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Pop Rocket

Pop culture discussion with Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Margaret Wappler and Karen Tongson
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Now displaying: Category: Pop Culture

A high-octane weekly discussion of the pop culture we all love to love.

Join host Guy Branum and panelists Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler for smart, funny, sometimes sweary chat about everything great in entertainment.

Combining comic, journalistic, academic and digital media expertise, the Pop Rocket team will keep you up-to-date on what's most exciting in pop culture this week.

MaximumFun.org

Feb 2, 2019

Will Terry Crews receive the second-ever Pop Rocket Seal of Approval? Why wasn't Margaret on this week's show? Is Adam McKay a craftsman or an artist? These questions and more will be answered on this week's Pop Rocket!

Plus, in the wake of the PRSOA "Bloom backlash", the voting process has been amended. Tune in to find out how, and when there will be another nomination period.

That's My Jam

Wynter: Summer Walker - Girls Need Love

Karen: James Ingram - Just Once

Guy: RuPaul (feat. Myah Marie) - Adrenaline

With Guy BranumKaren Tongson, and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Jan 26, 2019

This week's show is a double dose of schadenfreude!

The gang compares the dueling documentaries Hulu's "Fyre Fraud" and Netflix's "Fyre," which tell different versions of the tropical shit show that landed its mastermind Billy McFarland behind bars.

All Abouts

Wynter is all about Crashing and True Detective.

Margaret is all about the memoir Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer, who you may recognize from her article in the Paris Review What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men.

Karen is all about CATWALK: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit on Netflix, and the rivalry between a “well-muscled” Turkish Angora named Bobby, and a voluminous Red Persian named Oh La La
.

Guy is all about Sex Education on Netflix.

That's My Jam

Wynter: Phil Collins - I'm Not Moving (Idjut Boys remix)

Karen: Queen - Play the Game

Margaret: ROSALÍA - MALAMENTE

Guy: Mark Ronson (feat. Miley Cyrus - Nothing Breaks Like a Heart

With Guy BranumKaren TongsonMargaret WapplerWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Jan 4, 2019

Guy Branum is back for our first episode of 2019! Sadly, Margaret couldn’t join us because #health and Wynter was busy being a jet setter.

This week, the panelists share their pop culture resolutions for 2019, and own up to resolution fails from the past year.

Writer and comedian Tara Jepsen joins us in studio and Guy is awed by the combined power of her and Karen’s “lesbian efficiency.”

If you're curious about what Guy has been up to these past couple months, he catches us up. Spoiler alert (though not really): He consumed a lot of theater. In particular, he saw Matthew Lopez’s seven-hour, two-night play The Inheritance, and had LOTS of opinions about it.

From “learn more commercial jingles” to “master a new recipe a month,” the panel reveals an ambitious list of resolutions they may or may not be able to stick with for an entire year.

All Abouts

Karen is all about Bird Box the new Netflix thriller starring Sandra Bullocks.

Tara is all about hating a bootleg recording of a recent standup set by disgraced comedian Louis C.K..

Guy is all about The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez, which is loosely based on Howard's End.

Call to Action
Inspired by one panelist’s resolution to learn more commercial jingles, we are asking Rocketeers to call in and sing their favorite jingles on the Pop Rocket voicemail. We want to hear those jingles that will forever be lodged in your brain.

That's My Jam

Guy: Janet Jackson -Together Again

Tara: Hey Jellie - Going Back

Karen: Labi Siffre - Watch Me

With Guy BranumKaren Tongson, and Tara Jepsen.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Dec 22, 2018

Happy Holidays, everyone! Wynter and Karen are joined by special guest panelists Tre’Vell Anderson (Director of Culture and Entertainment at Out Magazine) and 'Who Shot Ya?'s' Alonso Duralde to create the ultimate holiday playlist. Each panelist created a top ten list of their favorite holiday songs, out of which they’d select twenty for inclusion in the official Pop Rocket Holiday Playlist. Well, that was the plan, anyway. In practice, when faced with making the tough choices, they flopped. Whose version of "Sleigh Ride" should be on the playlist: Andy Williams’s, Ella Fitzgerald’s or TLC’s? Spoiler alert: They couldn’t decide.

Plus, the panelists describe their holiday family traditions, and if you’ve ever been curious what the most popular Philippine Christmas song is, resident scholar Karen Tongson reveals the answer.

From Ella Fitzgerald to Donny Hathaway, from the Morehouse Glee Club to Quad City DJs, the variety of musical stylings in this episode will get your feet tappin'.

All Abouts

For the last All Abouts of the year, each panelist picked one thing in 2018, that they could watch, listen to, read, or consume, OVER & OVER again.

