What's making us happy: A guide for your weekend listening and viewing
Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Um, Actually on Dropout
On the streaming service Dropout, which is run by the CollegeHumor folks, there is a show called Um, Actually, which I love. It is a game show where three contestants read a statement with some piece of nerd trivia, but somewhere in the statement is a small and some might say nitpicky factual error. So the contestants have to buzz in when they have identified the factual error and must state the correct fact, and they must precede with their statement with the phrase 'umm, actually.'
It is about the nerdiest thing I've seen in a long while, and I love every last thing about it. I especially love when the contestants get really passionate and even indignant about these obscure trivia questions because that is so funny and so true to the spirit of the show. —Glen Weldon
Charli XCX's new album Crash
Charli XCX dropped a new album last Friday called Crash, and I am obsessed with it. I have been a big fan of Charli since her feature on 'I Love It' in 2012 and her first album, True Romance, a year later. But lately, she's been a little hit or miss for me. Her tone can be all over the place, and I appreciate that for her as an artist, but as a listener, I kind of just want the earworms.
Thankfully, Crash is giving us the earworms. It is really going back to the eighties and nineties pop vibe. One of my favorite songs on the album is 'New Shapes' which is a collaboration with Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek. It's so fun and I am so glad she's back. —Aisha Harris
SASAMI's new album Squeeze
One of my favorite albums of 2022 so far is by the singer Sasami Ashworth, who goes by SASAMI. Her latest album is called Squeeze, and it represents a leveling up of the variety that I really did not expect when she came up a few years ago as a solo artist. In part, it's because she's leaning into classic nu-metal and updating it for 2022. The way she twists these sounds and works the nineties guitar onto this album is really catchy and fun, and in 2022, feels very, very different. I recommend it. —Stephen Thompson
Is It Cake? on Netflix
Is It Cake? is a game show hosted by SNL cast member Mikey Day. It involves bakers coming in and making what they call "hyper-realistic cakes" that are supposed to look like different non-cake objects.
Then judges come in to look at these items from, let's say, 15 feet away and try to determine which hamburger or cash register from the group in front of them is actually a cake. So it's a little bit cooked in terms of whether you could actually fool people, since you'd probably be able to tell which one is cake if you went and stood right next to it. But there is something about how goofy this show is, how light it is that I really enjoy. Is It Cake? is streaming on Netflix and if you decide to watch it, you will know within the first episode whether this is for you or not for you. —Linda Holmes
More recommendations, from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter
Kim Masters is always a great read on Hollywood, and she's got a story up about how hard it has been for anybody to tell Tom Cruise no about anything.
I liked the second season of Bridgerton, which is now streaming on Netflix. It's definitely more about yearning than doing, if you get my meaning.
It's been a long time since Atlanta had a new season, but it's finally got one! And it's one that has arrived with surprisingly little noise around it. You can check it out on FX or on Hulu. —Linda Holmes
NPR intern Fi O'Reilly adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week.
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