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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Of 'Avengers' And The Other A-List

NPR
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Our intrepid host, Linda Holmes, is wrapping up her self-imposed isolation in the mountains of North Carolina, so the rest of the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was forced to soldier on without her for one harrowing episode. And, given that we just did a No Boys Allowed episode two weeks ago, we figured we'd fill the room with dudes — you know, men's men.

So Glen Weldon, Trey Graham and I — already a veritable murderer's row of pure testosterone — invited in our colleague Matt Thompson (no relation to the other one in the room), who works in some sort of editorial-product-development-synergy-management capacity here at NPR, but who also wrote his senior thesis on Joss Whedon. So, you know, our kind of people, and just the agreeable sort to bring in for a discussion of Whedon's octillion-dollar super-blockbuster The Avengers. We're very proud of ourselves for offering a handful of insights beyond, "When that thing happened, I really liked that thing, which happened."

We then move from The Avengers to the idea of the A-list — not The A-List, tempting though that might have been — and the idea of superstardom in an age of media Balkanization. It may be easier than ever to hop on the D-list, but is there a modern-day equivalent of a Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor? What makes an A-list celebrity, anyway?

Then, as always, it's on to what's making us happy, which — for those who wish we'd actually provide links when we say we're going to — include this and this from Matt, this and this from Trey, this from Glen, and this from me. As always, we invite everyone to join our happy community of nice folks on Facebook, and to follow me, Trey, Glen, special guest Matt, and esteemed producer Mike on Twitter.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)

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