Billie Eilish.
2021-03-15
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RuPaul's Drag Race And What's Making Us Happy

RuPaul's Drag Race began in 2009 as a raggedy spoof of reality competition shows, with hilariously low-rent production values on Logo. After 13 seasons and a move to VH1, it has transformed and distilled the once-underground and defiantly transgressive culture of drag into a formula perfectly suited to mainstream viewing.
2021-03-12
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Antiques Roadshow

For over twenty years, PBS has ensured that one of the hottest places in American television is your attic. And if you want to know what all that old stuff is worth, you can take yourself right to the people at Antiques Roadshow. Sometimes, you'll find that you're sitting on buried treasure--and sometimes, you won't. In this encore episode, we revisit our discussion of Antiques Roadshow.
2021-03-11
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Ginny And Georgia

Netflix's Ginny & Georgia follows a young single mom, her teenage daughter, and their efforts to create a life for themselves in the suburbs of Massachusetts. It's got high school standbys like new friendships and first sexual experiences, but it's also got adult soap standbys like secret pasts and shady figures. To say it has a lot going on is a wild understatement.
2021-03-10
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Delroy Lindo: Essentials

Delroy Lindo is one of those performers you probably recognize as "that dude." Even if he's only on screen for a few scenes, he tends to stand out. He gave one of last year's most critically acclaimed onscreen performances as a troubled Vietnam war vet in Spike Lee's Da Five Bloods. As awards season ramps up, we revisit some of Delroy Lindo's essential performances.
2021-03-09
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The WandaVision Finale

After nine episodes, several battles, big reveals and a lot of different hairstyles, WandaVision has come to an end on Disney Plus. What happened to Wanda, what happened to Vision, and is it really safe to say it was Agatha all along? We've got a lot to talk about. (Warning: this episode contains spoilers.)
2021-03-08
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Coming 2 America And What's Making Us Happy

Coming To America was a huge hit when it was released in 1988, eventually grossing well over $100 million at the box office. It captured Eddie Murphy at the peak of his career, helped catapult Arsenio Hall into a new level of stardom, and has since inspired countless homages. Now, 33 years later, the sequel Coming 2 America has arrived on Amazon Prime, reuniting most of the original cast and adding some new faces. Can Prince Akeem and friends recapture the magic of the original?
2021-03-05
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Regina King: Essentials

Very few actors will ever put together a run like Regina King. Among other things, she's won four Emmys in the last 10 years - all for different roles. She won an Oscar for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk, and this year, she might win an Oscar nomination for her directorial debut, One Night In Miami. As awards season kicks off, Pop Culture Happy Hour revisits great performers and a few of their essential performances, and there isn't a better place to start than with Regina King.
2021-03-04
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Three Great Documentaries

If you dig into the archives of any streaming service, you're gonna find loads of documentaries ? tales of true crime, plucky dreamers, obsessive eccentrics, or just about any other subject you could name. We figured this would be a good time to recommend a few of our favorites from the last few years that we think you'll love.
2021-03-03
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The United States v. Billie Holiday

The United States v. Billie Holiday is the latest dramatization of the singer's tumultuous personal life. Directed by Lee Daniels and starring Andra Day, it focuses on the government surveillance Billie Holiday endured for her drug addiction and her song "Strange Fruit."
2021-03-02
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2021 Golden Globes Recap

This year's Golden Globes ceremony took place under a cloud, following fresh reporting on accusations that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is too small, too secretive, and not remotely diverse enough. Still, even during the pandemic, a hybrid part-live, part-remote telecast went on. It honored actors like Chadwick Boseman, Jason Sudeikis and Catherine O'Hara, films including Nomadland and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and television projects like The Crown and The Queen's Gambit. And it even managed a couple of genuinely memorable moments.
2021-03-01
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Minari And What's Making Us Happy

Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Minari follows a Korean-American family who moves to Arkansas in the 1980s to follow their father's dream of becoming a farmer. The grind of trying to make the farm a success strains the parents' marriage and often confounds the kids, but it's a story about the choices families make and the ways they stay together.
2021-02-26
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Cinderella

There are many versions of Cinderella, but few are as beloved as Disney's production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, starring Brandy as the titular character and Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother.
2021-02-25
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I Care A Lot

In the new Netflix comedy-thriller I Care A Lot, Rosamund Pike plays a slick grifter named Marla who tricks her way into becoming the legal guardian of elderly people, then drains their bank accounts. It's a well-oiled scheme, until she chooses a woman with a dangerous background as her new target.
2021-02-24
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2020 Best Books: Nonfiction

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books of the year in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. Today, we're talking about some of the best nonfiction picks that show up in this year's guide.
2021-02-23
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It's A Sin

It's A Sin chronicles the AIDS epidemic as experienced by a group of friends in London in the early 1980s. They come from different backgrounds, and deal with the dawning realization that a virus is ravaging their community in different ways. None of them will get through it unchanged, and some of them won't get through it at all.
2021-02-22
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Nomadland and What's Making Us Happy

The new film Nomadland is about a woman named Fern who's lost her husband, her home and her entire community: a company town that collapsed when the company did. She's played by Frances McDormand, and in Chloé Zhao's film, she falls into a new community of people who live on the road, out of vans and RVs.
2021-02-19
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To All The Boys: Always And Forever

