QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“You never forget your first time, right? Or your second time. Or the third time. Do they all count as the first time if you group ’em together? One big lump of firsts, you know what I mean? Over and over and over...” —Cora Apple, The Apple Sisters
“Yeah, it’s that start-up community out by where the Newbridge River was before they filled it with colored marbles and paved it over.”—Dom Scharpling, Best Show Gems
“Instinctively I like to be provocative, and I’m excited to be like, ‘I’m naked in a movie,’ but when it comes out, it’ll be terrible for me. It’ll be like Kathy Bates in About Schmidt kind of stuff.”—Sarah Silverman, Doug Loves Movies
“I don’t want to make any generalizations about working dogs.”— Julie Klausner, How Was Your Week
“I would set my wife and kids on fire and then kill myself.” —The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman on what he would do if faced with the zombie apocalypse, on The Nerdist.
“You are the only person using Google Voice.” —The Noncorporeal Google Voice to Paul F. Tompkins, The Pod F. Tompkast
Occasionally, we ask notable figures from the podcasting community what shows they’re currently enjoying. This week: Nerdist host Chris Hardwick’s suggestion:
“Currently, I am enjoying StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson is an astrophysicist, director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, and host of PBS’s NOVA ScienceNOW. The conversation is loose, fun, and informative without feeling superior or pedantic. In the most recent episode, Charles Liu, professor of astrophysics at the university with the vaginal-looking acronym ‘CUNY,’ uses the word ‘prosaic,’ to which Tyson casually responds, ‘I don’t remember what that word means.’ I LOVE THAT. Here’s a guy with a veritable Dread Pirate Roberts’ stash of degrees, and he is cool enough to admit that he doesn’t know a word. Being a part of nerd culture, I know that our mutant brain-narcissism (smart-icissm?) drives us to always try to bury people with our supreme knowledge over all things. (If you need an example of this, you may not need to look any further than what I’m assuming will be a landfill of ‘here’s how I’m smart and everyone else is fucking stupid’ comments in the thread below.) Tyson’s science is composed of acute knowledge cradled in kind vulnerability. This gives him a depth that is a pleasure to consume with my ears.
As a nerdy podcaster, I was thrilled (and jealous) to hear John Hodgman compare Spock to lobsters and Jon Stewart describe carbon as ‘the sluttiest element.’ If you’re even a BORDERLINE science/comedy nerd, you will enjoy the meticulous multi-angle dissection of the commercial, theoretical, and practical applications of science. Topics range from climate control to space tourism to the physics of superheroes. Throw in the fact that comedians like Eugene Mirman sit in on the discussions for most of the episodes, and you have a show that squeezes science, philosophy, and comedy into a dense singularity of awesomeness.”
The debut episode spends most of the time establishing the place (“Hollywoodland,” 1943) and the women’s personalities. Candy’s the loveable tomboy who’s “so happy and gay...to be here,” and who also has a “husband” named Cheryl serving overseas. Seedy constantly makes sexual references to God, like, “You can turn my world around any day, God, and you won’t get any rest on the seventh day, wink!” And Cora can’t keep her clothes on or stop flirting with the guests, which in this episode include Buddy from sponsor Buddy’s Bargain Blowout (Ptolemy Solcum) and President Franklin Roosevelt (Paul F. Tompkins). The latter tries to hide his disability—he doesn’t use a wheelchair, but a “presidential rolling throne”—proclaiming, “Oh, I’m forever walking all over the place!” There’s also a commercial and a song (“Puddin,’” from last year’s well-received CD), all of it done in roughly 20 minutes. If it holds up, The Apple Sisters will be a lock for one of our favorite podcasts of the year.
NEW (TO US)
Culture Gabfest: We’re F---ing F---ed Edition
Doug Loves Movies: Jonathan Lipnicki, Sarah Silverman, And Greg Behrendt
Hang Up And Listen: The Platonic Ideal Of Team Edition
Judge John Hodgman #26: The Toot Dispute
The Nerdist #93: Robert Kirkman
The Pod F. Tompkast #11
Sklarbro Country #44: Nathan Corddry, Jesse Thorn
This American Life #436: The Psychopath Test
WTF With Marc Maron #179: Dan Harmon
WTF With Marc Maron #178: Live From Australia
The Adam Carolla Show
Casual fans can skip the Ace show this week. In order of descending interest: Porn & publishing magnate Larry Flynt and co-author David Eisenbach plug their new book, One Nation Under Sex, discussing whether Abraham Lincoln was gay and the eternal popularity of infidelity. Ace goes off-topic and turns to news, Flynt immediately bails, and you might be left wondering why it doesn’t happen more often. Superfan Giovanni holds a one-on-one Q&A that covers Ace’s career from Loveline to the boxing movie The Hammer. Topher Grace reflects on his career from dead-end teenager to That ‘70s Show (and the career arcs of his co-stars) on through his current supporting role in HBO’s Too Big To Fail. Comedian and podcaster Eddie Ifft reports on his documentary about how the rest of the world views Americans, and he and Ace trade stories about misadventures while being high. After Adam and Bryan’s feedback on Thor, comedian Bill Burr‘s appearance is practically all live-audience questions and news.
