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

If you love <em>Vanderpump Rules</em> you will love <a href="https://www.vulture.com/tv/vanderpump-rules/">Brian Moylan's recaps of the show.</a> Above, Scheana Shay, left, Ariana Madix and Lala Kent.
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If you love Vanderpump Rules you will love Brian Moylan's recaps of the show. Above, Scheana Shay, left, Ariana Madix and Lala Kent.

This week, a love story got a sequel, another paper company lined up for its big moment, and a Chicago music legend was remembered.

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

Brian Moylan's Vanderpump Rules recaps on Vulture

Vanderpump Rules just had its season finale, and I wanted to shout out Brian Moylan, who doesthe recaps of Vanderpump for Vulture. Brian's recaps are hilarious and he analyzes the show and the characters through the lens of: This is a workplace drama. This season especially has been about how essentially these colleagues are going to keep working together after a couple of them poisoned the whole environment. I'm an economics reporter, so I enjoy stories about people's relationships to their work. This is a labor story. On a lot of reality shows cast members are much more co-workers than friends or romantic partners, but that's often more subtext than text. Vanderpump actually makes it text, and then Brian does a marvelous, funny job of talking about it from that lens. — Wailin Wong

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The Worst Ronin, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Faith Schaffer

The Worst Roninis a great new graphic novel. It's written by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and illustrated by Faith Schaffer. It is a story about a wannabe impetuous young samurai who teams up with a hard-drinking, battle scarred samurai to fight a demon. It's got this wacko world building: It seems to take place in feudal Japan but everyone has cell phones and they don't explain it. The book is full of funny, delightful choices like that. It's YA, so it's a great gift for a kid, or, if you want to read a samurai comedy about a farting demon – this book is for you. — Jordan Morris

Luciano Pavarotti and Celine Dion's live duet of "I Hate You Then I Love You"

I recently got to spend some time with family who I don't see very often, and my uncle in law loves Luciano Pavarotti. We wound up watching a lot of Pavarotti & Friends — the series of benefits that he did in the '90s and the aughts where he was collaborating with various pop stars: The Spice Girls,Stevie Wonder, Liza Minnelli, Barry White, Sheryl Crow.My favorites are Pavarotti and James Brown singing"It's A Man's Man's Man's World."And Pavarotti and Celine Dion singing"I Hate You Then I Love You." Their voices just sound like butter. I loved going down this rabbit hole. It made me appreciate how Pavarotti would collaborate with so many different people. He seemed so happy to do it, and did not have this hard line of like, "Well, I'm an opera singer." He seemed to love music of all kinds and appreciate artists of all kinds. — Aisha Harris

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

The Beekeeper came out in January, but it's had an interesting buzz (sorry) around it recently, so I finally checked it out, and you know what? It's pretty good! It's a Jason Statham action picture in which he plays an avenging fighter (you are shocked!) who is determined to take down the people who scammed his neighbor out of her life savings. It's certainly not a masterpiece of nuance, but there's something extremely satisfying about seeing the bad guys in a movie like this portrayed as just ordinary, life-ruining doofuses. Forget blowing up military installations: this guy is going to burn down your annoying call center. It's available on demand now.

The death of legendary stuntwoman Jeannie Epper led me back this week to the documentary Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story, which you can rent or stream in a variety of places, including on Tubi for free. It will give you Epper's story, and it's also a great companion to The Fall Guy (which I hope you'll see in a theater), because both understand the hard work and commitment of stunt performers.

We're gearing up to watch a new season of Bridgerton, and since these seasons have only come out every other year, you might need a refresher before you dive in. Perhaps you'd like to remind yourself where we were when last we saw all these fancy people?

I am currently reading The Husbands, an inventive comedy-drama by Holly Gramazio. The hook is irresistible: a single woman's attic suddenly starts producing husbands for her, and every time one of them goes up there, he's replaced by a new one who comes back down. It's a conundrum: How do you get a husband you don't like to go up there so you can get a new one? How do you keep one you do like from going up there so he doesn't disappear? I am enjoying it a lot, and I can't wait to see where it's going.


Beth Noveyadapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" for the Web. 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 2024 NPR

Wailin Wong
Wailin Wong is a long-time business and economics journalist who's reported from a Chilean mountaintop, an embalming fluid factory and lots of places in between. She is a host of The Indicator from Planet Money. Previously, she launched and co-hosted two branded podcasts for a software company and covered tech and startups for the Chicago Tribune. Wailin started her career as a correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires in Buenos Aires. In her spare time, she plays violin in one of the oldest community orchestras in the U.S.
Jordan Morris
Aisha Harris
Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.