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Pop Culture Happy Hour

439 episodes   Last Updated: Aug 16, 23
Get obsessed with us. Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Join arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris - plus a rotating cast of guest pop culture aficionados. The Happy Hour team leaves room at the table for exploring a range of reactions and opinions on every bit of the pop universe. From lowbrow to highbrow to the stuff in between, they take it all with a shot of cheer.Make your happy hour even happier with Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus! Your subscription supports the podcast and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/happyhour


Aug 16, 2023
Harley Quinn
The fantastic Max animated series Harley Quinn is set in its own separate version of the DC Universe where the violence is frequent and the raunchy jokes come at you fast. In the show, Harley (Kaley Cuoco) has ditched the Joker and started making her own brand of mayhem alongside her best friend and romantic partner Poison Ivy (Lake Bell). Harley Quinn recently returned for a new season, so we decided to revisit our conversation about the series.
What makes for an unshakable rap verse — the kind that shifts your world view and sticks around years after the first time you encountered it? This month marks 50 years since the birth of hip-hop, so we reached out to some NPR colleagues and a few hip-hop luminaries and asked them what hip-hop verse changed their lives. You can hear all the tracks discussed in this episode in our Spotify playlist.
The new film Red White & Royal Blue is a classic enemies-to-lovers rom-com, though in this case the rom is queer, and the com arises out of the fact that there are huge geopolitical stakes involved. That's because the two lovers in question are Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez), the son of the American president and Henry (Nicholas Galitzine), the prince of England. Directed by Matthew López, the movie is based on Casey McQuiston's wildly successful and much-loved novel.
Aug 10, 2023
The tart comedy Shortcomings is about a cynical cinephile with a lot of hang-ups. Ben (Justin H. Min) hates his job and is emotionally checked out of his relationship with his longtime girlfriend (Ally Maki). When the couple goes on a hiatus, he's forced to confront unresolved insecurities tied to his Asian-American identity. Directed by Randall Park, the film has a lot to say about interracial dating and intraracial conflict.
Aug 09, 2023
Kokomo City
Kokomo City is a remarkable documentary depicting the lives of Black trans sex workers. The women speak candidly about facing transphobia, misogynoir, and economic instability on a daily basis. Directed by D. Smith, the movie is definitely a conversation starter about finding strength in sisterhood and speaking truth to power.
Aug 08, 2023
They're young, they're in love, and they're navigating the hallways of high school. The Netflix series Heartstopper is a romcom for soft hearts everywhere. The two teenage boys at the center of the story go from rugby teammates to good friends to, you guessed it, something more. The series just returned for a second season, so we decided to revisit our conversation about the first season.
The fun new animated movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem reboots the iconic series. It's directed by Jeff Rowe (The Mitchells vs. the Machines), who co-wrote the script with Seth Rogen and others. The formula is familiar — an ooze turns four baby turtles into ninja-fighting warriors who must save humanity and find acceptance along the way. The film is bolstered by its funny pop-culture references and a strong voice cast, including Jackie Chan, Ice Cube and Ayo Edebiri.
Aug 03, 2023
Idris Elba is in full action hero mode in the Apple TV+ series Hijack. He stars as a corporate business negotiator onboard an airplane that is taken hostage by an eclectic bunch of assailants with mysterious motives. The series is very fun and very silly.
Aug 02, 2023
This Fool
The Hulu comedy series This Fool is set in South Central Los Angeles and follow an odd couple of cousins named Julio and Luis. They bicker, help each other out and try to figure out what's next for themselves. Star and co-creator Chris Estrada, who plays Julio, based a lot of the show on his standup.
Aug 01, 2023
Good Omens
The second season of Prime Video's Good Omens re-teams Michael Sheen and David Tennant as the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley. In season one they worked together to prevent the apocalypse. Now, they're stuck hiding an amnesiac archangel (Jon Hamm) while Heaven and Hell maneuver to take advantage of his absence. The series is based on characters in a best-selling novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Subscribe to Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus at plus.npr.org/happyhour