Gobbledygeek episode 345, “The X-Files: Season 9 (feat. Wesley Mead),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
The truth is out there, or so we’ve been told. As Paul, Arlo, and special British guest Wesley “Wezzo” Mead reach The X-Files season 9 and find the series’ original finale “The Truth,” they wonder if they should have just left it out there. Despite ostensibly having new leads in Doggett and Reyes, Chris Carter & Co. cling to Scully and Mulder–the former is a bored-looking recurring character, the latter is literally no longer on the show–harder than ever before. The gang discusses why Carter’s inability to let go of the show’s past hinders its present, how the character of Dana Scully is destroyed, and whether or not “The Truth” is truly one of the worst series finales in TV history. (Spoiler: it is.) Plus, Arlo and Paul get down with killer clowns with Terrifier and Deadpool 2.
Next: Arlo’s getting hitched! Gobbledygeek will return in June.
(Show notes for “The X-Files: Season 9.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 330, “The X-Files: Season 7 (feat. Wesley Mead),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
No TV show is at its best seven seasons in, as Paul, Arlo, and special British guest Wesley “Wezzo” Mead can attest. The gang has just watched season 7 of Chris Carter’s seminal sci-fi series The X-Files, and they have questions: Why would anyone think that was a satisfying resolution to the Samantha Mulder storyline? Why is Dana Scully, one of the greatest female characters in all of genre fiction, consistently robbed of agency? Why is Chris Carter the worst writer on his own show? Why didn’t the show just end here? In addition to lamenting the season’s VR fantasmagorias and double scoops of Kathy Griffin, the gang does find praise for cast members going behind the camera and Vince Gilligan inching ever closer toward Breaking Bad. Plus, Paul continues to visit The Greatest Showman; Wezzo tells us of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Somebody Feed Phil, and Inside No. 9; and gosh, politics are just AWFUL.
Next: Paul and Arlo dive into Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.
(Show notes for “The X-Files: Season 7.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 301, “The X-Files: Season 4 (feat. Wesley Mead),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Just in time for everyone’s distrust in government to be at an all-time high, Wesley “Wezzo” Mead joins Paul and Arlo once again to discuss Chris Carter’s seminal sci-fi series The X-Files. This time, the gang sets their sights on season 4, and opinion seems to be divided on just how well the season holds together. Is this where the mythology stuff starts to really go off the rails? Does Scully’s cancer make for a compelling dramatic throughline? And most importantly of all, is there an obvious heir to Darin Morgan’s throne (a couple suggestions are thrown out)? Plus, Wezzo laments the progression of Brexit, while Paul and Arlo sift through the Trump Administration’s mounting atrocities; and on a happier, sillier note, the gang has a blast with The Lego Batman Movie.
Next: this year’s Four-Color Flashback exploration of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man continues. Jeff Bridges poet Donora Rihn joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Vol. 2: Cycles.
(Show notes for “The X-Files: Season 4.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 229, “Nothing Beside Remains (feat. K. Dale Koontz & Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Not much in this world is surprising. The irony of this statement is that in order to tell you about how Paul surprises AJ in this episode, we have to give away said surprise: this is the one where Paul finally watches Breaking Bad. AJ remained in the dark the whole time, misled by Paul to think some ominous present was on its way; turns out the present is a discussion of Vince Gilligan’s acclaimed morality tale, which long-time listeners will remember Paul refused to watch for years. What did he think of it? You’ll have to listen for yourself. Featuring surprise guests K. Dale Koontz and Ensley F. Guffey, authors of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad!
Next: The Debatable Podcast host Greg Sahadachny joins Paul and AJ continue their Four-Color Flashback look at Jeff Smith’s Bone with Vol. III: Eyes of the Storm.
(Show notes for “Nothing Beside Remains.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 184, “Of Meth and Men (feat. K. Dale Koontz & Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Friend of the show and long-ago guest K. Dale Koontz makes her triumphant return to Gobbledygeek, and this time, she’s brought along her lovely husband Ensley F. Guffey. Together, they’ve written Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad, which is pretty much what the title says. Dale and Ensley geek out about Breaking Bad, discuss Michael Slovis’ stunning visuals, and talk about what goes into writing a book with your spouse. They do not, however, tell you how to cook 99.9% pure crystal blue meth. Disappointing, I know. Plus, the gang bemoans Zack Snyder’s grip on DC’s movie world and raves about indie comics.
Next: our year-long Four-Color Flashback exploration of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman continues, as Greg Sahadachny joins us to discuss Vol. III: Dream Country.
(Show notes for “Of Meth and Men.”)
Don Draper is a serial philanderer. Walter White is a meth kingpin. Nicholas Brody is a (possibly) reformed terrorist. Nucky Thompson is a gangster. These are not men who do good things. Why, then, do audiences hate their wives so much?
Don, Walt, et al. are enormously popular with viewers, and rightfully so. They’re not necessarily good people, but they’re not strictly bad people either; they’re contradictory, complex, nuanced, comprised of all the elements that make for great drama. If, like myself, you enjoy reading reviews or seeking out online reaction to each episode, though, you’ve probably noticed a worrying trend. Though many applaud the behavior of these characters, all murderers (save Don) and adulterers (save Walt), they’re a lot less willing to afford their wives the benefit of the doubt. Look, I’m not here to be the Moral Police; I’m not interested in discussing the pros and cons of infidelity, especially considering most of these characters’ wives are guilty of same. (Sidenote: I, uh, hope we can all agree murder is bad.)
And it’s not like I don’t get the appeal. I don’t watch Breaking Bad just because it’s a devastating portrait of a man sacrificing everything he holds dear at the altar of power. I also watch it because it is freaking awesome when Walt pulls off the perfect heist. How giddy did the classic “RUN” moment make me? Answer: very. And at the end of the Mad Men season finale, when Don gave the honey at the bar the patented Draper Stare…goddamn. As a viewer, I know full well how thrilling and visceral it can be to watch these men do their dirt. The problem is when you view them as the heroes of their respective stories and any attempts–especially by their wives–to curb or question their behavior as hindering their quest, whatever you think that is. The numbers show that not a whole lot of people actually watch Breaking Bad, and I know that its small but loyal following contains some of the sharpest TV viewers around. But the Internet would also lead me to believe that a bunch of folks would be okay with a show where all Walt does is make meth, kill people, and become the most awesome greatest badass superhero on the planet.
BREAKING BAD: The Complete Third Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
Breaking Bad‘s terrific second season was tightly plotted ahead of time, with ample foreshadowing throughout. For the show’s third season, however, creator Vince Gilligan and his writers turned into expert jazz players, improvising every note, changing rhythm, and exploring all sorts of new grooves. Gilligan and Co. repeatedly force science-teacher-turned-methmaker Walt and his junkie partner Jesse into corners there’s seemingly no way they’ll get out of; and the creative team had no idea if they could either, until they started writing the next episode. An approach like this could easily have been disastrous, but instead makes for one of the all-time great seasons of television. The jagged, frayed chemistry between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul makes for the best duo on TV, both giving fierce performances. Stand-out episodes in a stand-out season include “One Minute,” with an intense set piece for the ages; “Fly,” which takes place entirely in the lab, examining Walt and Jesse’s relationship; and “Full Measure,” the epic season finale. Extras include commentaries by Gilligan and the cast; and a number of featurettes.