Posted in episodes

Episode 18: Tabletop RPGs

The homework for the episode:
Try out an RPG (or join your regular table for a session)!

We’re geeking out hardcore this week with a discussion on tabletop gaming – specifically pen and paper RPGs (although Martha will be the first to admit to you she now games with a laptop and tablet handy, since it’s WAY too much work to remember all the spells on her Cleric’s spell list). Prior to recording this episode, Martha played in and GM’d at two different Pathfinder tables, which tells you all you need to know about how she spends her free time, really.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
Martha: The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork on audio book
Rachel: The Girls Next Door tv show

Welcome, Rachel!

Pete tells us about the book he’s reading currently, demonstrating that he has more of a tolerance for historical nonfiction than anyone Martha has ever met in her entire life. We all detour for a bit to talk about audio books, which Martha can’t live without and Rachel’s never tried (hint: the key is a good narrator). And then Rachel sends us back to the mid-2000’s with the reality comedy TV show The Girls Next Door, and we all take a moment to be righteously indignant about the Playboy Mansion.

Look, I (Martha) have already spent too much time telling you all that she’s trash for reality TV, so this shouldn’t shock you, really.

We are leaving our three-media homework model to the side for a moment to try something different! This ep, we share our experiences with tabletop roleplaying games, and discuss the values we think they have, particularly in an academic and educational environment. We share games that are particular favorites, what we grew up playing, why we enjoy them – and how we’ve passed that on to the students we interact with.

In an interesting plot twist, it turns out that we all pretty much got started gaming seriously because of Martha’s husband (my path is a little murkier and started earlier than we were actually together, but it is a true fact that many of my early high school gaming memories involve my husband in some way).

Martha mentions Risus, the Anything RPG, which you can find totally for free here.

On October 25, we’re back to the standard format and talking about Sound and Music in Media with friend of the show Dan Karlin! Here’s your homework:

Pete: Blade Runner, 1982 film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford
Martha: American Horror Story: Asylum, season 2, episode 10, “The Name Game”
Dan: Mulholland Dr., 2001 film directed by David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, 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 show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in episodes

Episode 17: Ambition

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The soundtrack to the 2016 musical Hamilton
Martha: Glee episodes 1.01 (Pilot) and 3.22 (Goodbye)
Lizzie: There Will Be Blood, 2007 film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano

The story of one of our founding fathers told in catchy hip-hop verse, chronicling his rise from nothing to his final downfall at the hands of a political rival.

A plucky group of high school students from all social cliques join musical forces to compete in show choir.

A man builds an empire in the oil-rich fields of California, in a so-called epic tale of American capitalism, greed and violence.

Pride cometh before a fall, but does ambition necessitate isolation, violence, and sacrifice? That’s the question on everyone’s minds as we explore ambitious characters from the beginnings of America, to 1900’s California, and to the halls of modern day high school. Only now am I (Martha) realizing that this is the most musical material we’ve ever covered in one episode – perhaps ambition is too large a feeling to be discussed with mere words?

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Paradise, debut album by Knox Fortune
Martha: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
Lizzie: Netflix original series American Vandal

Welcome, Lizzie!

Pete takes another opportunity to plug his brother’s music, but when your brother is Knox Fortune and putting out tunes like these, how can you blame him? Martha finally broke down and bought the super-sized book accompaniment to Hamilton, mostly so she can read along to “It’s Quiet Uptown” and cry a lot. Lizzie introduces us to another Netflix original series in the styles of true crime drama, which Martha immediately binged over the course of two days and can ALSO highly recommend. Anyone calling it an eight episode dick jock has thoroughly missed the point of the series, but that’s a topic for another podcast.

Today we’re talking about the potentially fatal character trait, Ambition.

  1. When we talk about characters having “ambition,” how do we differentiate that from goals or drive? Should we?
  2. Is ambition a positive or negative force in the stories we looked at?
  3. How does ambition get gendered in these narratives?
  4. What is the cost of ambition? Does ambition inherently require sacrifice or loss?

We kick things off by discussing the differences as we see them between ambition, goals, drive, passion, and greed. We diverge for a while to discuss Ratatouille, which pretty handily illustrates the shades of meaning there; we all get very emotional about Hamilton, and Lizzie and Martha get emotional over There Will Be Blood (but not really in a good way, TBH).

