The summer movies, TV and music we can't wait for : Pop Culture Happy Hour Today we offer up a guide to some of the most exciting movies, TV, and music you can check out this summer.

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It's just about summer, and we hope that means you're in for a future filled with sunshine, vacations, downtime with friends and, of course, summer entertainment. I'm Stephen Thompson. And today on NPR's POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR, we offer up a guide to some of the most exciting TV, movies and music you can check out this summer. Joining me are all of my fellow POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR hosts, Aisha Harris - hey, Aisha.

AISHA HARRIS, BYLINE: Pew, pew, pew, pew (ph). We are here.

THOMPSON: Glen Weldon.


THOMPSON: It's good to have you. Linda Holmes.

LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Hello, my friend.

THOMPSON: Now, right off the bat, we have a major milestone to celebrate. The four of us are sitting in historic Studio 44...

HOLMES: Woo-hoo (ph).

THOMPSON: ...At NPR headquarters in D.C. together in person for the very first time.


HOLMES: Accurate, accurate.


HOLMES: We're all just breathing all over each other.


HOLMES: I'm just taking this opportunity to - like, every time Stephen breathes out, I breathe in.


HOLMES: Give me those droplets, baby. I am happy.

WELDON: This is unsettling for me. Could we just do this on Zoom as well...


WELDON: ...Just so it's a little more comfortable?

THOMPSON: I've just enjoyed getting to hear Aisha Harris test a microphone...


THOMPSON: ...For the first time.

HARRIS: Wasn't that fun?

HOLMES: That's right. How are you feeling about this? Do you feel like now you see what you've gotten yourself into now that you're in a room with all of us?

HARRIS: Oh, it feels so good. It feels as though I was always here and never left.

THOMPSON: Well, we are here to record our summer guide. We've each brought two things to highlight that are hopefully coming up this summer. Obviously, some release dates are bound to be in flux. We made our picks based on the ironclad hope that all of these works will be available sometime between now and the end of summer. Aisha Harris, you are up first. Give us your first pick.

HARRIS: Ooh. So if you know anything about me and if you have listened to the show long enough, you know how much I am just not into IP - too much IP, too much intellectual property. I'm over it. And Barbie - really? Like, we're going to make a movie about Barbie? And yet...

WELDON: And yet...

HARRIS: And yet, director is Greta Gerwig. She co-wrote it with her partner, Noah Baumbach. And I feel as though I am going to get an IP that is actually really freaking good. Like, Greta Gerwig has the bona fides that I am looking for. She's directed one of my absolute favorite movies over the last few years and then another movie that I really, really loved and admired, and she put a great spin on it, and that's "Lady Bird," which is just such a fantastic film, a coming-of-age story, and "Little Women," which, you know, we've seen many, many times on screen and in other adaptations. But she made it different. She made it alive. And so this is why I am so stoked for it. The other reason I'm stoked for it is the fact that this cast is just kind of insane - Margot Robbie as Barbie, Ryan Gosling as Ken. And then there's many other Barbies and many other Kens. You have Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon. Michael Cera pops up, Will Ferrell. I'm optimistic.

THOMPSON: I am hugely excited about "Barbie" is not necessarily a phrase I expected to be uttering, but I share your intense love of "Lady Bird" and "Little Women." And I love the fact that every frame that has been released of this movie so far is already a meme.



THOMPSON: So I think that kind of care is being put into it, and I'm very excited about that.

WELDON: Yeah. And when the trailer came out, there were people saying, I can't understand what's going on in this movie. And clearly, what's going on in this movie is there's kids playing with Barbies, and we're seeing what they're creating out of that. That's my prediction, and I think that makes a lot of sense.

HOLMES: Yeah, I love the aesthetic of it. I love the look of it from the trailer. I think that, you know, Greta Gerwig is somebody who certainly knows how to kind of pay attention to every detail. I am a little bit worried about that question of, like, what is it about?

HARRIS: Well, no, apparently, at least per Variety, this fantasy comedy follows the world's most famous doll who sets off for the human world to find true happiness after being expelled from Barbie Land for being less than perfect.

WELDON: OK, well, that's a plot.

HOLMES: All right. Well...

HARRIS: Yeah. That's something.

HOLMES: That's definitely a plot. Absolutely I'm excited about this, too. I just want to stare at the clothes all day. I think Ryan Gosling has a wonderful sense of humor about himself, as Margot Robbie does about herself.

