1.10: Are You There God? It’s Me Dean!

This week it’s all about the fan favorite episode “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean?” Bryan, Graham “blerghtg” Mason and Nick “blank space” Friedemann take on the famous “Smurf Argument” as well as the dreaded “candirú.” A lot of good stuff this week you won’t want to miss!

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday

 

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Continue reading 1.10: Are You There God? It’s Me Dean!

1.09: Ice Station Impossible

This week Bryan, Graham “the guy” Mason, Nick “the freed man” Friedemann talk about Ice Station Impossible. A solid entry in the series that sets up a lot. It also features the voice work of Stephen Colbert and has a great parody of the Fantastic Four.

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday

 

DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE
SUBCRIBE ON ITUNES NOW AND GOOGLE PLAY SOON

 

Continue reading 1.09: Ice Station Impossible

The Strange Beauty of Dr. Pimple Popper

A show that allows us to revel in our imperfections!

 

Two weeks ago, “Dr. Pimple Popper” made its debut on TLC. The show follows dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee as she treats patients with unusual skin conditions. She earned her name through her Youtube channel where she post “popping videos” in which she removes cysts and blackheads. Popping videos have their own unique subculture, but because hers are produced in a sterile environment with top of the line tools, she’s seen over 2 billion views.

 

Beyond the ick factor of watching graphic skin procedures, there’s a lot that gives pause about the show: TLC, as a network, does not have the best history when it comes to exploiting the real-life people on its shows; outside the surgery, this could come across as a freak show in which we marvel at people with strange lumps, like this is a PT Barnum joint in the 1920s; and there is something terribly perverse about living in a country where healthcare is so expensive that people will go on television in order for low- or no-cost necessary care. Needless to say, I went into these first two episodes with a fair amount of skepticism. Instead of gross medsploitation, however, Dr. Lee and her patients taught me both about my skin and the vital importance of being able to put our best face forward.

 

 

What really struck me in watching the two existing episodes is the constant refrain of people who put off treating their skin conditions because it’s deemed cosmetic by insurance companies or because they felt it was vain and there were better uses of their time. For as much as we take it for granted, our skin is an organ. If we had a benign lump on our heart or spleen or kidney, we would still have it removed, just in case. But because our skin is something we decorate and moisturize and treat more like our clothing than the vital body part it is, no one seems to take it as seriously.

 

Doctor Lee, however, takes skin very seriously. But she does so with a kindness and compassion for her patients that I find absolutely refreshing. Because she’s seen it all before, she talks to people who have felt shame and gives them a sense of hope. One woman in episode two suffered from a rare condition called hidradenitis suppurativa that caused severe, painful series of fistulas all over her torso. Since she was eight years old, no doctor had taken her seriously. Because sweating exacerbated her condition, she could not do much physical activity, which caused weight gain, which led to one physician dismissing her condition as weight-related. It was heartbreaking. But Dr. Lee did not shirk away from the problem. She treated this woman with respect and put her in touch with another woman who had the condition, making this woman feel less alone. It was a beautiful moment in which the audience got to see that health is not just being free of physical ailments, but also a matter of mental and emotional well-being.

 

 

Although most people would never mock or bully someone with a visible skin condition, “Dr. Pimple Popper” is a lighthearted reminder that what may seem gross or horrific at first glance is actually very human. She treats patients of all ages, ethnicities, sizes and shapes, and each lump and pustule is for Dr. Lee not something to be feared, but something to examine. Her curiosity is infectious. After removing the largest lipoma she had ever seen from a woman’s neck, she encourages the woman to look at what was inside her with the sort of glee I normally reserve for puppies. They weigh it together, and she explains that it’s just fatty tissue.

 

Our bodies are capable of the strangest, most bizarre phenomena. They are imperfect machines that sometimes scar or grow cysts or glitch in a way that can be visible and embarrassing. What “Dr. Pimple Popper” does is to remind us that our skin is not scary or foreign, that it doesn’t have to be perfect, but that we can embrace it for the fascinating organ that it is.

 

1.08: Ghosts of the Sargasso

This week Bryan, Graham, and Brok “Researcher Supreme” Holliday discuss the “Ghosts of the Sargasso” episode of Venture Bros. It’s a perfectly standalone episode that could work anywhere in the season, and is another good starting point for those who have never seen the show before.

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday

 

DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE
SUBCRIBE ON ITUNES NOW AND GOOGLE PLAY SOON

 

Continue reading 1.08: Ghosts of the Sargasso

Frisky Dingo: The Best Show You Never Watched

If I were to say to you, “People let me tell you about my new best friend, BARNABY JONES!” How would you reply?