Alonso is all about the Amber Ruffin segment on Late Night With Seth Meyers - 'Amber Says Why'

Karen is still all about the series finale of The Americans.

Tre’Vell is awed by EVERYTHING about Cardi B, but especially her recent appearance with James Corden in Carpool Karaoke.

Wynter can’t stop watching Mission Impossible: Fallout.

 

That's My Jam

For this week’s jams, each panelist picked a song that best summed up the year that was 2018.

Karen: Sound of Music Soundtrack - So Long, Farewell
Tre’vell: Fantasia - Lose to Win
Alonso: Lizzo - Good as Hell
Wynter: Drake - Nice for What

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback, or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Dec 14, 2018

How right, but mostly how wrong, does Hollywood get it when it comes to capturing artists in film? Margaret Wappler asks these very questions of her esteemed panel. And this, the panel is comprised of LA Times staff writer Carolina Miranda, who covers visual arts, culture and architecture, media scholar and TV critic Sarah Kessler--filling in for her under-the-weather wife Karen Tongson--and Cal Arts professor and visual artist David P Earle, who is better known to Pop Rocket listeners as father to Silas and husband to our very own Margaret Wappler.

From Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner to Antonio Banderas's Golden Globe-nominated performance in Genius: Picasso, the crew highlights all the tired tropes Hollywood can’t resist when depicting artists. They’ll tell you about the films that get it right, and the films that get it deliciously wrong. Plus, why are all the portrayals of Andy Warhol on the big screen so...different? Was the real Andy Warhol more like Crispin Glover in The Doors or David Bowie in Julian Schnabel's Basquiat? Does Salma Hayek really do Frida justice? And which actress nails the stereotype of the insufferable, pretentious artist on the head? Join us as we try to suss out: is art about art art, or t-shirt at the giftshop bullshit?

All Abouts

Sarah is all about Valerie Solanas's SCUM Manifesto with forward by Michelle Tea.

Carolina is all about narco-novelas, in particular Netflix's Narcos: Mexico starring Diego Luna.

David is all about his algorithmically generated list of top songs of 2018 from Spotify.

Margaret is all about the 18th century period piece The Favourite, a feminist reimagining of Queen Anne's court starring Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, and Olivia Colman.

That's My Jam

Sarah - Laura Branigan - Gloria

David - Saba - LOGOUT

Carolina - The Bucketheads - The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)

Margaret- Katzù Oso - Crazy4luvinU

With Margaret WapplerDavid EarleCarolina Miranda, and Sarah Rebecca Kessler.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Dec 8, 2018
Guests: 
 
 Karen Tongson
 
 Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh
 
 Sarah Kessler

We're getting down into the down and dirty story Dirty John, the new Bravo show based on the LA Times and Wondery podcast of the same name. Joining us in the discussion this week is media scholar and TV critic Sarah Kessler who happens to also be married to our very own Karen Tongson. Dirty John is the true crime story about Debra Newell, a successful Orange County businesswoman who seemed to have everything going for her except when it came to love. In her middle age, she began online dating and met this guy who her two daughters found extremely shady. Obviously, throughout the course of the limited series starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana, she and we find out why.

We take a deep dive into what it is that titillates and draws us into the dark and disturbing world of true crime. The panel takes a look at podcasts like Teacher's PetSerial and Bear Brook, among others, as well as shows such as Making a Murderer, Lifetime’s A Woman Scorned and the sensational, made-for-tv accounts of the most notorious serial killers. What does true crime tell us about women and what does it tell women to watch out for? Find out!

List of All the True Crimes Stories Referenced in the Episode

Serial
Bear Brook
Teacher's Pet
Atlanta Monster
Star 80
Fall of a Titan: The Steve McNair Story
In the Dark
Crime & Scandal: Chris Watts

All Abouts

Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh is all about the interpersonal dynamics at play at H.W. Bush’s funeral.

Sarah Kessler is all about My Brilliant Friend on HBO based on the bestselling series by Elena Ferrante.

Karen Tongson is all about a recent stand-up set she saw of Aparna Nancherla.

That's My Jam

Sarah Kessler - Stereolab - Outer Accelerator

Wynter - Grace Jones - Slave to the Rhythm

Karen Tongson - Juliana Hatfield - A Little More Love

With Karen TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Sarah Rebecca Kessler.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Nov 30, 2018

It's well known in the Rocketeer community that our host this week, Wynter Mitchell-Ragnarok, is a huge horror buff. She watches two to three a week, and she is running out of horror flicks to watch on all the streaming services. Send her your recommendations! In the meantime, Wynter forced Karen, Margaret and Who Shot Ya?’s Ricky Carmona to subject themselves to some of her favorite movies from the holiday genre, such as Black ChristmasSilent Night, Deadly Night, and their sequels.

