The Pop Culture Lens

The Pop Culture Lens header image 1

Episode 47: Fraggle Rock

March 16th, 2019

In a first, the forty-seventh episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast finds friend of the podcast Greg Clark joining Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard to discuss the Jim Henson television show, Fraggle Rock.

In this episode, the trio discuss the transnational and transcultural nature of the series that sought to create something universally human with nonhuman creatures. In doing so, the series provided allegories on multiculturalism -- for how to get along with one another in diverse world where everyone depends on everyone else. In this way, the series served as a form of edutainment, similar to Sesame Street, but more focused on literacies beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. The show's lessons on empathic literacy, in particularly, are much needed in our modern world.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Episode 46: Mystery Science Theater 3000

February 14th, 2019

In a first, the forty-sixth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast finds friend of the podcast Ryan Schriml (@EalingCA) joining Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard to discuss the original comedy series, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

In this episode, the trio of Misties reflect on the legacy of the television show in spawning movie-riffing as a modern day activity. The show's premiere coincided with the emergence of the World Wide Web, and it basically foreshadowed the online activities to come in the current era of social media. Indeed, the series can be seen as a form of media literacy, as viewers learned more about film production and while being encouraged to talk back to the screen. Thirty years on, and the cult of Misties is going strong.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Episode 45: Coca-Cola

January 15th, 2019

In a first, the forty-fifth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast finds Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard discussing the American appeal of Coca-Cola.

In this episode, the co-hosts address the history of Coca-Cola and how it has come to embody American ideals and ideologies around the world. Along the way, they consider how important the formation of corporations was to the creation of the United States as a global superpower. For those interested in marketing, they discuss how Coca-Cola successfully created a brand and helped usher in a new way of relating to consumer goods.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Episode 44: A Christmas Story

December 19th, 2018

In this special episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast for the 2018 holiday season, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard discuss the nostalgic appeal of A Christmas Story (1983) by Bob Clark and Jean Shepherd.

In this episode, the co-hosts address the question of how the movie mixes nostalgia with anti-sentimentalism to create a realistic portrayal of Christmas -- or is it a utopic portrayal of what Christmas means to us? Along with tackling those questions, they also discuss the materialism at the center of the movie's story, and whether or not that's a bad thing. 

Overall, A Christmas Story helps us think through what Christmas has meant to us as a child, and what it can mean to us as an adult -- for Christians and non-Christians alike.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Episode 43: Monopoly

November 14th, 2018

In the forty-third episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard discuss the history and ideology of the classic board game, Monopoly.

In this episode, the co-hosts present the original intentions behind the board game as being meant to teach socialism -- and most definitely not greed. They trace the history of the game and how it has changed over time to discuss how the game serves to teach players about basic economic theories, while also addressing the basic question of does the game encourage greed.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Episode 42: Rogers and Astaire

October 12th, 2018

In the forty-second episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard discuss the on-screen dancing duo Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

In this episode, the co-hosts analyze the star personas of the classic duo for how they represent issues regarding gender and power dynamics. They interrogate the now famous saying that Rogers did everything Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels. They also consider whether the duo have become icons for romance and style, and to what extent they represent archetypes in American popular culture and beyond.

The end music comes from the 1936 film they starred in titled Follow the Fleet: "Let's Face the Music and Dance" was written by Irving Berlin. Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Episode 41: Arnold Schwarzenegger

September 13th, 2018

To start the new season, in the forty-first episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard are joined by unofficial third co-host Joe Belfeuil to discuss the star, screen, and political persona of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In this episode, the co-hosts review Schwarzenegger's biography to understand where he came from and how hard he worked to develop his hard body, celebrity status, cultural capital and his political career. Their discussion considers how his career has commented on American masculinity -- and even shaped the public discourse about what makes a man a man over the course of his forty plus years in popular culture. They wrap their conversation thinking about what should be a celebrity's relationship with politics, comparing Schwarzenegger to Trump.

The end music comes from the main theme for Conan the Barbarian by Basil Poledouris. And the primary clean-up editing was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Tentative Recording Schedule for Summer 2018

April 17th, 2018

Hey Poppers! Here is the tentative recording schedule for the upcoming season of the The Pop Culture Lens Podcast.

Arnold Schwarzenegger - 6/6
Rogers/Astaire - 6/13
Monopoly - 6/20
Coca-Cola - 6/27
MST3K - 7/11
Satyajit Ray - 7/18
San Diego Comic-Con - 7/25
Weird Al - 8/1
Betty Boop - 8/8

If you want to be a guest on any of these episodes, please let us know, though be aware that some episodes (i.e. Weird Al, Satyajit Ray, and MST3K) are already spoken for. You can contact us via the Facebook group or our email popculturelenspodcast@gmail.com.

Also, this is just a tentative recording schedule. If you want to participate in the conversation but these dates don't work for you, we can shuffle things around a bit.

We hope to record all nine episode this summer to release them, once a month, during the next season, which starts in September and runs through May.

Episode 40: A Christmas Carol

December 22nd, 2017

In the fortieth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard present a special episode for the 2017 holiday season by discussing the morality of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

In this episode, the co-hosts discussed how Dickens utilized a ghost story framework to relay a very relatable character in the form of Ebenezer Scrooge. Drawing on Marxism theory, they look at how the story presents the morality play to contradict the notion noblesse oblige and instead reify the need for true human compassion. A Christmas Carol serves as a foundational text for Western civilization, and even helped secure contemporary notions of what Christmas should be -- demonstrating just how powerful, and important, pop culture truly is.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

Special Episode: Mental Health in Pop Culture

December 8th, 2017

For this special episode of The Pop Culture Lens, co-hosts Christopher J. Olson and CarrieLynn D. Reinhard address a question: are representations of mental health issues in pop culture helpful?

Their answers delve into the many different mental health issues represented in television and film, from bipolar disorder and depression to mental health facilities and addiction. They discuss texts from Shock Corridor and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to BoJack Horseman and Pi.

In the episode, they make several recommendations, which are included here:

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.