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Annie Roi / flickr creative commons

Fire imagery abounds in music, literature, art, and scripture. It thrives at the center of ceremony and ritual around the world. We associate fire with sentiments of passion, anger, transformation, purity, and even evil itself.

Some say our fascination with fire is owed to the fact that, of all creatures, we alone possess the ability to create and control it.

Netflix, Inc.

It's a special, Juneteenth (observed)-observing, Thursday edition of The Nose.

First: The lack of Afro-Latinx actors in the movie version of In the Heights has caused some controversy. Lin-Manuel Miranda has apologized.

And: High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America is a four-part docuseries hosted by Stephen Satterfield. All four episodes hit Netflix on May 26.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Betsy Kaplan has been producing episodes of The Colin McEnroe Show for a decade. Today is her last day. (Ostensibly, anyway. She's producing our show next Monday, which isn't really how last days are supposed to work. But it's very much how Betsy Kaplan works.) The Nose is crestfallen.

And: In the Heights is the big (and/or small) screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's multiple Tony Award-winning musical. It is directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Anthony Ramos. It debuted in theaters and on HBOMax on Thursday.

HARU_Q / flickr creative commons

Everybody loves a bulldozer. In fact, we all grew up loving bulldozers, didn't we? From Benny the Bulldozer to Katy and her big snow, from all the Tonka toys to all the die cast model Caterpillars, the bulldozer is more of an icon in American popular culture than we maybe realize.

But the first scholarly "biography of the bulldozer" argues that there's a darker side to the demolition and clearance that gives these big machines purpose. And then, maybe there is a certain violence inherent here too.

RKO Radio Pictures

Over just six years, from 1954 to 1960, Alfred Hitchcock made four movies -- Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960) -- that are routinely mentioned among the very best movies ever made. It's maybe an unparalleled run in the history of cinema.

And that's just those four movies. Hitchcock's filmography is full of classics: Notorious (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951), The 39 Steps (1935), The Wrong Man (1956), The Birds (1963). The list goes on.

HBO Max

Adrian Lopez is a high school kid from East Vale, California. He had planned a high school kid's birthday party at some fire pits for last weekend. But then the TikTok flyer for the party went viral, thousands of people showed up to two different locations, and the whole thing has been described as a "zombie apocalypse" of "17 to 19 year olds."

And: Hacks is a half-hour sitcom from HBO Max. It stars Jean Smart as a late-career Vegas comedian, and it's written and created by three people who wrote for Broad City on Comedy Central.

Still from the movie "Music" of actress Maddie Ziegler
HanWay Films

When the preview for musical artist Sia’s debut film Music was released---- it received backlash from individuals on the autism spectrum. But it also sparked a conversation about neurodiversity.

Kyle Kaplan / Amazon Studios

After a long absence from Twitter, Donald Glover last week, in a series of since-deleted tweets, blamed boring culture on cancel culture.

After a long absence from the popular culture, Sinéad O'Connor has a memoir coming out.

And: The Underground Railroad is a 10-part limited series on Amazon Prime. It's Barry Jenkins's adaptation of Colson Whitehead's 2016 novel.

hobvias sudoneighm / flickr creative commons

Semiotics is the study of sign process, which is to say: it's the science of the search for meaning.

And then, part of the underlying premise of semiotics -- which just happens to be part of the underlying premise of The Colin McEnroe Show, itself -- is that there's meaning... everywhere.

Why do people smoke cigarettes even though everyone knows they're terribly harmful? Why do women wear terribly uncomfortable high-heeled shoes? Could it simply be because those things are... interesting?

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs, I kept saying that we shouldn't overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be relatively bad at the thing you’re an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

And they are. There's a whole podcast about political candidates who lost. We romanticize losers in movies and TV and songs and stories.

MARCO VERCH / flickr creative commons

Seriously: a show about towels.

There's the history of towels, towels in Christianity, Terrible Towels, Towel Day.

Oh, and there are actual towels too.

Because when has a bad idea ever stopped us before?

