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I Think You're Interesting

Vox Media

The entertainment industry is brimming with interesting people who are responsible for your favorite movies, TV shows, and more. Join Vox’s critic-at-large Emily VanDerWerff every Thursday as she speaks with the very well known, up-and-coming and need to know folks responsible for the most exciting projects in art, entertainment, and pop culture – diving deep into their influences, inspirations, and careers in a frank, uncensored fashion. The series finale aired in December 2018.


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Vox Media


The entertainment industry is brimming with interesting people who are responsible for your favorite movies, TV shows, and more. Join Vox’s critic-at-large Emily VanDerWerff every Thursday as she speaks with the very well known, up-and-coming and need to know folks responsible for the most exciting projects in art, entertainment, and pop culture – diving deep into their influences, inspirations, and careers in a frank, uncensored fashion. The series finale aired in December 2018.




Mahershala Ali, from Moonlight to True Detective

Few actors have had as surprising a past few years as Mahershala Ali. Known for his parts on TV shows like The 4400 and House of Cards and in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the Hunger Games films, Ali went from steadily working actor to legitimate star with his 2016 role in Moonlight. He’s only in the film’s first half-hour, playing Juan, a drug dealer who can tell that a sensitive young boy needs a space to just be himself, but he’s magnetic and warm, caring and...


What do The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Parks and Rec have in common? Michael Schur.

Michael Schur is one of the most adept minds in TV comedy. From his early days producing the Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon-era Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, to his work as one of the key writers on The Office, he charted a career that touched some of the best TV comedy of the 2000s. But in the 2010s, he’s become perhaps the principal figure in network TV comedy, with his shows Parks and Recreation and The Good Place. (He’s also co-creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, though his fellow...


Christmas music you won't get sick of, with R&B star PJ Morton

If you've talked to Todd at all, you know how much he enjoys Christmas music. And, sure, he enjoys the stuff that gets overplayed year after year, but he gets why you're sick of it. Finding good music often means going a little off the beaten path. That's why Todd talked to PJ Morton, a musician who's recorded with Stevie Wonder and was a member of Maroon 5, and who has his own successful, Grammy-nominated solo career. He asked Morton both about his new Christmas album (Christmas with PJ...


Losing is hard. But comedian Chris Gethard says it’s necessary.

The Chris Gethard Show might have been Todd’s favorite talk show of the decade, a weird, tossed-off calamity that emerged every week like an odd magic trick. It made the trip from New York public access TV to more traditional networks. And then earlier this year, it ended, as its network, TruTV, and comedian Gethard opted not to continue with it. It ended up being the most weirdly appropriate promotion for Gethard’s new book imaginable. Lose Well, published in October, is a self-help book...


How to not screw up Thanksgiving dinner, with Salt Fat Acid Heat's Samin Nosrat

This episode originally ran in November of 2017. It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means home chefs all around the United States (Todd among them) are trying to find a way to hew to tradition without turning their plates into a giant pile of indistinguishable starches. In this Thanksgiving Spectacular, we’ve invited Samin Nosrat to join us and offer her hints and tips for a successful Thanksgiving meal. Samin’s book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, is one of the best cookbooks Todd’s ever read, and the...


Hollywood’s past can help us understand its present. Karina Longworth shows us how.

Karina Longworth’s Hollywood history podcast, You Must Remember This, is one of the most essential shows out there for movie fans. Each week, Longworth dives into a story from the film industry’s past, revealing the truth behind legends, the hidden stories that weren’t reported at the time, and the often corrupt systems Hollywood has always been built upon. Long a terrific film critic, Longworth turned what was initially an extreme DIY operation into one of the top film podcasts. Now...


Writer Diablo Cody, on Jennifer's Body, Juno, and Jagged Little Pill (the musical)

Diablo Cody's career took off into the stratosphere when her very first produced script — 2007's quirky comedy Juno — led to a massive box office hit that also won her the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Since Juno, she's written numerous movies, including the cult favorite horror flick Jennifer's Body, the moody comedy Young Adult (one of Todd's favorite movies of the decade), and this year's twisty comedy Tully, which stars Charlize Theron as a mother of three who hires a night...


How to build a civilization from scratch

Imagine you're a time traveler whose time machine has functioned somewhere in Earth's past — after humans have evolved but before they've, say, invented language or agriculture or any of the other pillars civilization was built upon. How might you try to kickstart that process with all these hominids you keep meeting? And how would you avoid rebuilding civilization with all of the flaws of our current world? That question is the basis of Ryan North's new book How to Invent Everything, a...


What great horror looks and sounds like, with the makers of The Terror and A Quiet Place

With Halloween right around the corner, we felt it's as timely as ever to revisit this episode from earlier this year. Sometimes, the scariest thing is what you don’t see onscreen. It’s a lesson taken to heart by the folks behind two of the best horror projects of the first half of 2018 — the AMC miniseries The Terror and the gigantic hit movie A Quiet Place. In this special horror showcase episode, Todd talks to Soo Hugh and David Kajganich, the showrunners and head writers of The Terror;...


