What's making us happy: A guide for your weekend reading, listening and viewing
This week, President Biden gave his first State of the Union address, the SAG Awards gave us a preview of what might win at the Oscars, and somebody stole Snoop Dogg's lighter.
Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Self Center on Audible
Self Center is a narrative fiction comedy podcast from Audible that stars Judy Greer, and I should end right there because that's all you really need to know.
But I'll give you a little bit more. It's about a woman who goes to a wellness retreat that promises to help its clients center themselves but may harbor some sinister intent. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit. It's self-help, its cleanses, it's spin classes, it's all the things that are very easy to make fun of. Self Center doesn't avoid these jokes, but it gets them out of the way up front and then lets the jokes get weirder and funnier as they delineate the characters instead of just taking potshots at wellness culture. It's also wonderfully performed — the cast includes Kim Cattrall, Aparna Nancherla, Joel Kim Booster, Jane Lynch and not to put too fine a point on it, Judy Greer. It's just excellent. —Glen Weldon
What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma by Stephanie Foo
You might know Stephanie Foo from her time on Snap Judgment or This American Life. She has a new book out called What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma. I was so moved by it. It's somehow sharp-elbowed and generous and funny, and I highly recommend it. (Full disclosure: Stephanie and I share the same publisher and editor.) —Linda Holmes
Dicktown on FXX
I also recommend the FXX animated show Dicktown, which has now returned for a second season after a first season that ran as part of the animation anthology Cake. Dicktown is on its own now, and it stars John Hodgman as basically a grown-up Encyclopedia Brown type, and David Rees as a grown-up Bugs Meany type, and neither of them has ever grown up entirely, and it's just a very weird show I cannot explain completely but it's very funny and you should check it out. You can find it right on FXX on Thursdays, or catch episodes the next day on Hulu. —Linda Holmes
Drug Church's forthcoming album HYGIENE
Drug Church is a post-hardcore band from Albany, New York, and they're releasing their new album on March 11th. HYGIENE — the new album — is indebted to the 90s without retreading the same material. There's some grunge and some alt-rock. The riffs are riffy, the grooves are groovy and everything is really chunky.
Plus, the lyricist Patrick Kindlon has a really interesting take on things. All of the songs on this record are about being mad and frustrated that the world is the way it is, and you can't do anything about it — but in a sort of funny way. In "Million Miles of Fun," the hook goes, "News flash, I need news less." It's got a dude philosophy that's kind of brainless and silly but also really energizing. It's a record you can turn to when the world is bad and sad, so you might as well lift weights. —Andrew Limbong
Learning to knit with We Are Knitters
I have been trying to teach myself to knit for a very long time. It is something I always try to do in the winter, especially during the Winter Olympics, because I want something to do while I watch events.
While I did not watch much of the Winter Olympics this year, I did finally find a way of learning to knit that actually worked for me, which was really exciting. We Are Knitters sells these very basic learn-to-knit kits with all of the supplies you'd need and puts together videos that I found to be some of the clearest to follow. So while my knitting is not great, there is fabric that has been knitted together, and it looks like a shape and it is the most knitting I have ever done, so it's really exciting. —Daisy Rosario
NPR intern Fi O'Reilly adapted this Pop Culture Happy Hour segment into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider subscribing to our newsletter to get recommendations on what's making us happy every week.
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