Pop Rocket

Pop Rocket is a high-octane weekly discussion of the culture we all love to love. Join host Guy Branum and panelists Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler for smart, funny, sometimes sweary chat about everything great in entertainment. Combining comic, journalistic, academic and digital media expertise, the Pop Rocket team will keep you up-to-date on what's most exciting in pop culture this week.

Pop Rocket #172: In Praise of the Pope of Washington

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

This week, Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler discuss the finale of the Shonda Rhimes led show, Scandal. The ABC series wrapped up last week and it stirred up all sorts of thoughts from the team on the female anti-heroes on television.

Karen is all about the upcoming Pixar short Bao, which she says is an important addition to Asian representation in popular media (which, let’s face it, is limited). Margaret is all about a recent article about parents raising their children as “Theybies”. Guy is all about the new film I Feel Pretty, a comedy that, while not without a slightly problematic message, shines through with plenty of laughs from Amy Schumer.

The panel will their discuss what they think of Scandal; everything from the finale, how closely they’ve watched the show since it started and where Olivia Pope fits in with the pantheon of women anti-heroes on TV.

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum and Margaret Wappler

That’s My Jam:

Riley Silverman - Jeremy Jordan - She Used to be Mine

Karen Tongson - Joe Jackson - Steppin’ Out

Margaret Wappler - Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano.

Guy Branum Kacey Musgraves - High Horse

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket #171: SHHHHHHHHHHH...a quiet place

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Riley Silverman

This week, Guy Branum, Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell are joined by Riley Silverman. She’s the head writer of the Max Fun podcast, International Waters. They discuss A Quiet Place, John Krasinski’s horror film about a family trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world where monsters kill anything that makes sound.

Karen is all about the video for Janelle Monáe’s new music video for the track PYNK, which she says may have established her as a force in queer performance and art. Guy and Wynter are all about Beyonce’s Coachella performance, which may have single-handedly made the music festival relevant again. Riley is all about the movie Blockers, a comedy that she says feels refreshingly scripted.

The panel will their discuss what they think of A Quiet Place, including whether it has a positive portrayal of a character with a disability and explain their theories about what the film’s subtext could be.

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler, Wynter Mitchell and Riley Silverman.

That’s My Jam:

Riley Silverman - Jeremy Jordan - She Used to be Mine

Karen Tongson - Windy - The Association

Wynter Mitchell - Prince - Purple Music

Guy Branum Mel Tormé - Stardust

Pop Rocket #170: The Cult Episode

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Akina Cox

This week, Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler and Wynter Mitchell are joined by LA-based artist Akina Cox to discuss the Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country and cults in pop culture.

Karen Tongson is all about Killing Eve on BBC America, which features the return to TV of the beloved Sandra Oh. Wynter is all about The Zen Diaries of Gary Shandling on HBO, Judd Apatow’s love letter to one of the best and most complex comics in history. Akina is all about Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses Grant, which is guaranteed to NOT have not be adapted into a musical. Margaret is all about Junot Diaz’s New Yorker article about the trauma he experienced as a child. Guy is all about John Sherman’s Buzzfeed article about Love Simon’s shortcomings as a movie featuring queer characters.

The panel will their why cults have become such a fascinating subject in entertainment, including Far Cry 5, Wild, Wild Country and more. Plus, Akin will share her experience of growing up in an actual cult and her thoughts on some of the modern famous charismatic religious figures.

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler, Wynter Mitchell and Akina Cox.

That’s My Jam:

Akina Cox - SASAMI - Callous

Karen Tongson - Jens Lekman -To Know Your Mission -

Margaret Wappler - Nat King Cole - Nature Boy

Guy Branum Rex Orange County - Loving is Easy

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Ep 169: Seeing the World Through Roseanne-Colored Lenses

| 0 comments
Official Pop Rocket pin of the 2018 MaxFunDrive
Show: 
Pop Rocket

This week, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Karen Tongson watched the Roseanne reboot and they have feelings about it. Strong feelings.

Margaret Wappler is all about Glynn Washington’s podcast Heaven’s Gate which features interviews and stories of surviving members of the deadly cult. The final season of The Americans
kicked off last week with the episode Dead Hand and Karen savors the way it used music. Guy is all about the Netflix show On the Block.

With the Roseanne reboot smashing all kinds of viewing records, the panel weighs in on what it is about the show that gives it such a broad appeal. They also look at why Roseanne is problematic and why the show’s take on gender non-conformity may not be as culturally relevant as the show’s setting would have audiences believe.

With
Guy Branum
Karen Tongson
Margaret Wappler

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Vacationer - Magnetism

Karen Tongson - Indigo Girls - Everything’s Alright

Guy Branum - Dem Beats - Todrick Hall

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Ep. 168: On the Couch w/ Megan Auster-Rosen

| 0 comments
Pop Rocket logo
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

This week, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler are joined by clinical psychologist and actress Megan Auster-Rosen to discuss therapy in film and television shows.

Margaret Wappler is all about High Maintenance on HBO and the show’s weed dealer/confidant The Guy. Megan is all about Parkland student, Emma Gonzalez and her six minutes of silence, dedicated to the victims of the shooting at Stoneland Douglas High School. Karen is all about the NBC drama, Rise, even though it falls into some unfortunate tropes of the white man passing over the qualified woman of color for the job.