Other things for you to check out: Hamilton by Ron Chernow, the 2005 biography that inspired the show; the PBS documentary about the making-of Hamilton, titled “Hamilton’s America,” which you can watch on PBS.com with a WTTW Passport account

On October 11, we’re doing something a little different and diverging from our usual format to talk about Tabletop Roleplaying Games withe special guest Rachel HIlbert! Your homework for next episode is to try out an RPG if you’ve never played before – to get started, check out RPG Now for tons of free modules and rule sets.

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, 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 show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in episodes

Episode 16: You Can’t Go Home Again

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The Fifth Elephant, 1999 novel by Terry Pratchett (part of the Discworld series
Martha: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014 film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Chris Evans
Cory: Gone Home, 2013 PC game available on STEAM

Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Sam Vimes, finds himself in over his head when he travels to Uberwald on a diplomatic mission. Amongst his cohort are a dwarf, a werewolf, and a troll who used to call the cold nation home.

Steve Rogers misses the 1940s. Also he and other vets find solace in each other, until he finds out a missing piece of his past is still running around killing folk in the modern era. SHIELD is there also, but they’re terrible.

A girl comes home from a trip abroad to find her family missing. Over the course of discovering what happens, she learns a whole lot of new things about her sister, her family, and the secrets that they keep.

Home is a construct, but is it one we build, or is it built despite ourselves? We get a chance to play with a new media format, welcome a new guest, and figure out what home means to us in today’s episode.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: NPR First Listen Live: The National, “Sleep Well Beast”
Martha: Crash Override by Zoe Quinn
Cory: In Defense of Food: PBS Documentary by Michael Pollan

Welcome, Cory!

Martha may be the only one who didn’t know NPR played music. She’s also here to stand on a soapbox for Zoe Quinn and women on the internet, and don’t you even start with that “every story has two sides” thing. (Wikipedia has a pretty good dissection of the whole GamerGate debacle, I recommend it as a starting point. Read it here.) Cory and Martha get excited about Michael Pollan, and overall we’re all having a pretty good time ingesting pop culture. Go us.

You Can’t Go Home Again (…or can you?)

  1. How do we define the act of “going home”?
  2. What is home for our various characters? How does this change through the course of the narrative?
  3. How do characters react to returning “home”?
  4. What causes the inability to return “home”––is it us who change, or home, or both?

“Home” is a nebulous concept that is, by its nature, constantly redefined. We attempt to make sense of what it means to our main characters, and in the process get to talk about format and world building a whole lot. Home is pretty deeply tied to identity for all of our main characters, so we end up looping a little bit back to our very first topic for the show as we explore the struggle to define oneself by an idea that is constantly shifting.

I’m gonna be honest with y’all – I really want you to listen to this episode, so I don’t have a lot of show notes to give you! Here is a link to a YouTube playthrough of Gone Home in case you were not able to play it yourself.

Also, the song Martha poorly articulates is the Dionne Warwick “A House is Not A Home.” It featured in the 1964 film of the same name, starring Shelley Winters and Robert Taylor. Martha knows it because Kurt sang it on Glee once.

On September 13, we’re talking about Ambition with special guest and fan of the show Lizzie Buehler. Your homework for next episode:

Pete: The soundtrack to a little 2016 musical Hamilton, you may have heard of it
Martha: Glee episodes 1.01 (Pilot) and 3.22 (Goodbye)
Lizzie: There Will Be Blood

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, 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 show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in episodes

Episode 15: Forgiveness

The homework for the episode:
Martha: The Walls Around Us, 2015 novel by Nova Ren Suma
Pete: Doctor Who S9 e6 “The Girl Who Died” and s9 e7 “The Girl Who Lived” (2-parter)
Maren: Atonement (2007 movie directed by Joe Wright, starring Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy)

Amber is in a high security prison for violent girls. Violet is a dancer on the path to Julliard. Orianna is the strange girl who unites them both, in a story about the walls we build and that are built for us.

The Doctor saves a girl, and a Viking town, and realizes he has duties beyond simply saving a life.

A girl sees something she thinks she understands, but what she says afterward causes grief and heartbreak for many in this World War II drama.

Our theme this week is forgiveness as we plumb the depths of some…pretty strange stories, to be honest. Stories that we have a lot of strong feelings about!

