Once again, I could be honest and tell you that what I really just listened to was a near three-hour podcast episode about the 1979 classic film, Alien (which required me to rewatch the movie… along with Aliens and Alien 3). Or I could pretend I’m fancier than that and have been listening to something from NPR.
I’m gonna pretend I’m fancier than that. Here we go with two show you should be listening to (one for adults and one for kids).
The Show (for adults): Pop Culture Happy Hour
This was one of the first shows I started listening to when I started listening to podcasts. Back then it was a once-a-week show (every Friday) with A and B segments plus a final segment called “What’s making us happy this week.” They shared their thoughts and analyses of recent movies, tv shows, books, and more. They have modified the format twice since then and because I am uncomfortable with change of any kind, I hated it both times. And then got over it once I realized the new format was better.
The latest change was that it now comes out daily. At first I thought this was insane. It was just too much podcast and there wasn’t enough good pop culture to justify daily happy hours. Then I realized that with this new daily format came the opportunity to go back and revisit pop culture from the past. In addition to recent works, they’ve been doing episodes on older movies and shows like Almost Famous, Bring it On, The West Wing, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and even Showgirls.
Episode to Start With: [fill in the blank] Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Just scroll through the feed until you see something that you’re interested in and give it a listen. My favorites tend to be the ones that are built around a theme instead of a particular work (e.g., great 2020 movies you may have missed, 2021 pop culture predictions).
The Show (for kids): Mysterious Mysteries of Toby Taylor The Fruit Magician
I’m going to admit that I’m running out of podcasts for kids. I know there are others, but I haven’t been in the car much with my kids in the last year so we haven’t had much opportunity to find new ones. They outgrew Toby Taylor pretty quickly but wow did they love this one at first. As the name implies, it’s a mystery. But because it’s for kids, it’s a relatively low-stakes mystery that feels high-stakes. He and his sister are trying to figure out who stole a prized potato or whether or not this department store is haunted. Super fun, good voice acting, and got my kids on the edge of their seats trying to figure out who done it.
Episode to Start With: The Beginning. There aren’t nearly enough episodes of this, but what’s there is great. I would start at the beginning with The Haunted Department Store, Chapter 1. The episodes are super short- usually around 10 minutes- and each mystery is around five episodes. We would end up binging an entire mystery on the way to and from school each day.
Dr. Ryan C. Martin
Ryan Martin is the Associate Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and a member of the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He researches anger, manages the website All the Rage, and teaches courses on mental illness and emotion. Follow him on twitter at @rycmart or All the Rage on Facebook.