Title: Literacy, ‘Modern Family,’ And Other Blind Spots (October 15, 2010)
Stephen Thompson returns for a follow-up to episode 4 where they talked about their various pop culture blind spots. Each panelist took to their respective tasks with varying degrees of commitment.
Stephen - While Stephen does not tackle his real blind spot (Breaking Bad), he has progressed in his Stephen Reads a Book project by reading part of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. He and the rest of the PCHH panelists praise the dynamite plotting. They also talk about the the Young Adult label and what it actually means.
Trey - Trey characterizes himself as a “qualified convert” to Modern Family, having warmed to the character (particularly the doofy husband Phil). He finds most of the writing tight but points out a particular clunky joke during one episode.
Glen - Watching season 1 of Friday Night Lights has caused Glen to become a qualified convert as well. He, however, expresses reservations about the beginning of the second season, due to a plot point involving Tyra and Landry. He also points out an instance of extremely awkward exposition and the flatness of Layla’s character.
Linda - Her attempt at reading Glen’s special copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (the subject of a heartwarming moment back in episode 7) proves to be a failure due to an incident of petty theft. Before having the copy stolen from her desk, she had only read up to page 4 of the book because she hit a wall during the dwarf tea party songs.
What Is Making Them Happy
Linda - Because Glen’s book was stolen from her, nothing is making Linda happy except for The Search for Justice.
Trey - Logo’s The A-List, a specimen of regrettable television about, as Trey characterizes as, “a gaggle of people.” This is the beginning of Trey tumultuous relationship with the reality show, which he also brings up in a subsequent episode.
Stephen - The birth of Chiktopus! Stephen recounts a heartwarming scene where his son inadvertently invents Dungeons & Dragons, causing them to fuse the DNA of a chicken and an octopus. There is also the obligatory Brett Favre content.
Some Episode Highlights
- The saga of Stephen’s jury duty is a callback to episode 11.
- Glen points out a trope in YA fiction, which is the propensity of presenting plot points through young people eavesdropping into adult’s conversations.
- Linda compares the writing style of Suzanne Collins to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. (Barrie talked about the Franzen book on episode 7). She also compares The Hunger Games and Twilight (which was a selection of Monkey See’s I Will If You Will Book Club).
- “You have arrived at the wrong podcast. You are looking for Snootitude Today. They make that down the hall, in the regular NPR.”
- Glen recommends Rankin and Bass’s 1977 cartoon adaptation of The Hobbit, featuring the voices of Orson Bean and John Huston.
- The panel makes a quick detour and discusses audiobooks as a way of consuming books. Trey recounts a great experience of driving while listening to a recording of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake as read by Campbell Scott. Glen praises Jim Dale’s reading of the Harry Potter books due to the wide range of voices he uses. Linda also recalls her struggle to listen to Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo audiobook. She also talks about Bobby Cannavale’s great performance reading Richard Price’s Lush Life.
- “It’s like Logo is saying ‘Look we gave you Michelangelo and Martina Navratilova and you gave us Proposition 8 and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, so this is our revenge.’” - Trey Graham on The A-List.
- Linda references a Harry Chapin song “Cats in the Cradle” in reference to Stephen and his son.