Fun Size Episode 68 – Nobody Gives a Fuck About Rutherford B. Hayes

We’re continuing our chat with Joe Preti, for a deep dive into the topics that really matter.

We perhaps spend too much time, dissecting the many pathological lies and shitty behavior of 90s action star Steven Seagal, and we explore the two qualities a person can have in combination that can precipitate a downfall (or at least make you wish that it had). We explore the new Elvis Presley biopic, and the fleeting myth of cultural immortality. Do some things and people just deserve to be forgotten? And do only the truly worst people in the world achieve true notoriety? And isn’t being totally forgotten in a way… kind of liberating?

And we share a special announcement about the future of Fun Size episodes!

Fun Size Episode 67 – When Did I Become an Old Man?

We’re back with Dave Brouillette to speak in defense of cinema’s great unsung wet blankets. The long-suffering adults left to pick up the pieces when the reckless hot shot protagonist with a disregard for human life blows up half of downtown or nearly starts World War III while they were saving the day or just looking cool.

Is there an age where your empathy naturally starts to gravitate to these people over the bad boy hero?

We also dig into the complicated emotions of watching popular media with jingoistic or reactionary politics — from Top Gun to 24 to Death Wish — both overt and implicit. Even the stuff we like can be a bit harrowing to watch at times.

Fun Size Episode 66 – The Word for That Is “Extortion”

We continue our chat with Michael Warbington and dig into a rich vein we usually leave unmined: video games.

With different levels of skill, engagement and knowledge, we look at the experience of gaming in 2022, the intersection of art and commerce, the prevalence of in-game microtransactions, getting mercilessly griefed by racist swearing twelve year-olds, and a game’s replayability. What do we want out of the gaming experience?

Fun Size Episode 65 – From Sublime to Disgusting (And Everything in Between)

We’re back with Kirby Green and talking about the strange and surprising wholesomeness of Jackass Forever, the history of “caught-on-video” media, and the opportunistic moral panics they often inspire.

While we talk about how a franchise famous for dangerous stunts and painful assaults on the testicles has become one of the few things in America that we can all agree on, and how it might just be a model for body positivity. And we look at its far more morally reprehensible and shamelessly exploitative media ancestors like Faces of Death, Bumfights, Girls Gone Wild, COPS, and whatever weird VHS tapes that scary kid from middle school with the shuriken in his pocket was bragging about watching.

Fun Size Episode 64 – A Real Lesson in Imagined Power

We’re back in the studio with Patrick Johnson for one of our weirdest conversations yet. First, what are the consequences of having a perfect memory? On our emotions, our morality, or our sanity? What does it mean to forget, is it for the best that our memories are imperfect?

And when Star Trek‘s Data finally achieves a range of emotional responses, would he suddenly be bombarded with a tidal wave of backlogged emotional responses to old memories? Is a perfect memory a curse? Is it possible to forgive when the wrongs done to you will be forever remembered with perfect recall?

Then, we talk about cops. Both the people and the reality show. And how our deeply ingrained perceptions of policing are shaped far more by fictional media depictions than even our own often tense and uncomfortable encounters with real life law enforcement. And what about shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter, and other situations where people simply assume an air of authority with the implied threat of violence?

We recommend: Running from COPS podcast.

Fun Size Episode 63 – I Want Willem Dafoe in Every Movie

Has the world gone mad? Well, yes. But we’re also looking back on 2021 as a remarkably great year at the movies! We’re still talking to Tobiah Panshin for an uncharacteristically positive and optimistic discussion about the current state of cinema. For real!

We briefly touch on: The Last Duel, Titane, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Licorice Pizza, The French Dispatch, Dune, C’mon C’mon, Spencer, Malignant, The Suicide Squad, The Twentieth Century, and The Matrix Resurrections.

Plus, would it be so bad if the world we lived in was just a computer program?

Fun Size Episode 62 – Spokój

In the first of two episodes this month, we’re talking with Rebecca Friedman about the low-stakes things that give us the warm fuzzies.

We chat about the phenomenon of ASMR and the YouTube videos that endeavor to trigger that pleasurable brain-tingling sensation in people. From a Polish cleaning company’s videos of meticulous deep cleanings of filthy rugs to the paintings of Bob Ross, we plunge into a deep discussion of the images, sounds and experiences that just feel…satisfying.

We’re watching people clean airline seats, remove earwax, draw manga, icing cakes, paint landscapes, walk in snow, restore antique tools, and even watch machine presses create chains with great precision.

What makes this stuff feel good? What separates chores that are repetitive drudgery from something that relaxes you?

