Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Revel in ’90s nostalgia with a 78-minute discussion of <i>Are You Afraid Of The Dark?</i>
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

Big Orange Couch: The 90’s Nickelodeon Podcast
Are You Afraid Of The Dark: Tale Of The Pinball Wizard 

Illustration for article titled Revel in ’90s nostalgia with a 78-minute discussion of iAre You Afraid Of The Dark?/i
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It’s officially summer, and The Big Orange Couch is the nostalgic audio equivalent of hearing the ice cream truck from your backyard kiddie pool. A breezy recap show for fans of old-school Nickelodeon classics, hosts Andrew and Joey showcase wildly specific knowledge of everything Nick. But their expertise really shines when it comes to Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, the long-running horror anthology for kids that originally aired on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. This installment features a rehash of “Tale Of The Pinball Wizard,” the ill-fated story of a video game fanatic who spends the night trapped in a mall video game. Each episode of Big Orange Couch features long-winded, Aggro Crag–size tangents from Andrew and Joey, so if you, like them, have noticed that there isn’t actually a reset button on a Gameboy and there is never a quarter left in the payphone, you have found your people. [Morgan McNaught]


The Ernest P. Worrell Preservation Society
Ernest & The Family Reunion

Illustration for article titled Revel in ’90s nostalgia with a 78-minute discussion of iAre You Afraid Of The Dark?/i

The untimely death of Jim Varney robbed the world of many things—a great dark horse for Joe Exotic in any Tiger King movie, for one—which this show is in the unique position of enumerating. Having completed The Importance Of Seeing Ernest, a podcast dedicated to examining every extant piece of Ernest content (including commercials, an Emmy Award–winning children’s show, and nine feature films), the hosts were gifted a binder full of unrealized Ernest ideas from the actual creators of the franchise. (I recall being mad at O.J. Simpson because I wanted to watch an Ernest VHS rental, but we only had one TV and my mom wanted to see how the Bronco chase ended). Hearing the hosts comb through a seven-page, 30-year-old film treatment is surprisingly joyous, especially with the storyline in an experimental stage. Granted, this isn’t Fellini, but the whole thing gets quite weird, starting with an animated segment of Ernest’s ancestors stuck on a crappier version of the Mayflower for generations. [Zach Brooke]


Too Scary; Didn’t Watch
The Descent

Illustration for article titled Revel in ’90s nostalgia with a 78-minute discussion of iAre You Afraid Of The Dark?/i

After taking a break to process current events, our three hosts—Emily Gonzalez, Henley Cox, and Sammy Smart—start off this episode checking in with each other. By talking about what it means to be white women in an inherently racist society, the trio somehow finds an organic way to fold the realities of the present moment into their discussion of the 2006 iconic horror flick The Descent. This episode serves as a great example of how podcasters can use their platform to have important conversations while continuing to serve audiences their regularly scheduled programming (in this case, recapping horror movies for people too scared to watch those films themselves). In podcasting, as with everything else, there can be no return to the way things were before; the new normal will necessitate engagement with uncomfortable racial truths while proceeding with our usual work. Whether the hosts are sharing cocktail recipes, quizzing each other on trivia, or reflecting on the movie itself, Too Scary; Didn’t Watch is an enjoyable listen that will hopefully continue to find ways to navigate the current landscape. [Jose Nateras]


Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
Brené with Austin Channing Brown on I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made for Whiteness 

Illustration for article titled Revel in ’90s nostalgia with a 78-minute discussion of iAre You Afraid Of The Dark?/i

Brené Brown is the best at everything, especially navigating conversations that border on tender and tough. In this episode of Unlocking Us, Brown is joined by artist, activist, and New York Times bestselling author Austin Channing Brown to connect about her book, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. If it feels like a conversation between good friends, that’s because it is, and the way they push and pull, joke, and vibe provides a space to imagine racial justice. If you are curious about how to love other people more or better disconnect from your ego, this episode is richly informative. Austin Channing Brown is heart-stopping as she describes the difference between white Jesus and black Jesus, reflecting on her experience of being churched in both. A meeting of old friends that also gives you a headstart on Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks is a pretty great way to spend an hour. [Morgan McNaught]

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