Our special guest this week is the hilarious Ricky Carmona, the host of the Maximum Fun movie podcast Who Shot Ya? and he's also a staff writer on the Comedy Central TV series Tosh.0.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about ROMA, a new film by acclaimed director Alfonso Cuarón. The movie is heavily based on his childhood in Mexico City in the 1970s and his family's live-in housekeeper.

Karen has a backhanded All About on Netflix's bro-y, new food competition show The Final Table.

Ricky is all about Adam Sandler's latest stand-up comedy special also on Netflix called 100% Fresh.

Wynter is all about season 1 of the USA Network crime drama The Sinner starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman.

That's My Jam

Margaret - Phosphorescent - New Birth in New England.

Karen - This Is Me (Reimagined Remix) - Keala Settle, Kesha & Missy Elliott

Ricky - Sounds of Blackness - Optimistic

Wynter - Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band - Great to Be Here

With Wynter Mitchell-RohrbaughKaren TongsonMargaret Wappler , and Ricky Carmona/a>.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Nov 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, Rocketeers! We at Pop Rocket are thankful for you, our listeners. For the purposes of this episode, Wynter will be playing the role of Margaret’s sister who always criticizes her stuffing recipe, while Karen is the gay aunt who sold Wappler a bunk Subaru.

There was a lot of tension in the studio, and everyone was walking on eggshells. Will our panelists be able to make it through a discussion of awkward family gatherings without bursting into tears? Will Wynter be triggered by a clip of The Family Stone? Will Margaret angrily scream, “Eat the fish, b***h!”? The panel dissects some of their favorite awkward moments--on screen and off--and try to figure out why we’re so captivated by angry, obnoxious relatives. If any of you out there have concerns about fraught dinner conversations over turkey, stuffing, and sides, the panelists are here for you!

All Abouts

Margaret alerted us to a fine piece of writing from New York Times critic Amanda Hess, who laments, “nothing ever ends anymore and it’s driving me insane.” If you’re overwhelmed by sequels, prequels, reboots, and overlapping universes, she’s a kindred spirit.

If no one spots Wynter out in the wild over the next two weeks, it’s probably because she’s playing her newest video game obsession Red Dead Redemption II.

Karen recently discovered the new ABC sitcom Single Parents starring Taran Killam, Leighton Meester and Jake Choi.

That's My Jam

Wynter - Michelle Obama - Becoming
Karen - Shawn Mendes - Lost in Japan
Margaret - Barrie - Michigan

With Karen TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Nov 17, 2018

This week Pop Rocket celebrates its 200th episode!!! To commemorate this auspicious occasion, Karen, Margaret and Wynter take a look at how each of them has evolved from the quaint, carefree days of 2015 to the unrelenting hellscape that is 2018. Remember the blue dress? Sorry, remember the white dress? They'll reminisce about that fun moment in pop culture, talk Taylor Swift then and now, and how much things have changed in terms of trans visibility from back in 2015 when Caitlyn Jenner sat down for an interview with Diane Sawyer on 20/20, and the strides we've made since then.

In addition, Guy takes us with him to the seaside town of Mendocino and lets us eavesdrop as he attempts to talk to his mother Deb and his niece Olivia about the pop culture they are currently consuming.

All Abouts

Margaret highly recommends There There: A Novel by Tommy Orange.

Wynter is all about Michelle Obama’s new book Becoming, but in audiobook format.

Karen’s into Survivor 37: David vs Goliath.

That's My Jam

Wynter - Rihanna - Bitch Better Have My Money

Karen - Carly Rae Jepsen - Party for One

Margaret - Lower Dens - To Die in L.A.

With Karen TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Nov 10, 2018

Kanye West’s rambling, pro-Trump speech on SNL late September may have surprised casual observers, but by that point, his fans had heard both his outrageous statements and his frank talk about mental health for months. Charlagmane tha God lamented his canceled TimesTalk with Kanye on Instagram as a missed opportunity, writing, "Normalizing being mentally healthy is a conversation that I really wanted to have with Kanye because he's been so vocal about his own mental health struggles. Unfortunately, I think to have that conversation with him right now would not be productive and a total distraction from the point of the convo which is to eradicate the stigma of mental health especially in the black community."

