e178. Pop History vs. Public History

How do we learn history? The easy answer is to say we learn it from history books, but is that true? How many of us ever read a history book after 10th grade? It’s more likely that we get the majority of our history either from museums or from historic entertainment… things like Hamilton… or,…

e177. Deconstructing the Chair

It’s been a while since we devoted a whole episode to one TV show. We’ve done it with a couple of the Marvel shows as well as stuff like Game of Thrones and Watchmen. We did a show on the Queen’s Gambit, and we loved Bridgerton enough to do TWO episodes on it. We talked…

Call for Comments: There’s a TV Show About an English Department… So We Have to Discuss It?

From Hannah: On August 20, Netflix will release its new mini-series The Chair featuring Sandra Oh. It also happens to be about an English department at the fictional, elite Pembroke University. A new trailer dropped a few weeks back and, well, I already have thoughts: https://youtu.be/eOqtBtWGl1Q There’s a conversation that goes beyond this one show.…

e173. War of the Readings

The Internet has one main purpose: arguing about things that don’t really matter. I’m sure you’ve seen this, people will fight over whether a movie was good or bad, what the significance of a particular scene of a TV show was, what was the hidden theme of a book, or perhaps most notably today… should…

Call For Comments: On Multiple Readings and Variant Interpretations

From Mav: I was having an interesting conversation with friend-of-the-show Andrew Darowski the other day about the idea of multiple readings. For those who don’t know, in addition to the Protagonist Podcast, Andrew is host of a podcast called Disney Animation Minute Essentials where he and his wife Kestra step through classic Disney films one…

e171. Summertime! Time to Kick Back and Unwind

Somehow, summertime media is special. Or at least, we seem to think it is. We have summertime blockbusters. We have summertime beach reads. We have summer TV specials and songs of the summer. It definitely FEELS like there is something that makes pop culture media “summery.” But we’re hard pressed to say exactly what it…

e170. What is Serialization? Tune in next week!

In today’s pop culture landscape, serialization is everything. TV, movies, novels, comics. Addict people to your ongoing series and hope they keep paying for another installment. Somehow, despite the fact that we are 170 episodes into a podcast SERIES about pop culture media, much of which is SERIALIZED, hosted by people who literally study SERIALIZATION…

Call for Comments: Summer ____, Had Me a Blast!

From Hannah: There’s this odd category of media that is seasonally appropriate: Summer ___. We have summer movies, summer television, songs of the summer, summer beach reads … But what makes a piece of media a good “summer movie” or “song of the summer?” When I proposed this topic, Mav asked if I meant blockbusters…

Call For Comments: Serialization Technology

From Katya: It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a game scholar, comics scholar, and Victorianist walk into a bar, they must instantly bond over their shared study of serialization. Except… we never recorded it. It’s rather astounding that we haven’t already; serialization cuts across all of our fields from comics to games and…

e168. Time to Stop Wearing Underwear on the Outside

Have you ever noticed how infrequently superheroes in most superhero TV shows and movies actually wear their superhero costumes? It makes sense when you think about it. Superhero costumes are actually kind of silly: wearing underwear on the outside of spandex bodysuits? They’re based on pop culture tropes from nearly a century ago, which honestly…