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Iron & Wine’s new album, Beast Epic
Martha: Season 4 of Top Chef
Maren: CityLab article by David Lepeska: “How Bon Iver Saved Eau Claire

Let’s get this out of the way: Martha is a garbage reality tv show fan and at some point she’s going to make her hosts watch some episodes of…something. For now, she’s basking in the glory of Stephanie Izard’s win on Top Chef as the first lady winner. Pete thinks Martha probably has heard a lot more Iron & Wine than she thinks, and both he and Maren lose it a little when she mentions she may have seen him at Jazz Fest? Maybe? Maren gets to school everyone on how Bon Iver is revitalizing Wisconsonian territory.

And then…and then we all had a lot of feelings.

Big Questions for Forgiveness

    1. How successful are characters in achieving forgiveness?
    2. Should characters pay a price in their quest for forgiveness? What price do they pay?
    3. Does forgiveness need to be reciprocal?
    1. What function is forgiveness playing in the narratives?
    2. Are forgiveness and absolution the same thing?

Martha’s not a Doctor Who fan, don’t @ her. We dig deep into semantics here, and it may be the first episode where that’s a good thing! Across all three media, we encounter characters who are seeking forgiveness in some capacity or another: from their loved ones, from themselves, on behalf of themselves. Are they successful? What defines success? Is, perhaps, the act of seeking forgiveness enough to warrant it? We also get meta and look at what role we as an audience have in being able to forgive characters. This is a good ep for looking at how an audience interacts with a narrative, and how that may or may not effect the way in which you interpret a story – having more emotional cache with a character from a serial narrative, for example.

On September 13, we’re talking about how You Can’t Go Home Again with special guest Cory Ruegg. Your homework for next episode:

Pete: The Fifth Elephant, 1999 novel by Terry Pratchett (part of the Discworld series
Martha: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014 film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Chris Evans
Cory: Gone Home, 2013 PC game available on STEAM

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, 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 show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in episodes

Episode 14: Leaders and Leadership

The homework for the episode:
Martha: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
Calee: Firefly, episode 1.09: “Ariel”
Pete: Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar

A widowed mouse learns the secrets of her husband’s past (and his connection to some interesting rats) in her quest to save her son and move her family, before the farmer’s plow can destroy their home.

The crew of the Firefly turn to an unexpected source to help lead them through one of the biggest heists of their careers.

What if: Superman had landed in Communist Ukraine instead of the heartland of America? Generally, not great things.

Our episode is painfully topical as we discuss and examine what makes a good leader. What do we expect from our leaders? What happens when leadership turns toxic? Let’s get into it.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Hipster Jock Jam playlist for the Riverwest 24 bike race
Martha: Lore podcast by Alan Mehnke
Calee: Adventure Time animated show

Pete’s pop culture credentials are inextricably tied to him spending an ungodly amount of time riding a bike for charity, which, you know, is pretty cool. Martha’s prepping for a podcast live show (hey, you think we’ll ever be cool enough to do one of those?) and Calee is enjoying the frenetic, animated joys of Jake the Dog and Finn the Human. Mostly, Martha is plotting how she can use Pete’s expertise in the world of charity cycling to fuel a library program, because that’s basically how she processes everything these days.

Big Questions for Leaders and Leadership

  1. What traits to effective leaders tend to have? Are the traits of IRL leaders similar to the traits of fictional leaders?
  2. What makes people follow a leader?
  3. Is it dangerous to glorify leadership?

Leadership plays a strong role in most narratives, and it behooves us to take a closer look at the strengths, weaknesses, and character traits of some of the many leaders we find in media. We generate a list of characteristics we appreciate in our leadership, Martha gets salty about Superman and Mark Millar, and we have a lot of fun talking about rats. Some sensitive topics are broached re: our current political state, but for the most part this is a bipartisan episode. (J/K our president is a toddler and our country is a trash fire, hooray!). Plus we all take a moment to reminisce about how much we miss Firefly.

Also, this is sadly Calee’s last episode with us as a regular co-host. Next episode we’re taking a small break to talk about what we’ve been enjoying this summer, to give Pete and Martha the chance to assemble some choice guests to bring you more of that good, good content.

Your homework for August 9:
See something cool! Read a good book! There’s an excellent thread on Twitter that The Fug Girls retweeted, full of juicy and salacious Hollywood memoirs if you need a good starting place.

