Posted in episodes

The Oscars: Bonus pre-show episode and main listening

Did you know we recorded a wee bonus episode? We did!

The homework for the episode:
I hope you watched the Oscars or at least read up enough to have an opinion on them!

Lizzie Buehler is back for an in-depth look at the 2018 Oscars, discussions of our feelings re: the winners and the not-winners, and award shows in general. Warning: there are A LOT of feelings.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: The Decemberists’ new single, “Once in my Life”
Lizzie: The Decemberists’ 2015 album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
Martha: Gilmore Girls

Lizzie and Pete are in synch preparing for the new Decemberists album drop, while Martha is wasting her time on inconsequential TV. We have a little Gilmore Girls post-mortem in which Pete probably realizes we’re way nerdier about this show than he originally thought, but let’s be honest, we all know why we’re here:

Awards shows: the passion and folly of all art appreciators and critics everywhere. Do the Oscars matter? Did these Oscars matter? Will the Oscars end up becoming an industry joke, much like the current state of the Grammys (no shade to Pete’s brother, of course, who already has one and will probably end up with more). What does it mean to win Best Picture? Was The Shape of Water the best picture this year? How much does Martha deeply love monster movies? How much will everyone fight about who deserved what award?

We answer these and more, and hopefully in a way that is different and as interesting as the other 8000 podcasts that are also talking about this this week.

Next week, we’re doing something a little unusual: we are talking about Niche Communities, and will be joined by Austin Delmond.

The homework for March 28:

Austin: Awesome Games Done Quick-sponsored Speedrun of Star Wars: Jedi Knight Academy by gamer CovertMuffin
Another AGDQ speedrun of your choice
Pete: Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (2014 novel)
Martha: Fursonas, 2016 documentary (available to watch for free here)

Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha. 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 27: Fairy Tales

The homework for the episode:
Martha: Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006 film by Guillermo del Toro
Pete: Hellboy volume 3: The Chained Coffin and Others by Mike Mignola
Lauren Maxwell: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Extra Credit: Episode 1.01 of Once Upon a Time, 2011 show created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis

A young girl in post-revolution Spain discovers she may be a fairy tale princess, if she can accomplish three impossible tasks to reclaim her birthright.

Irish and Slavic folklore are explored through tales of supernatural investigation, helmed by a rough-talking, good-hearted red dude.

A queen sets off on a journey to save a neighboring kingdom from a plague of sleep, accompanied by her trusty dwarves.

A young woman with a troubled past is drawn to a small East Coast town, that may in fact be populated by fairy tale characters who have forgotten who they are.

Welcome to first time guest Lauren Maxwell, who not only helps keep Martha sane at work but also is an expert on this week’s topic of Fairy Tales!

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Martha: Watched Bill play Sea of Thieves
Lauren: Series finale of The Tudors

Pete is prepping for a movie we’re all super stoked about and Martha’s parents have never read A Wrinkle in Time – we all take a moment to contemplate how, exactly, this could have happened. What Martha REALLY wants to talk about is how much she hated Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, but true to the spirit of the credentials section, all she can really say is that she watched her husband play a pirate MMO for several hours. Lauren talks about her disappointment with The Tudors, which we all echo mournfully, for lost potential and the brilliance of Natalie Dormer.

Fairy tales! They’re everywhere. Our pop culture is indelibly linked with folklore, fables and fairy tales, and we want to talk about why. Why are these stories so ingrained in our culture? Why do we have this fascination with them, particularly the ones made famous by the Brothers Grimm? We discuss these and also get into:

  1. How do we reuse and remix familiar fairy tale elements to create new stories?
  2. Much of folklore was initially created as morality tales to warn listeners of bad behavior. Are they still serving this function? How have storytellers changed the fairy tales to reflect modern morality?
  3. At what point do recognizable fairy tale characters get changed so much from their initial conception that they become new characters, rather than just retold versions of the originals?

 

Next episode we’re talking award shows and how they reflect our cultural landscape. Get ready, because it’s our Oscars Episode! This is basically Martha’s Super Bowl, so get your ballots out and be prepared to be existentially disappointed in how much the Academy sucks at valuing actual quality film. We may be guestless, which would be fine, or we may have a ~surprise guest~ depending on how things work out. Either way, emotions will be high so make sure to check it out.