Janus Films

André Gregory has directed and acted in the theater for more than 50 years. He has appeared in a number of movies, including Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Brian De Palma's The Bonfire of the Vanities, Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast, and many more. He has starred in three movies about the theater with the playwright, actor, and comedian Wallace Shawn: A Master Builder, Vanya on 42nd Street, and the iconic My Dinner with Andre.

Gregory's memoir is This Is Not My Memoir. He joins us for the hour.

Jemastock/Harryarts from vecteezy.com

What if, in order to do your job, you had to change your voice? 

Meet an actress who’s an accent expert, a man who is the dubbed-over voice of Peter Griffin and Will Smith in Germany, and a news anchor who went viral when she brought her anchor voice home.

THIERRY EHRMANN / flickr creative commons

Popeye. The World According to Garp. Good Morning, Vietnam. Dead Poets Society. Awakenings. The Fisher King. Aladdin. Mrs. Doubtfire. Jumanji. The Birdcage. Good Will Hunting. What Dreams May Come. One Hour Photo. Death to Smoochy. Insomnia. Night at the Museum.

And that's just a super-abbreviated version of Robin Williams's filmography. And it completely ignores his career as one of the all-time great standup comedians. And it ignores Mork & Mindy. And Comic Relief. And so much more.

This hour: A look at Robin Williams, who would've turned 70 this year.

Legendary / Warner Bros.

So celebrities and their giant water bottles: It's a thing, I guess. And then there's the ABC Carpet couches email thread. Plus: Netflix's dwindling, dying DVD library.

And then: Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth movie in Legendary's MonsterVerse. It's a direct sequel to both Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), and it's the 12th King Kong movie and the 36th Godzilla movie, overall. Godzilla vs. Kong's theatrical opening (both internationally and domestically) has been the largest of any movie's during the pandemic.

Leeber / flickr creative commons

On March 6, Lou Ottens died in Duizel in the Netherlands. He was 94. I don't think I had ever heard of Ottens before, but the news of his death quickly filled my social media feeds. Ottens, you see, invented the compact cassette in the 1960s.

There's a certain romance to the cassette tape, right? They're more fun than mp3s, for sure. And it turns out they're having a little mini resurgence right now.

Still from the movie "Music" of actress Maddie Ziegler
HanWay Films

When the preview for musical artist Sia’s debut film Music was released---- it received backlash from individuals on the autism spectrum. But it also sparked a conversation about neurodiversity.

Focus Features

It might just be that the pandemic is starting to wind down. Advertisers are anxious to act like it is. We're all maybe anxious to get some hugs back into our lives, or maybe we'll all just always be anxious about hugs. And: How does this all work for half-vaccinated couples? Plus: The Nose sees some parallels in the sexlessness of superheroes.

And: Promising Young Woman is Emerald Fennell's feature-film debut as a writer, director, and producer, and it's made her an Academy Award-nominated writer, director, and producer. The movie is nominated for five Oscars overall, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Carey Mulligan.

Green Fuse Films Inc.

On the one hand, obituaries are an amalgam of a bunch of different kinds of journalism: they're feature stories, they're profile pieces, they cover history, and they're hard news too.

On the other hand, the subject is always... dead.

Discovery Communications, LLC

Criminal Minds. Mindhunter and Manhunt. Cracker and Profiler. Nearly the whole of the Hannibal Lecter universe: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal (the movie and the TV series), Red Dragon, and now Clarice.

It seems we're fascinated by forensic psychology, by mindhunting, by criminal profiling.

This hour, we look at three different criminal profilers: James Brussel, the psychologist who helped catch the Mad Bomber of New York in 1957; James Fitzgerald, the forensic linguist who caught the Unabomber; and Bill James, the father of sabermetrics, turns his data analysis on a century-old serial killer mystery that no one had even realized was a serial killer mystery before he and his daughter figured it out.

HBO

This Week (or so) in Reassessing Not-Necessarily-Current Bits of Culture: Seuss enterprises pulled six mostly early Dr. Seuss books from future publication. Disney+ added content warnings to certain episodes of The Muppet Show. Amazon tweaked its app logo to look less like, uh, Hitler. Turner Classic Movies launched a new series called Reframed Classics that will, well, frame movies like Gone with the Wind and Breakfast at Tiffany's with discussions of their problematic aspects.

