Posted in extra credit, supplementary material

It Was a Sick Day, and an Episode on Nostalgia

Hey guys: I set this sucker to publish about two weeks ago, and for reasons I don’t fully understand it did not. So, here’s the Sick Day episode we recorded as well as our most recent episode from last week. Thank you for your patience!

So, first: Martha was sick and had no voice a while ago, so we were unable to record. Instead of missing a week, Pete cut together a placeholder track where we gab about His Dark Materials with guest Sarah Shaw.

Second, Maren returns to the podcast to discuss Nostalgia, musicals, rose colored glasses, and why “the good old days” is an excuse to be sexist and racist!

Return guest and friend of the pod Sarah Caputo joins us next time to get into one of Martha’s favorite topics: TRUE CRIME.

The Homework
Pete: A Very Fatal Murder podcast
Martha: In Cold Blood, 1966 true crime book by Truman Capote
Sarah: Zodiac, 2007 film by David Fincher about the hunt for the Zodiac killer

Twitter: @DYDYHpodcast
Martha’s Media Minutes

Posted in extra credit

Some More Favorites from 2017

(Written by Martha S.)

I touched on the fact that the things that usually make my Top Ten end of the year lists are some combination of things that I think were best, and also things that are my favorites, and somewhere in the Venn diagram of those things is the top ten I eventually summon. The point is, the things that are best are not always the things that I love, since I occasionally have trash taste and also will prioritize things that give me feelings over things that are technically excellent (IT was a very good example of this).

Logan, for example, on Pete’s list, was probably one of the ten best films of the year – but I did not leave that theater desiring to ever watch it again, because it was so exhausting and such a raw experience. I recognize that it is a stellar film (because the Academy won’t, amiright), but I would rather watch Wonder Woman ten more times.

I realize this makes me seem like a lazy consumer, and in many ways, I am – which is not to say I don’t enjoy being challenged by media, but rather that the structures under which I want to revisit something are more specific than wanting to study something in-depth.

ALL OF WHICH IS TO SAY, that here are some other truly excellent things I experienced this year, which did not make it into my list for the episode, but that I would like to give credit to.

The Shape of Water, film, directed by Guillermo del Toro
I am leading with this because if I had seen it before we recorded the episode, it would have bumped something off my list. It is a truly excellent, beautiful movie that cares about as much for logic as a Grimm’s fairy tale, which is to say, not at all. Sally Hawkins gives a lyrical performance, and I have been describing it to people as “Think about if Beauty & the Beast and The Creature from the Black Lagoon had a film baby,” and I stand by that.

Turtles all the Way Down, book, written by John Green
John Green is a hard author for me to talk about as an adult human because I can see so desperately what his appeal is for teenagers, I simply came to him too late in my life to be truly enraptured by his “talk like tiny adults” teenage protagonists. TATD suffers from this greatly, but it is also an incredibly raw, relateable story about someone dealing with crippling anxiety and OCD, and I approve of the conversations it inspired in my teen book club.

Rick and Morty, s3.07: “The Ricklantis Mixup,” tv episode written by Dan Guterman and Ryan Ridley
The fanbase for Rick and Morty may be terrible, but the show has reached some truly transcendent moments, and I particularly enjoyed this Lord of the Flies-esque diversion into Citadel life. Politician Morty is superior to Pickle Rick, don’t @ me.

Brooklyn Nine Nine and The Good Place
The biggest reason I didn’t include any episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine or The Good Place on my list were simply that I couldn’t pick just one, and I wanted to get granular and stay consistent. But both of these shows have delivered consistently excellent, intensely watchable tv, particularly TGP 2.02 (“Dance Dance Resolution”), 2.05 (“Existential Crisis”), and B99 5.04 (“HalloVeen”), 5.09 (“99”), and 5.10 (“Game Night”).

All the Crooked Saints, book, written by Maggie Stiefvater
I am still a bit unsure about how I feel about this book! As a reading experience, it is excellent: it is whimsical, emotional, fun to read. However, it is a very Hispanic story about Hispanic people using Hispanic culture, written by….a white lady. I haven’t been able to find any quotes or writing by Stiefvater about the research process for this book, or who she did or did not consult while writing it, but my kneejerk reaction is that this is a bit what people are talking about when they talk about cultural appropriation: was Stiefvater’s voice the best voice to tell this story? Is this her story to tell?