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

Posted in episodes

Episode 13: Fandom in Media

The homework for the episode:
Martha: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Calee: Fanboys, 2009 film directed by Kyle Newman
Pete: Galaxy Quest, 1999 film directed by Dean Parisot

A new freshman in college finds refuge from all the change in her life in the book series she’s loved for years, and the fanfiction she writes for it.

A group of friends embark on a cross-country road trip to break into Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see The Phantom Menace before he goes.

The cast from a classic sci-fi tv show are recruited to help a very real group of aliens defeat the nemesis that slaughtered their people.

Today’s episode is brought to you by fanculture everywhere. Join us as we take a deep dive into fandom and how media portrays it, from the perspective of male and female fans and even a bit from the creator side.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Two YouTube videos: Angelo Badalamenti describes creating “Laura Palmer’s Theme” from Twin Peaks and Alex Jones as Bon Iver
Martha: Watching her husband play Serial Cleaner
Calee: Mouseguard: Legends of the Guard by David Peterson

Pete cheats YET AGAIN, Martha is basically living inside a Twitch stream, and Calee has discovered the wonderful world of anthropomorphized mice. (J/K she’s probably read Redwall before.)

Thoughts to Think on for The Hero’s Journey

  1. Is fandom portrayed generally positively or negatively in the homework we discuss?
  2. What does fandom add to the conversation surrounding a piece of pop culture?
  3. What, if any, responsibility do creators have toward their fans?
  4. Why is fandom relevant? Why should we care?

We are all fans of something, but it is fair to say that we were NOT fans (ha) of Fanboys, although it provides a rich vein in which to explore toxic fandom and how deeply, deeply dated pop cultural humor can be. We get a little side-tracked and don’t fully explore the idea of plagiarism, copyright infringement, and fanworks, although Martha is willing to admit she’s a big ol’ hypocrite when it comes to Teefury t-shirts. We do finish strong by touching on the relevancy of fandom and how it has moved out of the dark corners of geekdom and into the light because hey, we’re all fans of something around here. (We also get through the entire episode without talking about The Big Bang Theory, which I’m counting as a win.)

Next episode, Pete’s taking us on a guided tour of what it means to be a good leader, what being a bad leader means for a group or organization, and in general, Leaders and Leadership. Plus Martha’s making you read ANOTHER book (but this one’s for kids, and it’s great). Have fun doing your homework!

Your homework for August 2:
Martha: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
Calee: Firefly, episode 1.09: “Ariel”
Pete: Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar

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

Posted in episodes

Episode 12: The Hero’s Journey

The homework for the episode:
Pete: “Of Beren and Luthien,” chapter 19 of The Silmarillion
Martha: The Book of Life, 2014 animated film directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez
Calee: Shrek, 2001 animated film directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson

Two lovers forced to perform impossible tasks before earning their happily-ever-after.

A bullfighter-turned-musician embarks on a magical journey through the land of the dead to reunite with his living love and save his town.

An ogre steps up to reclaim his swamp and finds more than he bargained for on the way.

The hero’s journey as a storytelling map has been part of human culture for thousands of years. Joseph Campbell codified it in The Hero With the Thousand Faces, and when illustrated by infographic, it looks a little something like this:

The_Hero's_Journey

The hero’s journey can be broken down into three necessary stages and seventeen substages, because Joseph Campbell is a categorizing animal with an answer to everything. As we note in the episode, not all of these substages show up in every hero’s journey, and frequently they get shuffled around a bit as the story calls for it. In convenient outline form:

  1. Departure
    1. Call to Adventure
    2. Refusal of the Call
    3. Crossing the First Threshold
    4. In the Belly of the Whale
  2. Initiation
    1. Road of Trials
    2. Meeting with the Goddess
    3. Temptations
    4. Atonement with the Father
    5. Apotheosis
    6. The Ultimate Boon
  3. Return
    1. Refusal of the Return
    2. The Magic Flight
    3. Rescue from Without
    4. Crossing the Return Threshold
    5. Master of Two Worlds
    6. Freedom to Live

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Embassytown by China Mieville
Martha: Bondi Ink Crew on Netflix
Calee: Real Genius

We take a brief detour down the rabbit hole of Val Kilmer’s IMDB page, Martha talks tattoos and Pete is involved in speculative fiction.