Well, we’re going to have that conversation today and we're joined by Clarkisha Kent, film and pop culture critic- known to some as a "professional hater." The panelists discuss rapper Mac Miller's death, Chris Brown's history of domestic violence, and Jay-Z's openness about lacking the necessary emotional tools for marriage, among other things.

To be clear, we are not medical professionals.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about Lucy McBath. Lucy is the newly elected Representative of Georgia's 6th Congressional district. She is a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which she joined after her son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in what is believed to be a hate crime.

Karen is all about Sharice Davids. She's one of the two Native American women elected to Congress in the midterm election and represents Kansas's 3rd district.

Clarkisha is all about the Twitter beef between herself and other black critics and Rebel Wilson over Rebel's claim that she is the first plus-sized woman to lead a romantic comedy.

Wynter is all about Season 4: The Dream Door of the Syfy channel's horror anthology TV show "Channel Zero."

That's My Jam

Margaret - Jamie Isaac - Doing Better

Karen - Ariana Grande - thank u, next

Clarkisha - The New Respects - Something to Believe In

Wynter - Tori Amos - Cornflake Girl

With Wynter Mitchell-RohrbaughKaren TongsonMargaret Wappler, and Clarkisha Kent.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria. This episode was engineered by Christian Dueñas.

Nov 2, 2018

The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval

Before registered parliamentarian Guy Branum takes an extended leave for some much-needed relaxation at home and abroad, the panelists came together to consider, once again, whether they would be able to award the first-ever Pop Rocket Seal of Approval.

Without an acting Nominating Committee Head to sift through listener suggestions on Facebook and Twitter, this time the panel decided to consider the names of only the most committed Pop Rocket listeners--those who cared enough about voting that they called in to make their case. One listener even called TWICE.

Special thanks must go to everyone who called in. Your grassroots efforts to influence the panelists worked. Names that might have been dismissed out of hand if merely tweeted, were taken much more seriously.

So, who will get to update their IMDB page awards section with a Pop Rocket Seal of Approval win? And might this episode feature a DOUBLE nomination? It might!

Here is the full list of names submitted to the panel for consideration. They are listed in the order their calls were received: Tina Turner, Kristen Bell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kelly Clarkson, Robyn, Carly Rae Jepsen, Angela Lansbury, and Terry Crews.

So who is the first-ever PRSOA recipient? You’ll find out.

Jam Abouts = All Abouts + That's My Jam

Karen - Les Misérables: New York 1987 Original Broadway Cast - One Day More

Wynter - Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone

Margaret - Willie Nelson - Vote 'Em Out.

Guy is all about the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix, which is darker and sexier than the original show about the half-mortal, half-witch teen Sabrina Spellman.

With Guy BranumKaren TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to comment on an episode, give us any feedback or just call to get advice from a panel member, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Oct 27, 2018

**Note: Next week the panel will cast their votes to award--or not--The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval. You still have an opportunity to influence the panelists. If you want your voice to be heard, literally, call the Pop Rocket hotline and make a case for the person you want to win, and why. Call: (530) 237-4108**

Jamie Lee Curtis is smashing box office records, and the Pop Rocket panel APPROVES. In this episode, Guy, Wynter, Karen, and Margaret share their favorite scares, from new shows like The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix and the CW's Charmed, to the latest season of American Horror Story: Apocalypse. Plus, they tackle the important questions, such as, “What Stephen King movie is the best?” and “What is it really going to take for Jamie Lee Curtis to kill Mike Myers?” And they lament that we are still awaiting a Halloween novelty song to top Michael Jackson's Thriller.

All Abouts

Wynter is all about the Lifetime TV psychological thriller/romance You, which stars Penn Badgley and delves into themes of stalking, obsession, social media, and sociopathic detachment.

Margaret is all about Girl Talk's 2010 album All Day, which is the only album that will get Silas to sleep these days.

Karen is all about an impassioned voicemail she received from Tina Turner devotee Nick White, who made an exceptionally strong case to award the very first Pop Rocket Seal of Approval to Tina Turner.

Guy is all about food writer Samin Nosrat's Netflix show Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

That's My Jam

Karen - ANOHNI - Hopelessness

Wynter - Chaka Khan - Like Sugar

Margaret - Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind - The Shining Main Title Theme.

Guy - The Go-Go's - Vacation

With Guy BranumKaren TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler.

Did you know that you can now call and leave voicemails for the show? You can! If you want to let us know who you think should receive the first Pop Rocket Seal of Approval, or just call to get advice, the number is: (530) 237-4108

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Oct 19, 2018

It’s 1969. Four guests check into the El Royale Hotel: a priest (Jeff Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), and a hippie (Dakota Johnson). They all - save one - have something mysterious going on behind the scenes and the hotel itself is not what it appears to be. When they check in, there’s a storm a-brewin'.

