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What's Making Us Happy: A guide to your weekend viewing and listening

<em>Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets </em>is an eye-opening docuseries about reality TV stars The Duggars.
Prime Video
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is an eye-opening docuseries about reality TV stars The Duggars.

It was the week the artist who sang an era-defining song walked to the sea, looking straight ahead, not at h/sh/me. It was the week the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation first began to crash against the shield-wall of sandbags that is the U.S. Constitution. And it was the week your social feeds filled up with photos of a tiny orange sunsuspended in an orange sky, like someone plopped a basketball from a great height into a sea of sherbet.

Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Luis Miguel's cover of "I Only Want To Be With You" — "Ahora Te Puedes Marchar"

So part of my job is traveling around the country to eat at restaurants, which is a wonderful, wonderful privilege. And one of the bonuses of that is that I get to eat at restaurants that have really great playlists. And so a good chunk of my music tastes come from songs that I've heard in restaurants. And a few weeks ago I was at a restaurant in Houston called Tatemó, and I heard an absolutely incredible cover of Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to Be With You" by Luis Miguel. And instead it was called "Ahora Te Puedes Marchar," which means "you can leave now." It's like a version that's entirely in Spanish. Dare I say it's better than the Dusty Springfield original? It is such a bop. — Priya Krishna

Doctor Who's upcoming 60th anniversary

It's the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who this November ... it is a British sci-fi series about a character called The Doctor, and they travel through space and time, usually with a companion. And in November, there's going to be a three-episode special to celebrate the 60th anniversary. And a lot of folks are excited about this special because the show has had a rocky few years under different creative leadership. But the incoming showrunner is Russell T Davies, who brought the series back in 2005. And these specials that are coming up, and the upcoming series is supposed to bring back a lot of favorite characters and also introduce new actors to the Doctor Who universe: Neil Patrick Harris, Jinkx Monsoon, Jonathan Groff, Ncuti Gatwa. ... So all that to say, what's making me happy this week, this year, is I'm rewatching the revival series.It's on Max and I will be on Max and in Doctor Who from now until November. — J.C. Howard

Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets

Well, I don't know if "happy" is the right word for what this is making me, but Amazon Prime has a new docuseries called Shiny Happy People. ... The show really dives deep into what was really happening behind the scenes with the Duggar family on 19 Kids and Counting and how ... this show [was] presented as actually wholesome Americana — a return to old-fashioned values.

What do we mean by "old fashioned values?" What do we mean by "back when America was great again?" We all know what that means. ... Tabloid journalism played a role in presenting that image, but then also in uncovering the truth. ...

Presentation isn't just about entertainment and it's not just about religion — it's also about politics and pushing these people up to the top of political power in America. So it's a really fascinating show for anybody who is curious about: How did right wing religious politics become what they are today? It's not just about a freaky family. It's about bigger questions in America. -- Kristen Meinzer

Jessie Ware's new album That! Feels! Good! and the song "Pearls"

So what's making me happy is that for the last few weeks, I have been jamming out almost nonstop to Jessie Ware's newest album. That! Feels Good! There's multiple excellent exclamation points in there. It is just such a delight. It is very disco dance floor heavy. If you remember her previous album, What's Your Pleasure? Which was sort of operating in that same kind of disco groove. It is that — but taken to like the nth degree. ...

You're going to put this on and it's going to make you so happy and also horny? Because it's a very horny album. One of my favorite songs on the album is called "Pearls." Just this whole little disco revival in general that has been happening throughout music. I'm always here for a disco revival. ... I love disco, I love Jessie Ware. — Aisha Harris

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Glen Weldon

In comedian John Early's new HBO special, Now More Than Ever, he brings his character of hilariously self-involved comedian "John Early" onto the stage for an hour of songs, standup, and kidding-on-the-square social commentary. He also brings his parents, and closes by unleashing a frankly astonishing falsetto on a cover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love." You'll feel it, too.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel went out on a strong final season, made even stronger in that it showed her finally putting in the work, and didn't feature every character on the damn show constantly telling her how wonderful she was. On Marc Maron's WTF podcast, he got showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino to take a victory lap – and to talk about the arc of her career in a candid and engaging way.

NPR's Tilda Wilson and Beth Novey adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Priya Krishna
J.C. Howard
J.C. Howard is a producer for TED Radio Hour and How I Built This with Guy Raz. He started with NPR as an intern for How I Built This in May 2018 and began producing in his current capacity in January 2019.
Kristen Meinzer
Aisha Harris
Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
Tilda Wilson