The hoodies are reunited, and it feels pretty great! Today we welcome a very special guest to the pod: Comedian, actor, and director Mike Birbiglia is here to discuss his great new special My Girlfriend's Boyfriend. But first, we chat about Chris Lilley's Ja'mie: Private School Girl, a very funny series brought to us by an often controversial creator. It's time to set the record straight on why drag ≠ blackface, and how it's still possible to find Lilley a smart comedic voice even if we disagree with many of his choices.
Then it's Birbigs time! Mike joins us and we get into it about American states (Washington, Texas, Massachusetts), theme park disasters, French class, and his approach to talking about love and relationships in a stand-up setting. Do check out the special if you have a chance, it is all kinds of funny and relatable.
Is this thing on? Welcome to a very special, pretty personal episode of Hollywood Prospectus podcast. In this edition, Andy and I talk about the much-maligned and much-loved genre of music called emo. Ten years ago, Andy wrote a book called Nothing Feels Good about a burgeoning subculture that was starting to make serious inroads into the mainstream. A few years before that, I was working in Boston music venues, where lots of the bands that paved the way for that leap were coming through on DIY tours. Now, all these years later, Andy and I thought it would be cool to talk about that scene and our fairly different experiences with it. To help us paint the picture, Andy talked with some of the real-life characters from his book, like Thursday's Geoff Rickly, Jimmy Eat World's Jim Adkins, and Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba. Whether your idea of emo is Rites of Spring, the Promise Ring, or Fall Out Boy, or whether you just think the whole idea of "emo" is weird, we think there's something in here for you. Trust me, it is weird. To go along with the pod, Andy and I made a Spotify playlist to serve as a soundtrack. So once more, with feeling, break out your thrift store T-shirts, courier bags, and nerd glasses. Things are about to get a little misty in here.
The first thing you should know is that last week's pod hiatus was very much unplanned. I blame an immune system that's suddenly buggier than Saul Berenson's house: Rather than chatting about Peter Quinn shooting Carrie Mathison, I was chugging shots of Theraflu. The second thing you should know is that once we were reconnected and back on the mikes, Chris and I were catching fire: He was turnt up about the new Hunger Games movie while I was merely turned around by the increasingly sloppy insanity of the once-great Homeland.
The Right Reasons took some interesting turns this week. Perhaps most notably, David Jacoby thoroughly enjoyed this week's Survivor! All you need is some matricide to get him interested. We talked about Laura M. and Ciera's relationship, Caleb's apparently stable weight, and Aras's tribal council attire. From there we moved on to our Weird Watches, including Juliet's trip to X Factor to meet One Direction, followed by some hard-hitting news items. Topics include a potential NBA player on Survivor, the Situation's legal troubles, Brittany Murphy's suspicious death, and Taylor Swift's real estate holdings. This may be the only space on the Internet where government whistle-blowers and Love & Hip Hop New York commingle.
With Molly on pod leave for the week, Tess and Emily bid farewell to Eastbound & Down — clearly reluctantly, because we're already longing for a version of Kanye West's "Bound 2” video starring Kenny and April. We then dig into the video and the strong reactions it has elicited, defending it against the haters while also trying to figure out if there's any point at which we might be giving Kanye too much credit.
The same question could be asked of Lady Gaga and R. Kelly's incredible performance on SNL this week, yet another musical moment that put us in the Grantland minority for finding it to be a triumph. What is the meaning of Gaga's post-album-drop plastic wig? Is invoking the art world exploiting a loophole against criticism? Will Black Panties leap over the entire 2013 pop wars like a majestic sex dolphin? We do not have the answers to any of these questions, but we'll be jamming to "Italian Hero Sandwich of Love" till December 10.
The reality TV universe has been turned on its axis. Real Worldis changing its format. We spent the first half of this week's podcast talking about the implications this has for the storied franchise. We asked a lot of questions (how does this affect the house setup?), offered some promising examples (past Survivor shakeups), and, of course, thought about how this affects The Challenge (not much). And yet, this is not the only thing going on this week! We also discussed Asa's water business on Shahs of Sunset, who is going to win this season of Survivior, and Phaedra's high likability on Real Housewives of Atlanta. Lastly, we finally did some (very little) yacht research this week.
We've been talking about Lady Gaga's third studio album, Artpop, for what feels like years by now, and for a while it seemed pretty touch and go — would it break out of its egg fully formed, or be weighed down by its own pretense, a beautiful but flightless bird? Well, we finally sat down and gave Artpop a spin and realized … we all love it. We spend some time figuring out how much of its imperfection is part of its charm, and also appreciate Lady Gaga's embrace of her inner weird old lady.
Next we travel to Equestria and discuss Bronies, the documentary about adult fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic that aired on Logo recently. This quickly becomes a conversation about the joys of fandom in general and what draws certain people to vibrant online lives revolving around a shared love of pop culture (or hamsters).
For more than two decades, Jeff Garlin has been one of America's funniest working comedians. But he's also been one of comedy's most generous and dependable listeners: as Larry David's put-upon manager/sidekick on Curb Your Enthusiasm, as a sounding board and director for many of his peers (including Jon Stewart and Denis Leary), and, recently, as the host of his own excellent, digressive podcast. Since September, Garlin has been starring on The Goldbergs, ABC's salty-sweet '80s sitcom, as Murray, the pants-averse paterfamilias. Garlin joined me on the phone from L.A. for an enjoyable conversation about all the usual hilarious topics: failure, inner peace, and the lost art of beard stroking. (There was also plenty of talk about the backstage life of a stand-up, Garlin's relentness drive, and the as-yet-unwritten future of Curb.) Why not drop trou and give it a listen?
Regular listeners of the pod may have noticed that Andy and I are having some issues with Homeland. For the last couple weeks, we've kicked the tires, keyed the car, and basically lit the old jalopy on fire. This week is no different in the sense that neither of us were all that impressed with the show we once counted as among the best on television, but our approach to talking about it was new. Andy and I both pitched ways forward for Homeland, imagining a Season 4 in which Carrie Mathison's nervous energy was somehow new.