Join Guy, Karen, Margaret, and producer/film festival programmer/Who Shot Ya contributor and now Pop Rocket guest Drea Clark as they pick apart Drew Goddard’s neo-noir ensemble Bad Times at The El Royale. They get into the movie's twists, turns, non-linear construction, Cynthia Erivo's breakout performance, and how it's kind of likeQuentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, but not nearly as macho.

All Abouts

Drea is all about a long read article from The Texas Monthly called The Love Story that Upended the Texas Prison System about the alliance and romantic relationship between a lawyer and an inmate that ultimately brought attention to a nationwide scandal and disrupted the system of abuse of prisoners in Texas.

Margaret is all about the second season of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, which covers the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton.

Karen is all about The LA Dodgers pulling ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers (as of last Wednesday) in the National League Championship Series.

Guy is all about Glenn Close's performance in her new movie The Wife.

That's My Jam

Karen - Trashcan Sinatras - All Night

Margaret - Alvvays - In Undertow.

Drea - Tierra Whack - MUMBO JUMBO

With Guy BranumKaren TongsonDrea Clark, and Margaret Wappler.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Oct 12, 2018

This week gay America received so much, but in particular, A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who also directed the movie. Guy, Wynter, Karen & Margaret--aka the full panel--got a chance to watch, cry, and be torn apart by the story of a lady who gained the world, but lost the man that she loves.

On this episode, we go over the history of this film and all the remakes, share predictions on whether The Academy will hand out statues to Lady Gaga and/or Bradley Cooper, or if they'll have to settle for the less-prestigious adulation from foreign journalists. Plus, Karen pushes back on Sam Adams's Slate article, which argues that "the movie's battle between rock and pop, authenticity and artifice, and art and commerce is outdated at best."

All Abouts

Wynter is all about the new Halloween starring Jamie Lee Curtis and the kerfuffle over Curtis's views on gun ownership on Fox News.

Karen is all about NBC's new primetime airplane sci-fi thriller, Manifest.

Margaret is all about the Twitter beef between Lana Del Rey and Azealia Banks over rapper Ye formerly known as Kanye West's MAGA-ness.

Guy is all about Katmai National Park & Preserve's Fat Bear Week competition.

That's My Jam

Karen - Barbara Streisand - Evergreen (Love Theme from "A Star is Born" 1976)

Wynter - Lady Gaga - Why Did You Do That? (A Star is Born Soundtrack)

Margaret - Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

Guy - Cher - Waterloo

With Guy BranumKaren TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Oct 5, 2018

***Trigger Warning - This episode contains discussion of sexual assault. You may want to sit this one out if hearing this kind of discussion is likely to do more harm than good.***

Current events have us (and many others) reconsidering the way high school and college relationships were depicted in the '80s, particularly in romcoms and raunchy sex comedies. Margaret Wappler hosts our discussion this week with Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and our guest, actor, and comedian Ted Alexandro who has a new comedy special Senior Class of Earth.

The panel revisits supposedly harmless, goofball adolescent comedies and considers how they may have influenced the way a whole generation views consent (and yes, we are talking about rape culture). Does a culture that permits youthful experimentation -mistakes and all- open the door to complacency about assault?

All Abouts

Wynter is all about an article in GQ by author Marian Bull that explains how men can talk to women in their lives about all the triggering stuff in the news involving the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Karen is all about Chris, the new album by Christine and the Queens (aka Heloise Letissier), in particular, the song: Comme si.

Ted is all about celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary with his wife, Madalyn, who joins him in Los Angeles this week to promote his album Senior Class of Earth.

Margaret is all about Matt Damon's performance as Brett Kavanaugh on SNL.

That's My Jam

Karen - Selena Gomez - Back to You

Wynter - Little Wayne - Uproar (Official Audio) Carter V

Ted - Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity

Margaret - Noname - Self.

With Margaret WapplerKaren TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Ted Alexandro.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Sep 28, 2018

The autumn TV season has officially begun, and let's be honest, there is TOO MUCH stuff to watch out there. If you're feeling overwhelmed, fear not. The Pop Rocket panel has lots of binge-worthy shows to recommend, and a couple new shows they think you should skip.

One panelist will tell you why they loved Netflix's Maniac, and another who couldn't make it through the season. If you're curious whether Amazon Prime's The First is worth your time, Tongson's got some opinions. They'll cover Bojack HorsemanNational TreasureOzarkThe Sinner and more.

All Abouts

Wynter is all about the tea behind Kevin Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Instagram, departing Facebook, which bought the photo-sharing app six years ago.

