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What's Making Us Happy: A Guide For Your Weekend Watching, Listening And Reading

Adam Rose/Netflix, Adam Rose/Netflix
Adam Rose/Netflix
Marie Kondo, Jim and Logan in episode 1 of Sparking Joy on Netflix.

It's safe to say a lot of us are happy to have this week over with, if only so we can take a big deep breath. We hope you'll do that on this long weekend if you can, maybe with something good to watch or listen to. Then we'll all be back at it together.

What to watch


Sparking Joy, Netflix

Marie Kondo just released her new series, Sparking Joy. I look up to her so much. Every time she used to come here to do book tours, I went to everything one of them. I have every book that she's ever written. I watched the first out of three episodes, and it just feels like a release. It makes you want to clean up and get your life together. I'm going to finish binging that because if "football is life," then Marie Kondo is life too. She sparks joy for me. -- Laura Sirikul

The "play something" feature on Netflix

It is just very hard to decide what to watch. It is overwhelming. If this rolled out earlier for you than it did me, lucky you, but I just got the "play something" option on Netflix and it is so helpful. When you first sign in, you see your profile picture it has the option to just click "play something." I gotta tell you, it's just really fun. It lets you continue to pick if the first choice isn't what you want. I love this new feature. -- Daisy Rosario

Fifty Shades of Grey, Peacock

Sometimes I need something compelling, and compelling doesn't mean good it means it just gets you to pay attention. Sometimes I want something that will make me put down my phone. So I finally watched Fifty Shades of Grey. My favorite thing about it is not even the movie, it's how woefully miscast Jamie Dornan is in it. It is so uncomfortable, and that is a thing that made me happy this week. I legitimately laughed out loud so many times and turned to my cat and asked, "what is happening in this movie?" -- Daisy Rosario

Ted Lasso's latest episode 'The Signal,' Apple TV+

Ted Lasso's recent episode really touched on mental health, and as someone who suffers from panic attacks and stuff, it really hit home. It's one of those things where you see the happiest people, and they're internally struggling, too. I feel really connected to the series and this past episode. It talks about talking to a therapist and really putting yourself out there to get help. I really love that. -- Laura Sirikul

Impeachment: American Crime Story,FX


I think there will be a lot of chatter about the FX series Impeachment: American Crime Story, which starts Tuesday night. Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp ... it's a whole thing. Reviews are mixed. We'll be talking about it on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Check it out for yourself, prosthetics and all. -- Linda Holmes

Wild Indian

If you liked Michael Greyeyes on Rutherford Falls, seek out the new film Wild Indian, which is now streaming. It's a thriller about the dangers of digging up the past, and while it's not an easy watch, he's terrific in it. -- Linda Holmes

What to read

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor

It's a graphic novel called The Legend of Auntie Po. It's written and illustrated by Shing Yin Khor. Auntie Po tells the story of a 13-yeard-old girl named Mei. She's a Chinese girl, a baker in 1885 Sierra Nevada working at a logging camp. Now, 1885 was three years after the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law in 1882, and as a Chinese kid, Mei is not immune to the racial tumult that was caused by this act.

Stories and legends are really important to her, so the legendary Auntie Po and her blue water buffalo Pei Pei show up to help Mei cope and navigate the difficulty of the racism around her. This book came out in June in the midst of a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. So even though it's dealing with at 1885 logging camp, the air of fear and uncertainty that Mei feels was really relevant to me as I was reading it. Ultimately though, it's a really sweet book that places a Chinese girl squarely at the center of the frame and asks: what about the Chinese people who were here in the U.S. when racist immigration laws were passed? What would they have felt and thought?

There's even a queer love story, and it's dealt with in a historically accurate and age-appropriate way. The art is lovely. It's enjoyable for young kids who can relate to Mei as a protagonist or adults who remember what it was like to be 13. When I was a kid, I had a Paul Bunyan book that totally fascinated me, but I never imagined myself in the pages of that book, and I certainly never imagined Paul Bunyan helping me. With Auntie Po, I don't have to imagine, I just have to read. -- Mallory Yu

"Don't Stop Believin': Inside the Making of 'The Many Saints of Newark,'" Rolling Stone

Sopranos expert and my pal Alan Sepinwall has started publishing coverage of the new film The Many Saints Of Newark over at Rolling Stone. Start with his big digital cover story. -- Linda Holmes

What to listen to

History of a Feeling, Madi Diaz

We are right in the middle of a kind of bizarre run of massive pop records that are dropping every Friday, and I don't want this one to slip through the cracks. It is called History of a Feeling by the singer Madi Diaz. It is a fantastic piece of songwriting, really personal storytelling, with a mix of songs that are heart-on-the-sleeve but also occasionally really rock. It's a breakup record. She'd recently seen the end of a relationship in which her partner came out as trans, and so that is a huge kind of cocktail of emotions and very specific experiences that this record wrangles with in very beautiful ways. It's going to be one of my favorite albums of the year. -- Stephen Thompson

What else has been making us happy recently?

There's more where this came from! Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Subscribe here >>
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