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What's Making Us Happy: A Guide For Your Weekend Watching, Listening And Reading

Natasha Rothwell and Jennifer Coolidge in <em>The White Lotus</em>.
Mario Perez
Natasha Rothwell and Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus.

This week, the Emmy nominations left us, as is their wont, by turns delighted (I May Destroy You! Pose! MJ Rodriguez!), puzzled (Emily in Paris? Seriously?) and vaguely dissatisfied (Justice forRutherford Falls!). It was also a week in which Warner Bros. and LeBron James collabbed to produce content that leverages their respective verticals, vis-à-vis brand management, and further optimizes their audience engagement. (Read: Space Jam: A New Legacycame out.) But as always, we've got some great recommendations for your weekend, let's get to them:

What To Watch

The White Lotus, HBO
We'll be talking about HBO's The White Lotus on the show in the coming weeks, but if you watched the first episode last Sunday and it didn't quite grab you — or if it grabbed you in a disquieting way you didn't enjoy — just understand that I was where you were, after that first ep. But something happened in the second episode — the characters started pinging off each other in surprising, sometimes uncomfortable ways. I plowed through the rest of the episodes non-stop, and I'm glad I did. So if you were on the fence, try staying up there through episode two, and see how you feel. – Glen Weldon

Michael Winslow on America's Got Talent
For about 40 years, I have been following the career of Michael Winslow, the guy from the Police Academy movies who made funny noises with his mouth. He's kind of carved out a career — he's put out albums, he's done a lot of voice work, he was a founding father of beatboxing. He is genuinely one of the most talented voice actors alive, particularly in the field of sound effects. Winslow just appeared on America's Got Talent. I just love a long, rambling, weird career where you can carve out an entire life's work with that kind of skill, and I love the fact that America is getting together and briefly re-celebrating the life and career of Michael Winslow. – Stephen Thompson

What We Do in the Shadows,Paramount PicturesIn advance of Wellington Paranormal's long-overdue debut in the US, I started a re-watch of FX's What We Do in the Shadows. Which led me to do a rewatch of the movie that inspired that series. And along with being reminded of how much I love that movie and want to live inside it, I realized that it also features Wellington Paranomal's two leads, playing the same parts. Wellington Paranormal was made before the FX Shadows series, and its tone hews closer to the original movie — it's drier, more deadpan. I love them all equally, in slightly different ways, and for slightly different reasons. – Glen Weldon

What To Listen To

"Estella"by KennyHoopla
For people who don't know who he is, KennyHoopla is among this crop of like, Hot Topic-era, emo pop, punk revivalists that Travis Barker from Blink-182 is working with. This song is a perfect, two-minute, heartsick, overly emotional, worship emo jam. It's so melodramatic and over the top. There's one line: I just died, at the thought of being alive / At the same time as you, ooh, ooh. Oh, and in the video, he does a sick backflip. I love it. — Andrew Limbong

Answer Me This podcast
After 400 episodes, the wonderful Answer Me This podcast is coming to an end. Helen Zaltzman and Olly Man (with an able assist by Martin Austwick the Sound Man) answer listeners' questions on a range of topics that those selfsame listeners seem too lazy to Google. Zaltzman, Mann and Austwick all have other gigs, but the singular joy of listening has less to do with any actual knowledge that may or may not get imparted, and everything to do with the easy, affectionate chemistry these three generate together. I'll miss that. Their back catalog is still up, and their final episode drops August 5 — you've got plenty of time to catch up beforehand. – Glen Weldon

Jam and Lewis: Volume 1 by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have released their first album. They are legends. Their most famous collaborator is Janet Jackson, but they worked with everyone from Prince and The Time to Usher. They have created some of the greatest pop songs of all time. And for the first time ever, they are now front and center. It's really good, like, grown and sexy music. There'sa great interview they did with Craig Jenkins in Vulture, where they talk about all the different collaborations they've done over the years — it's a really encompassing retrospective of their career. – Aisha Harris

What To Read

/ First Second Books
First Second Books

Bubble by Jordan Morris and Sarah Morgan, illustrated by Tony Cliff, colors by Natalie Riess
Friend-of-the-show Jordan Morris has a new hilarious sci-fi graphic novel Bubble, based on the serialized podcast he did over on the Maximum Fun network a while back. Co-written with Sarah Morgan with art by Tony Cliff and colors by Natalie Riess, Bubble tells the story of a bunch of young gig-economy workers trying to keep their head down and make a go of it in a city surrounded by carnivorous mutant beasties. The jokes are plentiful and land hard, the art is dynamic and gorgeous and creepy, as needed (and features cameos by some of your favorite Maximum Fun podcasters). Hugely recommended. – Glen Weldon

What Else Has Been Making Us Happy Recently?

There's more where this came from! Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Subscribe here >>

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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.
Aisha Harris
Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
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.)