Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 26 – Pumping Iron

“Blood is rushing into your muscles and that’s what we call The Pump. Your muscles get a really tight feeling, like your skin is going to explode any minute, and it’s really tight – it’s like somebody blowing air into it, into your muscle. It just blows up, and it feels really different. It feels fantastic.”

This month, we’re hitting the weights and getting a good pump with Dave Brouillette, as we bench press the 1977 bodybuilding docudrama that got Arnold noticed in Hollywood: Pumping Iron!

Cameras document – or is it dramatize? – the lives of the world’s leading bodybuilders as they prepare to compete for their sport’s top 1975 amateur and professional championships. One is junior high school teacher, Mike Katz, who aspires to the title of Mr. Universe. Another is shy underdog, Lou Ferrigno, who hopes to flex his way to the title of Mr. Olympia. But to do that, he must topple the reigning five-time returning champion, a certain popular and charismatic Austrian, just a couple years away from Hollywood superstardom.

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 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.

Black Ops Episode 20 – Difficulty Is Kind of the Point [CLIP]

After over a year, we’re back with a new Black Ops podcast, now exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we join Joe Preti to continue our conversation from last month.

We talk about Mike’s acquisition of a hardcover omnibus collection of the 1983’s Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, a remarkable creation of a pre-internet age and a time capsule of a time gone by, and wax nostalgic for why obsolete continuity can be a treasure to revisit.

We dive into one of the more contentious discussions on the topic of video games: difficulty settings. Where some games like Bloodborne and Demon’s Souls strive for unforgiving challenge, other games are trying to make themselves more accessible and less frustrating through “Story mode” difficulty that doesn’t try to murder you.

And then there’s the Battletoads jet ski level…

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 53 – Rest in Piss, You Piece of Shit

In our latest plot to lose any conservative listeners, we’re back!

We’re chatting with Joe Preti, who offers his defense of the much-maligned and frequently buggy Cyberpunk 2077. We dig into the often unreasonable expectations of both gamers and game companies, and why the video game industry exploits their workers and releases unfinished, broken games.

Is online gaming inevitably toxic and ugly? Are we doomed to racism, selfish teammates and endless griefing? Can we bake solutions into the programming of the games themselves?

And why does it seem like everyone on the political Far-Right from Ben Shapiro to Steve Bannon to Adolf Hitler, is a medicore failed artist, movie producer or screenwriter?

And we say goodbye to a dead radio icon with all of the respect and dignity he deserves.

NOTE: The Skype audio was not up to our usual standards, but we still think it’s listenable. Our apologies! No apologies are offered to Rush Limbaugh.

Fun Size Episode 52 – The Show That Launched a Thousand Vasectomies

Broadcasting live through the smoking ruins of the ‘Quar, we’re back! Again! This month, we’re joined by Patrick Johnson to try and make sense of it all.

We dig into everything from obscure – but real – DC Comics characters, to the limits to which Casey’s kids can make him rewatch the LEGO Batman Movie.

And we look at the massive outpouring of parental joy and relief at the cancellation of the infuriating PBS children’s show Caillou. How has that show influenced and modeled bad behavior in kids, and has the impact of shows like Beavis and Butt-Head and MTV’s Jackass had a similar negative effect on older viewers?

And finally… is the age of the movie theater, at last, dead?

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 47 – Quarantine Titans Go!

On this “very special episode,” we continue our remotely-recorded chat with Joe Preti, as we try — try, mind you — to talk about stuff that’s making us happy during the Time of “the Quar.”

From the wholesome joys of the new Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo Switch, to the Aardman claymation goodness of Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, we’re looking for something positive in a world gone weird and scary.

We talk about a Charles Bronson movie where he’s an aggrieved watermelon farmer looking for revenge, and look in on Joe watching Beverly Hills 90210 for the first time. And we battle it over that immortal question: what’s better? 90210 or Saved by the Bell?

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.

Fun Size Episode 38 – The H.H. Holmes of Minecraft

We sit back down with Sam Mulvey to learn that Keanu Reeves is now in a video game, and that he remains the best human. And we ponder…

Are there places on the internet, and in online gaming, where people are actually nice to each other? Are we doomed to transform into digital sociopaths when we’re given both anonymity and the means to kill strangers with lasers — and no consequences?

Plus, we’re approaching the upcoming reimagining of Frank Herbert’s Dune by Denis Villeneuve with optimistic apprehension. Deep breaths, everyone.

Fun Size Episode 30 – That’s My Kind of Garbage!

We’re back to dive into an overstuffed grab bag of off-topic nonsense with Roz Townsend, and we grapple with the important questions that keep us up at night.

Is Colonel Sanders the closest thing we have to an American Time Lord? What are our favorite fictional restaurants? Are self-published fan zines a lost art? Are skunks a form of Pokémon? Did Freddie Mercury go super saiyan in the ’80s? Are modern video game mechanics inaccessible to people who didn’t grow up with them?

Plus, Casey becomes annoyed at a group of small children not being as entranced by My Neighbor Totoro as he is, and we all betray our socialist leanings.

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!

Fun Size Episode 27 – Not My Luke Skywalker!

Who truly owns a piece of art, a character or a media franchise? The artist, or the audience? We sit down with Sean Duncan to seek the answer to that and many other questions.

We (finally) talk about Star Wars: the Last Jedi and the tug-of-war between fans who want the familiar comfort of wish fulfillment and fan service, and those who want to see the series take some serious risks, even if it alienates some of the fans.

We look at how the real world and the context of our own experiences color and supplement the way we receive and interpret art. Plus, is it time to retire the old ways of counting audience figures, when there are so many ways to watch, read, and play these days? Uh, yes.

PATREON EXCLUSIVE: Black Ops Episode 8 – This Is Not Funny, You’re Not Funny, and I Don’t like You

In our newest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we talk more with Patrick Johnson about video game violence and how it does — and mostly doesn’t — apply to real life.

We take a long hard look at the trainwreck that is the filmography of Adam Sandler, why his movies are so ugly and stupid, and struggle to say something nice about him. We explore the wide pendulum swing of the quality of Netflix’s original programming. And finally we dig into their poorly realized original film, Bright and wonder what could have been.

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 14 – Who Doesn’t Want to See Dwayne Johnson Punch a Hippo?

dwayne

In a wide-ranging conversation, Mike and Casey talk about whether Jabba the Hutt’s little monkey-rat creature, Salacious Crumb, is a person or a pet, and dig into the sort of bullshit rumors and urban legends that we both fell for in the pre-internet world of our middle school years.

We get into the recently-released Doctor Strange, and the question of diversity in the Ancient One’s casting, and well as the dearth of strongly written villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And finally, Mike really really wants to cast Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the next big cinematic blockbuster based on a children’s board game.