HARRIS: He has Kenergy (ph), as he's...

WELDON: Oh, Lord.

HARRIS: OK, for the record, he's the one who said this.


HOLMES: I think - it's Greta Gerwig. She's not going to make it not about anything. And in the same way that we were worried that "The Lego Movie" was going to just be a Lego ad but then it was awesome...


HOLMES: ...I'm confident that in the hands of Greta Gerwig, this will be, too.

HARRIS: Yeah, I think "The Lego Movie" is a great comparison.

WELDON: That's exactly what I was thinking of.

HARRIS: And I hope that's what it turns out to be. So that is "Barbie." It's out in theaters on July 21, 2023.

THOMPSON: Cannot wait. Linda Holmes, give us your first pick.

HOLMES: Well, I am very excited to be recommending "American Born Chinese," which is coming out on Disney+ on May 24. This is an eight-episode adaptation of a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, and it's about a kid whose life is turned upside down because he becomes friends with a kid who is the son of a god. And they have adventures, and there's kung fu, and it's all - you know, from everything that I have read, it is full of many wonderful, wonderful things. I am excited to see it. And, I mean, I think the first big attention that this adaptation got was this very impressive fact that it reunites not only Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan from "Everything Everywhere All At Once" but also, in what I understand to be a guest appearance, Stephanie Hsu.


HOLMES: So that's a lot of people from a very recent, very beloved movie to bring together in a new series. I am not always a graphic novel adaptation person just because I'm not necessarily a fantasy kind of worldbuilding kind of person, but I'm very excited to see what this is. Are you excited about it?

HARRIS: Absolutely.

WELDON: Tremendously.


WELDON: I love this book, and I love this author a great deal. And this is remarkably grounded with a lot of fantasy elements in it. I think you're going to dig it.

THOMPSON: Awesome. That's "American Born Chinese" out May 24 on Disney+.


THOMPSON: Excellent. Glen Weldon, give us your first pick.

WELDON: I'm going to keep the IP train rolling.


WELDON: "Blue Beetle" is in theaters August 18. This is a DC superhero movie starring a character with not a lot of name recognition. So...

HOLMES: Yeah, I think I drove a blue Beetle.


HARRIS: I once found a blue beetle in my blueberry...

WELDON: There we go.

HARRIS: ...Which is terrifying.

WELDON: I hope you're having fun.


WELDON: This could be like the first "Shazam!" movie, or it could be "Black Adam" or like the second "Shazam!" movie. It's a crapshoot, by my count. Believe it or not, there have been three superheroes named Blue Beetle in comics over the years, which is odd because it's not a name that strikes terror into the hearts of criminals...


WELDON: ...Unless they're squeamish about bugs. But this is the latest. It was introduced in 2006. It's about a Mexican American kid named Jaime Reyes. He finds this scarab, which is actually a piece of extraterrestrial military tech that fuses to his spine. And whenever his life is in danger, it gives him this big, tactical exoskeleton with all kinds of weapons and powers that he has to learn to control. And look; it's not the premise that is getting me excited here because the premise is basically "Venom," right? It's basically also the spider suit that Peter Parker had in the Tom Holland movies and also some body horror thrown into the mix with the whole fusing to his spine.

THOMPSON: Sure. Sure.

HARRIS: So like "The Fly."

WELDON: Exactly. But the trailer captures a lot of what made this character so good, which is how much he cares about his family. And the family is very central to the trailer. The film is directed by Angel Manuel Soto, who did "Charm City Kings," which is a film that came out in 2020. It stars Xolo Mariduena as Jaime, and that kid's been around a lot - "Cobra Kai" and "Parenthood." It was originally intended to be an HBO Max exclusive. Is that a good sign or a bad sign?

THOMPSON: The fact that they're putting it out in theaters would seem like a good sign. The fact that they're putting it out in theaters August 18...

WELDON: Yeah, well...

THOMPSON: Sometimes that's a dumping ground.

WELDON: I mean, what happened was this whole notion of, we'll do HBO Max exclusive DC movies...

HOLMES: Right, right, right, right.

WELDON: ...Kind of scuttled. And so this is in that mix. Who knows?

HOLMES: My only question is this. Based on my prior experience with blue beetles, has - have large parts of him been sprayed with red Rust-Oleum?

WELDON: OK. All right. Have your fun.


HARRIS: Was John Lennon the blue Beatle? He seemed blue a lot.

WELDON: Oh, my God. Coming from the makers of "Blue Beetle" - "Punch Buggy."


