Well, it appears that the Mild Yet Endless Winter™ might be coming to a close as we finally start getting spring-related weather about a month and a half late. The culture shifts for Central Oregon, with the contingent of locals that don't care about winter sports exiting their hibernation, and those who aren't big fans of the sweltering sun shifting to big, dark rooms with air conditioning. Or, if you're like me and are a bit of an indoor kid year-round, it's just another month to discover new pop cultural phenomena and share them with friends and strangers. There are a ton of cool new things, so let's get into it.
In Pod We Trust
If you're feeling especially single after this winter, Nicole Byer's podcast, "Why Won't You Date Me," is helpful in making one feel less isolated inside their specific brand of loneliness. While the show is consistently hilarious and raunchy, Byer also makes space for insightful guests sharing some pretty profound life lessons. Whether it's comedian Adam Pally talking about marrying his high school sweetheart or getting into the nuts and bolts of poly relationships with Zoe-Lister Jones, "Why Won't You Date Me" helps make the personal feel universal.
I cook a lot of the same dishes repeatedly with slight variations because I feel like I don't have time to learn new recipes, but food shows end up just making me hungry and sad since so many of the recipes seem unachievable to me. In a podcast format, however, cooking shows work best for me because the drool factor disappears and I can think about flavor instead of stressing over plating something worthy of a Michelin star. The only food podcast I've listened to with some regularity is "Off Menu," hosted by Ed Gamble and the great James Acaster. Along with hipster guests including Paul Mescal, Florence Pugh and Richard Ayode, Acaster and Gamble talk about the desert island foods they can't live without. There are almost 200 produced episodes, so prepare your tummy.
I don't follow many shows week-to-week since Netflix trained me like a Pavlovian dog to binge an entire season of something after it has already begun streaming. But this year I've taken comfort in waiting a week at a time for new episodes of current shows like it was the 1990s all over again. Aside from Netflix, most of the streaming services are releasing their shows a week at a time to capitalize on this weirdly specific nostalgia.
Watching the final seasons of HBO's "Barry" and "Succession" and AppleTV+'s "Ted Lasso" once a week has been rewarding, even if sometimes frustrating. "Barry's" fourth and final season is so insane and unpredictable that it's hard to even speculate about where it's going and instead just hanging on for the ride, whereas Season Three of "Ted Lasso" has doubled the length of the episodes and become a sprawling dramedy, pivoting away from a lot of the workplace hi-jinks of the first two seasons.
"Succession" is still as meticulously profane as ever, but sometimes loses sight of the broken family at its center, instead focusing too much on corporate politics. As much as I still love all three shows, "Lasso" and "Succession" feel like a full meal every week while "Barry" is more of an appetizer that won't be filling until the entire season is out.
There are so many current shows to cover, like the creepy and moving second season of Showtime's "Yellowjackets," or the flawed final episodes of Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and, of course, the best show you're not watching, the genre-defying Badass Nun series from Peacock, "Mrs. Davis," just to name a few.
One episode a week is the new binging, I'm calling it now. What say all of you?