Posted in episodes

Episode 25: Formative Media

The homework for the episode:
Martha: Princess Mononoke, the 1997 Studio Ghibli animated classic (specifically the English dub featuring Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Gillian Anderson, and more)
Pete: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the 1950 novel by CS Lewis
Josh Brown: The 1983 children’s tv show Reading Rainbow, specifically the episode for “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and two more episodes of our choosing (find them on YouTube here)

A prince in exile journeys to find a corrupting power, destroying the natural world, and meets a lost girl who complicates the story.

Four siblings fulfill a Biblical narrative by saving a magical country trapped in never-ending winter.

LaVar Burton makes reading fun and accessible, and teaches you something in the process.

I use the words “formative media” so often on the podcast that we decided we’d better to an episode about it so I could explain what I mean! Today we’re talking about the stories and media that helped shape who we are as media consumers, and we do so with an expert on pop culture nostalgia: welcome guest Josh Brown!

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Phantom Thread soundtrack by Johnny Greenwood
Martha: Stardew Valley video game for Nintendo Switch
Josh: Banished video game on STEAM

I’m still riding my video game high, but I have traded in the high stakes world-saving of Breath of the Wild for the much more serene farming sim Stardew Valley (I have a cow now! She’s neat.) Pete extols the virtues of Radiohead’s foray into film scores, and there’s a super brief digression about whether Phantom Thread will drive me insane or not (I’ll report back). Josh is into a super crunchy Civ style world builder, and I have mixed feelings about him sharing it with my husband.

I use the phrase “formative media” a whole lot because I’m fascinated in how one gets from Point A to Point B in their media consumption. If Point A is The Last Unicorn and Point B is Neal Shusterman’s Scythe series (an arbitrary choice from me, as that’s what I’m currently reading), what are all the steps in between that led there? We explore that as well as how we incorporate our pop cultural touchstones into our identities, and how that can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Some of the questions we examine are:

  1. What do we mean when we talk about “formative media”?
  2. How well did our homework hold up?
  3. How did these stories shape us as media consumers?
  4. What place does nostalgia have in our personal media consumption, and why do we think it’s gotten to be such a huge factor in pop culture at large?

(Spoiler alert: I loved recording this episode.)

Because I am a good person I did not make Josh and Pete read IT, even though it’s the most recent thing on the podcast that I referred to as being formative for me – whatever that may or may not say about me as a person, I dunno. We’re all three of us huge nerds, so it’s a super fun discussion on the media we consumed as children that led us to bigger and more epic stories, to lifelong loves of reading, and to a tolerant fondness for the now-dated media of our 80’s and 90’s childhoods. (I didn’t talk about morning cartoons on Nickelodeon, but I super could have.) I throw some shade at nerd manbabies who can’t handle women in their Star Wars, and Josh brings some insight to the whole nostalgia question.

Next episode, we are joined again by friend of the show Maren Hagman! Maren is going to be helping us discuss Body Image, which is a super broad topic but I think we’ll be handling it in an interesting way.

The homework for February 14:

Martha: The Art of Starving, 2017 novel by Sam J. Miller
Pete: Zoolander, 2001 film directed by Ben Stiller and starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Christine Taylor
Maren: Hairspray, the 2007 film directed by Adam Shankman and starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Queen Latifah, among others

Josh runs a podcast called 40 Going on 14 that you can find wherever you get your podcasts (I was a guest on episode 156, which was all about women in comics! It was a fun time). Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha.

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at, and find us on Facebook.

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to We’d love to hear from you!



The home on the web for Did You Do Your Homework? The pop culture podcast that teaches you everything about anything using media tools. Catch our bi-weekly episodes and read our comprehensive syllabi, and don't forget to do your homework!

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