Pop Culture Gems I Want To Talk About Now


The window for talking about a cultural occurrence is too small.

When the song “Bad Romance” exploded into everyone’s brain space in 2009, I had a joke in my stand up comedy act about it almost immediately. I did that joke for a very successful few months. Then, the song was no longer relevant and I stopped doing the bit. A year later, I suspected enough time had passed to bring the joke back. It worked again. “Bad Romance” had come full circle.

But what if you miss something and then, no one wants to talk about it with fresh enthusiasm?

Jim Gaffigan, another (better) comedian, has the perfect joke about this, where he says he watched the 1995 film Heat and then, wanting to discuss it, asked a friend if they’d seen Heat. The friend scoffed, “Yeah, like ten years ago.”

Gaffigan pouted, “But I wanna talk about it noooow.”

Whereas Steph lamented loving hot items long after they’ve cooled, I didn’t even get to like these gems when they were hip. Steph never left the boat at the end of the cruise. I missed the trip entirely.

(SPOILER ALERT) Does anyone wanna talk to me about these things?

Twin Peaks, 1990

My friend Charlie spent YEARS trying to convince me this surreal show was the tits and I resisted like a darn fool. I’m in the middle of season two right now. Holy Log Lady! It’s pretty great. The distinctive fashion, the cool David Lynch-ness, the gorgeous ladies, the quirky characters, the intrigue and mind-melding, Agent Dale Cooper and his fine self. Mmm.

I have so many questions! What’s the deal with Black Lodge? Is Windom Earle gonna get Dale? Why haven’t they killed off Lara Flynn Boyle? Is BOB a real person or an evil spirit? Did you know Kyle MacLachlan was in Showgirls? Will Dale and Audrey ever make out?! I wish I could have watched Twin Peaks while it was still on the air, with the rest of the equally-as-clueless populace.

It’s no fun telling the Dunkin Donuts employee she makes a “damn fine cup of coffee” when all she does is give me a blank stare back.

Firefly, 2002

Speaking of TV shows that were cancelled too soon: Finally watching Firefly explained SO much about the Internet. I had no idea Jayne Cobb coined the meme, “I’ll be in my bunk” and I’m kind of embarrassed about having used it without knowing.

Plus, I am waaaay late to the Joss Whedon party. I know, I know, I basically don’t deserve to be on this planet. Drop me off on Triumph, orbiting the brown dwarf Heinlein. I belong with those hill people.

Talking points: How about the loose ends that’ll never be tied up? The Mal and Inara storyline or what the blue hand people did to River or the UNTIMELY KILLING OFF of one of the more awesome characters (NO SPOILERS) in the followup movie, Serenity.

Seriously, Whedon. How could you kill him off like that?? Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal.

The Shining, 1980

One winter break from college, I spent the whole time on my living room couch with the flu. To pass the time, my mom went to the public library and got me Stephen King’s entire canon. I stayed up until 4 a.m. reading Carrie under the covers. I never thought words could inspire such spine-chilling fear.

That same week I watched The Shining for the first time, and then I went back to college. To film school. And tried to talk to the students there about The Shining as if it were a new thing.

I referenced it so much (excited to finally be getting the jokes everyone was making) (REDRUM!) that people were all like, “Did you JUST see The Shining or something? Why do you keep bringing it up?”

No. Jeez. Can’t a girl jabber on about Scatman Crothers all the time without everyone getting on her case?

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, 2005

I was writing a piece about great music documentaries recently and I realized I’d never seen one of the most critically acclaimed films in the genre, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.

Man, did watching this make me nostalgic for when Chappelle’s Show was on the air. It feels like a different time, doesn’t it? A time before Mind of Mencia tried to fill that gap. We were innocent and fresh-faced then. We repeated catchphrases that, if we were white, were probably racist. We pretended to slap people, yelling “I’m Rick James, bitch!” We were so young.

Mostly, I’d love to chat about the adorable couple in the weird staircase house. They were delightful.

The Lincoln Assassination, 1865

If I had a penny for every time I’ve cried in public while reading about the Lincoln assassination, I’d have too many reminders that John Wilkes Booth was an asshole.

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image – Amazon