Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Dan Levy's forearms are the topic of discussion on the latest Thirst Aid Kit.
Photo: Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images
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.

Frontier Tween
Spaghetti Night

From the team behind Inside Conan comes Team Coco’s first scripted comedy podcast, Frontier Tween, which boasts an all-female writing staff (who, full disclosure, are former employees of The A.V. Club’s sister site, The Onion). In the vein of coming-of-age memoirs, Frontier Tween puts a hilarious spin on Laura Ingalls Wilder–type narratives that’ll tap into a very specific nostalgia for those of us who played The Oregon Trail as kids. Starring Maria Bamford as 12-year-old aspiring poet Tilly Mulch, the series also features Conan O’Brien as Tilly’s ailing father, plus guest stars such as Tim Meadows, who plays Cardinal Rigoletto in episode six, “Spaghetti Night.” Frontier Tween manages to achieve a comedic tone strikingly akin to Bob’s Burgers on the prairie, and the 10-episode series is worth a listen for any fans of historical comedy and preteen angst, especially given Bamford’s chops, the show’s twangy country music underscoring, and hilarious anachronisms. [Jose Nateras]


Lost At The Smithsonian With Aasif Mandvi
Fonzie’s Jacket

Former Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi visits the National Museum of American History to explore iconic cultural artifacts. Strictly speaking, the focal point of the podcast’s series premiere rests on Fonzie’s jacket, donated to the Smithsonian in 1980. The celebrated garment evolved several times over the run of Happy Days, and was almost forbidden from the show by producer edict, a stance that softened only after it was pitched as a motorcycle accessory. But beyond its history, the jacket is used to explore the deeper question, why Fonzie? Mandvi makes little secret of why he chose this item to kick off the series, reflecting at length about the effect the character had on him growing up as an outsider in Northern England and wishing to be as effortlessly cool. A conversation with Henry Winkler himself reveals the two of them have more in common than one might think. Winkler is also the child of immigrants, and Fonzie’s bravado was only the illusion of a gifted actor. Smithsonian curators place the entire Happy Days phenomenon in context as one of longing for an idealized past divorced from the societal upheaval of Vietnam, Watergate, and the civil rights movement. [Zach Brooke]


Mogul
Bass Bro, I Love That S**t!

Mogul’s new season takes us back to the days when rap music was seen as dangerous and unsuitable for the ears of virgin suburban youth by chronicling the most dangerous and unsuitable of them all: Miami rap group 2 Live Crew. Host Brandon Jenkins (who always sounds like he’s telling you a story he heard fresh from the barbershop) begins with the early days, when the group consisted of West Coast military men Fresh Kid Ice and Mr. Mixx. At that point, they were foul-mouthed court jesters, wowing crowds with raunchy club bangers like “Me So Horny.” But once white kids started listening, certain folks from their neck of the woods wanted to ruin the party, declaring the music obscene and possibly illegal. Jenkins talks to the living members of the group (Ice died in 2017) as well as their admirers and the people who tried to bring them down. And even though Luke Campbell and his crew are now seen as both free-speech trailblazers and progenitors of Southern hip-hop, Mogul doesn’t shy away from their problematic legacy. Even member Brother Marquis admits that the misogynistic shit they pulled back then would get them driven out of the biz today. [Craig D. Lindsey]


My Funeral Home Stories
77 Times

At the age of 13, Grant Inman had to give a class presentation about the most interesting thing that happened to him over summer vacation. He didn’t think he would have anything worthwhile to share, until he went on his first ride-along to pick up a corpse. My Funeral Home Stories is a podcast all about Inman’s macabre, morbidly funny, and flat-out disgusting experiences working at his family’s funeral home. Inman shares these tales with a propulsive narration coated in a jaded cynicism reminiscent of a film noir anti-hero. His descriptions of the first dead body he ever picked up from a crime scene are incredibly graphic and made even more stomach-churning when he includes details about the smell wafting off a nearby burger joint. He also includes moments of dark levity, like the unfortunate mix-up of the letters H and K on a prayer sheet that ruined the Fuchs’ family funeral. This podcast won’t be for everyone; Inman’s attitude toward death and the dead are matter-of-fact and not reverent in the least. But it’s perfect for those with strong stomachs and an appetite for gruesome anecdotes. [Anthony D Herrera]


The Cutting Room Floor
The Afterlife Of Clothing Feat. Liz Ricketts

As much as we’d like to believe our donations of old clothes contribute to dressing the people of the world, they just don’t. We are instead throwing another T-shirt into the ever-growing pile of waste that is our landfills. This is what fashion designer Recho Omondi aims to unpack on the latest episode of her podcast, The Cutting Room Floor, alongside guest Liz Ricketts, an instructor in the University Of Cincinnati’s fashion program. The pair define what sustainability is (and isn’t) and why it’s of the utmost importance for consumers to practice if they’re interested in conservation. Over the course of nearly an hour, the two drop fact after fact about the fashion industry’s hand in wastefulness, from Burberry burning its unsold merchandise to the amount of imported clothing Ghana takes in from surrounding countries. “We are extracting finite resources to produce an infinite amount of stuff,” Ricketts explains. After hearing this alarming episode, you’ll no longer want to recycle your clothing, but rather refrain from buying it in the first place. [Kevin Cortez]


Thirst Aid Kit
Dan Levy, Smokeshow Extraordinaire

A lot of things can happen in nine months, and thank god, because Thirst Aid Kit has returned from hiatus to its new home at Slate ready to share a beautiful newborn thirst baby: Dan Levy. If you’ve somehow snoozed on the showrunner and actor on the Emmy-nominated Schitt’s Creek, then get ready, Thirst Buckets, because hosts Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins will have you goofy over this dreamy Canadian smokeshow. As they rejoice and lust after Levy’s killer coif, perfect brows, and sexy forearms, as well as his radical creation of a pansexual, queer, homophobia-free universe on Schitt’s Creek, we are initiated into a thirst for the ages. The fan-fic erotica is killer this episode, including one with so many redactions you’ll need your imagination to fill in the blanks, and another featuring glitter pen foreplay and kindness as kink. And if the show’s off-season affected the richness of your summer lust files, there is a recap of all of the blockbuster babes and an ode to the turtleneck Mark Ruffalo wears as the Hulk. [Morgan McNaught]


Worst Year Ever
The Impeachment Episode (Part 1?)

This new podcast from iHeartRadio began with the best of intentions. Hosts Robert Evans (Behind The Bastards), Katy Stoll, and Cody Johnston (Some More News) set out to dissect the upcoming 2020 election and revel in the knowledge that that all-consuming media event will soon ruin our lives. But two weeks in and they’ve already been sidetracked by the hellish farce we’re enduring. This episode discussing the many moving parts of the needlessly complex Trump impeachment inquiry is the perfect explainer for anyone who has been reading the news and thinking, “I know this is bad, but I don’t really know what’s going on.” In addition to airing Hunter Biden’s dirty laundry and exploring Trump’s consistently terrible record of demanding the death penalty, the hosts do a great job detailing the history of whistleblowers and whistleblower law in the United States. Hearing three funny, intelligent people riff their way through it all is far more enjoyable than plopping yourself down in front of 24-hour cable news. [Dan Neilan]

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