Fun Size Episode 61 – Artisanal Trash

We’re back with a quick bite of conversation from last month with Chelsea Rustad. We’re talking about the profound disappointment that was Halloween Kills, particularly in how it was a direct sequel to an inventive and surprising 2018 relaunch that was actually really good. Really.

Is it the fate of sequels, especially horror sequels, to inevitably get dumber and trashier? And isn’t it better to proudly be trash, than be trash, but pretend to be something better?

Fun Size Episode 60 – George Lucas Martyrs

We’re back with Chelsea Rustad to dig into the big questions. Have we hit the barrier when technological advances on video quality, frame rate and sound are butting up against the point where human senses can no longer perceive the difference in quality?

What about cars? Clothing? Is there a point where an expensive T-shirt can’t really get much more technologically advanced than a cheap one, and it makes no sense to charge big prices for it?

Plus, we touch on the recent lawsuit by the estates of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko to nullify the Marvel copyrights to the characters created by those artists, and the knee jerk reactionary response from some fans. And maybe…just maybe, we’d get better stories if these characters were allowed to lapse into the public domain.

And we talk about history’s greatest victims of targeted oppression: gamers.

Fun Size Episode 59 – Don’t Back Dun’, Double Dun’

In the soft glow of our most recent discussion, we continue our conversation with Kit DeForge, and explore the imperfections of language as a communication tool, and the linguistic similarities between Germans and chimpanzees that have been taught sign language.

Plus, we talk about the first moments of realization that the reality of the voices on the radio were much less cool than the picture in your head.

And come to think of it, what is cool, anyways? Is there a way to make young people think you’re cool? All that and Punks versus Hippies, too!

Fun Size Episode 58 – A Human Soup of Band-Aids and Pee

We continue our chat with Michael Warbington, as we look at the trajectory of big-budget franchises and the knee-jerk fan anger that Martin Scorsese’s criticisms of “theme park” movies vs. “cinema”….and maybe he has a good point?

And maybe we should really stop complaining about the apparent theatrical monopoly of blockbusters and start championing smaller independent films, like The Paper Tigers instead.

And finally, has toxic fandom finally drifted into a form of self-harm for some people, as one Disney fan on social media starts drinking water out of Walt Disney World’s public fountains and rating its taste?

Fun Size Episode 57 – The SJW/C.H.U.D. Alliance

We’re joined again by Tobiah Panshin to dig into some movie talk. Is there really a hard divide between popcorn blockbusters and what Martin Scorsese calls “cinema”? Will the shadow of the pandemic change anything about movies going forward?

And we talk about the oddity of Zack Snyder’s 4-hour cut of the Justice League film, and how it inexplicably exists beyond all probability — both through the world-changing crises, scandals and events that even made its creation possible, and probably made critics and audiences kinder to it.

CORRECTION: Ava Duvernay turned down directing Black Panther, not The Eternals.

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Fun Size Episode 56 – “The Customer is Always Right”

We continue to work the registers with Tobiah Panshin, going to places both weirdly metaphysical and painfully mundane.

First, Mike thinks it might actually be preferable to live in a hypothetical computer simulation than a “real” universe. What is real, anyways? Does that make our programmers gods?  Is the act of creation inherently selfish — and if it is, does that even matter?

Then, we look at a recently unearthed-on-YouTube reality show, Airline, about ticket agents and flight attendants weathering often-drunken customer abuse and demands. It triggers all sorts of all-too-familiar customer service flashbacks. Plus, Mike remembers that one time he almost got into a fight at the airport.

Fun Size Episode 55 – Jerkbeast

We’re continuing our talk with Patrick Johnson, and we’re waxing nostalgic.

We look back at the sliding timeline of The Simpsons and try to count the anachronisms as they pile up. But nothing could prepare us for the existential crisis triggered as we realize that under current show continuity, Homer Simpson is now a Gen-Xer.

We also reminisce about our brief time as public access TV producers on the Seattle Community Access Network. We dealt with shoddy equipment, a menagerie of conspiracy-minded weirdos, and a city council budget crunch that ultimately killed the station. We’ve got boxes full of Pepe!

Fun Size Episode 54 – Birds Aren’t Real

We’re joined by Australia’s own Paul Hix from Waiting for Doom – the Doom Patrol Podcast, to dig into the latest and strangest conspiracy theory: Bird Trutherism!

Counterfeit avians? Feathered Cameras in the Sky!? Why does it feel like the desire to answer serious questions in the most unserious ways has gone frighteningly mainstream?

Has the legalization of marijuana in many states left us doomed to a future where pot smoking will be branded tragically…uncool?

And we get an opportunity to grill our Aussie guest on an outsider’s view of American culture and cuisine. Do we have things that scare and confuse others as much as vegemite does us? (Spoiler: yes, we do.)