It’s only one more Gobbledygeek ‘til Christmas! (NOTE: This episode has been on Spotify and Apple Podcasts for several days, but real life woes prevented it from being posted here. So that sentence was technically true!) This year, instead of discussing the weird or cynical sides of the holidays, Paul and Arlo are embracing sincerity with a look at 1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. The first Muppets feature film following the death of Jim Henson is a faithful adaptation of the classic novella, with Gonzo as Charles Dickens himself and none other than Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge. The boys discuss why Caine’s decision to play things straight is key to the film’s success, the film’s technical wizardry, the beautiful songs by Paul Williams, and why it’s the greatest Christmas film of them all. Plus, Paul and Arlo recount a very strange year and get honest about the difficulties of the holiday season.
NEXT: have a safe and merry holiday, regardless of what you celebrate, and a happy new year. We’ll be back in 2022 with the long-awaited discussion of The Americans season 4 featuring Wesley Mead.
What if…you listened to a podcast about What If…? In a universe of infinite possibilities, Michael Holland (currently post-production supervisor on The Peripheral for Amazon) finds himself once again teaming up with Paul and Arlo for a discussion of MCUTV. This time, it’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first animated series, the multiversal What If…? Ostensibly an anthology series, the show ponders the ways in which our heroes’ lives could have gone very, very differently. For their part, the gang ponders the series’ relationship to the classic comic book of the same name, how the 2.5D animation allows for greater freedom than live-action, how voice acting is not the same thing as physical acting, and how–of course–everything is connected.
NEXT: we bid farewell to 2021 with the comfy, cozy The Muppet Christmas Carol.
00:00:30 – Intro / Guest
00:04:06 – What if…there was a comic book series called What If…?
00:20:04 – What If…? (the show!)
02:19:40 – Outro / Next
“Changes” by David Bowie, Hunky Dory (1971)
“Howard the Duck Theme” by Dolby’s Cube feat. Cherry Bomb & Lea Thompson, Howard the Duck Original Soundtrack (1986)
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” So says Matthew 25:30, and in John Layman and Afu Chan’s Outer Darkness, there is plenty of weeping–and so, so much gnashing of teeth. For their last Four-Color Flashback of the year, Paul and Arlo discuss Layman and Chan’s 2018-19 Image/Skybound series, which imagines a far-flung future where spaceships need exorcists onboard and the dead can be resurrected so long as you cast a net wide enough to catch their souls. The boys discuss the book’s ingenious mash-up of space opera and supernatural horror, how Layman & Chan expertly juggle a number of timelines, why the visceral splorches of Chan’s art are so satisfying, and the depressing realities behind the series’ cancellation.
NEXT: what if…we did another MCUTV episode with Hollywood’s own Michael Holland? We’ll be discussing, you guessed it, the animated Marvel series What If…?
00:00:57 – Intro
00:04:39 – Outer Darkness
01:37:00 – Outro / Next
“Spirit in the Sky” by Bauhaus, Singles (2013)
“Furries!” by Pony Death Ride, Not a Foal, Not Yet a Horse (2012)
The best show on TV is on FX–well, FX on Hulu, that is. It’s called Reservation Dogs, it was created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, and it is about four Indigenous kids from Oklahoma dreaming of escape to California. To discuss this funny, heartbreaking show, Paul and Arlo are joined by pop culture writer extraordinaire Nikki Stafford. The gang discusses the show’s subtle storytelling, its incredible cast, the way Harjo and his team thread the needle between tragedy and comedy, and how this series breaks ground for mainstream Native representation in America. Plus, Arlo almost killed Paul.
NEXT: second time’s the charm; hopefully, we’ll actually do a Four-Color Flashback on John Layman and Afu Chan’s Outer Darkness.
Gobbledyween has come to a close for another year–and we’re going out with a fang! To round out our month of frightening films, we’ve chosen a movie most people have probably never heard of: Rockula, a vampiric musical from 1990 starring Dean Cameron as the bloodsucking Ralph, cursed to try and win back the love of his immortal life every 22 years. We have also chosen to torture none other than Mimesis author Eric Sipple, who has been forced to endure this film with Paul and Arlo. The gang discusses mirror selves, farting bats, resentful stars, and of course, Bo Diddley.
NEXT: enough inner darkness, how about some Outer Darkness? For our next Four-Color Flashback, we explore the interstellar terror of John Layman and Afu Chan’s 2018-19 Image series.
