© 2023 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Recycling Franchises And Judging Books By Their Covers


With Glen Weldon tweeting from the various paradises of Barcelona, this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour calls on the services of two familiar Code Switch pals — Kat Chow and Gene Demby — to discuss the eternal recycling of unlikely pop-culture franchises. We use the July return of Sailor Moon as an excuse to talk about everything from Girl Meets World to Hocus Pocus, George of the Jungle, Newsies, Transformers and more.

Then it's on to the topic of covers — not cover songs, mind you, but actual cover art. In music, that means lamenting the endless shrinkage of album covers from mural-sized fold-out vinyl sleeves to the minuscule avatars we see today. For books, we dig a bit deeper, discussing clichés, coding, color schemes, Kindles and more. Along the way, that brings talk of books about Africa, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, the books of Rainbow Rowell, Chip Kidd's designs, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

And, as always, we close with what's making us happy. I sing the praises of a new way to watch Tiny Desk Concerts, while Kat is happy about the response to an absurdly high-end product. Gene joins me in celebrating sports, though our opinions vary on his favored icon. And Linda offers up a grab bag, from her growing nephews to yelling-intensive TV to a Mad Men moment.

And, of course, she reminds you of what every man, woman and child in America should know by now: We're having another Pop Culture Happy Hour live show, this time to celebrate Episode No. 200! It's the evening of June 24 at NPR HQ, and tickets go on sale at noon ET on June 2. Come join us, won't you?

Until then, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: Linda, me, Kat, Gene, producer Jessica, producers Nick and Lauren, and our dear friend Mike.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)