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I Think You're Interesting

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I Think You’re Interesting is a weekly interview podcast hosted by Vox critic at large Todd VanDerWerff, featuring both well-known and more obscure figures from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, and pop culture. Each week, guests will dive into their influences, their inspirations, and their careers, in frank, uncensored fashion.

I Think You’re Interesting is a weekly interview podcast hosted by Vox critic at large Todd VanDerWerff, featuring both well-known and more obscure figures from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, and pop culture. Each week, guests will dive into their influences, their inspirations, and their careers, in frank, uncensored fashion.
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I Think You’re Interesting is a weekly interview podcast hosted by Vox critic at large Todd VanDerWerff, featuring both well-known and more obscure figures from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, and pop culture. Each week, guests will dive into their influences, their inspirations, and their careers, in frank, uncensored fashion.




The incredible true story behind Spike Lee's new movie BlacKkKlansman

The new movie BlacKkKlansman is careful to let you know very early on that, yes, its story is a true one, with a few embellishments for film. And it likely does so because said story — a black man goes undercover and becomes a trusted confidant of people in the Ku Klux Klan, including David Duke himself — would be written off as preposterous if it occurred in a fictional context. But, no, that man really existed. His name was Ron Stallworth, and as an officer with the Colorado Springs...


Why the binge model doesn’t always make the best TV

There’s a reason TV critics and reporters call FX Networks president and CEO John Landgraf the “mayor of television” — and it’s not just because that’s kind of a funny title to give to somebody. Of all the executives in the TV game right now, Landgraf has a reputation as the most thoughtful about the past, present, and future of television, and his semiannual addresses to TV journalists have coined the term “Peak TV” and first raised the issue of Netflix not measuring its viewership. In...


Sharp Objects’ Patricia Clarkson on finding the mom roles worth playing

Adora Crellin is a difficult woman to love. The monstrously suffocating mother of Camille, the protagonist of HBO's terrific murder mystery miniseries Sharp Objects, Adora keeps finding ways to undercut her damaged daughters and to visit the deep-seated trauma in her soul upon the women who should be able to rely on her most. So just imagine playing Adora and how that might seep into your soul. Fortunately, we've got Patricia Clarkson, one of America's finest actors for portraying...


Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley on labor unions, capitalism, and his hit movie

The riotously funny, incredibly inventive new movie Sorry to Bother You has become one of the summer’s most acclaimed films, as well as an unlikely hit in arthouses. The movie’s tale of a young man named Cassius Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield), who takes a job in a call center, drifts wildly from genre to genre, sometimes seeming like a comedy, sometimes like a call to political action, and sometimes like a near-future science fiction movie. But uniting all these ideas is a commitment...


How Neko Case writes her beautiful, brilliant songs

Neko Case’s nearly 20-year career has been marked by some of the best songs of that time frame, chronicles of a country and world that often seem to be plunging into chaos but always manage to just avoid doing so. Her solo albums, including the brand new Hell-On, have been a major part of that, but so has her work as a vocalist with the indie-pop group the New Pornographers and as part of a trio of singer-songwriter superstars with K.D. Lang and Laura Veirs. Case’s songs don’t always...


The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 and the summer’s biggest movies, discussed and explained

Believe it or not, the summer entertainment season is half over. Fall TV will be firing up in just a few short weeks, and the summer movies of 2018 have just about run out. (Mission: Impossible — Fallout is the only big release still coming.) That makes it a great time to check in on some of the biggest pop culture items of the summer, in this special episode with two different segments. First, Salon's Melanie McFarland and Vanity Fair’s Sonia Saraiya join Todd to talk about the second...


Inside the world’s best true-crime podcast

Call the APM Reports production In the Dark a “true crime" podcast, and everybody involved in it will bristle, just a bit. Yes, it starts from the place of exploring crimes that really happened. But it’s not interested in exploring the crimes so much as it is the injustice of the American justice system. So my apologies for calling In the Dark a true-crime podcast, when it’s so much more than that. But every week, when I listen to it, I’m reminded that the form could be so much more than...


You may not immediately recognize Bob Balaban’s name. But you know his voice.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Gosford Park. Moonrise Kingdom. The original cast of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. These might seem like wildly different projects, but they have one man in common: actor Bob Balaban. Balaban is one of the consummate “hey, it’s that guy!” actors. His name might not immediately ring a bell (unless you, like me, love to keep track of all the great character actors), but the second you see his face or just hear his voice, you’ll instantly know who he...


Stand-up Hari Kondabolu is so much more than The Problem with Apu

Hari Kondabolu identified a problem. His self-hosted, self-produced 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu, which aired on TruTV, discusses how The Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon created a caricature of South Asians and perpetuated a stereotype that hung over South Asian kids like Hari and followed them into adulthood. The documentary isn’t a call for Apu to be removed from the show or fired into the sun or anything like that. No, it’s an earnest discussion of how these types of...