Why Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, launched a true crime podcast

Yeardley Smith is one of the most famous women on Earth — though you might not know it if you just bumped into her somewhere, at least until she said something. See, Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson, the precocious 8-year-old middle child of the Simpson family and the center of some of the show’s very best episodes. (“Lisa’s Substitute”! Sob!) But Smith is more than the famous kid she’s played for more than 30 years now. She’s starred in numerous films and other TV shows, including the...


Better Call Saul's showrunner tells us everything about the show's amazing finale

Few TV shows are better than AMC's Better Call Saul. But if you told that to someone in 2015, when the show debuted, they might look at you askance. Yes, the show was a spinoff from Breaking Bad, one of the most acclaimed TV shows ever made, but it was still a spinoff, a format with an oft-indistinguished legacy. It was so easy to see how this series could have gone wrong. Instead, the show's writers, led by co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, have turned Better Call Saul into a sad...


The history of the American circus, with the people who worked there

The circus! At one time, it was one of the country’s most reliable forms of mass entertainment, crisscrossing American backroads to perform for people all over the nation. Everything from the circus train to the people who put up the big tent made its way into American legend. But the American circus isn’t in great shape anymore. The treatment (or mistreatment) of animals tarnished the image of the once-venerable Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, which closed down in 2017 after it...


BoJack Horseman's sly, funny brilliance, explained by the people who make it

This episode is a rebroadcast of an episode from 2017, but with BoJack Horseman's fifth season recently debuting, we thought it was a great time to revisit it. Todd loves few TV shows more than BoJack Horseman, Netflix's weird animated comedy about a sad horse. Its recently completed fourth season, which delved into the histories of many of the characters and talked about the roots of trauma and depression, just might be the best the series has ever done. To understand why the season was so...


Jon Batiste, Stephen Colbert’s bandleader, on making music in New Orleans, on the subway, and on late night TV

Jon Batiste makes some of TV’s best music, night in and night out. As bandleader of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the multi-instrumentalist comes up with perfect tunes to introduce guests, to complement Colbert’s jokes, and to keep the audience hyped up. (Many of the tunes fitting that last category are Batiste originals, performed by him and his band, Stay Human.) But Batiste’s career stretches beyond late-night TV. He started out making music at a very young age in his hometown of...


Janet from The Good Place and Kelli from Insecure on making TV's funniest shows even funnier

We're focusing on TV scene stealers this week, as we head into a new fall season. These two performers take some of the best shows on TV and make them even better, sidling into any given scene and swiping it right out from under everybody else with a perfect one-liner or pratfall. First, we're talking with D'Arcy Carden of NBC's The Good Place and HBO's Barry. Her work as Janet (and Janet's evil twin, Bad Janet) on The Good Place is some of the funniest stuff you'll see on TV. As what...


TV ratings, explained

The Nielsen ratings might not have as much power as they once held, but they still can decide the fate of your favorite TV show. If nobody's watching, it could be canceled. That's always been true. But what's also always been true is that the Nielsen data-gathering procedure is a little opaque and hard to understand. Don't worry, though, because we've got your back. This week, Todd and guest Joe Adalian, of New York Magazine's Vulture, take you through how the Nielsens work, how they decide...


One of the best TV shows of the year is a documentary about racial inequities in education

Steve James is one of the best documentary filmmakers to ever have lived. His movies examine the fault lines that underlie American society, often (but not always) those of race and class, and how those who have power often attempt to maximize the amount they wield over those who do not. His seminal 1994 film Hoop Dreams, one of the greatest movies ever made, served as a kind of calling card for his interests going forward. He was going to tell stories about what it means to grow up and to...


How to make a movie starring the internet, with Eighth Grade director Bo Burnham

The new coming-of-age comedy Eighth Grade is one of the surprise success stories of the summer, turning a tiny story of a 13-year-old girl’s last week in the titular grade into a much larger tale of the universally awkward and cringeworthy experience of being an adolescent just trying to figure shit out. Its hero, young Kayla (played by the remarkable Elsie Fisher), deals with trying to launch her YouTube channel, with a crush that goes nowhere, and with her feelings of inadequacy when...


The incredible true story behind Spike Lee's new movie BlacKkKlansman

The new movie BlacKkKlansman is careful to let you know very early on that, yes, its story is a true one, with a few embellishments for film. And it likely does so because said story — a black man goes undercover and becomes a trusted confidant of people in the Ku Klux Klan, including David Duke himself — would be written off as preposterous if it occurred in a fictional context. But, no, that man really existed. His name was Ron Stallworth, and as an officer with the Colorado Springs Police...


Why the binge model doesn’t always make the best TV

There’s a reason TV critics and reporters call FX Networks president and CEO John Landgraf the “mayor of television” — and it’s not just because that’s kind of a funny title to give to somebody. Of all the executives in the TV game right now, Landgraf has a reputation as the most thoughtful about the past, present, and future of television, and his semiannual addresses to TV journalists have coined the term “Peak TV” and first raised the issue of Netflix not measuring its viewership. In this...