The panel will explain their first experiences with therapy in their personal lives. Then, they’ll get into therapy in such movies and shows like Big Little Lies, Meet the Fockers, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Sopranos and more. Plus, Megan will give her professional opinion on the benefits and downsides of TV therapy shows like Dr. Phil.

With Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler and Megan Auster-Rosen .

That’s My Jam:

Megan Auster-Rosen - Alicia Keys - No one

Karen Tongson - The Lovin' Spoonful - Butchie's Tune

Margaret Wappler - Peter Gabriel - Come Talk to Me

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Ep. 167: Problematic Faves

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket

This week, Guy, Karen, Wynter and Margaret bare their souls and confess their problematic faves. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry. They break it down.

Wynter Mitchell is all about Cynthia Nixon running for governor of New York. Margaret Wappler is all about Nina Riggs’ memoir The Bright Hour. Karen’s digging CBS All Access’ The Good Fight, and Guy has just discovered The Supersizers Go

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Wynter Mitchell.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Led Zeppelin - Good Times Bad Times
Karen Tongson - Tove Styrke - I Changed My Mind
Guy Branum - Topsy Turvy - Three Little Maids (The Mikado)

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Ep. 166: An Excellent Adventure in Time Travel

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket

This week, Guy, Karen, Wynter and Margaret tackle A Wrinkle in Time and time travel tropes in TV and film.

Margaret Wappler is all about the New York Times publishing the obituaries they overlooked going back to 1851, people like Ida B. Wells and countless others. Karen is all about defending her Pinoy brother Bruno Mars from YouTuber and activist Seren Sensei, who thinks Mars appropriates black culture. Guy Branum comes late to the Insecure party, but he’s seen the light and apologizes to everyone who insisted he should watch the show. Wynter is all about Hypothetical, the OJ Simpson special that, for whatever reason, recently aired.

Margaret and Karen both saw A Wrinkle in Time and share their thoughts on the film. Then the gang delve into time travel, and make some profound realizations. If you want to hear about Outlander or Doctor Who, sorry. But if you want to hear their thoughts on Time Traveler’s Wife, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Back to the Future, Quantum Leap, The Arrival and lots of other titles, you’ll be in luck!

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Wynter Mitchell.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Teena Marie - Deja Vu
Karen Tongson - Tracey Thorn - Dancefloor
Wynter Mitchell - James Bay - Pink Lemonade
Guy Branum - The 5th Dimension - Aquarius

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Ep 165: A Nonagenarian Named Oscar w/ Chris Schleicher

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Chris Schleicher

It’s another fun-filled Pop Rocket. This week, special guest Chris Schleicher is all about the Best Documentary Short Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405; Margaret Wappler is all up in season three of Unreal; Karen Tongson wanted to be about Unreal, but Wappler stole her thunder so Karen tells us about the new show Good Girls, and Guy Branum is all about the Great White Way, fresh off his trip to New York with his niece.

Then the gang delve into Oscar talk, sharing tips on how to guess the most wins on the ballot, how they each watched the awards show and all the hot takes they have. There’s just the right balance of reverence and cattiness.

With Karen Tongson, Guy Branum, Margaret Wappler and Chris Schleicher.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Sufjan Stevens - Visions of Gideon
Karen Tongson - Jackson Brown - Somebody’s Baby
Guy Branum - from Don’t Even Know It - Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Chris Schleicher - BeBe Zahara Benet - Drag Up Your Life

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 164: Wakanda Forever with Tavia Nyong'o

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Tavia Nyong'o

Karen Tongson takes over hosting duties and is joined by special guest Tavia Nyong'o to discuss Black Panther! The gang chats about the impact the soundtrack had on them, afro-futurism/afro-centrism as part of the storytelling, and "double consciousness." Plus, Margaret talks Monica Lewinsky, Karen just finished watching Ugly Delicious, Tavia has some thoughts on the reboot of Heathers, and Wynter discusses GQ's article on Brendan Fraser.

And producer Christian comes into the studio for a very special announcement and his very first jam.

With Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, Margaret Wappler and Tavia Nyong'o.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Ella Jenkins - Who's Gonna Be Your Man?
Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell- Janelle Monae - Make Me Feel
Tavia Nyong'o - MeShell Ndegeocello - Waterfalls
Christian Duenas - Frank Ocean - White Ferrari

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Farewell Rocketeers! It's been a blast getting to know you all on the Facebook and on Twitter. I'm gonna miss you so much!
Christian Dueñas

Pop Rocket Episode 163: Hail to the Matriarchy

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket

This week, Guy and the gang talk about their favorite first ladies and lady presidents in movies and TV. Is there a fictional first lady that ISN'T some kind of commentary on Hillary? What kind of media would we like to see about the Obamas? When will Melania spill the tea? Plus, Margaret's baby makes his first podcast appearance, Wynter discusses Chris Rock's Netflix special, Guy talks Queer Eye, and the panel has a conversation on Parkland and Emma Gonzalez' speech on gun control.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell- Kendrick Lamar feat. SZA - All the Stars
Guy Branum - Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.