Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Time Machines, Time Capsules And A Live Studio Audience

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.
NPR

This isn't our first live episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour: Almost exactly a year earlier, we recorded a show in an abandoned bank during an NPR merchandise sale. But this one, recorded Dec. 10 at NPR's Studio One, is the first live show we've recorded on an official studio soundstage, complete with a seated crowd, food and drink for sale, and tickets that had to be purchased in advance. It went so well, and the audience was so lovely and lively, that we can guarantee it won't be our last.

We're splitting what Linda Holmes calls our "Podcastospectacular" into two parts; next week's installment will include a bunch of fun quizzes, special guests, and an audience Q&A. But this week is a traditionally formatted year-in-review episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, with the usual gang — Linda, Trey Graham, Glen Weldon, and me — doing what we'd normally do, but without the ability to cut out the mistakes as if they'd never happened. (We get a few of those out of the way upfront, in the hopes of flushing them out of our systems.)

We kick off the show with a segment we call "Time Machine" — as in, if a time traveler from 1993 were to pop up in 2013, what would stand out the most? Glen kicks off the proceedings by ruminating on "the fracturing of the mono-culture," I marvel at the return of countless long-dormant musicians, Linda examines the differences (and similarities) in the ways women are served and portrayed by popular culture, and Trey looks at a remarkable year for LGBT people on television and beyond.

Then, in keeping with the theme of putting the word "Time" in our segment titles, it's on to "Time Capsule" — what, from 2013, would we want made available to audiences in 2063? I kick off the proceedings with two books from notable cartooning bloggers, Trey hails a film performance he deems likely to win an Oscar, Glen urges everyone to buy 2013's most important book before discussing the way technology has changed the art of discussion, and Linda tearfully relives the year's best live musical number.

Finally, as always, it's on to What's Making Us Happy this week — which, amazingly, extended beyond the hundreds of amazing people in attendance. I praise my favorite film of 2013, Trey loves a particular Tiny Desk Concert, Glen singles out three relatively new comics series, and Linda offers perhaps the unlikeliest magazine recommendation imaginable.

Find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: me, Linda, Glen, Trey, producers Lauren Migaki and Nick Fountain, and our esteemed producer emeritus and music director, Mike Katzif.

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