The homework for March 14:

Watch the Oscars! It’s super fun and I’m sure we’ll all have lots to talk about.

Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha. 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 26: Body Image

(CW: body image, eating disorders. We talk about anorexia, bulimia, and other sensitive subjects.)

The homework for the episode:
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

A teen boy believes that starving himself gives him super powers, that he plans to use to get revenge on the people he thinks are responsible for making his sister run away.

Male models overcome professional jealousy to take down the seedy underbelly of the fashion industry, which is secretly the cause of political assassinations throughout history.

A girl on the chunky side takes a local dancing show by storm in 1960’s Baltimore, and uses the momentum to fight racial discrimination.

Friend of the show Maren Hagman is back to help us get into the serious topic of Body Image. Our subjects range from conceited male models to small town teens, that deal with eating disorders, self image, body positivity, and other related topics. It’s a sensitive conversation and we get a little prickly about it!

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel
Martha: “Girls Talk” by Dave Edmunds
Maren: Civilisations trailer

Everyone freaks out a little when Pete tells us that In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is TWENTY YEARS OLD, WHAT. Martha has been watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but not close enough to the episode for that to be her pick, so instead she waxes poetic about one of the closing credit songs. Maren catches us all up to speed on our Historical Society

Much like our episode on bullying and suicide, this is an episode where there are a lot of feelings about a very sensitive topic. We dig into the way our three homework media portray different bodies and the relationships we have to them, across the spectrum from positive and healthy to decidedly not. If you find talking about bodies and eating disorders too overwhelming, you may consider skipping this one.

Some of the questions we discuss are:

    1. How do these media conform to or subvert expectations of body image? Are they body positive?
    2. What does healthy body image mean for the protagonists?
    3. How do gender and race impact characters’ body image?
    4. Do Hairspray and Zoolander use humor effectively to reinforce or challenge traditional body image?

Here is a link to the article I mention about body image on Broadway. Also, here is a tremendously relevant article that just came out in the New York Times about Adam Rippon and the prevalence of starving in figure skating, that also gets into the idea that eating disorders among men are one of the worst kept secrets in our cultural landscape.

In addition to the broader discussion on weight and eating disorders, we also have the chance to touch on the question of self image and race, although we all acknowledge that we are three white people talking about things we can’t possibly have experience with.

If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, you can reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association via phone (1-800-931-2237) or chat through their website here.

Next episode, we are joined by Martha’s coworker Lauren Maxwell to talk about Fairy Tales!

The homework for February 28:

Martha: Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006 film by Guillermo del Toro
Pete: Hellboy volume 3: The Chained Coffin and Others by Mike Mignola
Lauren Maxwell: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha. Maren is educating children on Twitter @a_star_danced.

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 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 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 24: Better Together

The homework for the episode:
Martha: New52 Justice League, vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and Carlos D’Anda
Pete: A trio of musical albums: The New Pornographers: Together (2010), Neko Case: Middle Cyclone (2009), and Destroyer (aka Dan Bejar’s band): Kaputt (2010)
Calee: Captain America: Civil War, the 2016 film directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Sebastian Stan

Iconic superheroes meet for the first time against a powerful foe.

I don’t know how to give a synopsis of three musical albums, but basically: a Canadian pop supergroup makes super fun music, and so do two of its individually famous members.

Two superpowered leaders disagree, splinter their team, and form their own teams so that Steve Rogers can defend his assassin bestie.

Calee Schouten returns for our one year anniversary! In honor of getting the band back together, as it were, we’re talking about various forms of teamups.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: 1848: Year of Revolution, 2008 book by Mike Rapport
Martha: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild video game for Nintendo Switch
Calee: Arrested Development, 2003 TV show created by Mitchell Hurwitz and starring Jason Bateman

There is no Martha, only Zelda, and the taming of beautiful ponies therein. Pete shows all of us up by once again bringing actual LEARNING about FACTS for his credentials, while Calee gives Martha the elevator pitch on why she should watch a culturally iconic tv show.