Release, book, written by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness wrote one of my favorite books in the universe (The Rest of Us Just Live Here) and I think it is an UTTER TRAGEDY that it has not been turned into a CW show about beautiful teenagers making terrible life decisions. That said, I truly loved about 70% of Release – the other 30% was a fairly obtuse fairy tale interweaving between the story of one summer day in not-quite-out Adam Thorn’s life, and I am still not quite sure what the relationship between those two stories is.

Thor: Ragnarok, film, directed by Taika Waititi
It was good! I had a lot of fun! It was also super dumb? Not in a writing or humor way, because I actually thought most of the humor was delivered excellently; the story, however, makes NO sense, and a lot of my favorite bit players from earlier Thor chapters were tossed aside very unceremoniously, which I did not appreciate.

Posted in extra credit

Is it time for Christmas music yet?

(Written by Martha S.)

In our most recent episode, I told you all that my family is pretty dedicated to about half a dozen Christmas albums that we have been listening to on repeat for the last 30 years. I gave you one name – A Very Special Christmas, circa 1987 – and now I’m going to tell you the others, because they’re great albums and we’ve finally arrived at the ~socially acceptable~ time of year to be listening to Christmas music.

I’m gonna list these in alphabetical order, because I’m too close emotionally to try and rank them by favorite. I’m ALSO going to include links to my favorite tracks where applicable, for no other reason but that I feel like it.

The Bells of Dublin, The Chieftains (1991)
“A Breton Carol,” ft. Nolwen Monjarret

A Celtic Christmas, Windham Hill (1995)
“Soillse Na Nollag (The Lights Of Christmas),” ft. Altan

Christmas Extraordinaire, Mannheim Steamroller (2001)
“Do You Hear What I Hear”

A Christmas to Remember, Amy Grant (2007)
The title song, duh

Traditional Christmas Classics, various (1989)
“Sleigh Ride,” by Leroy Anderson

A Very Special Christmas, various (1987)
“Do You Hear What I Hear,” Whitney Houston
“Gabriel’s Message,” Sting

A Winter’s Solistice, various (1992) (I think)
“A Wexford Carol”

An honorable mention must also be given to A Very Veggie Christmas from Veggie Tales (1996), which I was inexplicably obsessed with for several years (their versions of “Angels We Have Heard On High” and “He Is Born The Holy Child” were my favorite for a very long time).


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):


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


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 extra credit

Pen-and-Paper Role Playing Games in the Digital Age

By Pete R.

There are many useful things that traditional pen-and-paper role playing games can teach children and teens: problem solving skills, collaboration, empathy, statistics, storytelling, general interpersonal skills, and countless more. Artistically minded players might draw their characters or major events in their games; narratively minded players might create elaborate backstories, or take on the role of game master and tell their own stories.

However, kids and teens today are also deeply embedded in technology. Not that people aren’t willing to put aside computers, phones, and tablets and pick up a pencil and paper. But some people are more interested when technology can be implemented. Luckily, there are a plethora of options for this. Wizards of the Coast, which published Dungeons and Dragons, has D&D Beyond, which allows players to create their characters online. Many games that use the d20 system have a system reference doc (SRD) website or wiki, which allows quick lookup of spells and other rules. Such resources are useful for both players and game masters––if you game with a laptop, it’s much quicker just google search the name of a spell than flip through a rulebook.

One of the best resources is Roll20. This website allows players to create characters from a variety of systems, and lets game masters develop everything they might need. While it can be used for high tech in person games, it is ideal for playing with far-flung friends. I myself have led a game of Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons with a group that lives literally across the United States. For teens, this can be an invaluable resource if friends move away but want to keep gaming. It can also help teens who live in more isolated, rural settings find a group that they might not be able to meet with in person.

Finally, technology can make gaming more accessible from the sheer price level. There are countless online dice rollers and plenty of free resources for players and game masters. It’s possible to roll up characters and play a game with nothing more than a smart phone and a wifi connection. It’s not the best option, but it means that cash-strapped students don’t need to shell out any money in order to play.

I’m sure there are many more resources that I haven’t touched on here. The important thing is that distance, isolation, or financial limitations are no longer limitations for teens looking to let their imagination run wild and roll some (possibly digital) dice. And for those who love technology, they can incorporate a whole suite of interesting technological flourishes to their games. And of course, there’s still the opportunity for people to crack a physical book and take out some pencils and paper and play like people have been playing since 1974.