HOLMES: Now, that is a movie that I would watch. Can you imagine?

THOMPSON: All right, so that is "Blue Beetle," in theaters August 18. Well, I am going to keep the IP train rolling.

HOLMES: Chugga, chugga, chugga.

THOMPSON: Chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga - for one more pick. There are several different ways to smash a bunch of intellectual property together and call it a movie. You can do it the "Space Jam: Legacy" way, the "Super Mario Brothers Movie" way, where you just kind of throw a bunch of references on the screen and that's good enough to make the "Super Mario Brothers Movie" a billion dollars. Or you can do it the "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" way. You can do it "The Lego Movie" way, as we discussed in the earlier segment. We can do it the "Dungeons And Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" way. We can do it the "Chip And Dale: Rescue Rangers" way, and we can do it the "Into The Spider-Verse" way.

WELDON: There we go.


THOMPSON: "Into The Spider-Verse" may be the best Spider-Man movie.

WELDON: I'm not going to argue with that.

HARRIS: Yeah, I would agree.

THOMPSON: And three years before "Spider-Man: No Way Home" brought a whole bunch of different Spider-Men together, "Into The Spider-Verse" did more or less the same thing but including things like Peter Porker...

WELDON: Exactly.

HARRIS: Spider-Pig.


THOMPSON: ...And did so in an enormously inventive, funny, creatively animated way. Like, you could watch that movie and squint at some of the choices made in the way they animated it. Things like the noir Spider-Man is not only black and white but he's in stipple...


THOMPSON: ...I think is so funny and clever and thoughtful. Everything is putting more thought into it than it probably needed but in the best possible way. Well, on June 2, "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse," a sequel to "Into The Spider-Verse," is coming out, and I am extraordinarily excited about it. The plan, apparently, is to visit these different Spider-Man alternate universes, which - my history with Marvel's multiverse stuff tends to consist of me sitting there with my arms folded, trying to figure out who's with what.


THOMPSON: But I trust these people. I trust Phil Lord, Chris Miller, David Callaham to do this in a way that I will be able to follow and that I will delight in as much as I delighted in "Into The Spider-Verse," which is just so fantastic.

WELDON: Yeah. And the trailer features a giant kind of multiverse of spider beings, and yet the first trailer that was released, I think, was really focusing on him on a rooftop.

THOMPSON: On Miles Morales.

WELDON: Yeah, on Miles Morales on a rooftop, talking to his mom like, you're growing up. And, like, that's the thing, right? That heart is what separates Spider-Man from a lot of other characters. And so, I - yeah, I'm in. Fully in.

HARRIS: Me, too. And I don't even care about superheroes, generally speaking.


HARRIS: But you're right. "Into The Spider-Verse" was so good, and I'm excited.

THOMPSON: So that is "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse," out in theaters June 2. I am so excited. Aisha Harris, give us your second pick.

HARRIS: Well, fare thee well, IP land.


HARRIS: We are leaving it finally (laughter). So yeah, my next pick is "I'm A Virgo." It was created by Boots Riley, and he's a co-showrunner with Tze Chun. And I have four words for why I am so excited about this - "Sorry To Bother You." That was Boots Riley's debut feature. It came out a few years ago, starred LaKeith Stanfield, and it actually made our Black Film Canon. It's, to me, one of the best films of the last decade or so. And I'm really excited for this because he is such a visual and weird filmmaker where you don't know where he is going to be going with whatever - the story that he's telling you. And this one seems just as weird and just as interesting. This - so this is a series, and it's coming on Prime Video. It stars Jharrel Jerome, who plays Cootie, who is a 13-foot-tall Black man who goes on adventures because, per the trailer, he's a Virgo, and Virgos love adventure.


HARRIS: So Jharrel Jerome is one of the more interesting actors we've had over the last few years. He won an Emmy for Ava DuVernay's "When They See Us," where he starred as Korey Wise, one of the exonerated five in the Central Park jogger case, and he was fantastic. But most viewers probably recognize him from one of his earlier roles, which is playing Kevin in "Moonlight."

WELDON: Oh, yeah.

HARRIS: A teenage Kevin in "Moonlight." And so to see him get a role like this, to be working with Boots Riley, I'm just really excited to see what happens. There's, like, not a lot of plot that's been revealed yet, although it has screened at a couple of different festivals, but it sounds like his family is attempting to shield him from the world out of fear of how it will treat him. But he, like, kind of breaks out, and he discovers - you know, classic sort of fairy tale coming-of-age kind of story. It actually kind of reminds me of "Frozen," where they're like, hide your, you know, weird quirk.

