Episode 15 - Replacing Zombies And James Franco, Mountaineer

Title: Replacing Zombies And James Franco, Mountaineer (November 5, 2010)

This episode is a free-wheeling discussion of various pop culture events of the time, specifically the critically lauded James Franco vehicle 127 Hours, critic Roger Ebert’s objection to Top 10 lists, and the proliferation of zombies in pop culture as illustrated by the high ratings of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

127 Hours becomes to jump-off point of their discussion of based-on-a-true-story movies and shows such as United 93, The Social Network, and Carlos. For Glen, this is actually a disadvantage for him because he maintains that the act of adaptation already fictionalizing it. All in all, the panel relayed much interest for the Franco vehicle.

They then move on to the proliferation of Top 10 lists and how critics constantly face a lot of recrimination over ranking but the audience still expect them at the end of a given year. At some point, the phrase “The Tyranny of the Thumbs” is uttered.

The panel then formulates their pitch for the next supernatural creature to catch the public’s imagination after vampires and zombies: Skeletons in Top Hats with British Accents Wearing Monocles. They also formulate the romantic storyline where the skeleton falls in love with a librarian in a small Maine town, a la The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

What Is Making Them Happy

Stephen - 1) Brett Favre eating it, 2) Finishing The Hunger Games, which the panel discussed here, 3) Submissions for art renderings of Chiktopus, 4) Nick Lowe’s Tiny Desk Concert (“It’s like being serenaded by your kindly, misanthropic uncle.”)

Glen - He mentions Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, which comes up at PCHH multiples times. The show is about comedians discussing the processes and neuroses of comics. He highlights and episode featuring This American Life's Ira Glass, where Maron experiences a moment of connection with a non-comic and a public radio star.

Trey - Some call-outs to a previous episode: a PCHH fan translating a post in Finnish written by another Finnish fan and another fan reaching out to Glen to identify the creepy musical phrase in “The Headless Horseman" as the Neapolitan chord. His main happy-making thing, however, is a recording of Eva Cassidy singing “Autumn Leaves.”

Linda - Free word jumble game on Kindle (she doesn’t mention the specific name) and Family Feud on Facebook.

Some Episode Highlights

  • Linda begins the show by recounting her experience covering Stewart and Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. She calls it “surprisingly grueling.” Trey mentions an NPR internal memo regarding the rally, which had caused some controversy.
  • Much fun is had when Trey compares 127 Hours and Titanic. “It’s about the guy cutting his arm off like Titanic is about the fact that the ship sinks.”
  • Trey mentions as story by critic Bob Mondello about movies using restrictive settings as a narrative challenge.
  • They talk about how the creators of The Social Network tries to have it both ways by arguing that they are either eschewing the facts or adhering to them, depending on what serves their defense of their storytelling.
  • Glen brings up the controversy about David Sedaris embellishing his humor pieces, originally written by Alex Heard on The New Republic.
  • Trey mentions Linda’s piece, “Ten Jobs Not Right for Wolverine.”
  • Listicle vs. “Multiple Points of Entry”
  • The panel mentions the Inventory section of The A.V. Club and praises it for being quirky and esoteric, as well as for being commentary in and of themselves.
  • "Ordinarily I love what you do, but this time you’ve gone too far!" - Stephen’s approximation of random internet commenters.
  • The also highlight the McSweeney’s piece “Great Literature Retitled to Boost Website Traffic.”
  • Stephen mentions that the Nick Lowe Tiny Desk Concert was recorded on the same day as Richard Thompson's.
  • Trey relates the story of the piano soloist that performed with Eva Cassidy for “Autumn Leaves.”
  • Glen and Linda goes into a discussion about Linda’s dismissal of the game Angry Birds, with Glen characterizing her action as “a little like bailing at the dwarf tea party.”
  • During the discussion of games, Stephen mentions his quest to find the traditional version of The Oregon Trail for iPhone.
  • "In fact, I’m offended that there isn’t a Trey-voice yet." - This needs no attribution.