Thoughts to Think on for The Hero’s Journey

  1. Admittedly, the hero’s tale is a very formulaic one. How does this aid the narrative, and how does it hinder it? If a tale diverges from this, is it considered better or worse?
  2. Are we cheapening the act of the Return of the hero? Does it mean as much when we expect it?
  3. Why has the hero’s journey become this lasting, resonant storytelling structure?

A lot of our discussion circles around the question: how does a storytelling structure that is so ingrained in us do anything new or innovative? Using Tolkein, Shrek, and an animated celebration of the Day of the Dead (The Book of Life, hey-o) we talk about the elements that make up the archetypal hero’s journey and why it’s important to understanding the way we have and continue to tell stories. We also briefly mention Star Wars, because honestly, I don’t think you can talk about the hero’s journey without at least touching on it.

I dug up this article about why the hero’s journey has particular resonance and staying power, particularly from the perspective of someone creating stories: “Writing and the Importance of the Hero’s Journey,” by Evelyn Bertrand.

Next episode, we’re taking things in a little lighter direction and discussing fandom and how it gets treated by media. Join us for our chat on Fandom in Media and enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for July 19:
Martha: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Calee: Fanboys, 2009 film directed by Kyle Newman
Pete: Galaxy Quest, 1999 film directed by Dean Parisot

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

Posted in episodes

Episode 11: Grief & Grieving

Better late than never, right, y’all?

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Pitchfork review of the album, and the Wikipedia page for it
Martha: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Calee: Scrubs, episodes 5.20 and 5.21

A musician familiar with the sounds and strains of death exorcises his grief through a brief, but haunting, album.

Mara Carlyle, high school senior, leads a pretty normal (albeit substance-fueled) life – until her schoolmates start spontaneously combusting.

Dr. Perry Cox makes a call with the best information he has, which kills three patients. This is the aftermath.

Grief is something that everyone experiences in some shape or form during their lifetimes, and pop culture can help us develop the tools to deal with and overcome it. We thread our way through three stories that show us how characters overcome their grief, and also how an artist can use his art to express it.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Plizzanet Earth
Martha: Awful Squad: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds stream from Polygon (here)
Calee: “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” trailer

Martha’s new zen place is watching Polygon employees get shot a lot in Battlegrounds; we debate how long is too long for an animated short before a Disney movie; and Pete tries to explain Snoop Dogg to Martha (J/K; she gets Snoop Dogg, she just doesn’t quite grokk his unique method of speech).

Martha also mentions the trailer for the upcoming Disney/Pixar feature Coco, which you can watch here.

Pop Culture and Mental Health: Discussion Questions and Big Ideas

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

There’s a whole lot to unpack here, and not just the notion (a carry-over from last episode) that the idea of “normal people” and the “normal way” of dealing with things is a whole lot of B.S. We all agree that one of the things media can do is normalize the fact that there IS no one way of dealing with grief, but that seeing characters we love go through the grieving process can help us when we suddenly have a heft of it and no tools of our own to process it.

We’re getting our Joseph Campbell on in our next episode, which is going to be all about The Hero’s Journey. Background reading of The Man With the Thousand Faces is 100% optional (PETER). Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for June 28:
Martha: The Book of Life
Calee: Shrek (the first one)
Pete: The “Beren and Luthien” chapter from The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein

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

Posted in episodes

Episode 10: Pop Culture Perceptions of Mental Health

The homework for the episode:
Pete: Spellbound, 1945 film by Alfred Hitchcock
Martha: Legion, 1.01 and 1.02
Calee: Adventures in Depression, parts 1 & 2 by Allie Brosh (part of HyperboleandaHalf.blogspot.com)

Mr. “John Brown”––a patient suffering from psychogenic amnesia––is accused of murder, but he cannot recall what happened. Hopefully his psychoanalyst can cure him of “the devils of unreason” and prove his innocence.

David Haller has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is a patient in a psychiatric hospital. But is his disorder actually a manifestation of super-cool mutant powers?

Allie Brosh bluntly describes what depression is like in ways that those who have never experienced it can begin to empathize with and understand.

