This week's culture picks come care of the The AV Club's Claire Zulkey and Erik Adams, who dig deep to select some of their all-time favorite TV series. Claire recommends the pop culture infused British sitcom Spaced, which launched the careers of its stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as well as director Edgar Wright. Erik meanwhile suggests you go back and revisit David Lynch's eerily atmospheric foray into television mystery, Twin Peaks, assuming you've already seen it. If not, both Spaced and Twin Peaks are now available to own on DVD, as well as for online streaming via Netflix Instant.
This week on the show we revisit some of our favorite interviews of 2012. Comedian Chris Gethard talks about booking megastar P. Diddy at a tiny theater in New York, using both mania and depression to shape his comedy, and confronting Internet trolls in person. His most recent book is called A Bad Idea I'm About to Do. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)
Brothers by all accounts, and experts by some – Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy of My Brother, My Brother and Me offer offer solutions to listeners' pressing pop culture problems. This week the brothers wonder whether parents should introduce Justin Bieber, Star Wars, and Ke$ha to their children. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)
Jesse talks with a master of creative nonfiction, Lawrence Weschler, about the dangers of humans' bias toward narrative, and why the CGI faces in movies never look quite right. Weschler's newest book is Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)
And The Outshot: The Civil War, reimagined in 140-character bursts. Jesse talks about one of his favorite Twitter accounts, @FakeCivilWar. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)
BONUS AUDIO from this week! Lawrence Weschler talks to Jesse about the incredible and unusual Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA.
Simon Pegg joins us to talk about nerd rants, his philosophy on zombies, and his close-knit relationship with collaborator and friend Nick Frost.
He's best known as the actor, writer, and director whose guiding hands have been involved in British TV comedy Spaced and films Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Paul.
His new memoir follows his own journey as the nerdy everyman; Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid is out now.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest is Simon Pegg; actor, writer, memoirist, geek. His new book is called Nerd Do Well. It's the story of how, well, let's be honest, a nerd did well. And a nerd did well through nerdiness. Almost all of Pegg's work has drawn on his identity as not just creator, but also fan. He co-created and starred in the British sitcom Spaced, which saw the world of the sitcom, or the romantic sitcom, through a pop culture lens. He made his reputation here in the United States with the hit zom-com, Shaun of the Dead; that's zom-com, half romantic comedy, half zombie film. He was co-writer and star of Hot Fuzz, which was again, a tribute/satire of the action-comedy, and he recently co-wrote and starred in Paul, which was, again, a sort of half-parody, half-tribute to, in this case, the extraterrestrial films of one Mr. Steven Spielberg.
And how's this for geek credit: he was Scotty in the reboot of Star Trek.
What binds all of these projects together, of course, is a deep appreciation for popular storytelling, including the kind of genre stories that, let's just say don't have the mainstream artistic credibility of 18th century period drama; in other words, they're geeky.
Simon Pegg, welcome to The Sound of Young America.
SIMON PEGG: Thank you very much. It's nice to be here.
Looking good, Simon. Looking good.
(Simon Pegg, by the way, will be on The Sound of Young America in July - and if you want your own awesome shirt, visit The MaxFunStore!.)