The B.S. Report With Bill Simmons
Even though he gets the full profile treatment in this weekend’s New York Times Sunday Magazine and is prepping to launch his newest venture, Grantland, Simmons remains squarely focused on the NBA playoffs throughout his podcasts this week. First up is ESPN’s Ric Bucher, who breaks down the Dallas Mavericks heading into the NBA Finals and takes a look back at the playoffs as a whole to this point. And, of course, Simmons can’t approach the championship series of his favorite sport without having a blowout podcast: Bucher returns, joined by other ESPN NBA writers Marc Stein, John Hollinger, and Chad Millman, plus Simmons pal Joe House for a preview of the Heat-Mavs match-up that is entertaining as always, but at 100 minutes, best suited to diehard basketball or Simmons fans. Simmons takes a break from the NBA to start his final podcast of the week, talking up the Stanley Cup Finals—pitting the Vancouver Canucks against Simmons’ hometown Boston Bruins—with Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski (who picks the Canucks in six games while Simmons, owning up to his own bias, picks the Bruins in six). Wrapping up this final podcast is a visit from actor Michael Rapaport, who talks about that A Tribe Called Quest documentary, the state of his beloved Knicks, and gives an entertaining account of his celebrity basketball career.
Best Show Gems: Tom’s Brother Dom Calls
Any Best Show bit that features one of Tom’s brothers should appeal to longtime fans. Even if the jokes are ho-hum, it’s an opportunity for Tom to fill in more of the details of his fictional life as a Newbridge schlub punching the time clock at Consolidated Cardboard. This is a weaker episode, but it does score some laughs with Dom’s Ancient Chinese Secret TV pitch and with his participation in The Eastern Part Of America division of the belt-whipping league.
Comedy Bang-Bang #106.5: Andy Richter, Paul F. Tompkins
If you listened to #106, you know what’s in store: Andy Richter and Paul F. Tompkins as the Cake Boss. He continues to channel Chewbacca, and we finally have an answer to the question that’s haunted Star Wars fans for nearly four decades: Yes, Chewbacca was in love with Han Solo. Oh, and Cake Boss is also a Cakewolf, a sort of dessert-oriented werewolf. Like we said last week, just go with it.
Extra Hot Great: #33: The 1st Annual TV Extrys
One of the reasons why the super-niche-y nature of podcasts is so valuable: You can enter an alternative universe where the likes of Terriers, Archer, and Friday Night Lights triumph in awards shows, instead of the junk the Emmys will inevitably honor this year. Though this hour-long roundup of TV’s finest shows and performances—featuring guests Mark Blankenship and Pamela Ribon—eliminates the diversity of a typical Extra Hot Great episode, the winners and the clips are persuasive.
Firewall & Iceberg No. 76: Franklin & Bash, Teen Wolf, And More
Hitftix.com critics Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall take listener mail and discuss TNT’s “unamusing” Malcolm McDowell lawyer dramedy Franklin & Bash, season 2.5 of TNT’s Men Of A Certain Age, the AMC whodunit The Killing, and HBO’s Game Of Thrones (by far their favorite of the batch). But their most passionate analysis is the leadoff segment on the MTV reboot of Teen Wolf, which has frak-all to do with the ’80s version. Notes Sepinwall, “It’s more of a straightforward teen-angst horror story… It’s not good.” They also announce the subject of this year’s weekly summer rewatch: Twin Peaks, season one.
How Was Your Week No. 10: The Young & The Messy: Jackée
Julie Klausner’s interview with comic actress Jackée Harry is pretty much what you’d expect from a conversation with Jackée: a lot of girlfriend-y discussion about men followed by loud laughter. Klausner also parses the Oprah Winfrey Show finale and analyzes what makes the Police song “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”—and Sting himself—so awful.
The Mental Illness Happy Hour No. 10: Chris Fairbanks
Perhaps not surprisingly, Paul Gilmartin’s mental illness-themed podcast can feel like eavesdropping on someone else’s therapy. Sometimes that creates an incredible sense of intimacy; sometimes it feels like the therapist is reaching for something, conversationally, that he never quite finds. That seems to be the case when Gilmartin sits down to talk to Chris Fairbanks for an engaging but occasionally rambling conversation about his mother’s battles with alcoholism and Alzheimer’s that doesn’t quite meet the exceedingly high expectations set by previous shows.
The Moth: James Foster & Kathleen Miller: SLAM Stories
It’s two short, slight stories this week, the first about a savvy—or so he thinks—Detroit native who gets his car stolen, the second about a middle-school nerd who inadvertently poisons her classmates—or so she thinks. There’s a loose theme about trusting others tying the two tales together, but mostly they’re just a couple of funny anecdotes told by two charming, engaging storytellers.
The Sound Of Young America: Demetri Martin
Jesse Thorn interviews comic and new author Demetri Martin about his passion for skateboarding, his impressive academic background, his love of puzzles, and his appreciation for the standup stylings of Steven Wright. If you love dry, wordplay-based humor, then this interview is for you. Also this week, Thorn speaks with The A.V. Club’s own Nathan Rabin and Josh Modell about The Lonely Island’s new record, the new DVD release of Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, rapper Elzhi’s new mix-tape, and the disturbing Korean movie I Saw the Devil.
Sound Opinions: Mike Watt
Listening to Mike Watt talk about anything is always a treasure, and Greg and Jim invite the former Minuteman to discuss the greatest triumph of his career, 1984’s Double Nickels On The Dime. The double-album, 45-song classic was mixed in one night and cost only $1,100, reveals Watt, who otherwise rehashes old but interesting stories familiar to anyone who’s seen the essential documentary We Jam Econo: The Story Of The Minutemen. (If you haven’t seen it, watch it on Netflix Instant, like, right now.)