Posted in extra credit

Episode 14.5: Extra Credit

Welcome to a special summer school edition of Did You Do Your Homework! As we rework the podcast a bit and settle in to a slightly new format, we’re taking a brief break from homework to talk about what we’ve been experiencing this summer: the good, the bad, and the ugly. What’s been awesome, and what has been a disappointment.

This is also our first episode featuring a guest. To keep our three-person dynamic going, and to introduce fresh new voices to our discussion, we’ll be including super awesome guest stars for every episode. Allow me to introduce our first: Maren, Pete’s wonderful fiancee!

Our Pop Culture Credentials:

Pete: Lemonade, 2017 album by Beyonce
Martha: Black Sails, 2014 tv show
Maren: The Ezra Klein Show podcast episode featuring Julia Galef on how to argue better

In a three-truths-and-a-lie format, we’re each giving you three pop culture picks of the summer – and one disappointment, or dud. These are not things that debuted this summer necessarily, but rather things we experienced this summer, and are bringing to you, the listener.

Our disappointments may be unpopular! Don’t @ us. Go forth, and experience the good things in life, such as gay dad dating sims, the first Christopher Nolan movie to clock in under 94 years long, and cinematic scenes of the sweeping Scottish highlands.

Pete’s Picks

  1. Dunkirk (Film)
  2. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (Book)
  3. U Talking U2 2 Me (Po’cast)

Dud: Arcade Fire Everything Now (Album)

Martha’s Picks

  1. Dream Daddy (2017 PC game)
  2. Wynonna Earp (2016 TV show by Emily Andras, starring Melanie Scrofano)
  3. Motor Crush, vol. 1 (comic by Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr)

Dud: An Ember in the Ashes, 2015 novel by Sabaa Tahir

Maren’s Picks

  1. Outlander (2014 TV show by Ronald D. Moore, starring Caitriona Balfe)
  2. The Big Sick (2017 movie directed by Michael Showalter and starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan)
  3. An Extraordinary Union (2017 nov by Alyssa Cole)

Dud: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3 (TV Show)

Our theme for August 30 is going to be Forgiveness. Your homework for next episode:

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

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

Posted in extra credit

Not an Episode.

(Written by Martha S.)

Hey guys! You may have noticed that there is no episode today! That is my fault and I apologize – the day we were going to record I was very, very sick and had no voice to do so, so our actual episode 11 will go up next Wednesday, keeping to our normal schedule of content every other week. I apologize for false promises and for the delay, it was not my intention to put off our discussion on grief for so long, but life happens sometimes!

In the meantime, I want to address something related to Episode 10 (wherein we discussed mental health in pop culture) that I find pretty amazing: recently, on the second episode of the current season of The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay (the Bachelorette herself) and one of her suitors (namely, Peter Kraus, 31-year-old small business owner) had an open, honest, and simple discussion about how they had both been to relationship therapists and had really benefited from the experience.

I don’t care if you watch The Bachelor properties – in fact, you probably shouldn’t, considering all the shit that franchise perpetuates. I do, though, and so do millions of other people, and despite how you personally may feel about it, it is a media and cultural juggernaut. Having two adult, seemingly normal, very attractive people not only admit to having needed mental health care but benefited from it on a tv show that is such a mainstay in our pop cultural landscape is a huge step in normalizing mental healthcare.

As the Huffington Post points out (in this article here, by Emma Gray):

“In an ideal world, this wouldn’t even be notable. After all, mental health struggles are incredibly common in this country. Anxiety disorders alone impact 40 million adults in the U.S. ― that’s about 18 percent of the population. However, only about one-third of those people get treatment. This gap exists for a few reasons: a lack of comprehensive coverage for quality mental health care, the persistent idea that mental health isn’t “real” health, and the stigma that still follows admitting that you might need mental health care in the first place.”

So yes, more of this please. More real discussions about how normal people, every day, benefit from mental health care.


Posted in extra credit

Episode 10.5: Extra Credit

This is not a full episode of our show! Do to personal circumstances, we were not able to record our full Episode 11 for all of our fabulous listeners. In order to bring you the best content possible, we’re shifting the schedule back a week and giving you an extra credit episode to listen to.