WELDON: Exactly.

HARRIS: And it also features Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo and Walton Goggins. So I'm very excited for this. So that's "I'm A Virgo." It's streaming on Amazon Prime Video later this summer. And we should also just note that Amazon supports NPR and pays to distribute some of our content.

THOMPSON: All right, Glen, hit us with your second pick.

WELDON: We're back in IP, but it's public domain IP.


WELDON: "The Last Voyage Of The Demeter" is a horror film coming out in theaters August 11. More specifically, it is a Dracula film, but it is a Dracula film that I know for a fact was sold in the room because the pitch of this thing is so good. It's such a smart way to take a property that has been done to death, undone to undeath, and find a new way into it. You carve off just a sliver of the story, right? So that's the same way that biopics work best when it's, like, an event...


WELDON: ...Or a day in the life it's - as opposed to doing the - trying to dramatize the Wikipedia page.


WELDON: So "Dracula" by Bram Stoker is an epistolary novel, which means it is composed of letters and diary entries. One chapter is called The Captain's Log, and it's exactly that. The Demeter is this Russian shipping vessel that Count Dracula hires to take a bunch of boxes from Transylvania to England. And it turns out, unbeknownst to the captain and crew of the Demeter, that those boxes contain the coffin of Dracula that he's sleeping in and a bunch of earth from his native country for vampire reasons. So as this chapter unfolds, the captain keeps account of what's happening. And, you know, it's sailing across the way, and his crew is getting picked off one by one. It is my favorite chapter of the book because the problem with epistolary novels and with "Dracula" is that it's - somebody's writing a letter about this horrible thing they experienced. You kind of know they survived the horrible thing they experienced.


WELDON: This is a captain's log that just ends abruptly when the ship washes ashore in England. To make a movie out of that means we're going to get shipboard, claustrophobic mystery. It is directed by the Norwegian director Andre Ovredal, who directed a film I liked back in 2010 called "Troll Hunter." It stars Corey Hawkins, who's having a moment.


THOMPSON: An extended moment.

WELDON: He played Dre in "Straight Outta Compton." He's great. It also stars Liam Cunningham, who was the Onion Knight from "Game Of Thrones" - haven't seen him in a while. It'll be good to have him back. And from the trailer, the design of Dracula is going to be more inhuman Nosferatu as opposed to the kind of high-cheekboned Byronic hero, you know, Frank Langella kind. I like a creepy Drac more than a hot Drac. And also...

HARRIS: I agree.

WELDON: I also like that this is Drac where he doesn't have to pretend to be, you know, aristocracy to impress the English people. He can just be himself. He doesn't have to code switch.


WELDON: He can just be a creepy Drac. He just can be a monster. I really like this approach. I'm looking forward to this a lot. That is "The Last Voyage Of The Demeter," in theaters August 11.

THOMPSON: Wonderful.


THOMPSON: Thank you, Glen Weldon. This next pick from Linda is of tremendous interest in my household. Take us away.

HOLMES: All right. Well, so I am picking the film adaptation of Casey McQuiston's "Red, White & Royal Blue," a novel that came out in 2019 about a romance between the son of the American president, who is a woman from Texas, and a British prince. It's your basic, like - your romance people would call this enemies to lovers. These guys meet at a - at an event, and they get into a thing, and they don't like each other. And they're sort of told, you have to promote international diplomacy by, like, seeming like you like each other. And gradually, they fall in love.

And I think Casey got a lot of attention for this book partly because it was such a beloved queer romance at a time when, you know, people were so interested in all of the queer romance writing that was coming out. But it's also, like, in a lot of ways, a very kind of classic romance setup - I mean, writing about princes, writing about, you know, people who hate each other, and then they're sort of forced to, essentially, make nice with each other. And, like, there's also - because they are from different parts of the world, there's a lot of longing, and there's a lot of letter writing, at least in the book. And it's just very, like - it's somehow, like, both hot and innocent in a certain way.

The movie is being directed and was written in part by Matthew Lopez, who is a playwright who did "The Inheritance," and I think it's so interesting that they went in that direction with the person to make this film. And I'm really, really interested to see how it turns out. I - this is a book that is very precious to me. It's just a book that's very closely held by the people who love it. But I'm very excited that they're doing it. It is coming to Prime Video on August 11. I'm going to check it out. I think it's going to be beautiful people in a lovely romance. And I can't wait. I can't wait.