What’s going on? We’re looking at pop culture portrayals of mental health issues. How have these portrayals changed over time? Is it better to view mental illness through the lens of fiction or autobiography? And our ongoing through-line of empathy continues to play its part, as we discuss how media portrayals can help people develop empathy, grapple with mental health issues, and the benefits and risks of how the media portrays mental health.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Evicted by Matthew Desmond
Martha: Something Positive webcomic archive (located here)
Calee: The Good Place, NBC sitcom

Pete is seriously proselytizing Evicted as mandatory reading (Martha wanted more of a call to arms and less of a narrative angle), we all get nostalgic for legacy web comics, and Calee and Martha yell at Pete to watch The Good Place, which is apparently what it would look like if Bryan Fuller opened a FroYo shop in Heaven.

Pop Culture and Mental Health: Discussion Questions and Big Ideas

  1. In general, media portrays struggles with mental health in one of three ways: demonizing it, romanticizing it, or normalizing it. Where do we feel our homework pieces fall on this spectrum?
  2. How have media portrayals of mental health evolved over time?All experiences with mental health issues are different and specific to the person experiencing them.
  3. How can pop culture and media help us find common ground in something that is so radically different from person to person? How can we use pop culture to work towards a normalizing view of mental health struggles?

Martha mentions the article “How Mental Illness is Misrepresented in the Media” by Kristin Fawcett in the episode, read it here. Pete mentions 50 First Dates. Don’t watch it.

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Grief in and through Pop Culture. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for June 7:
Pete: A homework in three parts:

  1. Listen to the album The Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, everywhere fine music can be heard)
  2. Read the review for the album from Pitchfork and the Wikipedia page about the album.
  3. Listen to the album a second time. (and a third, fourth, twentieth…)

Martha: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer (YA novel)
Calee: Scrubs, 5.21 and 5.22 (tv show)

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

Posted in episodes

Episode 9: Strange Bedfellows

A note from your podcasters: you’ll notice our episode is slightly different this week! In order to bring you the best content possible, we’re streamlining our discussion and shifting focus from trying to generate a syllabus of materials in the episode, to generating a lesson plan of Big Ideas that you can address using the media we assign as homework. Follow-up blog posts will include more media on the theme as usual, but more from us about how they connect to the podcast. 

Feedback is, as always, more than welcome! Tweet us at @DYDYHpodcast or e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com to let us know your thoughts on our new direction.

The subtitle for this episode is basically “radical empathy,” which is the theme a lot of these stories boil down to and a very useful thing to be teaching!

The homework for the episode:
Pete: Good Omens, 1990 novel cowritten by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Martha: Anya’s Ghost, 2011 graphic novel by Vera Brosgol
Calee: The Man from U.N.C.L.E, 2015 film by Guy Ritchie

What exactly do we mean when we say “Strange Bedfellows”? If you didn’t get it from the homework context clues, we’re talking weird character matchups between people who have absolutely nothing in common – or DO they? We get down and dirty on the subject of odd couples, weird matchups, character growth and something Pete has dubbed “Radical Empathy.” Our homework takes us from ghosts to the apocalypse, from the Cold War to first generation Russian immigrants, and from the idyllic English countryside to 1960’s Rome in our search for commonality. What we find may shock you! (It won’t, but it does end up being quite interesting.)

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty (album)
Martha: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, vol. 1: Who is Oracle? by Shawna and Julie Benson, and Roge Antonio and Claire Roe (DC Rebirth trade paperback)
Calee: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Cry Wilderness (Netflix incarnation)

Martha is digging hard on the DC Rebirth incarnation of the Birds of Prey, while Pete feels only lukewarm on the new musical offering from Fleet Foxes alum Father John. Calee has never seen MST3K before (author’s note: WHAT), but the new stuff sounds pretty great.

Strange Bedfellows: Big Ideas
– Radical Empathy: using media examples to teach empathy and understanding
– Determining the appeal of “strange bedfellow” relationships, through what they reveal about a character (and by extension the consumer by proxy)
– The idea of living in an “echo chamber” (slightly rehashed from our episode on News Media): how absorbing the viewpoints and opinions from others can expand your worldview
– The difference between understanding and empathy, and why it matters

We briefly mention a comic from the popular blog The Oatmeal, “You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You.” Read it here, it’ll be good for you.

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Pop Culture Depictions of Mental Health. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for May 24:
Pete: Spellbound, 1945 film by Alfred Hitchcock (watch it in its entirety on YouTube here)
Martha: Legion, episodes 1 and 2 (2017 show on F/X)
Calee: Hyperbole and a Half, Adventures in Depression parts 1 and 2 by Allie Brosh (located here and here)

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