Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
John Reynolds, Alia Shawkat, and Shalita Grant in season three of Search Party

Search Party: The Podcast hunts for all the noir dramedy’s Easter eggs

John Reynolds, Alia Shawkat, and Shalita Grant in season three of Search Party
Photo: Jon Pack/WarnerMedia
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.

Chicano Squad
The Death Of José Campos Torres 

Illustration for article titled Search Party: The Podcast hunts for all the noir dramedy’s Easter eggs
Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

This new 11-part historical series from Vox Media looks back on a past story of police brutality and racial conflict with the present very much in mind. The central narrative of Chicano Squad follows the exploits of a newly created team of Latino police officers in late-1970s Houston tasked with solving as many homicides as possible in 90 days. The first act, however, instead examines the inciting events that led to the team’s formation. José Campos Torres was a 23-year-old troubled war veteran who was arrested after a bar brawl and later died in police custody. That he was viciously beaten by police was not disputed, nor was the fact that local jail refused to book him on grounds that he needed medical attention. A wider narrative scope shows how Torres’ death came amidst a relatively new wave of seething racial tensions, as the once largely black-and-white oil town swelled with an influx of Latino workers during WWII-induced labor shortages. Even before that, the show points out, the heavy-handed tactics of Houston police were well known, immortalized by the musician Leadbelly. These collective traumas all fueled the flashpoint sparked by Torres’ death and burned in the background of everything that came next. [Zach Brooke]


How Did This Get Played?
Yo! Noid with Danielle Radford

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

One can’t help but hear the title of this podcast and think about its Earwolf ancestor How Did This Get Made?, but hosts Heather Anne Campbell and Nick Wiger (along with producer Matt Apodaca) manage not to imitate the dynamic that Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael have going on over at HDTGM. Instead, this crew maintains its own signature vibe as they discuss weird and awful games, joined each week by a different guest who has suffered through the bad graphics, storylines, and physics and lived to tell the tale. This time around, writer/producer/comedian Danielle Radford comes aboard to discuss the old school Capcom/Nintendo game Yo! Noid. Yes, as in The Noid, of Domino’s Pizza fame. It inevitably becomes a conversation about product placement in video games, culminating in the absurd gaming artifact that is Yo! Noid. Revisiting these goofy ’90s-era pizza-themed adventures is what HDTGP was put on this earth to do. [Jose Nateras]


Search Party: The Podcast
“Denial” with Taran Killam and Charles Rogers

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

The deliciously off-kilter hipster-noir comedy/legal drama Search Party from HBO Max (previously TBS) achieves the perfect balance of silly bits and biting cultural criticism, all wrapped up in cotton candy fun. Each episode is so filled with Easter eggs and pop cultural homages that newcomers need a fan to guide them through it all. Cue host Bowen Yang and Search Party: The Podcast, which provides the space that cerebral fans need to parse through and unpack each episode. The audio companion series provides insight from co-creators, actors, writers, directors, and celebrity fans into the process of creating a complicated genre dramedy. This premiere episode (featuring superfan Taran Killam and series co-creator Charles Rogers) explores the themes of denial woven throughout season three and asks the big questions: Why did Drew need to find the swan tape? Does Dory believe her version of Keith’s death? And what does it mean for the gang to be faced with where they’re from? A good listen for anyone who wants to think they’re a good person. [Morgan McNaught]


WTF with Marc Maron
Thundercat 

Illustration for article titled Search Party: The Podcast hunts for all the noir dramedy’s Easter eggs
Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

Even though he’s been interviewing musicians on and off for about a decade now, it’s always fascinating to hear the usually rock/indie-minded Marc Maron interview someone you wouldn’t expect to be in his musical wheelhouse. Surprisingly, he’s all prepared to holler at Stephen Bruner, a.k.a. Thundercat, the bass-playing, Grammy-nominated musician/composer/producer who has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, and childhood chum Kamasi Washington (who Maron interviewed a few years back). The episode is a nerdy earful, as the ever inquisitive Maron asks Bruner about his influences and how he comes up with the jazz/funk/soul music that usually makes up his albums. They also delve into such geek matters as anime and the new Wonder Woman movie. Of course, since this is WTF, Maron gets Bruner to open up about the people he’s lost in his life. Even though they don’t touch on some things Thundercat fans would like to know more about (what it’s like having Ariana Grande as a fan is high up there), it’s still nice hearing Maron have a respectful talk with a funky fella. [Craig D. Lindsey]

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

Cinematic Antihero

pop-culture critic, multi-disciplinary artist, playwright @ Columbia University, they/them