Black Ops Episode 9 – You Are Not a Mistake [DECLASSIFIED!]

[As we continue our show hiatus, it has been decided by the fine people who support us on Patreon that we are going to make public — or ‘declassify’ — one of our Patreon-exclusive Black Ops episodes every month. This month, our patrons have personally selected this episode to help fill the gap! Consider it a look back at the ‘Before Times’]

Original Patreon release date: July 26, 2018

In what is an ultra-MEGA-sized two-and-a-half hour episode, we really run the gamut.

First, we talk about popular culture we loved as kids, but are afraid to revisit, because we fear it won’t survive adult scrutiny. In Mike’s case that means a series of epic fantasy novels that he suspects both really hold up in some way, and really really really don’t in other.

We then talk about the evolving nature of stand-up comedy and the divergent attitudes of comics like Jerry Seinfeld, and Hannah Gadsby — and how many older comedians seem to desire to be “above” politics or social commentary. Is that even possible or desirable?

Do genre stories like science fiction and superheroes have a responsibility to touch on questions of social and cultural importance? Why do the calls for political neutrality usually seem to mask a right-wing agenda?

We get into bad movie theater experiences that stretches Mike’s aversion to confrontation to the breaking point, and dive into the thorny issues of intellectual property and online piracy.

And finally, things get a bit emotional when we talk about how profoundly powerful and deeply intimate the new documentary about Mister Rogers is.

Fun Size Episode 50 – It’s Just the End of the World as We Know It

In our double-sized fiftieth Fun Size episode, in the middle of a global pandemic and nationwide uprisings against systemic and racist police violence, we sit down with Sam Mulvey of KTQA radio in Tacoma, to….talk about something something…

Did we mention that Zack Snyder broke the third seal by announcing the release his own — inevitably underwhelming — cut of a superhero movie you don’t remember? What are the limits of escapism in a real world on fire? Is it even possible to watch a cop show with ungritted teeth anymore? We try to keep it together, and dig through the wreckage for some kind of meaning.

PLUS: a major announcement about the show at the end of the episode!

Fun Size Episode 46 – Quarantine Titans

We’re back! Sort of…

In a special remotely-recorded quarantine edition of the show, we sit down with Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters comic book podcast to pine for long lost sources of food, like the cafeteria at Joe’s work and a couple of local sandwich shops.

We ask: has the quality of McDonald’s food gotten worse since we were kids, or were we blinded by a child’s epicureal standards? Has junk food in general gotten worse?

We also talk about how good Adam Sandler movies could be if only he tried. And Batman v. Superman comes up, and… we just can’t not.

Episode 43 – Condorman

He Spies! He Flies! He Death-Defies!

In this month’s Single Serving Selection, we take to the skies above Monte Carlo with Greg Hatcher of the Atomic Junk Shop blog to swoop into Disney’s superhero/spy film that sank at the box office, only to rise again as a cult favorite: 1981’s Condorman!

When bumbling comic book artist Woody Wilkins is chosen for a simple courier mission  for the CIA, he makes an impression on a beautiful KGB agent who wants to defect. Now the only man she trusts to escort her to the West is Woody, who she believes to be a highly skilled secret operative.  Woody agrees to the mission, but only if the CIA will use its resources to turn him into the high-flying superhero from his own comic book: Condorman!

Fun Size Episode 43 – Get in a Booth and Pretend to Be Poop

In an episode calling back to us from the near past, we get a little nervous, excited and curious about the then-upcoming Star Trek: Picard. We dig a bit into Trek‘s enduring franchise, both its evolutions and how after almost two decades, is finally moving its timeline forward.

We try to figure out how Wonder Woman and Star Trek Beyond could have gone from very good to great, with the same third act change. We wonder which members of the “Next Generation” crew have the best managerial skills. And finally, we look at how modern audiences — and studios — don’t want to admit that they love inspirational movie heroes.

Black Ops Episode 17 – Ask Us Anything: 2019 [CLIP]

In our new nearly two hour episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we’re answering your questions in our first Ask Us Anything episode!

We start by sharing three facts about ourselves that you might not know, then we tackle your questions!

We talk about our musical obsessions, past political activism, strange retail job stories, how we met, our adventures with conspiracy theorists on public access television, our respective parenthood and non-parenthood, Al Pacino impressions, Mike’s cancer treatments, desert island selections, and how we first fell in love with our favorite pop culture fandoms. And so, so many digressions.

Included in this episode are questions by David Gutiérrez, Grant Richter, Wesley, Tim Batson, and Gem Newman.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Mike Appears on the Superman II Movie Minute Podcast!

Mike joins Rob Kelly and Chris Franklin’s Superman Movie Minute for the final five minutes of 1981’s Superman II, as Christoper Reeve’s nerdy Clark Kent has an epic showdown with a Canadian bully in one of the greatest moments in cinema.

Check it out because you’ve never seen garbage eating garbage before!

Fun Size Episode 40 – The Fucking C-Word

We sit down again with Tobiah Panshin to open up a bit about medical scares and Mike’s recent testicular cancer diagnosis and treatment. We dig into the heavy emotional weight that comes with getting scary news from a doctor. We also look at how the fictional depiction of cancer in popular media really doesn’t prepare you for the reality of even a highly treatable cancer.