Aisha Tyler on Archer, standup comedy, and being Aisha Tyler

Does Aisha Tyler sleep? That’s a question you might reasonably ask after looking at her IMDb page for a moment or two. She’s a regular on two TV shows — FXX’s Archer and CBS’s Criminal Minds — while also hosting Unapologetic, a new talk show for AMC. And that’s in addition to all the other one-off hosting gigs she takes on. And yet she’s always fresh, funny, and on point. Tyler got her start as a standup comic in the late '90s, at a time when, she says, black women were often pigeonholed...


How to make great TV, according to the showrunners of Black Lightning, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Vida

Another TV season is over. You might not have noticed its end, thanks to the way TV never goes away any more, but technically, the TV season wraps at the end of May. So it seemed like a good time to get some of the best TV showrunners together and ask them how they create great standout TV, when there's way too much of it. Salim Akil of Black Lightning (CW), Aline Brosh McKenna of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' (CW) and Tanya Saracho of Vida (Starz) join Todd for a lively discussion about this era...


The Americans' showrunners and star bid farewell to TV's best show

If you've listened to this show ever, or read anything Todd has ever written, then you know The Americans is one of his favorite shows of the past several years. Last night, it ended. For this special episode of the show, Todd is joined by star Matthew Rhys (who plays Philip) and writers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, who run the series, to talk about the series' incredible final season and its even more remarkable finale. There are spoilers if you haven't watched the entire series, but...


What great horror looks and sounds like, with the makers of The Terror and A Quiet Place

Sometimes, the scariest thing is what you don’t see onscreen. It’s a lesson taken to heart by the folks behind two of the best horror projects of the first half of 2018 — the AMC miniseries The Terror and the gigantic hit movie A Quiet Place. In this special horror showcase episode, Todd talks to Soo Hugh and David Kajganich, the showrunners and head writers of The Terror; and then with Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn, the sound designers of A Quiet Place. All four talk about how to...


Veteran comedy writer Nell Scovell on 30 years of being "the only woman in the room"

Writer Nell Scovell has worked for some of the best, most popular TV shows of the past 30 years. She wrote for David Letterman. She wrote for The Simpsons. She created the '90s show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She wrote on NCIS. And at too many of those jobs, she was the only woman working in the writers’ room, countering Hollywood’s endless boys’ club. Scovell’s new memoir, Just the Funny Parts, is an excellent chronicle of her time in the TV trenches, as well as the times she’s branched...


The Magicians' Sera Gamble on making great fantasy TV without Game of Thrones money

“This shit should not be cheesy,” Sera Gamble says. She’s talking about the visual effects and production design on the terrific Syfy fantasy series The Magicians, which just completed its third season, a cinch to make Todd’s top 10 of the year. While the show is one of TV’s most inventive, it has a fraction of the budget of something like Game of Thrones, which makes finding interesting ways to present otherworldly scenarios without breaking the bank a creative challenge. Fortunately,...


Thanos and Roseanne: how two mad titans took over pop culture

This week on I Think You’re Interesting, we’re trying something different, by dissecting two of the biggest pop culture stories of the spring. First, Vox culture writer Alex Abad-Santos joins Todd to talk about the fallout from Avengers: Infinity War. The conversation is full of spoilers, particularly when it comes to the film’s controversial ending, which some love and some hate. If you haven't seen the movie and want to avoid spoilers skip ahead to 24:29 to hear Todd's conversation...


Why 2001: A Space Odyssey is still one of the greatest films ever made, 50 years later

Even if you haven’t seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s mind-melting 1968 science fiction epic, you probably know at least something about it. It’s one of those movies, like Star Wars or Citizen Kane, that has become so thoroughly dissolved into our pop culture that you’ll have heard of the villainous computer HAL or know the famed music cue (Johann Strauss’s “Also sprach Zarathustra”) that plays over its most indelible images. But how were those moments created? The story of...


How Jean Smart beat Hollywood's age biases to build a nearly 40-year career

Designing Women, Frasier, 24, Fargo, Legion, some of the best TV shows of the past 30-plus years have one terrific actress in common: Jean Smart. Tall, striking, and bold, Smart has carved out a path in Hollywood that involves never doing the same thing twice — to the degree that her immediate follow-up to the sitcom Designing Women was a role as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in a made-for-TV movie. Smart is currently one of FX’s Noah Hawley players, bouncing between the TV producer’s...


Wonderful Midwestern moms, explained by comedian Louie Anderson (who plays his own mom on TV)

One of the most sympathetic, compelling portraits of motherhood on television centers on a performance by a man. On FX's Baskets, which recently completed its third season, comedian Louie Anderson plays Christine Baskets, mother of twins Chip and Dale (both played by Zach Galifianakis), and he describes the experience not as trying to put on a character but, instead, as channeling his own mother, Ora, a South Dakota native who spent most of her life in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota....


The 5 best coming-of-age movies about teen girls

Lady Bird was one of the surprise hits of 2017, with its bittersweet, deeply funny depiction of teen girl adolescence. And that got Todd to thinking: Why is it so rare to see good movies about teen girls coming of age? To answer that question, he brought in Kay Cannon, director of the new comedy Blockers, a very funny gross-out raunchfest, which just so happens to be about teen girls figuring out their sexuality while their parents wrestle with the sexist double standards we apply to...