What's Making Us Happy: A guide to your weekend viewing and listening
This week we ate some hot dogs, took a Joy Ride, set a new deadline, and saw things heat up on reality TV. Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
What is making me happy this week is a New York Times Cooking YouTube series called Mystery Menu that is done by the great and wonderful Sohla El-Waylly and her husband, Ham El-Waylly. They are brought a grocery bag containing a secret ingredient and they have one hour to make dinner and dessert. And sometimes the ingredient is something like bananas, or potatoes — other times it is something like hotdogs or Jell-O. What makes this show so delightful and intoxicatingly great to watch is their relationship — they're both chefs. They have expertise that is extremely well-matched. And what you see between the two of them is this explosively great creative chemistry. It's #colleaguegoals, it's #romancegoals, it's #friendshipgoals, and it's also like #the-restaurant-you-want-to-go-to-goals. – Linda Holmes
The Alarmist podcast
There has been a lot of information coming out about Supreme Court decisions that make me want to shake my fist at the sky, and yell, and point at people and say: It's your fault, it's your fault, it's your fault! ... And that's why I have been enjoying The Alarmist podcast. In each episode of The Alarmist, they look at a historical event, a pop culture moment, and they ask the question: Who is to blame for this? For example, whose fault is it that Judy Garland died at the tender age of 47? Whose fault is it that Princess Diana died tragically the way she did? On The Alarmists they present a number of theories, a lot of them totally absurd, but many of them actually nuanced and spot-on. And then they laugh about them as they come up with a verdict. It is a funny show that actually also has real information, and it's just perfect for this moment I'm in right now. – Kristen Meinzer
What's making me happy is a documentary called Every Body by filmmaker Julie Cohen. It focuses on the lives of three intersex activists named Sean Saifa Wall, Alicia Roth Weigel and River Gallo. "Intersex," meaning they were born with variations of male and female sex characteristics. In the documentary, they all talk about the various flavors of shame and stigma they felt growing up and the surgical procedures that they went through.
It's a bit of a heavy watch, but there is this moment of joy that I keep thinking about. It's archival footage of the first known, organized meeting of intersex activists in the mid-'90s, and it was just really striking and lovely to see a group of people being really open and proud of who they were — and also openly angry about how they had been and were being treated. If you've ever wondered what "I" and LGBTQIA stands for, this documentary is a good place to start. It's currently in theaters. – Mallory Yu
Two Can Play That Game
What's making me happy is the 2001 film Two Can Play That Game. It stars Vivica Fox, Morris Chestnut, Anthony Anderson, Mo'Nique ... It's got an all-star, early-2000s Black cast. In this movie, Vivica Fox is walking us through the rules to help keep your man in line, essentially. And she's known in her friend group as the person who always has the answers. She's the one with the man who doesn't misbehave, only to find out that her man is, in fact, misbehaving. We get a fun little plot of men vs. women, power dynamics shift, and really fun comedy that holds up surprisingly well given that it came out in 2001. Aside from some light slut shaming, it's extremely funny. Gabrielle Union plays, as Vivica says, "a bona fide ho." It's really, really fun. Everyone looks at top of their game. Everyone's gorgeous, no one has aged. Vivica Fox is killing it. The only thing that upsets me about it is that allegedly she's 28 and ... she's got a three-car garage. – Cate Young
Beth Novey adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" for the Web. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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