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What's making us happy: A guide for your weekend watching and listening

Laysla De Oliveira as Dodge in <em>Locke & Key.</em>
Netflix
Laysla De Oliveira as Dodge in Locke & Key.

This week, a 1949 self-portrait by Frida Kahlo shattered an auction record, Eddie Vedder released a new single called "The Haves," and the cast and crew of Harry Potter announced a 20-year anniversary reunion. Oh, and Adele released a new album.

Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Locke & Key, Netflix

I recently binge-watched the second season of the Netflix show Locke and Key. The show is based on the comic series of the same name by Joe Hill. I just love the conceit of the show, of these keys that do very interesting, magical things — like going into someone's head and seeing what that would look like.

I will say, the family in the show, the Lockes — who are supposed to keep these keys — they have a very hard time doing so, even when their lives depend on it. I do wish they also invented a key ring, but that's for another story. — Ayesha Rascoe

The Untamed, Netflix

I have recently gone down the rabbit hole of the 2019 Netflix series, The Untamed. It's based on a Chinese web novel called Mo Dao Zu Shi.

This series is incredible. I feel like it's reductive to call it like Chinese Game of Thrones, but if what's compelling to you about Game of Thrones is a giant universe full of warring factions and very well-developed characters with complex, nuanced, morally gray motivations — then this is a series that you'd really like.

I forgot to mention, it's queer! The two main characters are men who are canonically in love. But because this is a Chinese-produced TV series, there are limitations on what they're allowed to portray.

Also, the English translation of the web novel comes out next month, so I'm looking forward to reading that as well. — Cyrena Touros

Lin Manuel Miranda and Billy Porter chemistry test for Wicked

The news that Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo have been cast in the film of the musical Wicked fluttered like freshly flushed grouse through gay Twitter and theater Twitter last week, causing a range of reactions.

My favorite came from two queer comedians Calvin Seabrooks (@larrygayvid), and from Dylan Adler (@DylanAdler6). They came up with what they called a chemistry test for Wicked, featuring Billy Porter and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Seabrooks as Porter and Adler, a revelation, as Miranda, singing "Something Good." Watch here. — Glen Weldon

Pee-wee Herman's Upcoming Show on KCRW

This isn't tell next week, but you'll still enjoy it. Our new colleague, Pee-wee Herman, is going to host a radio show on KCRW. The news of this rolled out via this very strange Twitter exchange, where Pee-wee Herman posted an open letter to KCRW asking to get a slot as a DJ. Shockingly, KCRW accepted that request.

On November 26th at 6:00 p.m. PT / 9:00 p.m. ET, Pee-wee Herman will be on KCRW, the NPR affiliate in the L.A. area, joined by Chairry, Magic Screen and Miss Yvonne to just bring some of that wonderful Pee-wee Herman magic to our radios. I hope that there will be many more, and eventually we can consider ourselves coworkers. — Stephen Thompson

NPR Kroc Fellow Mia Estrada adapted this Pop Culture Happy Hour segment into a digital page.

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

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
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.)
Mia Estrada
Mia Estrada is a 2021-2022 Kroc Fellow. She will spend the year rotating through different parts of NPR, including the Culture Desk, National Desk and Weekend Edition.