We do partial credentials, but really, we’re all about Wonder Woman today.

Click here for the review by David Edelstein that I refer to. Here also is Edelstein’s rebuttal of sorts to his criticisms, which is part explanation and part apology, and which I don’t really buy but am presenting in the interest of fairness.

A word on Fox News’ absurd reaction to the movie at Entertainment Weekly, written by Derek Lawrence, is here.

Click here to read about how all the Amazons are played by real life Strong Ladies.

Episode 11 airs on June 14!

Posted in extra credit

Supplemental: Unwilling Partnerships

By Pete R.

I want to take a step slightly to the side of what the episode focused on. One of the common themes with “strange bedfellows” is that of the unwilling bedfellows. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. certainly fits this description, as neither Napoleon Solo nor Ilya Kuryakin want to be working together. Much of the comedy and drama comes from their hostility towards each other and their eventual coming to terms with each other. In Good Omens, Crowley and Aziraphael began somewhat in this position, but by the time the events of the book occur, they are much more willing compatriots. They have long ago realized that they have more in common with each other than with their bosses, and actively work to subvert the Apocalypse.

So why am I so focused on unwilling partnerships?

First, it can often create really interesting dramatic frission. Sergio Leone’s spaghetti-western masterpiece The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly has this relationship at its center as Clint Eastwood’s “Blondie” captures Eli Wallach’s Tuco and forces the hapless bandit to work with him (or perhaps for him?) to find the location of buried gold. For being “the Good,” Blondie certainly acts like a right bastard, and much of Tuco’s time is spent trying to escape from his captor’s watchful eye. So from a purely dramatic and entertainment perspective, unwilling “strange bedfellow” relationships can be rewarding.

Waaaah aaaah aaaaah (wao wao wao)

Second, this type of relationship can often lead to characters developing empathy. We spent much of the past episode talking about the importance of developing and teaching “radical empathy” in the modern era (roughly: creating a mindset that actively works towards understanding opposing viewpoints or alternative worldviews without necessarily endorsing or sympathizing), but most of our conversation was about how consuming media can help us develop that radical empathy through seeing other perspectives of lives. However, especially for teens, seeing others undergo that same experience is equally important. Children and teens learn both through their own experiences and through watching the experiences of others. During our teenage years, we struggle to determine who we are, and often establish those relationships by defining who we are NOT: I AM a Theater Kid, which means I am NOT going to hang out with the athletes. Admitting any sort of fault, uncertainty, ignorance, or even acceptance of differences is therefore difficult for many teens to do, even though that is often the necessary first step to begin to empathize with others.

Watching, reading, or listening to people go through that process normalizes it for students and gives them a template for their own actions. “Unwilling” strange bedfellow partnerships provide fertile ground for seeing one or two characters begrudgingly come to accept each other. One of the standout examples of this in recent media is the relationship arc between Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. The relationship begins entirely antagonistically as Brienne grudgingly transports “the Kingslayer” back to King’s Landing. However, over the course of that journey and due in no small part to the horrifying events that happen (it’s Game of Thrones, of course horrifying things happen), the two become close. It is clear that they both respect each other, and perhaps even pity each other; at the very least, they both have a firm empathy for each other, when before there was none.


For a less intense example, consider the delightful Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok.” This episode has innumerable merits––how to communicate, metaphor and allegory, storytelling as part of culture, things not being what they seem––but at its heart it’s the story of Picard learning more about an alien race known as the Tamarians through undergoing a trying event with a member of that race. The crew begins the episode frustrated and hostile towards the Tamarians, whom they cannot understand. By the end, communication is difficult but both sides have a better understanding of the intentions and mindset of the other. This is the first and most important step to forging empathy and continuing the conversations.

Star Trek: TNG Darmok
“What is this dagger I see before me?”

I’ve highlighted just a few additional sources to dive deeper into this theme, but “unwilling strange bedfellows” is a fairly common trope. Magneto and the X-Men often find themselves thrown into this situation, and many Terry Pratchett books in addition to Good Omens play on it to a certain extent (I’m fairly certain I could find a Discworld book for every topic we will ever cover). The first half of season 3 of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica look at this idea of “unwilling strange bedfellows” from a rather precarious position. Gaius Baltar is the president of humanity, but he is under the thumb of the Cylons. This leads to interesting ethical conundrums, as the quisling must weigh the good he can do as a leader to mitigate suffering against the inherent suffering that an occupied people suffer at the hands of the occupiers.

Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel.

Extra Credit assigned in this post:

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Game of Thrones (particularly seasons 3 and 4)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation “Darmok” (season 5, episode 2)
Posted in extra credit

Conservation Follow-Up: The Evils of Capitalism

(By Martha S.)

Can you have progress, can you have capitalism, without the destruction of the natural world?

This is the question we dance around in our eighth episode, without really coming to a solid conclusion. My opinion then and now is that pop culture certainly doesn’t think so. The villain in the stories we discussed is invariably a version of Giovanni Ribisi’s  Avatar caricature, in varying degrees of complexity. But we are a people based on progress – we celebrate scientific advances even as they contribute to the capitalistic society that demands the development of our land into factories, the degradation of our air from pollutants, the poisoning of our water from…well, a whole bunch of stuff. Am I falsely equating scientific and capitalistic progress? Perhaps, but you don’t get the latter without the former, and many scientific advancements originally intended for good get monetized in the end. So I guess what I’m really coming around to is –

Are the ideas of conservation and scientific advancement mutually exclusive?

I don’t have an answer for you. But I do have some supplementary materials for you to read that might help.

Batgirl Annual #2 by Gail Simone
Someday we will do an entire episode on lady superheroes and you’ll get to experience the actual sound of my being radiating with joy, but until then, please pick up Simone’s Batgirl Annual issues. No. 2 does two relevant things: it pairs Batgirl with Poison Ivy, who (like Swamp Thing) is a physical embodiment of Nature Bites Back; and it tells an interesting story about a man using plant cells to grow organs in people that he sells at high cost to rich people who need transplants, effectively corrupting the natural world on a microscopic level. I like this one because it doesn’t describe sweeping geological destruction, but the subjugation of the natural world for (what else) capitalistic gain.

And then Poison Ivy Bites Back.


Captain Planet
Listen. The main villain of this show was named Hoggish Greedly, which is too good for even me to make up. Regardless, the show gets a lot of credit for how hard it worked to instill a sense of both obligation and empowerment in its viewers – yes, we were told it was generally humanity’s fault for how bad we were messing up Gaia, but we also had the power (“You have the power!”) to fix it. That call to action is missing in a lot of these works; a problem is presented, and perhaps solved, but without a specific call-out to the consumer of the media.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky
As discussed in our episode, Miyazaki has a preoccupation with the relationship and causality between man, science, and natural destruction. Castle in the Sky is a lovely movie about people who created a paradise floating above the earth – its central thesis is basically that when presented with something powerful, mankind will inevitably turn it to destruction, rather than something useful or beautiful. (The exception being, of course, young teens who are still pure enough of heart not to be tainted by masculine ambition.) The opening credits also feature some truly excellent schematics of flying machines.

The Lorax
He speaks for the trees, ok?

Man of Steel
Not the central storyline, but it is worth noting that Krypton implodes because the core of the planet has been mined to the point of internal collapse. Even Kryptonians, smarter and more evolved than simple humans, are prone to hubristic destruction.

Pacific Rim
“We practically terraformed it for them.” One of the things I love about Pacific Rim is that there isn’t really a specific bad guy (other than the kaiju, natch). Unlike Godzilla, it’s not REALLY about how we destroyed the Earth with nuclear power – except that, very subtly, it is. Newt Geiszler (played by Charlie Day) drops a few lines about how the kaiju tried invading during dinosaur times, but the world was too pure, and now that we’ve poisoned it up a bit it’s ready for their take-over. And then Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi save the world…through the power of friendship.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s novels Ship Breaker and The Water Knife
Bacigalupi’s works are interesting in the context of this conversation because they are predominantly about the capitalistic nature of ecological destruction. In Ship Breaker, we meet our main character Nailer on a polluted beach, stripping a beached oil tanker of resources. The United States is a distopic wasteland, with portions covered by global-warming induced flooding and the population divided sharply along economic lines. Nailer makes his living by plundering the ecologically disastrous oil rigs that have been lying dead on his beach for decades.

Similarly, The Water Knife is secondarily about how a large portion of the United States is experiencing deadly dust storms and lethal drought, and mainly about the commercial fight over water and the land it comes from.