Karen is all about basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar's latest gig: staff writer on the new Veronica Mars.

Guy is all about the new Netflix romcom Nappily Ever After starring Sanaa Lathan.

That's My Jam

Karen - SWV (Sisters with Voices) - Right Here

Guy - Troye Sivan - Seventeen.

With Guy BranumKaren Tongson, and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Sep 21, 2018

We’ve got another full panel! This week, Guy, Wynter, Margaret, and Karen tackle the ornery romcom Destination Wedding, starring Gen X darlings Winona and Keanu. Does their star-power shine bright enough to carry an entire film wherein they’re the only two people with dialogue? Has Hollywood discovered how to effectively harness their charm and charisma? You’ll find out as the panel weighs in on these questions and more.

The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval

The full quorum convened to vote on another nominee for the Pop Rocket Seal of Approval. Listeners will remember that the last time a quorum was convened, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did not receive enough votes from the three panelists present--Guy, Karen & Margaret. He was denied the award based on damaging GOP convention and Ballers-related critiques. In this episode, the panelists vote on whether to grant the accolade to Crazy Ex Girlfriend star and creator Rachel Bloom. Will her boundary-pushing musical-making hustle and sexualization of the hot, Asian bro win the judges over?

Jam Abouts = All Abouts + That's My Jam

Wynter is all about André & Sarah - the sixth episode in the Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen Amazon series Forever.

Karen is all about the new Paul Feig film A Simple Favor starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding.

Margaret is all about the 3rd season of HBO's Insecure.

Guy is all about the adorably cute YouTube video series Kids Try by HiHo Kids.

With Guy BranumKaren TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Sep 14, 2018

Between the VMA's and Yom Kippur, we've got our own version of the high holidays here at Pop Rocket: The SUMMER JAMS episode! We will anoint OR NOT anoint the title of Song of the Summer to the most banging artist of the past few months. And yes, the band is back together again. The full panel - Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell (don't forget) Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler - put on their Grammy judge hats and measure up the best cuts from music makers this past season.

What criteria make a tune a summertime anthem? Is it the dance beat? The song's ubiquity? The convertible factor? A dark city feeling? Does the magic of Cardi B's "I Like It" rest solely on its sample of Peter Rodriquez's I Like It Like That? Is Zedd, Marren Morris, Grey's "The Middle" too much negotiation and not enough sex, love, and urgency? Find out which song made Silas get down like no one was watching and which panelist has a knack for converting jams into pet cat lullabies. Shout outs also go to honorable mentions and listeners' suggestions that didn't quite make the cut.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about Mandy Moore's newly remodeled mid-century modern home in Pasadena.

Wynter is all about TV writer and producer Linda Bloodworth Thomason's op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter where she channels a glowing fury and details the misogynistic bullying she faced from disgraced former CBS CEO Les Moonves. Les Moonves, Go fuck yourself!

Karen is all about the post-BBC reboot of The Great British Baking Show.

Guy is all about Cynthia Nixon's appearance at the old school, crusty Brooklyn gay bar The Metropolitan before the New York Governor Primary.

With Guy BranumKaren TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Margaret Wappler.

Summer Jam Finalists:

Cardi B - I Like It

Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The Middle

Ariana Grande - R.E.M.

Maroon 5 - Girls Like You

Lizzo - Boys

Years & Years - All For You

Migos - Walk It Talk It

Drake - In My Feelings

Drake - Nice For What

Calvin Harris feat. Dua Lipa - One Kiss

Troye Sivan - Bloom

Summer Honorable Mentions:

Big Freedia feat. Lizzo - Karaoke

Years & Years - If You're Over Me

Matt Rogers - Be A Bitch To Your Friends (This Pride)

Aloe Blacc - Brooklyn in the Summer

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Sep 7, 2018

It’s time, once again, to start deleting programs from our DVRs to make room for new ones. It's almost fall, y'all, which means award shows and the arrival of new network comedies, dramas, dramedies, and what have you. Sooooo Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, and Wynter Mitchell let us in on all the films and TV shows they're most excited about this upcoming season.

Rocketeers, this here preview is the closest most of us will get to an actual harvest. The guys pick over the latest crop of entertainment offerings, including the Murphy Brown reboot, the end of Big Bang TheoryAmerican Horror Story's upcoming convergence of its former Murder House and Coven seasons, the Italian supernatural horror film Suspiria, buzz around Lady Gaga's performance in A Star is Born, and Chloë Sevigny's disappointment over the toning down of the "smash the patriarchy" vibe in her new biopic Lizzie, about Lizzie Borden, notorious for killing her parents with an axe in 1892.

