Gobbledygeek episode 442, “Geek Challenge: Sunset Blvd. vs. My Favorite Year,” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
For Norma Desmond, the pictures got small when words stole her mystique; for Alan Swann, it was when his drunken antics got him downgraded to the boob tube. They’re both stand-ins for larger-than-life stars past their prime, Norma in Billy Wilder’s scathing Sunset Blvd. (1950) and Alan in Richard Benjamin’s cozy My Favorite Year (1982). In our latest Geek Challenge, Paul and Arlo discuss these fallen idols and how their respective movies take much different approaches to a mentor/mentee relationship. The boys break down the ways in which both films echo real-life Hollywood legends; praise Gloria Swanson’s arch turn as Norma and Peter O’Toole’s thinly veiled take on Errol Flynn; pine for dead monkey funerals; and wonder what things would be like if Jessica Harper ruled the mob.
NEXT: on this month’s Four-Color Flashback, we conclude the post-apocalyptic adventures of Gus and Jeppard in Deluxe Editions 2 and 3 of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth.
Gobbledygeek episode 441, “The Americans: Season 2 (feat. Wesley Mead),” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
You know what they say: Parenting is hard, especially when you’re undercover KGB operatives masquerading as a suburban American couple. As Paul, Arlo, and special guest Wesley “Wezzo” Mead dive into season 2 of Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields’ modern classic The Americans, they discover all the ways child-rearing is difficult for Philip and Elizabeth Jennings. This includes concealing your secret identity; setting up a decoy aunt; keeping your kids out of the church; and shielding them from the dreaded “spurtsposition.” Plus, Paul and Wezzo rock out to the new Fratellis album and share some nice words about Ted Lasso.
NEXT: it’s My Favorite Year to take a stroll down Sunset Blvd. on a new Geek Challenge.
00:01:16 – Intro / Guest
00:14:17 – Main Topic
01:51:00 – Outro / Next
“Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring, Cut (1982)
“Here Comes the Flood” by Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel (1977)
The Four-Color Flashback, that most venerated non-Gobbledyween tradition, has been around in some form for nearly all of this podcast’s 11 years. And yet–we’ve never discussed manga, the world’s most popular comics format. Paul and Arlo have decided to rectify that with the first volume of Inio Asano’s Goodnight Punpun, the surreal exploration of one young boy’s troubled adolescence. Punpun Punyama has a crush on the new girl at school, stays with his hipster uncle because of his abusive dad, hears the voice of God, and is beginning to familiarize himself with the art of self-pleasure. Oh, he and his whole family are also rendered as simple little cartoon bird and/or ghost people, while the world around them is drawn in gorgeous detail by Asano. The boys share their limited experience with manga, Arlo enjoys weird vagina monsters, and Paul has an epiphany.
Gobbledygeek episode 436, “The Americans: Season 1 (feat. Wesley Mead),” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
Deception is as American as apple pie. Elizabeth and Philip Jennings are well aware of this–they’re Russian spies under deep cover as a suburban couple in the U.S., after all. Their new next door neighbor, FBI Agent Stan Beeman, threatens to throw a wrench into their long con. Over the course of The Americans season 1, there are plenty of twists, turns, betrayals, and confessions. Wesley “Wezzo” Mead has infiltrated the podcast to join Paul and Arlo as they begin a retrospective on Joe Weisberg’s critically acclaimed but criminally underseen FX series. The gang discusses the tremendous work by leads Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys; how the show is a little pulpier and faster moving than they remembered; the characters’ vacillating beliefs in each other and the systems they move within; and, of course, all those wigs.
NEXT: Hollywood post-production supervisor Michael Holland flies in for a look at The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Take note, Jennings–Soviet agents can be reformed!
00:00:51 – Intro / Guest
00:03:45 – Main Topic
01:50:05 – Outro / Next
“Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac, Tusk (1979)
“Games Without Frontiers” by Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel (1980)
Gobbledygeek episode 435, “Who’s With Me? (feat. Austin Allan James),” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
We’ve all been isolated, to some degree, for the last year. Austin Allan James’ debut feature Who’s With Me?, available for free on YouTube, perfectly captures the sense of loneliness and paranoia to which many of us have become accustomed. His film was also almost entirely finished pre-pandemic. Paul and Arlo talk with Austin about his clairvoyant powers, working on a shoestring budget, the inspiration he draws from filmmakers such as David Lynch and Joel Potrykus, how much of a fee turtles can demand, and what it all means, man.
NEXT: at long last, we go undercover with Wesley “Wezzo” Mead for a discussion of The Americans season 1.