 

Most of you would look at me oddly and move on with your lives.  A very small number of people would scream NAP at me.  These people are my people.  They get me.  These are people who have spent the 4 hours experiencing one of my all time favorite shows of all time Frisky Dingo.  Frisky Dingo is a show from 2006 that was canceled after it’s second season, and really no one cared.  I was right there the whole time, loving every second of it, and was truly heart broken when it went away.  I’m going to explain why you should start up your Hulu account right now and dive into the this wonderful show as soon as humanly possible, and take a few guesses at why it went the way of Ronnie under a huge pair of pants.

 

bye Ronnie…

 

LET’S DO THIS!

Continue reading Frisky Dingo: The Best Show You Never Watched

Diversity in Pop Culture is What Will Save Us

It’s time to invest in stories from different perspectives!

 

A few months ago, I sat on a fan filmmaking panel at a small fan convention. I proposed the panel and moderated it. The other panelists were a young man/woman filmmaking team who regularly produced content, and an older white man who had made one fan film in the ‘80s. The other woman and I offered the most practical advice, and ended up doing most of the talking (this was a situation where the moderator is one of the panelists, not an outside interviewer), and providing what I feel is a pretty valuable list of advice to new filmmakers interested in making fan films.

 

Yet when the door opened and the young convention volunteer came in to tell us we had five minutes left, he looked at the old white guy and waited for his approval. I kept nodding at him, then waved at him, then finally had to verbally interrupt a point the other woman was making to say THANK YOU to the volunteer before he realized that I was leading the panel and I got his message. It had never occurred to him that the only old white man on the stage was not in charge of the panel.

Continue reading Diversity in Pop Culture is What Will Save Us

1.07: Home Insecurity

This week Bryan and Graham are joined by special guest Brok Holliday to talk about “Home Insecurity.” No Nick this week. As always, we’re going in DVD order, which is considered the official order by most nerds out there.

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday

 

DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE
SUBCRIBE ON ITUNES NOW AND GOOGLE PLAY SOON

 

Continue reading 1.07: Home Insecurity

On Quitting

We need to take a step back and look at why we love the things we love.

 

This past weekend, I watched Hannah Gadsby’s comedy special, “Nanette,” on Netflix. It was a revelation. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say her words confirmed and shaped some things that had been percolating at the edges of my subconscious for the last several years. In the special, which you should absolutely watch if you have not yet, Gadsby talks about why she is quitting comedy, how jokes are only two parts — setup and punchline — and not a whole story. Essentially, she says comedians create tensions through their setups so that the punchlines can break it, and she no longer wants to create tension. She wishes to instead create connection. Rather than use comedy to obfuscate her painful past, she tells the rest of the stories that inspired her funniest bits, and the humor goes away, but something so much deeper remains.

 

This week, I had meant to write about why I have quit consuming and engaging with so much of nerd culture in recent years. And while I cannot make quite so eloquent a connection as Hannah Gadsby with the two parts versus a whole story metaphor, I can say that I think it’s to do with how mistaking engaging with pop culture the same as engaging with and influencing our communities.

Continue reading On Quitting

It’s Time To Bury Our Firsts

We have a hard time letting go of our childhood favorites, and we’re worse off for it.

 

My geek and nerd history is filled with some wonderful firsts. The first time I saw Star Wars, sitting in front of a small TV watching the trilogy back to back on cable. Seeing Indiana Jones get chased by the boulder through the decrepit ruins for the first time. Witnessing The Delorean’s maiden voyage into the past. Seeing how far down the rabbit hole went in The Matrix. Experiencing Middle Earth for the first time, and then seeing it adapted for the screen. Discovering that Cowboy Bebop was merely the tip of the Anime iceberg. Playing my first tabletop RPG. Saving the galaxy from Reapers and breaking hearts as Commander Shepard. And yet, when I sit down and contemplate these firsts, I find myself wrestling with a desire to relive and repackage the greatest hits of my youth versus putting them to rest and moving on.

 

Today the media landscape has become a veritable King’s Feast of nostalgic geek and nerd content. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the multiplexes since Iron Man in 2008, and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. We’ve had a Star Wars film come out every year since 2015, as well as comics and cartoons to fill in the blanks. We got a Blade Runner sequel, two more Jurassic Park sequels, a Ghostbusters remake, a Trainspotting sequel, a Beauty and the Beast remake, two Alien prequels, A Mummy remake, and so on. Stranger Things has even tapped into our collective nostalgia for the 80s, giving us familiar synth strings and exceptional set design to transport us back in time. What a wonderful buffet of memory! Grab another plate, stay awhile.

Continue reading It’s Time To Bury Our Firsts

1.06: Tag Sale – You’re It!

This week on the podcast Bryan, Nick, and Graham talk what is easily a lot of people’s favorite episode of the series – “Tag Sale – You’re It!” If you’ve never seen the show before, this would be a great place to start.

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday

 

DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE
SUBCRIBE ON ITUNES NOW AND GOOGLE PLAY SOON

 

Continue reading 1.06: Tag Sale – You’re It!