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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'This Is Us' And 'Speechless'

Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) in the NBC drama <em>This Is Us. </em>
Ron Batzdorff
Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) in the NBC drama This Is Us.

We spend a lot of time on Pop Culture Happy Hour talking about interesting cable television, because interesting cable television gives us a lot to talk about. But this week, we look at two strong fall shows that showed up on broadcast networks. NBC's This Is Usis a breakout hit, and falls into the long-established tradition of family dramas that follow many threads at once and bring the crying relatively frequently. (Just ask Ari Shapiro of All Things Considered, our guest for this segment.)

In our second segment, Audie Cornish joins us to talk about the ABC comedy Speechless. The network has developed a series of family comedies, dating back to Modern Familyand The Middle, that try to get at families that aren't represented elsewhere. In Speechless, that partly means the family has a son with special needs, but it means other things too, in terms of economics and family dynamics.

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about a couple of movies he saw this week — one new and one familiar. Glen is happy about a piece he read that he's kind enough to read from, which is always something that makes mehappy as well. Audie is happy about the return of a favorite podcast and the arrival of a new one. And I am happy about the fact that while one of my favorite simple pleasures is gone for now and there is no realsubstitute, a surprisingly decent impostor is keeping me company.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Stephen, Glen, Ari, Audie, producer Jessica, and executive producer and music director Mike.

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

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.