On this week's pod, Andy and I kicked the tires on the beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy that is Kanye West's new album, Yeezus. Using Jon Caramanica's indispensable New York Times interview with the man as a jumping-off point, we tried to place the album within the Kanye canon, wondered what it says about fatherhood, sex, and hip-hop (the holy trinity!), and tried to find the light in all the darkness.
Of course, after all that heavy lifting and deep thinking, we needed to change gears a bit, so we decided to touch on that most romantic of comedies, Mad Men. With only one more episode left, we asked that age-old question: Has Don Draper gone past the point of no return? And is that exactly where show creator Matthew Weiner wants him? Assume the fetal position, people.
On the podcast formerly known as the Reality TV Podcast, David Jacoby and Juliet Litman say good-bye to the Real World: Portland roommates, get excited about the new season of The Challenge, and speculate about PED use on The Bachelorette.
The behooded ones are finally all in the same room again, and just in time to go super deep on the Kimye phenomenon. What starts as a conversation about the New York Times’s fascinating interview with Kanye West and the buildup to his highly anticipated sixth album, Yeezus, can't help but be colored by the tabloid circus surrounding him and his pregnant girlfriend, Kim Kardashian. Why can't we separate the artist from the person? If celebrities can't make us feel like their friends, are they doing their job sufficiently?
These big questions are dwarfed, however, by the dilemma facing the subjects of this past week's True Life: I'm Too Beautiful (and True Life: I'm Addicted to the Internet). We attempt to unpack the rich psychological drama of these latest installments of arguably the best reality show on TV. True Life is still killin' it, y'all.
This week on the pod, Andy and I rode solemnly out of Westeros for the last time this season. We talked about Lannister family matters, whether or not Game of Thrones's season finale lived up to the penultimate episode's blood and guts, and doled out some awards for the season. Spoiler alert: Jamie is LeBron.
Before we got into all that, we discussed the movies of Ethan Hawke, the secret movie star. Hawke's got two movies in the theaters now — one of which is good (Before Midnight), and one of which is crazy successful (The Purge), so Andy and I looked back over his career and talked about what makes him the governor of the hottest state.
We wrapped things up with a chat about this week's cringe-worthy Mad Men. Come on over whenever; we'll leave a key with the doorman.
From the archive: Bill Simmons talks to comedian Louis C.K. about his stand-up special Live at the Beacon Theater, the history and business of stand-up comedy, the process of making Louie, and viewers' response to the controversial Dane Cook episode.
John Oliver, British and bespectacled, is temporarily taking over The Daily Show starting June 10 while that slacker Jon Stewart takes some time off to direct a movie. In advance of this auspicious — and, most likely, terrifying — event, Oliver chatted with me about the challenge of replacing someone whose name is in the title, how having an English accent is a bit like hailing from Krypton, and the fastest way to get Jaden Smith to walk out of an interview. This was a fun one.
DJ, author, and filmmaker Bobbito Garcia describes the genesis of his legendary hip-hop radio show with DJ Stretch Armstrong and his new film about pickup basketball in New York City, Doin' It in the Park.
Way back in the fall, Rembert Browne mentioned to us that he knew someone who would be appearing on Survivor: Philippines. This proximate two degrees of separation from a Survivor contestant was immediately exciting, but then the someone turned out to be Malcolm Freberg — one of the most charismatic castaways ever, who convinced an ally to hand him an immunity idol at tribal council. Malcolm (and his hair) came by the Grantland studio last week to discuss his bold moves from this past season, how Jeff Probst got him to agree to a second season, and what special agent Phillip Sheppard is really like.
The Cold War may have ended with a clear winner, but you can't say the same thing about the first season of FX's The Americans — unless you count the audience, of course. The story of two crazy Communist kids trying to make a marriage work in Reagan's America — while also attempting to destroy Reagan's America — The Americans quickly established itself as the best new series of 2013. With one season down and another on the way in early 2014, co-showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields joined me in a Manhattan studio for a full post-operational debrief. Nothing was redacted and little was confidential, from Joe's own history as a CIA trainee to the time Joel wouldn't let either of them eat lunch until a particularly bothersome edit was completed. It was a fascinating conversation; I was surprised to hear how Keri Russell ended up snagging such a surprising role, the real-life reasoning behind Martha and Clark's fictitious marriage, and, at long last, the true story behind the secret advances in Soviet wig technology. Spasibo, comrades! A glorious future awaits us all!