Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour: An Exploration Of Strange Creatures

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.
NPR

It's Prometheus week, and you know what that means: extraterrestrials. Specifically, the many different kinds of extraterrestrials you meet in the movies and on television. We generally divide them into a few categories, based on their levels of malevolence and evil.

We talk about the aliens in the Alien universe, but also the ones in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, WB cartoons, E.T., Contact, 2001, Star Wars, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Independence Day, My Favorite Martian, The Twilight Zone, ALF, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Superman, V, Childhood's End, Men In Black, They Live, Earth Girls Are Easy, My Stepmother Is An Alien, Alien Nation, District 9, Mork And Mindy, and a story from The New Yorker. Ultimately, we explore why we present aliens the way we do in fiction and what we're getting at. Because you know, movies about aliens usually aren't really about aliens.

And if you haven't heard Stephen's ALF or Glen's Marvin the Martian, we can fix that.

Our second topic today is also about exploration: we talk about things that are outside what you may understand to be our usual wheelhouses. Glen hates sports (because of ... empathy) but loved a Nationals game where he learned what a screwball does; Trey agrees!; Stephen listens to Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, and JoJo and admits to a fondness for "chanting about youth." There's a whole chemistry thing going on there, too, that really ... must be heard to be believed. It's sort of the Periodic Table Of Thompson's Brain, which is a little frightening.

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And I save a little love for the novel Lush Life by Richard Price, and specifically the Bobby Cannavale audiobook, which leads Glen Weldon to recommend this essay.

Naturally, we close with What's Making Us Happy This Week. Glen is happy to just play a little Batman: Arkham City after finishing his book, Trey is happy about going to New York City for the Tony Awards and a week of theater, Stephen is happy about "nerd lessons" involving exposing his kids to great comedy films, and I am happy about the return of Hell's Kitchen and the nifty Push Girls.

Naturally, you can find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: me, Trey, Stephen, Glen and Mike.

And by all means, sign up to get Pop Culture Happy Hour sent directly to you every Friday.

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