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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Repurposing 'The Simpsons' And Busting Out Of A Rut

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.

As you no doubt know if you've consulted a media source at any point in the last few weeks, the Fox-owned FXX channel recently completed a 12-day marathon containing every Simpsons episode yet made. Regardless of the marathon's value or newsworthiness — which our panel discusses and debates here — it sparks in us a larger conversation about the repurposing of old content. So what starts with talk of The Simpsons (including praise of Mallory Ortberg's tribute to Martin Prince) and its forthcoming app ultimately expands to include America's Next Top Model, The Wire, The Wheel Of Time, Twin Peaks, Lost, Monty Python quotes, reading on the Kindle, fan expectations, the importance of communal experiences, and much more.

Then it's on to a discussion of ways to avoid falling into a pop-cultural rut. Linda, Glen, guest panelist Petra Mayer, and I all admit to leaning on familiar entertainment for comfort food, but we've each got different advice for how to expand our horizons. Tips include consulting friends, consulting strangers, eschewing curmudgeonliness, dipping into our own libraries for surprises, turning on the radio, turning off the radio, testing our own limits, and remaining notionally open to things we think we might hate.

Finally, as always, we close with What's Making Us Happy this week. I celebrate my long-delayed decision to watch a decade-old cult TV show — and praise a band, as is my wont. Glen finds promise in the latest incarnation of a 50-year-old British TV staple. Petra joins that particular chorus, as is her wont, and boasts about her acquisition of the forthcoming sequel to this book. (She's read and loved them both.) And Linda lists a bunch of the films she's hoping to see at this week's Toronto Film Festival — some of which she's no doubt already seen by the time you read this.

As always, we'd love to hear from you, so find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Linda, Glen, Petra, producer Jessica, and our producer emeritus and music director, Mike Katzif.

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