And: Allen v. Farrow is a four-part HBO documentary series that chronicles the sexual assault allegation against Woody Allen by Dylan Farrow.

RKO Radio Pictures

Over just six years, from 1954 to 1960, Alfred Hitchcock made four movies -- Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960) -- that are routinely mentioned among the very best movies ever made. It's maybe an unparalleled run in the history of cinema.

And that's just those four movies. Hitchcock's filmography is full of classics: Notorious (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951), The 39 Steps (1935), The Wrong Man (1956), The Birds (1963). The list goes on.

HARU_Q / flickr creative commons

There's a theory that ours isn't the only universe. That there are, actually, infinitely many universes.

That there are, then, infinitely many yous.

That there are infinitely many different yous reading infinitely many different versions of this show synopsis. That there are infinitely many universes that don't even bother to include you. Or this show synopsis. Or even reading.

Fox Searchlight

On Thursday, Hasbro announced that its Mr. Potato Head brand would drop the "Mr." in a move toward inclusiveness. But they also made clear, in a move toward not being yelled at by the internet, that the Mr. Potato Head character (and the Mrs. Potato Head character, for that matter) would continue.

Also this week, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a new design for its mail trucks. The internet yelled about that some, too.

And: Nomadland is Chloé Zhao's third film as writer and director. It is nominated for four awards at this weekend's Golden Globes, including two for Zhao (Best Director and Best Screenplay) and one for Frances McDormand (Best Actress in a Motion Picture -- Drama).

WarnerMedia Direct, LLC

In a new essay for Harper's, filmmaker Martin Scorsese criticizes the current state of the movie business and all these new fangled streaming platforms and their algorithms. "We can’t depend on the movie business, such as it is, to take care of cinema," Scorsese says.

And: Judas and the Black Messiah is a biopic of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. It is director Shaka King's studio feature film debut, and it's nominated for two Golden Globe Awards. It is one of two movies nominated for Golden Globes this year that portray Hampton (along with The Trial of the Chicago 7).

MARCO VERCH / flickr creative commons

We live in an "Everything Should Take Twenty Minutes" world. Movies are too long. SundanceTV has a show that airs in 10-minute episodes. Tierra Whack has a 15-minute album made of fifteen 60-second songs. Todd Rundgren's memoir has 183 one-page, three-paragraph chapters.

So today, we turn our hour over to five short, little shows about short, little things.

Marvel Studios

WandaVision is a Disney+ miniseries that's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that's set, like, inside the history of television? It follows Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision as they try to conceal their superhero powers and blend into a generic sitcom neighborhood. Episodes so far have taken on the look and feel of American sitcoms from the 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s.

Janus Films

André Gregory has directed and acted in the theater for more than 50 years. He has appeared in a number of movies, including Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Brian De Palma's The Bonfire of the Vanities, Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast, and many more. He has starred in three movies about the theater with the playwright, actor, and comedian Wallace Shawn: A Master Builder, Vanya on 42nd Street, and the iconic My Dinner with Andre.

Gregory's memoir is This Is Not My Memoir. He joins us for the hour.

TV: Macrovector at Freepik.com / Illustration: Chion Wolf


With the world the way it is, it’s no wonder we spend so much of our time watching television and movies. From sci-fi flicks like Star Trek, to unscripted reality shows like Queer Eye, to comedy dramas like Schitt’s Creek, we are basking in the very best distractions.

Netflix, Inc.

Tom Cruise's seventh Mission: Impossible installment has been one of the few huge Hollywood productions trying to to figure out how to film during the pandemic. Cruise has been in the news lately for blowing up at his crew for breaking COVID protocols, and now he's back in the news for… buying COVID enforcement robots?

And: Could front porches be just the right "magical intermediate zone" to keep communities connecting during a time of social distancing?

And finally: Nicolas Cage is hosting a documentary series on Netflix called History of Swear Words. Normally I'd try to give you a little more context here, but I feel like that first sentence pretty much covers it.

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