HARRIS: Tell me if it's hot, and then I will decide if I'm going to watch it.


HOLMES: I mean, it's a hot - it's a very hot book.


THOMPSON: Awesome. Thank you, Linda Holmes. I'm going to take us out with a music pick. Some of my favorite summer music of the last 10 or 15 years has been by Kesha, who's brought the world "TiK ToK." She's brought the world "Raising Hell." She's brought the world "Woman" - so many just, like, fun, vibrant, silly - she kind of specializes in, like, fine line between stupid and clever in her approach but is very, very smart about the way she approaches it. I'm interested in wherever she's willing to take us.

And she's got an album coming out on May 19 called "Gag Order," and it promises to take a hard left turn. As many people know, Kesha, for the last eight or nine years has been locked in legal battles with the producer Dr. Luke. She has accused him of sexual assault and battery as well as other offenses. He has countersued. That dispute is still, to this day, playing out in the courts. She has sought to be released from her contract with his label imprint, but she hasn't been able to do that. So the title "Gag Order"...

HOLMES: Right.

THOMPSON: ...Certainly suggests a certain amount of subtext.


THOMPSON: And what has me so intrigued about this album, besides the fact that I've basically loved everything Kesha's ever done, is these first couple of singles that they've dropped, which suggest a really - like, a dark left turn. They're very haunting, very spare but with real anger in them. And she's talked in interviews about wanting this album to be a vehicle for her to explore the ugly underside of her emotions. So I'm very curious about it. I don't know if it's going to be a summer...


THOMPSON: ...Like, beach record, but I loved "Praying," which was a kind of a left turn for her. And I expect to love this record, too. Let's hear a little bit of the song "Eat The Acid."


KESHA: (Singing) You said, don't ever eat the acid if you don't want to be changed like it changed me. You said, all the edges got so jagged. Now everything you saw then can't be unseen. You said that the universe is magic. Just open up your eyes. The signs are waiting. You said, don't ever eat the acid...

THOMPSON: So Kesha produced by Rick Rubin...




THOMPSON: ...Is a very, very intriguing development that I'm very excited about.

WELDON: I mean, it's still, like, dance music. It's still party music. It's just angry party. I'm here for an angry party.


HARRIS: Yep. Me, too. I like it.


THOMPSON: My life has been an angry party for so, so long.


HARRIS: I'm just really happy she's - I mean, granted, under not-great circumstances, but I'm glad she's still able to make music because there have been plenty of people in the industry who have had their careers completely sidelined because of alleged abuse.


HARRIS: So it's nice that she's at least able to do the sort of subtweeting album.

THOMPSON: (Laughter).

HARRIS: Yeah. That's a good pick. I'm excited to check it out.

THOMPSON: I am really excited about this one, too. That's "Gag Order" from Kesha. That's out May 19. We want to know what you are looking forward to watching, reading, listening to this summer. Find us at Up next, what is making us happy this week?

Now it's time for our favorite segment of this week and every week - what is making us happy this week. Aisha Harris, what's making you happy this week, buddy?

HARRIS: What is one thing we all really want to avoid ever having to do, but we still have to do it anyway? Jury duty.


HOLMES: Oh, yeah.

WELDON: I know where this is going.

HARRIS: But one thing that we should not avoid - also "Jury Duty." But it is "Jury Duty" the TV series on Amazon Freevee. Now...

HOLMES: Freevee.

HARRIS: Freevee (laughter).

WELDON: Explain Freevee to me.

HARRIS: I think it's kind of like Tubi but on Amazon.

WELDON: (Laughter).

HARRIS: So shows and movies, but there are ads involved, basically. So "Jury Duty" is a reality TV series. We have a man named Ronald Gladden, who is Juror No. 6, participating in a trial that is just the most bizarre trial. I won't even try to explain what is happening here. But he is the only person in this entire setup who does not realize this is all fake. Everyone around him are actors, improvisational actors, comedic actors, character actors you might be familiar with from various other shows. And then there's also James Marsden, who is playing himself. And what I love about the show is that, A, even though he is not in on the joke, the show never punches down. It doesn't really make him the butt of the joke.


HARRIS: He's just reacting to all of the bizarre things that are happening, including, in one episode, they go on a field trip at Margaritaville.