With the insane popularity of comic-based film right now, pop culture is pretty saturated with teamups. For our homework today we looked at the Big Two from the Big Two, and Pete threw us all a welcome curve ball by introducing a real-life teamup in the form of the pop supergroup The New Pornographers.

Some of the questions we examine are:

  1. Do the members of these teams gain or lose anything by being part of a team?
  2. Does our familiarity with the individual members/components of these teams help or hurt our enjoyment of the teamup? Does DC or Marvel relying on character archetypes contribute to that feeling?
  3. The goal of a team-up is usually to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. Do we feel that the team-ups we looked at here succeed or fail at that?

We also talk about about how these teams succeed or fail, and how we feel about the individual members in their private endeavors versus their team efforts. We may or may not throw some shade at DC (and a bit at Marvel, we are nothing if not equal opportunity shade-throwers).

For our next episode, we are joined by friend of the show and fellow podcaster Josh Brown to talk about Formative Media: the stories and media that influenced us as children, shaped our tastes, and made us the discerning consumers of pop culture that we are today. We will probably all get very emotional and nostalgic!

The homework for January 31:

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)

Find Calee on Instagram @trickylemon. Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha.

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 23: A Year in Review

 

For this episode, Pete and I take a moment to reflect back on some of the very, very good media we consumed that was created in 2017 – everything from music albums to tv episodes, movies to books (of course). We also give you a peek behind the curtain to tell you what our favorite and least favorite homework of the year was – spoiler alert, we assigned each other our least favorite things, which maybe tells you a little too much about our own personal tastes, IDK.

Our next episode on January 17 is going to be pretty special – it’s our one year anniversary show, and to celebrate, we’re getting the band back together to talk about Team-Ups! The homework for the episode:

Martha: New52 Justice League, vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and Carlos D’Anda
Pete: A trio of musical albums: The New Pornographers: Together (2010), Neko Case: Middle Cyclone (2009), and Destroyer (aka Dan Bejar’s band): Kaputt (2010)
Calee: Captain America: Civil War, the 2016 film directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Sebastian Stan

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 22: Moments of Character Transcendence

The homework for the episode:
Martha: The Wee Free Men, 2003 novel by Terry Pratchett
Pete: Serenity, 2005 film directed by Joss Whedon and starring Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyck, and others
Caitlin: Wynonna Earp, 2016 TV show, episodes 1.02 (“Keep the Home Fires Burning”) and 2.12 (“I Hope You Dance”)

A nine-year-old girl faces down a cruel, immortal queen who dares invade her home and steal her family.

A ragtag crew of mercenaries stands against the ruling power in the universe, determined to confront them and make right an act of abject horror.

Two women (and a few determined men) chase the legacy of a legendary gunslinger by defeating his demons, and they do it while a baby is being born.

We are joined for this episode by friend of the show Caitlin Flynn! Welcome, Caitlin! Caitlin also happens to be Pete’s cousin, and yet another Oak Park native.

This may be our most ethereal topic we’ve covered yet, but it’s a good one to look at in the framework of a narrative (and we try to at least define what we mean by “character transcendence” before getting too in the weeds on it). Basically, we’re looking at stories where a character has a defining moment that tells us who they are and what they’re about. But first….

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Martha: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Caitlin: The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

It’s a very literary edition of credentials (probably because we’re all trying to meet our Goodreads reading goals at the last minute). Caitlin and Pete are both frustrated by the lack of a third installment in Patrick Rothfuss’ series, while Martha has only amazement for anyone willing to commit to the Wheel of Time novels at this point. She’s also abandoned her professional TBR pile in favor of Mira Grant’s newest watery horror expedition, and she has no regrets about that.

So, what DO we mean exactly when we say “moments of character transcendence”? It’s a lofty phrase, but what does it mean? The characters we’re examining – a witch-in-training, a lost and damaged super genius (and her various protectors), and a pair of feisty demon hunters – all have a moment that crystallizes who they are, what they stand for, and what their stories are trying to say.

