Pop Culture 101 Rate My Professors is an invaluable resource for college students looking for that brilliant lecturer--or an easy A. In this game, we've written reviews for fictional professors and their classes.
NPR logo

Pop Culture 101

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/421350053/421410629" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Pop Culture 101

Pop Culture 101

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/421350053/421410629" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Welcome back to ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia. I'm Ophira Eisenberg and with me is our house musician, Jonathan Coulton and our puzzle guru, Art Chung. And for our game titled Pop Culture 101, we have Michael Kellman and Leah Schiano.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Can you tell me anything about your most memorable professor?

LEAH SCHIANO: Yeah, so my sophomore year, I had a children's literature professor who I actually had two more times after that - all in children's lit - and she is the reason why I work in children's lit now.

EISENBERG: Oh, that's nice. That is - that - you know, I said memorable, it didn't have to be good or bad. You chose good, influential, changed your life; those are the kind of stories you want to hear. How about you, Michael?

MICHAEL KELLMAN: So I had a very memorable English professor, also in college. I took him, I think, five times. It was a small college. There weren't very many good teachers. So - but he was very - a big stickler - really very serious about his work, and I - what was memorable - or one of things - was I asked him for a recommendation and he had to think a long time before agreeing to give it to me and then wrote a recommendation which wasn't actually all that positive.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLMAN: Yeah, but he spun it well.

EISENBERG: Did you use the recommendation?

KELLMAN: Oh, yeah, it got me into grad school.

EISENBERG: Really? All right, so it's good to know you don't need a good one.

KELLMAN: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLMAN: Just honest.

EISENBERG: Just honest. Now, Jonathan, you went to a small, not so great school called Yale.

JONATHAN COULTON, HOST:

Yeah, in New Haven, Conn. That's right.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: College in New Haven.

EISENBERG: Were there any memorable professors?

COULTON: There were a lot of memorable professors.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

COULTON: Yeah, my favorite one was my Italian professor, whose name was Massimo Lollini.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) That's not a real name.

COULTON: It is. Massimo, which means, you know, the most. And he was a giant Italian man with long, brown, curly hair, like, down to the middle of his back.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: Giant hands - and he found out that a friend of mine and I played guitar and insisted on giving us these Italian pop songs to learn for every class and play. And we would always segue into other songs, just as a joke and kind of to mess with him 'cause when we would segue into other songs he would be like, no, no, no. It was very funny.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: He was a very charming man. I miss him.

EISENBERG: Did you learn Italian?

COULTON: Oh, si.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Very good.

COULTON: In this game, we have written up reviews of some fictional professors, and you have to guess who we're talking about.

EISENBERG: All right, so give us the fictional professor that you think this review is all about. An archaeology student wrote, everyone raves about his treasure hunting class, but he was barely there to teach it due to mysterious sabbaticals. Also he was always mentioning his fear of snakes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Leah.

SCHIANO: Professor Indiana Jones.

EISENBERG: Henry Jones, Jr. Yes, you are correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That's just my pet snake, Reggie. I hate snakes, Jock, I hate them.

COULTON: You should do the whole movie (laughter). This professor got five stars from all but one student who wrote, his teaching style in our criminal investigation class was almost as flamboyant as his purple suits. And he was always bringing in props - a revolver, some rope, a candlestick and even a lead pipe.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Michael.

KELLMAN: Professor Plum.

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I didn't know what a lead pipe looked like before that game, by the way.

KELLMAN: Important childhood lesson.

EISENBERG: I know, right? Oh, I also learned that to say that someone is a murderer, you don't need motive.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: A student from this professor's British accents and dialects class wrote, the man is clearly an expert, but most of us were really uncomfortable with how he treated his test subject, Eliza. But as an arrogant misogynist, he gets an A-plus.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Michael.

KELLMAN: Professor Henry Higgins.

EISENBERG: Yes, indeed.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: What a romantic. The last line of that movie is, Eliza, where the devil are my slippers?

COULTON: Yeah, he really loves her.

EISENBERG: Yeah, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: A student from Hogwarts skewered this professor by writing, he was a decent Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor, but the only darkness we ever encountered was in his demeanor. Figures, since he was also the head of Slytherin.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Michael.

KELLMAN: Professor Severus Snape.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right, this is your last clue. This visiting lecturer from Europe got low marks. One student explained, he confided to my anatomy class that he had plans to stitch together the body parts that he's been collecting, and every now and then he started screaming, it's alive. It's alive.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Michael.

KELLMAN: Professor Frankenstein.

EISENBERG: That's right, exactly.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I love the idea of him getting grants to go on a lecture circuit. Why not? Let's go to our puzzle guru. Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

ART CHUNG, BYLINE: They both did great, but congratulations, Michael, you get an A-plus in this game. You're moving on to the final round.

(APPLAUSE)

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.