The Pop Culture Lens

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Episode 52: Frankenstein

October 20th, 2019

For the fifty-second episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard are joined by friend and Ph.D. candidate Sarah Stanley to discuss one of the most important horror novels of all time: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

The trio discuss the novel's impact for over 200 years, as an early science fiction novel and in all the adaptations since 1818. They explore how the novel and its adaptations reflect the historical, social, and cultural contexts in which they emerged. They also analyze the text for how it relates to different philosophies of life and identity before concluding on why the story remains so meaningful to this day.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume, and end song comes from CarrieLynn's favorite Frankenstein adaptation: Mel Brooke's Young Frankenstein.

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 51: Friends

September 11th, 2019

Welcome back to a new season!

For the fifty-first episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard are joined by colleague and pop culture scholar Jennifer Dunn to discuss the 25th anniversary of one of the most successful sitcoms of all time: Friends (1994-2004).

In this episode, the trio consider the impact of the series on television and pop culture history. They also discuss how the series reflected the 1990s, from the soul-searching of Generation X and the emerging gay rights movement. Friends was not perfect, but it was definitely one of the most important television series of the 1990s.

The co-hosts would like to thank Dr. Dunn for being the episode's guest, and recommend all Poppers check out her upcoming book: Friends: A Cultural History.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume, and end song comes from The Rembrandts.

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 50: Betty Boop

June 18th, 2019

At the end of the season, the fiftieth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast brings Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard to discuss the importance of the classic cartoon character, Betty Boop.

In this episode, the co-hosts discuss early animation at the beginning of cinema, and how Betty Boop fit into this wilder time frame, before the Hayes Code and the moralizing of movies. They also examine the history of the character, and the controversies about her origin. For the analysis, the discussion focuses on issues of objectification, the male gaze, and how Betty Boop fits into Tijuana bibles and modern hentai.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume, and end song comes from Betty Boop.

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 49: Weird Al

May 19th, 2019

In a first, the forty-ninth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast finds friend of the podcast Noelle Lynn Blood joining Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard to discuss the importance of Weird Al Yankovic to pop culture and nerds.

In this episode, the trio examine how Weird Al has adapted himself to different eras in pop culture, constantly reinventing himself to remain relevant. They also examine how his works have challenged American conceptions of free speech and copyright by discussing the satire and parody he produces. Finally, as fans themselves, they also consider the relationships people have developed with Weird Al through their parasocial interaction with the master of geek rock.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume, and end song comes from Weird Al Yankovic.

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 48: San Diego Comic Con

April 21st, 2019

In a first, the forty-eighth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast finds friend of the podcast Joan Miller (@a_wild_acafan) joining Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard to discuss the importance of the grand-daddy fan convention, San Diego Comic Con.

In this episode, the trio discuss how SDCC came to be the pop cultural juggernaut that it is today, tracing its history from beginning to boom period. In doing so, they also discuss its importance to our modern understandings of both fandom and how Hollywood operates. The good, the bad, and the ugly of SDCC, and other fan cons, are brought up to give a thorough and hopefully somewhat objective appraisal of the state of pop culture conventions in the 21st century.

Primary editing on the episode was done by Jean-Michel Berthiaume, and end song comes from Ookla the Mok.

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 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.