Title: Punching Bags And The A Cappella Smackdown (November 12, 2010)
Guest panelist Barrie Hardymon (former producer for NPR’s Talk of The Nation) joins the gang once again as Glen Weldon visits a mythical land full of swim-up bars and hammocks. They begin by defending things considered as “pop culture punching bags.”
Stephen and Barrie choose reality television, but they champion completely different genres. Stephen prefers elimination-based shows (Survivor, Amazing Race, The Apprentice), likening their plots to a football season. Meanwhile, Barrie talks about the philosophical lessons gleaned from The Real Housewives franchise, such as the fact that money does not buy happiness or taste.
Trey defends Andrew Lloyd Webber against accusations that he is a schlockmeister for “inflicting Sarah Brightman to an unsuspecting public.” Finally, Linda calls out Ed Helms’s Andy Bernard (The Office) for perpetuating the idea that it’s fine to make fun of college a cappella by creating the fictional group Here Comes Treble. The panel, however, still proceeds with the mockery.
What Is Making Them Happy
Barrie - Judith Krantz’s novel Mistral’s Daughter proved to be “truly [satisfying]” amidst the stress of covering the 2010 Senate Elections. She notes regrettable language choices for the ways men and women “interlock.”
Trey - He brings happiness for Stephen Thompson by revealing the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 2. This touches off a discussion of how Stephen has argued that the first Kung Fu Panda is a better movie than Wall-E.
Stephen - Stephen promotes Clem Snide for the first time on the podcast by highlighting Eef Barzelay’s offer to write a personalized song for fans. He mentions their album Soft Spot in order to convince Barrie to commission a song for her baby.
Some Episode Highlights
- Barrie refers to herself as “the pregnant lady.” In March 2011, PCHH releases a special episode celebrating the birth of her new baby.
- Stephen and Linda differentiate between competitions that are “higher in brow” like Project Runway and Top Chef and those that are “lower” like Hell’s Kitchen and Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels. Barrie mentions MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
- Linda Holmes, former reality TV recapper at Television Without Pity and self-professed reality show nerd, note the “blunt force gender politics” presented in Survivor.
- Barrie focuses her discussion on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, highlighting a miserable $60,000 birthday party thrown by a Housewife. This episode is recapped here.
- In his defense of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Trey cites former Granta editor Ian Jack. He quotes Jack’s article in The Guardian, “…at its best [Lloyd Webber’s] music can summon feelings in an audience without necessarily cheapening them.”
- Trey highlights the Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which he says posits complicated theological questions about Judas Iscariot. He also brings up his conversation with composer Ricky Ian Gordon about the singing style Lloyd Webber invented for Evita. Seth Rudetsky and Randy Graff demonstrates their theory about the high belt.
- He also makes a connection between the song “Prima Donna" from Phantom of the Opera with Giuseppe Verdi and “Unexpected Song" from Song and Dance with Niccolo Paganini.
- PCHH panelists discuss the idea that popularity automatically means hackery includes a discussion of Stephen King.
- Aside from The Office, other less than dignified depictions of college a cappella include The Amazing Race Season 17. Youtube video of contestants Connor Diemand-Yauman and Jonathan Schwartz.
- Linda reveals her past as a member of the women’s a cappella group Nothing But Treble at Oberlin and their rivalry with the men’s group called The Obertones (and their former member Ed Helms.)
- "I’m just gonna tell you right now, you can all just bite me." - Linda Holmes, amidst snickering.
- Trey sings the Regrettable Television (POP!) Quiz theme instead of Linda because the crew “has made [her] feel ashamed and embarrassed.”
- They discuss Mario Lopez’s career-reviving stint in Dancing With the Stars. Video of him dancing the Paso Doble with Karina Smirnoff.
- Linda alluded to a lawsuit filed by one of the brides featured in the 1st season of Bridezillas.
- Barrie ends the show by dropping the T-bomb.