In 2018, To All The Boys I've Loved Before was a breakout hit for Netflix. Based on Jenny Han's novel, it followed Lara Jean Covey through the adventure of falling in love with one Peter Kavinsky. A sequel followed in 2020 and now, it's time for the finale, which finds Lara Jean and Peter dealing with the complication of graduating and heading off to college.
2021-02-18
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Shark Tank

On Shark Tank, a group of wealthy investors like Mark Cuban and "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner listen to pitches from people who have invented something. Might be an app, might be a toy, might be a belt that can hold a beer can. Then the investors decide whether to invest in the business, and they negotiate with the entrepreneur ? sometimes competing with each other to get the deal. In this encore episode, we revisit our conversation about the hit ABC show.
2021-02-17
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Supernova

In Supernova, Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play a gay couple coming to terms with the fact that Tucci's character is experiencing early onset dementia. They take one last trip together around the British Lake District and try to enjoy these moments together, even though their shared knowledge of what's to come exposes their fears and secrets.
2021-02-16
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Desus And Mero On Politics, Fame And Life In The Pandemic

A special bonus episode from NPR's It's Been A Minute With Sam Sanders. Desus Nice and The Kid Mero went from calling up "anyone in their phone book" in the early days of their podcast Bodega Boys, to booking big names in politics like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Barack Obama on Desus & Mero, their late-night show airing on Showtime.
2021-02-15
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Judas And The Black Messiah And What's Making Us Happy

Fred Hampton, the charismatic chairman of the Black Panther Party's Illinois chapter, was just 21 years old when he was killed during a police raid in 1969. In Judas And The Black Messiah, he's given the cinematic treatment via a stirring performance by Daniel Kaluuya. The new film directed by Shaka King focuses on Hampton's activism and how it made him the target of the federal government. The Judas in this story is the FBI informant who played a crucial role in Hampton's death: William O'Neal, portrayed deftly by LaKeith Stanfield.
2021-02-12
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2020 Best Books: For Music Lovers

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. It can help you find exactly the read you're looking for. Today we're talking about some of the best books for music lovers that show up in this year's guide.
2021-02-11
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Superstore

For six seasons, the NBC comedy Superstore has told the story of a fictional big-box store in St. Louis. Until the last handful of episodes, the show starred America Ferrera, and found humor in serious topics like income inequality, health insurance, unionization, and corporate greed. Its final season is airing now, with storylines about COVID-19 and racial justice. Superstore is also a big, broad, goodhearted workplace comedy in the spirit of The Office, full of wacky oddballs and slow-burning romantic intrigue.
2021-02-10
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Desus & Mero Writer Josh Gondelman On Making A Late Night Talk Show During COVID-19

Television production changed practically overnight when COVID-19 began to spread in the United States in March 2020. One corner of TV that's carried on is the late-night talk show. There have been no live audiences ? and in some cases, no studios in use ? but projects like Showtime's Desus & Mero have carried on nonetheless. Comedian and writer/producer Josh Gondelman sits down to talk about creating a talk show remotely during a pandemic.
2021-02-09
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2021 Super Bowl

It has been a truly bizarre NFL season, as the pandemic threatened players' health and compelled teams to play in empty or near-empty stadiums all season long. But it all ended in familiar fashion: with Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl championship, this time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs. We couldn't have a Super Bowl party this year, but we did gather around our TVs to watch the game, the halftime show with The Weeknd, and lots of commercials. Plus, we take a moment to remember actor Christopher Plummer.
2021-02-08
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Malcolm & Marie And What's Making Us Happy

After production of HBO's Euphoria was shut down in March 2020, creator Sam Levinson turned to the show's star Zendaya and filmed Malcolm & Marie. The sleek Netflix feature follows a couple who spends a turbulent evening dissecting every contour of their fraught relationship. John David Washington and Zendaya play the troubled pair who spiral into madness as this intense, dialogue-heavy film goes on.
2021-02-05
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2021 Sundance: Best Movies

One of the most anticipated moments of any year in movies is the Sundance Film Festival. This is not a year for gathering in crowds, so the Sundance Film Festival in 2021 went virtual. More than 70 feature films, including both narrative films and documentaries, were at Sundance this year. Today we round up some highlights, including two big winners, CODA and Summer Of Soul.
2021-02-04
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Bling Empire

Reality television has long had a fascination with some factions of the extremely rich. Bling Empire shifts the focus a little bit, to a group of Asian-Americans in and around Los Angeles. Executive produced by Jeff Jenkins, who also worked on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Bling Empire definitely shares a lot of that DNA while asking where the show falls on the scale of Asian-American representation.
2021-02-03
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Our Favorite Cicely Tyson Performances

The actress Cicely Tyson died last week at the age of 96. Over a career that spanned seven decades, she brought grace, grit and gravitas to any role she played. She'd just released a memoir, Just As I Am, and had been making the rounds, doing a slew of interviews in which her intelligence, wisdom and dignity shone through. Today we're looking back at a few favorite performances by Cicely Tyson and what set them apart.
2021-02-02
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