All Abouts

Karen is all about the actor Geoffrey Owens, who played Elvin on The Cosby Showtalking to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America about work, labor shaming, and the false idea that some jobs carry more dignity than others.

Wynter is all about Succession, which is HBO's new drama loosely based on Rupert Murdoch and his family.

Guy is all about Support the Girls starring Regina Hall.

With Guy BranumKaren Tongson, and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh.

That's My Jam:

Wynter - Ariana Grande - R.E.M.

Karen - Genesis- That's All.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Aug 31, 2018

Hop on the PARTY LYFT as we jam out for the long-awaited return of our favorite newlywed Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh. She joins Karen Tongsen and frequent favorite Pop Rocket guest LA Times Film Reporter Tre'vell Anderson as they get into their thoughts on season 3 of HBO's Insecure.

The crew touches on the careers of the leading ladies- specifically white privilege problems at Issa's nonprofit We Got Y'all, Issa's side gig as a Lyft driver, and Molly's experiences at her new black corporate law firm. They also talk about which characters they want moved from periphery to center. Do they miss Issa's ex, Lawrence? And do they buy into Molly's polyamorous relationship? Or is she's really just a glorified side b****?

All Abouts

Wynter is all about the horror film Hereditary. Tre'vell is all about the new musical covering the life and times of the Motown group The Temptations called Ain't Too ProudKaren is all about more Asian American representation in Hollywood via John Cho's new thriller Searching.

That's My Jam:

Tre'vell - Teyana Taylor - WTP

Wynter - DJ AM - Unreleased Mixes.

Karen - Christine and the Queens- 5 dollars

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

With Karen TongsonWynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Tre'vell Anderson.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Aug 24, 2018

We did the book, now we're doing the movie! Goddess Guy Branum and dyke-about-town Karen Tongson are joined by fellow MaxFun host Alonso Duralde of the movie podcast Who Shot Ya? and returning favorite Andrew Ti, host of the podcast Yo, Is This Racist? to talk Crazy Rich Asians.

Listen in to find out who the gang thought had the breakout performances? Did the food porn in the book match up with the food porn on screen? Who would be the leading man in the sequel? Was the movie "Asian enough"? In lieu of our regular segment That's My Jam, Andrew shares one of his favorite Chinese language covers of a Western hit and how he really felt about all the Asian language covers in the movie. Also, the gang offers up some real talk about the movie's celebration of #AsianJoy, the uncomfortable ways that class played out in the film, and colorism among Asian ethnicities.

All Abouts

Andrew is all about Season 3 of the Syfy TV series The Expanse. Alonso is all about the new comedy Support the Girls starring Regina Hall. Karen is all about the social media eruption over the prominent queer-identified theorist Avital Ronell and her alleged sexual harassment of a male graduate student. Guy is all about the other Asian American centered movie you should be paying attention to Netflix's To All The Boys I've Loved Before.

With Guy Branum, Karen TongsonAndrew Ti, and Alonso Duralde.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Aug 17, 2018

Goddess Guy Branum returns from his book tour just in time for Pop Rocket's annual Summer Book Club. He joins Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler to finally dig into Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians book trilogy. By the way, the movie Crazy Rich Asians is out in theaters now. Go watch it!

Kwan's trilogy is essentially about the crazy rich people of Singapore, but the main story in the first book Crazy Rich Asians centers around Rachel and Nick-a young couple who've been dating for two years. They're both professors living in contemporary New York. Very much in love- Nick finally invites Rachel to travel to Singapore to meet his family. Curiously, Rachel knows nothing about them and once she gets there realizes that they are insanely, filthy, rich billionaires.

The panelists give us their rundown of the most fascinating themes and threads in the books including: the food, the fashion, colonialism's legacy, money vs. class, tensions between Singaporeans and mainland Chinese, hierarchies among Asian nations, assumptions about Oliver T'sien's sexuality, and then they decide who from the book they'd marry, fuck, kill, (and add to their book club). As if that weren't enough, one of the panelists--and we won't say which one--muses, "Maybe she was dickmatized?" Feel free to guess which one of our esteemed panelists said that in the comments section below.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about the Kevin Kwan's descriptions of Astrid's fashion "it-girlness." Astrid is Nick's cousin who is super beautiful, posh, and interesting. She's every panelists favorite character in the series. Karen is all about the reading list in the second book China Rich Girlfriend that is given to a character who is undergoing an image makeover. The character hires an image consultant who is trying to teach her about all the "right" things to talk about and all the "right" cultural references to use in conversation. Guy is all about the pineapple tarts described in the book in that they represent the very fascinating place of colonialism in Singapore's history. Spoiler alert: Singapore was under British rule for about 400 years. These tarts are an Asian modification of a French dessert that represent nostalgia, warmth, and memories of home, but also symbolize status.