This is a freestyle episode, so you better believe Paul and Arlo talk about all manner of goofy shit, but–there’s also kind of a topic too? Look, we make this stuff up as we go along, get that look off your face. Arlo watched John Carpenter’s 1981 cult classic Escape from New York for the very first time, and he absolutely loved it. He and Paul rave about the movie, its highly relatable cynicism, and its amazing music…which leads Arlo to proffer a shocking apology. The stick up his ass, it’s gotten a little shorter over the years. Plus, an in-depth breakdown of This Is Us’ timeline and an exploration of why roasts suck. Sponsored by the adult toy purveyor of your choice!
NEXT: indie filmmaker Austin Allan James joins us to discuss his debut feature, Who’s With Me?
“Escape from New York (Main Title)” by John Carpenter, Escape from New York (Original Film Soundtrack) (1981)
When we’re not contracting coronavirus, we’re contracting people to work on our houses. And sometimes those people, too, can be a plague. Paul and Arlo commiserate over uncomfortable contractor experiences, uncomfortable evangelicalism, and the uncomfortable intersection of those two very uncomfortable things. In other news, baby-faced Paul got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and had to deal with some folks getting way too up in his personal space. Are we ready for a return to normal? No. No, we are not. Plus, we remember to talk pop culture and chat about the Oscar nominations.
NEXT: Paul decides on air during this very episode that next week will be this month’s Four-Color Flashback, discussing Vols. 1 & 2 of Daniel Warren Johnson’s Extremity.
“Comfort Eagle” by Cake, Comfort Eagle (2001)
“Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues (1982)
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. After two long years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe desert, since Avengers: Endgame and its postscript Spider-Man: Far from Home, Marvel’s mightiest are back on the air. For the first MCU series on Disney Plus, we have WandaVision, a TV show that is very much about TV shows and what the medium means to us. The comfy-cozy sitcom rhythm of the show, as Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision make-believe they’re on the sets of The Dick Van Dyke Show or Family Ties, is interrupted by unsettling reminders of where we left these characters. Wanda was grieving–because Vision was dead. What’s going on here? Don’t change that channel, because Paul, Arlo, and special guest Michael Holland–currently post-production supervisor on The Afterparty–discuss how showrunner Jac Schaeffer and director Matt Shakman channel grief, capture the nostalgic spirit of old TV, weaponize fan expectations, and more.
NEXT: we’ll be back, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.
What’s more American than ruthless bastards sucking dry the poor, hardworking souls that make this country what it is–all in the name of progress? We’re not just talking about capitalism here, we’re also talking about the bloodthirsty monsters at the heart of Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque’s American Vampire. For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo sink their fangs into the first two volumes of Snyder and Albuquerque’s (with an assist from Stephen King) decades-spanning Vertigo series. The boys discuss how Snyder charts the path of American history through three distinct time periods; the seriously cool vampire taxonomy; Albuquerque’s ghastly, gorgeous art; the way King cusses; and, yes, what the book says about capitalist conquest. Plus, Paul chills with three very different Netflix projects: Moxie, Ginny & Georgia, and Behind Her Eyes.
NEXT: Michael Holland, post-production supervisor on American Horror Story and ABC’s For Life, joins us to discuss Disney+’s first MCU series, WandaVision.
00:00:50 – Intro
00:07:14 – American Vampire
01:34:36 – Outro / Next
“American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1977)
“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, Walking on Sunshine (1985)
In honor of the late Christopher Plummer, Paul and Arlo host a Geek Challenge with two films featuring one of Canada’s greatest. First, Paul has Arlo watch Mike Nichols’ 1994 horror (?) film Wolf, starring Jack Nicholson as a middle-aged book editor who finds the beast inside courtesy of a wolf bite (with a five-minute cameo from a scenery-chewing Plummer). Then, Arlo makes Paul watch Michael Mann’s 1999 ripped-from-the-headlines thriller The Insider, with Russell Crowe as a scientist taking on Big Tobacco, Al Pacino as the journalist trying to tell his story, and Plummer doing one hell of a job as Mike Wallace. Plus, Paul tries to get Arlo to watch Craig McCracken’s new animated series Kid Cosmic.
NEXT: the boys sharpen their fangs on a Four-Color Flashback discussion of the first two volumes of Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Rafael Albuquerque’s American Vampire.
00:00:55 – Intro / Kid Cosmic
00:10:29 – Wolf
00:55:45 – The Insider
01:49:45 – Pointless tangent about the term “bucket list” (We’re sorry.)
01:52:54 – Outro / Next
“Wolf Like Me” by TV On The Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain (2006)