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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Kimmy Schmidt' And Derivative Culture

NPR
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Those of you with Netflix may have had a chance by now to catch up with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a show created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (of 30 Rock) that was originally intended for NBC before winding up at its online home. We spend some time with the first 13-episode run this week, joined by our friend Kat Chow, of NPR's Code Switch. Kat recently wrote an excellent piece about some of the complicated questions around race that the show's diverse cast has raised, and we do get into those questions. But we also talk about "Pinot Noir," the extensive use of types, joke density, and lots more.

Then we move on to the tricky question of when culture is simply inspired lovingly by its influences and when it gets to the point where it's called "derivative." We connect this to music and books as well as television, and we try to figure out when the hairs on the backs of our necks stand on end and we start to mutter, "Well now that's just swiped."

As always, we close with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about a new record he reviewed at NPR Music. Glen is happy about an app that ... well, you'll have to let him tell you. Kat is happy about a piece that made her grin and gave considerable inspiration to some of the rest of us as well. And I'm happy about an essay by a friend of the show (hear her here) who goes deep on a widely used word.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: the show, me, Stephen, Glen, Kat, producer Jessica, and producer emeritus/music director/friend/hero Mike Katzif.

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

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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