The two main questions we drive at in trying to pinpoint these moments are 1. Where in the story do the characters achieve this crystallization, and 2. What do these moments say about the characters? Additionally, we delve into how these moments help us as the audience understand what the narrative is trying to say.

A warning: Martha gets incredibly emotional pulling out a quote from The Wee Free Men, and everyone braces for an argument over Serenity that doesn’t end up going down. We also don’t address in the episode that we all picked stories featuring women, who are all strong but not Strong Female Characters, which in retrospect was probably deserving of some kind of mention!

We’re taking a bit of a break for the next release day – due to holiday travelling schedules, Pete will be responsible for making sure you all have something to listen to, although what exactly that will be is TBD! After that, on January 17 it’s DYDYH’s one year anniversary! We will be joined by our very good friend and original co-host Calee Schouten to discuss something that is also TBD (but we’ll get you that info as soon as possible).

Happy holidays to all of our listeners! We appreciate every download, view and share. See you in 2018!

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 21: Transformation

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The Wicked + the Divine, vol. 1: The Faust Act, by Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen
Martha: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Sarah: Fright Night, 1985 film directed by Tom Holland and starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, and Amanda Bearse

We are joined for this episode by friend of the show Sarah Caputo! Welcome, Sarah!

We’ve talked about identity and character growth, and now we discuss Transformation and all the ways it changes us (heh). We have some feelings about character agency, the virtues of self-driven transformation vs. the non-consensual kind, and the use of metaphor, among others – and can we just say a special Thank You to Sarah for getting us to watch this masterpiece of 80’s camp horror?

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Political blog posts linked from Twitter (like this one)
Martha: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp on mobile
Sarah: Live show from Maria Bamford

Pete is reading about depressing political stuff as per usual, but it does sound like his reading would be helpful to anyone trying to lie to the FBI (spoiler alert: don’t). Martha has once again been drawn into the seductive world of mobile gaming with the new Animal Crossing property, while Sarah, the lucky duck, got to experience Maria Bamford LIVE and IN PERSON.

We go a little long in this episode – I would apologize, but we got very swept up in the discussion of character agency, and that is a topic I (Martha) could discuss FOREVER. So be glad we didn’t go EVEN MORE longer! Anyway, in this episode we discuss the following broad questions:

  1. How do the characters in our homework transform? How do their physical, emotional or mental transformations inform their characters and character growth?
  2. Are these character transformations metaphors or stand-ins for anything? If so, what are they representing?
  3. What difference does self-induced vs. non-consensual transformation make to our characters?

We get a bit in the weeds on this one, but only in the most interesting ways, I promise. Our homework subjects run the gamut from pop stars to vampires to plastic surgery-obsessed teenagers, which makes for some extremely interesting parallels. Martha gets to blow Pete’s mind when she informs him that Uglies was written in 2005, paving the way for basically all dystopian supergirl fiction. We all get super excited about Fright Night because let’s be real, Prince Humperdink playing a vampire named Jerry is basically the best thing ever. We also get deep into a discussion about character agency and where the line is between agency and compulsion.

On December 20, we are joined by friend of the show Caitlin Flynn to discuss the (poorly worded, perhaps) topic of Moments of Character Transcendence. Our homework:

Martha: The Wee Free Men, 2003 novel by Terry Pratchett
Pete: Serenity, 2005 film directed by Joss Whedon and starring Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyck, and others
Caitlin: Wynonna Earp, 2016 TV show, episodes 1.02 (“Keep the Home Fires Burning”) and 2.12 (“I Hope You Dance”)

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

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @tinyrevOKC and Instagram @tiny.revelations. Check out her Etsy store Tiny Revelations, where you can find very cute art, cards, and now even shadow boxes (which make great gifts).

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, extra credit

Extra Credit episode 20.5: Holiday Faves

Hello and welcome to our holiday break episode! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we’re all super busy making pies or eating turkey or watching football, so we have a nice light episode for you. No homework required!

