The Pop Culture Lens

The Pop Culture Lens header image 1

Episode 37: Transformers

March 7th, 2017

In the thirty-seventh episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast Jef Burnham of CadaverCast to discuss the classic toy line, Transformers.

In this episode, the three recall with fondness how these toys impacted their lives, but in doing so, they also focus on the relationship between nostaglia and brand longevity. The Transformers franchise has survived for over 30 years by being, like its core toys, able to transform as the market changes. In their conversation about this brand's adaptability, they also consider whether or not fan nostalgia helps or hurts the brand, and to what extent it has hidden its Japanese origins, some of which you can see in this collection of Diaclone commercials.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 36: Doctor Who

February 20th, 2017

In the thirty-sixth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast, Paul Booth of DePaul University, to discuss the venerable British science fiction series, Doctor Who.

In this episode, the three discuss what has led to the longevity of the series, which started in 1963. This discussion considers how the series' fans helped sustain the show during a long hiatus, and how the series' very nature offered many things to many different people as it adapted to changing times, and changing actors portraying the titular character. While the three do not agree completely on the usefulness of fan service in the series, they do all agree that being able to reach a diverse audience has helped maintain the franchise over the decades.

You can learn more about the upcoming Harry Potter pop culture conference at DePaul University via this link: http://www.mcsdepaul.com/depaul-pop-culture-conference.html

You can learn more about the work Christopher and CarrieLynn did on the historical trajectory of Doctor Who via this link: https://playingwithresearch.com/2013/11/18/i-am-doctor-historical-trajectory-doc/

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 35: The Thing (1982)

January 31st, 2017

In the thirty-fifth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast, and unofficial third host, Joe Belfeuil to discuss the influential horror film that is John Carpenter's The Thing (1982).

In this episode, the three discuss how the narrative and craft of the film has inspired a new breed of horror film-makers; from the aesthetics of paranoia to the themes of grappling with unexpected threats, Carpenter's seminal film has led to many imitators and even some worthy successors. The trio also consider the political messages of the film, and how the film reflects on and even critiques fears of the Other and how people should handle their fears by being vigilant instead of paranoid and dangerous to themselves and others. The historical period of the Reagan administration is compared to the unfolding Trump administration for similarities in thematic content, demonstrating how relevant the film remains to this day.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 34: ECW

January 16th, 2017

In the thirty-fourth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast Ryan Schriml to discuss the innovative nature and legacy of Extreme Championship Wrestling -- or, ECW!

In this episode, the discussion focuses on how the innovations of Paul Heyman and ECW have had long-lasting impacts on all aspects of professional wrestling. While not a major player of the Monday Night Wars between the WWF and the WCW, the indie federation nevertheless impacted both of those pro-wrestling promotions by introducing wrestlers who would go on to superstardom in either federation. More than that, ECW innovated on how to promote and portray wrestling, including how to utilize the new technologies of the Internet to distribute and market content as well as connecting with and empowering fans. ECW's do-it-yourself, outsider identity continues to influence the WWE and indie federations around the world to this day.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 33: Hello Kitty

January 4th, 2017

In the thirty-third episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast Norma Jones to discuss the venerable pop culture brand that is Hello Kitty.

In this episode, CarrieLynn and Norma position Hello Kitty not only as a pop icon but as a heroic figure. In their discussion on how Hello Kitty represents female empowerment from an Asian perspective, they consider how the Japanese concepts of omoiyari and kawaii make the figure a source of identification and inspiration for people around the world. Hello Kitty represents an example of how to be with other people, and her example is very desirable in today's contentious world.

The music at the end samples Avril Lavigne's "Hello Kitty" from 2013.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 32: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

December 13th, 2016

In the thirty-second episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast Kadee Whaley to discuss the classic Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

In this episode, the three discuss the nature of the Christmas genre, as represented in this Frank Capra film that has become seminal for the Christmas season in the United States. Capra's conservative ideology is compared to the film's messages, which at times support his views, but at other times appear to support a socialist perspective that contradicts his beliefs. The discussion considers the film's position as a piece of Americana, and how its messages work to produce the mythology of the United States and normalize the American culture for its immigrant citizens.

If you want to listen to Matt Singer in the podcast that Christopher referenced in this episode, then you can find it here.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 31: Sherlock Holmes

November 23rd, 2016

In the thirty-first episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast, and Sherlockian, Malynnda Johnson to discuss the indelible nature of famous British detective, Sherlock Holmes.

In this episode, Malynnda shares her extensive fan-based knowledge of the classic private investigator as the conversation considers the influence Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had on the world when he created the inhabitants of 221B Baker Street. Holmes' continuing influence on today's world provides the crux of the discussion, as he is considered to be an inspiration for various genres, from detective to superhero. Furthermore, the trio examine how the fandom around Holmes reflects the fandoms that would follow, and what the nature of the fandom says about the relationship between fans and the canon's creator(s).

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 30: Being John Malkovich (1999)

October 30th, 2016

In the thirtieth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard conclude the Halloween season by welcoming friend of the podcast, and fellow podcaster, Jim Laczkowski to discuss the existential film, Being John Malkovich (1999).

In this episode, the conversation considers how the film portrays insecurity, which is a common theme in screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's works. Beyond that, the trio considers how existential the film is in its treatment of insecurity, gender, identity, and the meaning of life. Ultimately, the discussion determines that the message of the movie focuses on how people need to develop empathy and connect with those around them, otherwise existential horrors could be anyone's fate.

You can join Jim in his conversations about film at his Director's Club podcast and his discussions about pop culture at his Pop Culture Club podcast.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 29: Videodrome (1983)

October 16th, 2016

In the twenty-ninth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome the Halloween season and friend of the podcast Salvatore DiSalvatore to discuss the body horror film from David Cronenberg, Videodrome (1983).

In this episode, the conversation considers how prescient and thus still relevant this thirty-three year-old film is. The trio considers how the film depicts common fears whenever a new communication technology is introduced as it draws on media theories and concepts in its horrific depiction of a man succumbing to the "new flesh." Concerns over misogyny and misandry, hyperreality and reality, and conservative versus progress ideologies inform this discussion as they consider how the film's message may be even more important for today's media saturated world.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

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.

00:0000:00

Episode 28: Frank Sinatra

September 11th, 2016

In the twenty-eighth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome back friend of the podcast and unofficial fourth co-host Clelia Sweeney to discuss the classic iconography of Frank Sinatra.

In this episode, the conversation considers how Sinatra's identity changed through the various stages of his career, but also how those changes were under his control as he worked to create a celebrity identity focused on masculinity and American mythos. Throughout the years, his ability to control his identity led to an iconic performance, leading him to embody what it meant to be a man in the mid-20th century. Interestingly, his celebrity identity resembles performances seen in contemporary boy bands and singers, and their ability to make fangirls squee in delight.

One note: in the episode, Christopher discusses a Sinatra album as his recommendation that was in fact part of a trilogy that Sinatra produced in 1980. You can find more information at that venerable source of facts, Wikipedia, in this article.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

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.

00:0000:00