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Arts & Culture

What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend reading and viewing

Con O'Neill and Taika Waititi in episode 6 of <em>Our Flag Means Death. </em>
Aaron Epstein
/
HBO Max
Con O'Neill and Taika Waititi in episode 6 of <em>Our Flag Means Death. </em>

This week, Alyssa Nakken became the first woman to coach on the field in MLB history, Dolly Parton's cake mixes and frosting line became available in stores, and the Kardashians returned.

Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Julia on HBO Max

I am loving Julia on HBO Max. It's a mini-series following Julia Child's rise from cookbook author to TV personality, and it shows her and her marriage in a light that I haven't seen before. Her frustrations, insecurities, ambition, and swearing are all front and center.

The show is also just a feast for the eyes. It's got all those colorful 1960s sets and costumes. Everything is beautiful, the cast is terrific, and I cannot say enough good things about Julia. —Kristen Meinzer

Rothaniel on HBO Max

Jerrod Carmichael's Rothaniel is his latest stand-up special for HBO, and it is a complete 180 from The Carmichael Show. He leaves himself exposed in a way that I haven't seen from him or from most comedians, really.

In the special, as you might have heard, Carmichael comes out as gay. I love the way he talks about his coming out process because I feel like a lot of pop culture treats it as a sort of "one-and-done" situation. You have the dining room table conversation with your parents and you never have to come out again, you just move on with your life. And that's not his story. And especially as a 34-year-old coming out — that adds a whole other level of complication. I just found it so lovely and so breathtakingly honest. And Bo Burnham, who directed the special, adds so many interesting visual departures from what we generally expect of stand-up specials. It was incredible. —Inkoo Kang

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everyone needs to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once. I've watched it maybe three times already and it is one of the best movies I've seen, maybe ever.

It talks about family, motherhood, love and nihilism. It touches on how maybe nothing matters, but also everything does and it really makes you appreciate the important things in your life. The movie made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me angry, and basically, just feel every emotion I've ever felt and ever could feel in my entire life. I would highly recommend it. —Laura Sirikul

Our Flag Means Death on HBO Max

Our Flag Means Death is a fantastic comedy series on HBO Max. Imagine, if you will, the sensibility of What We Do In the Shadows and Wellington Paranormal brought to the genre that is: swashbuckling pirate. It's not a mockumentary, but it does have that Taika Waititi essence to it and is based on a true story, which is maybe the weirdest thing about it.

Rhys Darby, finally getting the spotlight he's always deserved, plays Gentleman Pirate Stede Bonnet, a nobleman who really did wake up one day and decided to become a pirate and did, eventually, meet up with Blackbeard, played in the show by Taika Waititi. This show knows exactly the vibe it's going for and nails it from the jump. It is so assured and so smart and so deeply queer, so it gets my highest recommendation. —Glen Weldon

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

  • I did a bunch of reading this week, and I just loved Susan Rigetti's Cover Story, which is an insightful, tense story that's exactly what you want from a twisty thriller about a hustler (think Anna Delvey) who isn't what she appears. More book recommendations from me in this thread.
  • If you haven't taken the opportunity, in light of the death of Gilbert Gottfried, to watch the "You fool!" clip, just ... go and watch the "You fool!" clip
  • The series Anatomy of a Scandal drops on Netflix Friday. It stars Rupert Friend, Sienna Miller, and Michelle Dockery. Created by David E. Kelley and Melissa James Gibson, it is not what I would consider "good." But there are times when it has kind of a trashy '90s thriller vibe, almost — a friend and I both compared it independently to the work of Adrian Lyne — so if you need a weekend binge and that's what you're looking for, maybe try an episode or two to see how you feel. —Linda Holmes

  • NPR intern Fi O'Reilly adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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