Good News And More Shows!

Plus: Class Action Park, Bill & Ted Face The Music, and Lovecraft Country

by Linda Holmes
Welcome! It was the week when reviews of Tenet finally started to roll in. It was the week when Spotify’s podcast travels hit another bump. And it was the week when one of the great American bookstores broke up with Amazon. Let’s get to it.

Opening Argument: Good News And More Shows!

Changes have been brewing at PCHH for quite a while — like a lot of other things, they were delayed by the pandemic that has kept us all at home for almost six months now. But we are so excited to say that we’re ready to move forward. 

First, we couldn’t be happier to tell you that Aisha Harris, who was most recently a culture editor at The New York Times and also was the host of the Slate podcast Represent, is joining our team as our fourth permanent host. So Aisha will, like me and Glen and Stephen, be not just on our air, but also working on picking topics, planning, and hosting herself. You’ve heard Aisha on PCHH many times as a rotating fourth chair, on everything from Da 5 Bloods to Frozen 2 to Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. We think the world of her, and we’re so, so very excited that she’s joining us. 

Now, the clarifications! Does this mean that we will no longer be rotating in fresh panelists as we’ve been doing? Absolutely not. It’s still our goal to increase the presence of a wide variety of voices in addition to our hosts; it’s just that we’ll have four hosts instead of three. You will undoubtedly hear the four of us together sometimes, but more often, you’ll hear some combination of us and the panelists we love to bring on the show to talk about what they’re passionate and knowledgeable about. 

Second, we’re changing our schedule! Right now, we have a Wednesday show and a Friday show, and our What’s Making Us Happy This Week segment is on Fridays. We’ll still have those two shows on our schedule, and we’ll still have Friday happies. But we’re becoming a daily show beginning sometime this fall. What that means is that on the other three days of the week, you’ll hear other conversations — mostly shorter, perhaps with two or sometimes three people instead of three or four. 

What we hope this will do is not only make more room for more voices, but also give us the ability to respond to news more easily (right now, whether we cover a news event in pop culture depends partly on what day of the week it happens) and to cover more ground. We want to do more movies and TV, but also more games and music and books. We’ve also heard from a lot of you that you miss some of the more thematic episodes we used to do that weren’t all about one property, and this will also make more room for those.

Of course, if you still want two episodes a week, you’ll still be able to listen to two episodes a week and pick and choose from the rest. We’ll never know! Overall, though, we think this will be a great new era for us and for our listeners, and we’ll be able to serve the audience better and bring you a stronger mix of panelists.  

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We Recommend:

If you need a thoughtful laugh — and who doesn’t? — check out the new podcast from Pineapple Street Studios, Back Issue. Hosted by Tracy Clayton (of Another Round, of course) and Pineapple Street producer Josh Gwynn, the show kicked off with a look back at the good, the bad, and the weird about America’s Next Top Model, with none other than Jay Manuel as a guest. It’s joyful and smart and will flood your spirit with a little burst of something good. 

Sarah Kuhn wrote a very good piece this week about community and burnout, and if your heart’s been heavy, you might relate to it a lot in a number of ways. 

This is as good a place as any to announce that I completed the story part of Lego Marvel Super Heroes for the PS4 this week (it’s … not a new game), and if you tend to find battling kinds of games rather stressful (as I sometimes do), I would recommend it as a pretty chill alternative where you’re not likely to run into too many frustrations (though I did hit a few glitches that required me to restart levels, which I do not like). 

Did you watch I May Destroy You, which ended this week? If not, the whole thing is now binge-able through whatever HBO platform is available to you. And trust me when I say Micaela Coel pulls off a heck of a feat in the finale that improves on an already very good series. (And then check out our episode talking about it.) 

What We Did This Week:

(L to R): Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance), Atticus (Jonathan Majors) and Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) in HBO's Lovecraft Country.
Elizabeth Morris/HBO
I wrote about the documentary Class Action Park, now available on HBO MAX. If you went to Action Park in New Jersey in the ‘80s/’90s, it will be a dose of nostalgia about the fun and the injuries. And if you didn’t, it still holds up as a really interesting examination of nostalgia, highlighted by great commentary by Chris Gethard. 

I also reviewed Bill & Ted Face The Music, which might not technically be good (it’s hard to even tell, honestly), but which I very much enjoyed. I know the original idea was to release it as a theatrical film and I think it’s playing in some theaters some places, but there’s not a reason in the world to venture out, given that it plays so well as a couch movie. 

Bill & Ted also was the topic of our Friday show, where we were joined by J.C. Howard. 

And on our Wednesday show, we talked about Lovecraft Country with PCHH classic panelist Audie Cornish and newcomer Ronald Young, Jr. 

And Stephen wrote about Billie Eilish’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, which has a very sweet backdrop. 

What’s Making Us Happy

Every week on the show, we talk about some other things out in the world that have been giving us joy lately. Here they are:
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