Plus, we chat a little about the recent, strange anxiety about vaping, and how it compares to past moral panics like video games, rap music, Satanism, and Dungeons & Dragons.

Oh, and don’t vote for Joe Biden. He’s just awful.

Episode 39 – Spider-Man

“Spins a web, any size. Catches thieves, just like flies.”

This month, we’re web-slinging through New York with the Fire and Water Network‘s Ryan Daly and Tobiah Panshin of the House of Jack and Stan podcast. We’re climbing the wall over Marvel’s revolutionary and relatable comic book hero: the Amazing Spider-Man!

From his beginnings in a cancelled anthology comic by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962, Spidey has exploded into multimedia superstardom, and changed the superhero genre forever. He’s headlined literally thousands of comic book issues, seven feature films, and countless animated shows. He’s been a company mascot, a parade balloon, a breakfast cereal, a cartoon pig, and even the star of his own failed Broadway musical.

We dig into all things pertaining to the web-head, try to figure out if the Daily Bugle is a reputable news source, and try to answer that question: is Spider-Man hero, or menace?

Music: 
“Main Titles/Costume Montage” from Spider-Man (2002) by Danny Elfman

Black Ops Episode 13 – Some Stuff in the Basement [CLIP]

In our latest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we empty the basement.

Mike has been a dedicated, lifelong comics book and superhero fan. And he’s been thrilled to see these characters and stories play out on the big screen… or he did. So he sits down with Casey to talk about how superhero cinema — even most of the “good stuff” — is leaving him feeling pretty blase and desensitized.

It’s a conversation that’s been brewing for at least a year, and Mike wants to get all of it out of his system. He’s sick of complaining about Marvel and Zack Snyder on podcasts, so he attempts in one conversation to purge all of it out of his system in one go. One last time, for our sanity’s sake.

Pray for us.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Black Ops Episode 10 – Meet Your Parents. Make Money. Kill Hitler. [CLIP]

In our latest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, a trip to a computer museum prompts a mind-breaking discussion about the mechanics of time travel in the Back to the Future movies.

When we return to a present that we’ve created by altering the past, are we killing our alternate selves and inserting ourselves into their lives? Was the elderly Biff Tannen’s master plan with the sports almanac actually pretty stupid? And is Biff in the new timeline George McFly’s “Reek”? What about how time travel works in Looper, Star Trek, Lost or in Marvel Comics?

All this and Mike tries to explain the chronology of the X-Men character Cable to Casey. Deep breaths, everyone!

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Fun Size Episode 29 – Fighting the Adam West Fight

We jump back into the fray with Greg Hatcher, to talk debate the merits of Star Trek Discovery, the future of the franchise and what we want from a Trek property.

We also look at the trailer for the new streaming Titans series, and wonder why such a fun property would want to be dour and overserious. Why do so many fans –and even creators — just miss the point?

Black Ops Episode 9 – You Are Not a Mistake

In what is an ultra-MEGA-sized two-and-a-half hour episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we really run the gamut.

First, we talk about  popular culture we loved as kids, but are afraid to revisit, because we fear it won’t survive adult scrutiny. In Mike’s case that means a series of epic fantasy novels that he suspects both really hold up in some way, and really really really don’t in other.

We then talk about the evolving nature of stand-up comedy and the divergent attitudes of comics like Jerry Seinfeld, and Hannah Gadsby — and how many older comedians seem to desire to be “above” politics or social commentary. Is that even possible or desirable?

Do genre stories like science fiction and superheroes have a responsibility to touch on questions of social and cultural importance? Why do the calls for political neutrality usually seem to mask a right-wing agenda?

We get into bad movie theater experiences that stretches Mike’s aversion to confrontation to the breaking point, and dive into the thorny issues of intellectual property and online piracy.

And finally, things get a bit emotional when we talk about how profoundly powerful and deeply intimate the new documentary about Mister Rogers is.

To hear this episode — and many more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Black Ops Episode 7 – The Twilight of the Pamphlet

In this extra-sized episode exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we talk more with View from the GuttersTobiah Panshin about the past, present and possible future of comic books as a medium and an industry.

We talk about how old Marvel letter columns reveal both angry letters from Tobiah’s mom, and how Wolverine was initially the least popular X-Men character. We react to the puzzling tirades about “SJWs” taking over superhero comics, and reflect on how we can balance the toxic attitudes of creators like Frank Miller and Dave Sim against their groundbreaking work and where he puts them in comics history.

And finally, we wonder if it’s time for American comic books to abandon the floppy monthly issue format and fundamentally change if Marvel and DC are going to survive for future generations

To hear this episode — and many more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Fun Size Episode 19 – This Human Centipede of Cinematic Nonsense

We’re back in the studio for a continued conversations with our friend Kit DeForge, to dig into why Dwayne Johnson may be the most likeable human being in the world.

And then we tempt fate by taking a critical look at the first DC superhero movie to get universal critical acclaim in nearly a decade!

Kit has an unpopular opinion about the new Wonder Woman film. What are the reasonable expectations we can have for a blockbuster superhero film? We talk about how we can unfairly pile our hopes and dreams onto a piece of entertainment, and how it can often be difficult to be honest about something that we really, really want to love.