Pop Culture: What We’re Really Into Right Now
It was a sizzling weekend of non-stop sunshine—the perfect outdoor weather. But that didn’t keep us from some high doses of pop culture, much—but not all!—of it taking place on a streaming device near you. From Catastrophe to Kevin Morby—via a pretty awesome XRAY.fm show—we hold forth on the steamy and the dreamy from a weekend of cultural consumption.
Eden Dawn, Style Editor
I gobbled the first four episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2) and was reminded that it has the catchiest opening song since Facts of Life. And Tituss Burgess is the only person I actually want to move to Portland. Three snaps in a Z formation. I also fell for the dreamy new Kevin Morby album, thanks to an introduction from XRAY's Ghost Chapel.
Amy Martin, Associate Art Director
I watched the last three episodes of Girls, which I loved, even though my inner Tami Taylor writhes with worry over most of the characters/dialogue. I also fell asleep watching Confirmation, because duh, zero sizzle. Chased it with a classic scene from Moonlighting to feel alive again.
Marty Patail, Associate Editor
I won’t pretend to understand every word of Young Thug’s most recent mix tape Slime Season 3, but there’s poetry in its incomprehensibility. The Atlanta rapper is the king of exaggerated, melodic slurring—partly stylistic, partly a side effect of all the lean he claims to be sipping on—broken up with staccato, drum-like rhythms and vocal patterns. One of the first lines of the album has Young Thug pronouncing “airhead” as “ayhhh-heeeh,” which somehow just works. It’s erratic, fluid, and so much fun to listen to.
Ramona DeNies, Associate Editor
Yes, I did spend a glorious, sun-washed weekend afternoon inside, binge-watching the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: in which Jeff Goldblum plays a creepy TV shrink, the cameo list includes Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek, Lisa Kudrow, and Ice-T, and Kimmy's Velcro fear is finally, um, ripped open. So that’s probably why I’m not the one with all the sun damage, girlfrienemy.
Fiona McCann, Arts Editor
I’m an Irish transplant with an American husband and two small children, so as far as I can tell, Catastrophe is my life in a Netflix show. Except, you know, with a London backdrop and longer legs. Still, no show of late has managed to be so dark—dementia! Post-partum depression! A dead pet! They’re all crammed into the Season 2 opener—and yet so snort-in-your-tea funny at the same time.
Margaret Seiler, Managing Editor
I watched the last three episodes of Mad Men (not quite a year late). Relieved to not have to see Diana again (though that actor was great in Young Adult!). The finale could have used a little more Sally. Then I was forced to watch a bunch of weird tween fanfic crap on YouTube starring Elsa and Spider-Man. I consumed no local culture (unless you count the Timbers game on the radio) because I am horrible. And a parent. And it was sunny.
Zach Dundas, Editor-in-Chief
The local sleeper hit of my weekend turned out to be Heavy City Reggae—because of course the house band at an elementary school fundraiser in Portland is a super-tight first-wave ska band, fully armed with Skatalites classics and upbeat-enhanced soul covers. (And muttonchops and flat caps.) Like every other desperate middle-class parent, I'm watching Catastrophe—specifically, repeat-watching any scene featuring the dead eyes and savage tongue of Scottish actor Mark Bonnar. I wrapped up Barbarian Days, William Finnegan's memoir/global meditation on surfing and a world-spanning journalistic career, just in time to feel smug about it when the book won the Pulitzer on Monday. And I kept the weird and unexpected ska theme going with XRAY.fm's awesome Sunday morning show The IMPACT Sound. Don't judge: ska is great and now seems to repel hipsters, so it has many uses.
Molly Woodstock, Contributing Health Editor
The Mindy Project is back! Like everyone else, I almost stopped watching this show because I couldn’t stand watching Danny Castellano continue to be a selfish, sexist piece of crap, and Mindy continue to act as if that’s a cool type of person to marry and procreate with. So imagine how much I enjoyed the montage of Mindy breaking up with Danny! So satisfying. Also in this episode, Seth Myers has a lot of feelings about his dog.
On the podcast front, last week’s Freakonomics episode explores the concept of guaranteed minimum income, which I continue to think is a really great and important idea; Live Wire invited four Portland comics [Eliza Skinner, Bri Pruett, Alex Falcone, and Anthony Lopez] to perform their tight five, so that’s a neat if incomplete primer on local stand-up comedians; and most importantly, W. Kamau Bell was on Fresh Air, where he talked about attending a KKK cross-burning (ahem, cross-lighting) and generally continued to be the best person. Also, I suddenly remembered that this track from 2010 exists and jammed a lot.