HARRIS: And they have lots of drinks, and at the end of the night, the bill is stupid high. And while Marsden is in the bathroom, everyone else agrees to ask him to pick up the tab because he is the rich, famous person.


JAMES MARSDEN: (As James Marsden) All right, tell you what. I'll pick up this bill if someone beats me in arm wrestling. What do you think about that?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) What?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) For real?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) What?

HARRIS: It turns into just this weird, chaotic moment. What I love about the show also is just the way that all of the other actors are able to really play off of him, and the show ends on a happy note. He is a very game person, even though he has no idea what's happening, and he has just, like, an affable quality to him. So that is "Jury Duty." It is on Amazon Freevee, and it is absolutely worth checking out. The whole series is now available to stream.

THOMPSON: Now, I should state NPR's official policy that jury duty is a tremendous civic responsibility and that no one should try to get out of it.

HARRIS: Yeah, sure.


THOMPSON: Thank you, Aisha Harris. Glen Weldon, what's making you happy this week?

WELDON: "The Other Two" is back, baby.


HARRIS: Yes, yes.


WELDON: Season 3 is streaming on HBO Max and hasn't missed a beat. This show is a PCHH favorite. It stars Drew Tarver and Helene Yorke as two entertainment industry strivers who keep getting overshadowed by their younger brother. In Season 3, they finally achieved some success, and it is screwing them up in entirely new ways, which is a lot of fun.

HARRIS: (Laughter).

WELDON: The first two seasons were about how desperately seeking fame and fortune causes you to do a lot of very humiliating things. This season is about how trying to cling to success and always seeking more and more acclaim and support can turn you into a monster. It is by far the darkest season yet, and it leans hard into the surreal in a lot of very fun ways. But it knows exactly what it's doing from the jump, and it's got such great jokes. And in the seven episodes made available to the press, it's still got that heart that makes all that darkness kind of go down easy. "The Other Two" Season 3 on HBO Max.


THOMPSON: I love this show...

WELDON: It's so good.

HARRIS: So good.

THOMPSON: ...Much. Thank you, Glen. Linda Holmes, what's making you happy this week?

HOLMES: Well, I went back and forth about a number of things, but, boy, do I love a good bit of nerd content that brings out the nerd in me and in others. I have been very much enjoying a well-known - I am far, far from the discoverer of this - very well-known and well-thought-of YouTube series called "Every Frame A Painting," which is about filmmaking, and it's about form, and it's sort of about how things are shot. Each little video essay has a particular, like, topic that it covers.

These are mostly several years old. And I am the kind of person where what I relate to the most in movies and TV tends to be the writing. So it is always good for me to kind of continually spark myself to focus more on form 'cause I don't always because of my fascination with writing. So I always appreciate good opportunities to sort of get a basic grounding in technique and stuff like that. Even if I've heard a lot of this stuff before, putting it back in my head is always good for me, and I really appreciate it. So this is the video essay series "Every Frame A Painting," which you can find on YouTube. And that is what is making me extremely happy this week.

THOMPSON: Wonderful. Thank you, Linda Holmes. Speaking of things that have been around for a couple years and speaking of wonderful television that I've been watching in the run-up to a new season of "The Other Two" kind of to fill the yawning gap in my life, I finally caught up with "Rutherford Falls"...

WELDON: Oh, sure.

THOMPSON: ...On Peacock, just immediately mainlined all 18 episodes - sadly, the only 18 episodes that will exist of this really lovely show. For those who don't know, it's set in a fictional small town in New York. It stars Ed Helms and Jana Schmieding. It kind of captures the divide in this town between the white descendants of the founders of the town and the Native population, including the casino run by the wonderful Michael Greyeyes, who is so great on this show.

I think it takes a little while to get its feet under it. I think it takes a while for it to get as funny as it needs to be. But it is such a charming show filled with charming performances, actors I will be looking for in other projects. Ed Helms is always his marvelous, goofy self. And I just - I really, really got a kick out of this show. And I do highly recommend it if you didn't get a chance to kind of catch it when people were talking about it. So that is what is making me happy this week.

That brings us to the end of our show. Aisha Harris, Glen Weldon, Linda Holmes, thanks so much for being here all in the same room.




THOMPSON: Oh, you knuckleheads.

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This episode was produced by Mike Katzif and edited by Jessica Reedy. Hello Come In provides our theme music. Thanks for listening to POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR from NPR. I'm Stephen Thompson, and we will see you all next week.


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