September 30, 2018
Fandom: it feels like it’s gotten hard lately. For example, ‘Ready Player One’ began its life as a bestselling novel by Ernest Cline. In their “A”-graded write-up in 2011, The AV Club said “for readers in line with Cline’s obsessions, this is a guaranteed pleasure.” Yet by 2018, when ‘RPO’ got a Steven Spielberg film adaptation, that same review site gave the movie a “B” grade with a side of savage criticism: “Like Ernest Cline’s divisive geek-courting novel, the film doesn’t offer much of a story or characters, instead spreading out an endless buffet of pop-culture references, flattering the preoccupations and encyclopedic recall of its target audience.” Does that make any sense? Was aggressive fandom better a few years back? Or has the dark side of really liking a thing turned too dark, too often?
On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians Caitlin Gill and Riley Silverman for a range of stories about how to be the absolute best pop culture fan you can be. They’ll focus on tales of fans connecting with creators, changing the shape of their favorite art, and putting themselves into it. They’ll also mull the dark side of intense fandom. And with everything from ‘Doctor Who’ to ‘Spider-Man’ about to premiere new installments, they’ll point to how you can be somebody who makes the world of fandom brighter.
January 26, 2020
Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.
January 19, 2020
How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!
January 12, 2020
Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.