Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.
Lauren’s Music Pick: Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher – With my affinity for podcasts pretty much completely overrunning my listening schedule throughout the past handful of years, my musical tastes have whittled down to maybe a handful of artists and bands I listen to on a regular basis, basically. One of which is Phoebe Bridgers, which is why I’m happy to report that her followup album to Stranger in the Alps is just as strong as its predecessor, with its themes of wanting to be something more, whether that is simply more than yourself, a part of a belief system that brings new purpose, connection and meaning, or more than enough for someone else. I tend to be slow on the uptake when it comes to music, which means every time I listen to the album I find new lines to love past the obvious “I swear I’m not angry, that’s just my face” that first stuck with me for obvious reasons, and the song that hits me the hardest changes with the day, bouncing from “Chinese Satellite” to “ICU” to “Graceland Too.” Suffice it to say, the whole album is rather affecting, but if I had to choose one song above the rest it’d be the final track on the album, “I Know the End,” for how well it bookends previous songs on the album. And boy does it build.
Ben’s TV Pick: GLOW – Allison Brie and Betty Gilpin lead a stellar cast in this 80’s-set series about a women’s wrestling show, which has made me laugh out loud multiple times each episode. GLOW‘s writing is as great as its stars, and sells the emotional moments as well as its comedy. The one-two punch of the high caliber writing and cast makes every single wrestler feel fleshed out and important almost immediately, and watching them support each other is just as entertaining as the wrestling performances they put on. GLOW had been on my watchlist since it first premiered, but I only started watching it since the last Suggestion Box, and man, I was so foolish to have put it off this long.
Lauren’s TV Pick: GLOW – Following Ben’s lead (and thanks in large part to my newfound love of Betty Gilpin post The Hunt), I also decided to finally check Netflix’s GLOW off my must watch list. Which I’m sure he greatly appreciated seeing as I spent the majority of the 3 or 4 days spent burning through it just quoting all the hilarious lines from the show at him. Long story short, I came for the wrestling – I know Alison Brie will always be known for her breakout role as Annie on Community, but she was born to play the Russian wrestling villain, Zoya the Destroya – but stayed for the unexpected humor (the sitcom-esque episode was one of the most glorious episodes of TV I’ve seen in ages) and women at the heart of it all, so much so that I barely noticed how little of season 3 was actually spent ringside, instead spending more time further exploring and developing the women and relationships between them. But when the episodes did go back to focusing on the GLOW productions, the role swap and Christmas Carol themed matches did not disappoint.
Ben’s TV Pick: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Most shows aim to create imperfect, yet lovable protagonists that you grow to care about and want to succeed, whether in a complex romance or epic adventure. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia doesn’t do that. In fact, it does the opposite: Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee, and Frank are all legitimately terrible human beings, and watching them tear each other down or utterly fail at their latest morally bankrupt scheme is nothing less than hysterical. Their unearned confidence makes each successive failure even funnier because they’re somehow always shocked by it. Who would’ve thought that a show with such a deplorable main cast of characters would become the longest running live-action comedy sitcom of all time? I sure wouldn’t have.
Lauren’s TV Pick: Love Life – What I expected to simply be a show with a new romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick every episode turned out to be something so much more than that. The love interests who come in and out of her character’s life are all still there to give each episode its title, but it was the latter episodes that focussed on the platonic relationships of friends and family that actually had the strongest impact on me, with the evolution of Darby’s connections to her mom (played wonderfully by Hope Davis) and best friend (time to check out everything Zoe Chao has been and will be a part of) bringing me to unexpected tears. Fortunately there are plenty of laughs along the way thanks to the smartly and humorously written characters, balancing out those gut checks with plenty of laughter and love.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Zombie Army 4: Dead War – As AAA game developers appear to be focusing more and more on making titles with either single-player stories or gargantuan battle royale modes, it’s refreshing when a fun, cooperative adventure like Zombie Army 4: Dead War comes along. The game is set in an alternate history where Hitler managed to bolster his ranks with the dead at the end of World War II, and you play as an elite soldier making their way through a nazi zombie-infested Europe on a mission to end the new “Dead War.” It has an intentionally campy, B-movie vibe and features all sorts of occult monsters and enemies through it’s surprisingly lengthy campaign. The replay value is also shockingly high. There are a whole bunch of collectibles littered throughout the game’s levels, tons of upgrades to test out, and a decent variety of weapons to use against the undead hordes. It’s not a masterpiece by any standard, but Zombie Army 4: Dead War is fun enough that it will most likely end up among my favorite games of 2020.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content:
- Ben and Lauren revisit The Last of Us Remastered and The Last of Us: Left Behind, before tackling the new sequel, The Last of Us Part II.
- Jon’s thoughts on the highs and lows of the PlayStation 5 Reveal Event.
- Lauren’s written review of the new release 7500.
- Middle of the Row: The Podcast episodes flashing back to 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and 2010’s The Switch.