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What's making us happy: A guide for your weekend watching and listening

Cassandra Ciangherotti, Bernardo Velasco, Julio Torres, and Ana Fabrega star in the HBO series <em>Los Espookys.</em>
Jennifer Clasen
Cassandra Ciangherotti, Bernardo Velasco, Julio Torres, and Ana Fabrega star in the HBO series Los Espookys.

This week, Power of the Dog and Dune led the pack in Oscar nominations, Sting sold his songwriting catalog and Dollywood announced it'll fundeducational costs for its employees.

Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Jackass Forever

What's making me happy this week is Jackass Foreverand the Jackass franchise. The franchise probably has one of the best homoerotic friendships that I have ever seen on camera, but what I really love about the Jackass franchise is that I think it really distills what friendship is. They always hold each other up when they fall down. There's a camaraderie to watching these movies that's just so fun and so ridiculous.

Plus, Jackass Forever is great. You still get to see Johnny Knoxville get hit by a car, but they also bring in new people and it rocks. I don't know where they found him, but they bring in a guy whose name is "Poopies," and Zack Holmes, who goes by "Zackass," and they bring some new life into the franchise. I love it. - Reanna Cruz

StraightioLab podcast, with Sam Taggart and George Civeris

/ Courtesy of the artists
Courtesy of the artists

This week, like many weeks over the past couple of years, the podcast StraightioLab has made me very happy. It is hosted by comedians George Civeris and Sam Taggart, and the conceit of the show is quite simple: Every episode they invite a guest to help them unpack an element of straight culture. You've got your obvious topics like quarter-zips, prom and the suburbs, but then there are some more esoteric ones like fear, information, and, in what is perhaps their most shocking episode to date, apples.

George and Sam are also not afraid to talk about some of the larger questions surrounding podcasts: should two gay men have a podcast? Is it embarrassing to be sincere? And, crucially, is their podcast any good at all? It is one of those shows that either you're in immediately or you're out immediately, but it has been bringing me so much joy to listen to the two of them. - Christina Tucker

True Blood on HBO

What is making me exorbitantly happy this week, and many other weeks, is True Blood. My roommate and I started watching the show a couple of weeks ago, and it's literally all I think about now. I live and breathe True Blood. If I'm bored, I'm thinking about Sookie Stackhouse and I'm waiting to see her again. I actually finishedMarry Melast night and immediately put on True Blood because I was like, I need to keep the happiness train going. My roommate even got a COVID test the other day and spoke in a Louisiana accent the whole time without realizing it, so I think we may be watching too much. But I love it. - LaTesha Harris

Los Espookys on HBO

I was thrilled to see a tweet from actress Ana Fabrega earlier this week saying they had wrapped up filming on season 2 of Los Espookys. It's a wonderful show on HBO that follows a group of friends who love horror, so they try to start a business staging different kinds of horror scenes in order to trick people into thinking that they're real. It is such a lovely and deeply, deeply weird show. The great Julio Torres is an absolute treasure in it.

Still, it wasn't necessarily a big pop culture phenomenon when it came out, and I didn't necessarily think we were going to get a second season. So that wonderful, heartwarming tweet from Anna Fabrega has given me something delightful to look forward to. - Stephen Thompson

NPR intern Fi O'Reilly adapted this Pop Culture Happy Hour segment into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider subscribing to our newsletter to get recommendations on what's making us happy every week.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Reanna Cruz
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Christina Tucker
LaTesha Harris
LaTesha Harris is NPR Music's editorial assistant. A relentless jack-of-all-trades, she takes turns writing, editing and producing music coverage. Invested in the culture behind pop, hip-hop and R&B, her work highlights the intersection between identity and history. Once in a blue moon, Harris moonlights as a talking head with no filter.
Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist and guest host on All Songs Considered. Thompson also co-hosts the daily NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created with NPR's Linda Holmes in 2010. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
Fi O'Reilly Sánchez
Fi O'Reilly Sánchez is a production assistant for Alt.Latino.