Have you ever heard of insect podcasts? Neither have we. Paul and Arlo continue Gobbledyween 2021 with a deep penetrating dive into the plasma pool, as Alex Jonestown Massacre guitarist Kenn Edwards teleports on over to discuss David Cronenberg’s 1986 classic The Fly. The gang places the film in the context of the AIDS epidemic, marvels at just how charming it is, raves about Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis’ chemistry, and declares makeup effects artist Chris Walas to be one of the unsung heroes of ‘80s cinema. Plus, Kenn gives us a breakdown of the 20 (!) live events he’s been to post-vaccine.
NEXT: all things must come to an end, and so Gobbledyween returns to the grave after one final performance. Mimesis author Eric Sipple helps us lift the coffin lid on Luca Bercovici’s 1990 masterpiece Rockula.
Gobbledygeek episode 452, “Gobbledyween: Nightbreed (feat. Joseph Lewis),” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
Listen to them, the children of the night. What movies they make! For the second installment of Gobbledyween 2021, A/V writer-director Joseph Lewis joins Paul and Arlo for a discussion of Clive Barker’s 1990 film Nightbreed. Butchered by the studio on initial release and restored to its full grotesquerie decades later, Nightbreed is a bizarre fusion of epic fantasy, slasher, and supernatural horror. The gang discusses why that mix is so fascinating, why it’s important that the monsters are the good guys, auteur David Cronenberg’s turn as the evil Dr. Dekker, and the queer framework that gives the film extra resonance. Plus, as promised, Joe has some thoughts on The House of the Devil.
NEXT: speaking of that Cronenberg guy, Alex Jonestown Massacre guitarist Kenn Edwards helps us continue Gobbledyween with a discussion of 1986’s The Fly.
00:01:00 – Intro / Joe’s thoughts on The House of the Devil
00:24:30 – Nightbreed
01:43:53 – Closing shenanigans (The Box-Office Game?)
Gobbledygeek episode 451, “Gobbledyween: The House of the Devil (feat. Greg Sahadachny),” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
Leaves are on the ground. Blood is on the screen. It’s time for Gobbledyween. Our beloved, bloody tradition returns for another fiendish film fest featuring only the finest (?) of the horror genre. Greg Sahadachny, once and future host of The Debatable Podcast, helps Paul and Arlo kick off Gobbledyween 2021 by giving them a ride to The House of the Devil. Ti West’s 2009 breakthrough was a seminal moment in the indie horror boom of the last decade-plus. The question now, so many years removed, is if that moment was worth having. The gang discusses how this film’s slow burn played in the context of the torture porn era; its expert aping of the ‘80s aesthetic so near and dear to Paul’s heart; the strong performances from Joceline Donahue, Greta Gerwig, and Tom Noonan; and whether West’s loving homage is anything more than a reminder of better films.
NEXT: we’re checking out of this house, as we hitch a ride with A/V writer-director Joseph Lewis through the mind of Clive Barker. We’ll be discussing the director’s cut of his 1990 cult classic Nightbreed.
00:01:06 – Intro / Guest
00:08:44 – The House of the Devil
01:36:00 – Outro / Next
“The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast (1982)
“One Things Leads to Another” by The Fixx, Reach the Beach (1983)
For their latest Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo are exploring the world of Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely’s 2015 mini-series The Spire. Our location is a massive, tiered city surrounded by a desolate wasteland; our cast of characters include privileged aristocrats and the undesired “Sculpted,” hybridized from human and animal DNA; and our story is one of noir sleuthing, extreme violence, racial intolerance, and classism. The boys discuss Spurrier and Stokely’s deceptively simple storytelling; the “soft edges” around their world-building; Stokely’s manga-influenced art; and just how in-spire-ing it all is. Plus, a number of previous FCF selections are hitting the small screen, including Y: The Last Man, The Sandman, and most unbelievably of all, Grendel.
NEXT: what’s that? It’s October? Time for Gobbledyween 2021. Our annual horror-fest kicks off with a discussion of Ti West’s 2009 indie phenom The House of the Devil, featuring our old pal Greg Sahadachny.
To paraphrase Philip and Elizabeth Jennings’ new/old handler Gabriel, “Podcasting and timeliness in many ways are antithetical.” After a series of delays, Paul and Arlo are back with guest of honor Wesley “Wezzo” Mead to continue their discussion of Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields’ modern classic spy drama The Americans. This time, they’re taking a look at season 3, a masterclass in thematic cohesion. Everything, more or less, comes back to the challenge of parenthood: on a micro level, how the Jennings plan on guiding Paige into the world of spycraft; on a macro level, how they can act as individuals under the forceful hand of the Centre. The gang talks self-actualization, bone-crunching, necklacing, and Frank motherfucking Langella. Plus, a detour into the “wholesomeness discourse” raging around Ted Lasso.
NEXT: John Cusack and Paul Dano take on John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer in a Geek Challenge. It’s the very real music biopic Love & Mercy versus the parody music biopic Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.