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Episode 11: Grieving (Pre-Reading)

On this week’s show––dropping on Wednesday as usual––we’re talking about grief and loss.


  1. Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  2. Scrubs season 5 episodes 20, 21, and 22
  3. Listen to Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Then, read the Wikipedia article about the album and the Pitchfork review. Finally, listen to the album a second time.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can media/pop culture help people deal with loss, both as consumers and creators?
  2. How do others respond to those grieving? What responsibility do we have to people?
  3. How do media portrayals of grief and loss align with “typical” experiences?
  4. Does knowing the story behind a highly personal work of media change the way we view it? How?

Notice something strange about that last question? It’s not really about grief and loss, is it? However, it’s the genesis question of the episode. I came to this topic because I was interested in running an experiment in how we consume media. I assigned a process rather than simply a work of culture for the homework. Listen to the album Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, then read some reviews about it and get both the critical angle and the background to album’s production, and finally listen to the album a second time. I was interested in the way that knowing the background of the album might influence people’s perception of it. However, that wasn’t enough to hang an episode on. So, I took the heart-wrenching events that occurred early during the production of Skeleton Tree as my tip off point and framed the episode around grief and loss.

Background aside, we had some fantastic homework assigned for this episode. Seriously, it might be the best collection we’ve had yet! Spontaneous gave a plethora of examples of how different people react to loss, and the episodes of Scrubs gave us insight into how a person’s community can and should––and sometimes shouldn’t––help with the grief process.

You’ve got two days to finish up your homework before the episode drops. Get crackin’!



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