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

That's My Jam:

Margaret - Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris - One Kiss.

Karen - Faye Wong - Summer of Love

Guy - Aretha Franklin - Freedom from Blues Brothers movie

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Aug 10, 2018

This week, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler get happy with Matt Bellassai and Bari Finkel, the host and producer of Pineapple Street Media's Unhappy Hour podcast. Today's show is like a Snuggie for one's soul. The panel dishes on the pop culture that brings us pure joy, from songs that compel us to dance, to the spots we gravitate toward on the Internet when we need a dose of adorable. Go ahead, try not to smile when you listen to this episode.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about the Vulture interview by David Marchese with Kathleen Turner. Bari is all about the birthday and career renaissance of the child actor twins Cole Sprouse and Dylan Sprouse. Matt is all about Beyonce and Jay-Z's On The Run II concert. Karen is all about the season 4 premiere of The Food Network's Episode 7 of Chopped Grill Masters.

With Karen TongsonMargaret Wappler,Matt Bellassai, and Bari Finkel.

That's My Jam:

Bari - Beyonce - If I Were a Boy/You Oughta Know (live).

Matt Mamma Mia Soundtrack - Mamma Mia.

Karen - Maroon 5 - Girls Like You feat. Cardi B..

Margaret - James Blake - Choose Me.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Aug 3, 2018

***Warning - this episode contains spoilers***

This week, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler chat it up with pop culture maven and Pop Rocket's own podcast godmother Linda Holmes, the host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. The ladies revisit that wonderfully awkward time of their lives of Clearasil and body self-consciousness also known as 8th Grade while doing an in-depth exploration of Bo Burnham's debut film Eighth Grade. The movie centers around this socially awkward teen girl who tries really hard to fit it and be popular at school, but can't quite get there. Karen, Margaret, and Linda harken back to the drama of that time in their own lives, and also flesh out whether one of the scenes in the movie should--or not--be labeled a #MeToo moment.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about journalist href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/25/magazine/big-business-gwyneth-paltrow-wellness.html">Taffy Brodesser-Akner's latest article in the NYTimes Magazine about Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand company Goop and how it went from Paltrow's Martha Stewart-like project to a 250 million dollar company. Linda is all about a new (and disappointing) study on inequality in film out of USC Annenberg
that highlights the lack of progress in inclusion in film. Karen is all about Episode 7 of The Affair, specifically the scene that features “sapphic dabbling in a yurt” between Helen (Maura Tierney) and Sierra (Emily Browning).

With Karen TongsonMargaret Wappler, and Linda Holmes.

That's My Jam:

Linda- Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone.

Margaret - Nine Inch Nails - Down In It.

Karen - Debbie Gibson- Only In My Dreams.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Jul 27, 2018
 

We've got a SUPERSIZED Pop Rocket for our first-ever Friday release, so strap yourselves in! This week, Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, and Margaret Wappler are joined by TV powerhouse Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, co-creator and executive producer of the Lifetime drama Unreal.


The crew discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime series Who Is America. Not unlike his previous series, Da Ali G Show, which aired on HBO in the early aughts, Cohen continues his controversial schtick of interviewing people in character while trying to get them to humiliate themselves all for our viewing pleasure. They draw the connections between Cohen's comedy and Sarah's show Unreal. The fourth and final season of Unreal recently came out on Hulu.

Jonathan Gold

First, the crew pays tribute to the late, great Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold. Gold was the city's unofficial ambassador whose reviews propped up great restaurants on the verge of going out of business, gave a spotlight to forgotten histories, but more than anything taught Angelenos to be less afraid of their neighbors.

The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval

Two weeks ago Guy created the Pop Rocket Seal of Approval and quickly submitted its first nomination: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. This week we had enough of a quorum to hold our first-ever vote. Guy, Margaret, and Karen each weigh in with the pros and cons of awarding this prestigious honor to The Rock, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro comes in hot with her own opinions (but no voting rights). Will The Rock earn Pop Rocket's first ever Seal of Approval? Find out!

With Guy Branum, Karen TongsonMargaret Wappler, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro.

That's My Jam:

Margaret - Demi Lovato - Sober.

Karen - Lisa Loeb - Stay (I Missed You).

Sarah- Nina Simone - Ain't Got No, I Got Life (Live).

Guy - Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The Middle .

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

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