1.5 “Growing Up” – The Adventures of Pete and Pete

Babyface Conor chooses to revisit The Adventures of Pete and Pete, a live-action Nickelodeon Show about the surreal suburban adventures of two brothers, both named Pete. The show aired in the early 1990’s before Conor was born, so we start by discussing how one can be nostalgic about something they didn’t live through.

We then discuss how it has aged well (wholesomeness, sense of humor) and how it hasn’t (cheap-looking, complete and utter absence of minority characters). In the process, Conor discovers that he completely missed the point of an episode he had a strong personal response to in childhood.

Outro Music: “Hey Sandy” by Polaris

1.4 “Was South Park Ever Good?” – South Park Season 1

Noah and Elizabeth head on down to South Park and revisit its very first season from 1997. South Park has been continuously produced to the present day by its original creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The 23rd Season premieres this Wednesday.

The show’s legacy is. . .complicated. Trey Parker and Matt Stone made (and continue to make) most episodes week-to-week – literally over the course of six days before they air, and rely heavily on episodes that riff on current events in almost real time. Because of this episode content as well as the fact that it’s been the same two primary people making the show since its inception, you can track a fairly clear worldview through much of the series. In South Park’s heyday, this worldview was that of mean-spirited adolescent nihilism: everything sucks, everybody sucks, and screw everyone who claims to care about something, they’re lying.

Noah, a long-time South Park viewer, wants to see if South Park was always like this from the beginning. Elizabeth, not a fan of South Park, discovers to her surprise how much early South Park she actually remembers from her childhood despite never having really watched it. We discuss South Park’s origins as an brilliantly inventive use of construction paper, the cultural phenomenon of its early seasons, how it curdled into bitterness, and how its sensibility overlaps with the modern internet reactionary movement.

Outro Music: “Pokerface” – Lady Gaga

1.3 “If We Never Have a Chance to Forget. . .” – Star Trek: The Next Generation

Everyone loves Star Trek: The Next Generation. But with over a hundred episodes spanning 7 seasons, there’s just too much to choose from. So for this discussion, Noah and Elizabeth each picked an episode they remembered vividly from their childhoods.

We shortly discover that the two chosen episodes, “Masks” and “Genesis”, are two of the worst of the entire series. But still fun! In this discussion we talk about the delightful goofiness of TNG at its worst, what makes for “real” Star Trek, and if we will ever be allowed to move on from popular intellectual property.

Outro Music: TNG Episode Guide Song (I would credit the author if I could find out who it was)

1.2 “The Need to be Taken Seriously” – The Dark is Rising

Katherine From Sweden revisits The Dark is Rising, a 1973 children’s fantasy classic by Susan Cooper. The book combines beautiful prose, English folklore, dull fetchquest plotting, and an overpowering sense of fatalism. The unique result of this is not quite like anything else in children’s literature.

Our discussion touches on not only Katherine’s experience reading the book both as a child and an adult, but how it would or would not appeal to the right type of child in 2019. We also discuss how unusual it reads by the standards of modern franchise-building YA, both in terms of content (too boring), writing style (too fancy), and whether it could have been written today (no way).

Outro Music: The Lego Movie – Batman’s Song (Untitled Self Portrait)