We still have credentials for you, because continuing education is a very important part of being a pop culture podcaster:

Pete: American Ulysses by Ronald C. White, specifically the audiobook format
Martha: Pokemon Ultra Moon, Nintendo DS game

We’re all about nostalgia on this episode, from Martha returning to her favorite video game franchise down through all the specifically Christmas holiday specials we kind of said we wouldn’t be talking about. We touch on some family traditions, like Pete’s family seeing a movie on Boxing Day to Martha’s family listening to the same six Christmas albums every year, pretty much on repeat. The point is: our  pop culture traditions are as much a part of our holiday experience as trimming the tree or opening presents.

Here’s the full list of the specific media we discuss (general traditions not included):

Martha

Remember the Titans, 2000 film directed Boaz Yakin and starring Denzel Washington
The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 film directed by Henry Selick and starring Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara and Danny Elfman
A Very Murray Christmas, 2015 Netflix special starring Bill Murray (and others!)
A Very Special Christmas, 1987 compilation album (full track and artist listings here)
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965 film directed by Bill Melendez, written by Charles Schultz, and scored by Vince Guaraldi
The Twilight Zone, 1959 television show created by Rod Serling

Pete

The West Wing, episodes 2.8 (“Shibboleth”) and 3.8 (“The Indians in the Lobby”)
Elf, 2003 film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell
The holiday musical stylings of Sufjan Stevens
The Dark Knight, 2008 film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale

What are your go-to holiday favorites?

Posted in episodes

Episode 20: Masks

The homework for the episode:
Pete: Mother Night, 1961 novel by Kurt Vonnegut
Martha: Hannibal, episodes 1.01 (“Aperitif”), 1.07 (“Sorbet”), and 1.10 (“Buffet Froid”)
Mark: Enigma, graphic novel by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo published by Vertigo Comics in 1995

We are joined for this episode by friend of the show and Pete’s brother, Mark Rhomberg! Welcome, Mark!

We’re back to our metaphorical roots, examining plot and character elements in our discussion of Masks. We look at them both literally and figuratively, and there may or may not be a round of patting each other on the back for not assigning any straight forward superhero stories (although we still manage to talk about Batman, because, well, duh).

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Revolutions podcast, hosted by Mike Duncan
Martha: Monster Factory on YouTube, a Polygon production
Mark: Take Care, 2011 album by Drake

If Martha seems detached and quiet during this segment, it’s because her internet kept dropping her from the Skype call. Awkward! She joins in long enough to talk about the piece of pop culture she’s ACTUALLY excited about, her brand new MoviePass (although she’d be more excited about it if it would actually work!). Pete gets down with history and everyone gets to chastise Martha for not being able to recall any Drake music.

You may have noticed we had no pre-reading post up before this episode – that is an accident of busyness, and nothing more! The big questions we address in this episode:

  1. What is the impetus a character might don a mask, and what function does that mask serve? What are the literal and figurative masks our characters wear?
  2. How do these characters get “lost” behind their masks (if, in fact, they do)?
  3. How does the idea of wearing a mask assist a character function in society when they might not otherwise be able to do so, by being their “true” selves?

We also touch briefly on the pros and cons of wearing a mask, how that can be used as a defense mechanism, and the central issue posed by Vonnegut in the introduction to Mother Night: “We are who we pretend to be.”

Our theme was inspired by a tumblr post by Neil Gaiman, which we discuss and which can be found here. The Wonder Woman page can be read here; it’s a page from Wonder Woman Annual #1, written by Greg Rucka and art by Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp.

We don’t get into a lot of detail, so for anyone who didn’t read Enigma, our discussion probably gets a little confusing – in brief, the reader finds out that the title character was basically abandoned down a well for most of his life where he developed psychic powers, lived off lizards, and never learned human feelings. When he is found by the world, he adopts the guise of this esoteric comic character in order to have some kind of purpose that isn’t just psychically manipulating lizards or his mom.

On November 22, we’re doing something a little lighter and going guest-less to talk about some of our favorite media to consume around the holidays. Your homework is to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas because it will probably come up!

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You can follow Mark on twitter @MARKRHOMBERG. Check out his awesome bars Splash Studio and Nine Below if you’re ever in Milwaukee.

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!