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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Mad Men,' Madmen And A Fond Farewell

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.
Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

With Trey out this week, we called upon one of our very favorite people, Barrie Hardymon, to join us. We start this week with a discussion of the two-hour season opener of Mad Men, which isn't dropping any major bombs about plot, I don't think, but which isn't tiptoeing either, so use your judgment. We talk about Stephen's first exposure to the much-honored series, the reasons why Barrie likes it better when it stays in the office, how things are changing as we cruise into the late '60s, and why Peggy is really just the best thing ever.

We also take a moment, as we must, to bid the fondest of farewells to one of our pop-culture heroes, Roger Ebert, who taught all of us quite a lot about reviews as conversations, about learning from the path you're on, and about adapting to changing environments. (And seriously: read some of the stuff he wrote about his wife, Chaz. It's divine.)

Our other topic this week is a new one for us: the unreliable narrator. From classic novels to modern films, we'll talk about the unique delights of people who can't really be trusted to tell their own stories. (I am aware, for the record, that there are people who dispute the reading I offer of the song we discuss in this segment, and that some of them are in the band and/or wrote the song. I stand by my sense that the song is what the song is, regardless of parol evidence offered in interviews, and as Glen points out in our first segment, I care about what you made, not about what you think you made.)

We have a particularly energetic segment this week regarding what's making us happy, beginning with Stephen's praise for a terribly underappreciated band and two songs that really need to work their way into your brain. Barrie is very happy about a new book she is very eager to talk to you about, just as soon as you have a chance to read it. Glen is happy about a game he is terrible at, and when he tells you how he envisions himself as a character in this game, I dare you not to laugh. And I am happy about a great new NPR project, and a great record to take in on a great day, and this bit of lunacy that I love you too much not to put right here.

But really, the highlight, as you will see, is a very, very special guest you can discover for yourself, who is happy about this and this.

You can follow all of us on Twitter: me, Stephen, Glen, Barrie, Trey, Jess, Mike, and our special guest.

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