Cool People Column – 7/6/20

It’s been said that there’s more to life than music and, while we remain sceptical, we’ve decided to test the premise with our new bi-weekly Cool People Column!

Noyan and Eden already bring you great pop culture recommendations and discussions each week on Heavy Pod is Heavy, but why should they get to have all the fun? (Just because they essentially maintain and run the blog itself? I think not!) Now it’s the rest of the staff’s turn to share all the cool things from beyond the world of music that have been tickling their fancy over the last fortnight; everything from books to films, TV shows, video games and beyond!

We also want to know what all you cool people out there have been getting up to as well, so make sure to let us know in the comments.

Extra History

Lately I’ve been rediscovering my love for history. The vacuum of sporting news and talk shows during lockdown forced me to broaden my usual youtube horizons and I decided to delve back into my younger years and learn (or refresh) about the past. One youtube channel in particular has stood out – Extra Credits, and in particular its series Extra History. Extra History has been running for seven years now and their template is simple. Step one: choose a topic, such as an event (e.g. the Opium Wars), a person (e.g. Suleiman the Magnificent), or a period (e.g. the Bronze Age). Step two: run a series of neatly animated videos clearly explaining, analysing and hypothesising over the events and impact of said topic. Step three: finish off with “Lies”, a Q&A-style video with the scriptwriter where they discuss everything they got wrong in the series, the interesting details that couldn’t make it into the video, and where they answer pre-submitted questions submitted by viewers or patrons.

There are three things I love about this series. Firstly, the breadth of topics covered. Many history channels I’ve found tend to focus predominantly on Western and/or Mediterranean history. While fascinating, I want a more balanced world history to choose from and Extra History facilitates this with content ranging from Europe to Asia, the Middle East to Africa, and more. Second, the animation is nicely done and the scripts are well written: really clear and easy to follow. However, most channels with a healthy number of subscribers meet this second point, while if I wanted a more balanced history I could explicitly seek it out. What really sets Extra History apart in my eyes is the candidness with which they approach their content. They’re very clear about what is confidently known, where some educated guessing is required and where they simply don’t know what has happened. When they delve into conjecture and theorising, they make that clear. And in their “Lies” episode at the end of each series I like that they’re open about what they got wrong (usually minor things, like flags or titles, but I appreciate it nonetheless) and they give some insight into what did and didn’t make it into the series (and why). It makes you feel like you’re getting the inside scoop, so to speak, and humanises their role.

So if anything I’ve mentioned above sounds interesting to you – dive right in. Below we’ve linked a playlist that goes through all of the episodes they’ve released to date, and if you like the format, the parent channel Extra Credits has a range of different places to go. Whether you’re interested in gaming, mythology, sci-fi or history, there is an Extra segment for you and I, for one, can’t wait to keep exploring.

Karlo Doroc

the muppets.

Everybody right now is looking for that little something to take your mind off the world. Life is hard enough with everything going on, you know? My wife and I were looking for just such a distraction when we stumbled upon the muppets. show (2016). I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for The Muppets, so to be reminded that they had a network sitcom only a few years ago was a blessing. If you need something light-hearted right now, I strongly recommend it.

Considering it’s a show about The Muppets, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that it was a kid’s show. The Muppets have always been about inclusion of all people, so the writing isn’t always specifically for kids but it gets that reputation. However, this show works well because it’s not necessarily for kids. The writing is very clever and reminds me a lot of 30 Rock (2006–2013), just with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy taking the places of Liz Lemon and Jenna Maroney, respectively. And in that dynamic, it’s perfect.

I could talk about the hilarious writing, the fantastic guest stars, or any number of other points. It would be irrelevant. The main reason that you should watch this show is that it’s for everyone. This show spurred us to watch other Muppets media, and it dawned on me that The Muppets has ALWAYS been for everyone. There’s always a reference to how different all the characters are from each other. The ultimate moral of most Muppets stories is that we can all be together and enjoy each despite and/or because of our differences. It’s always inclusive and welcoming, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s always very clever. The muppets. is exactly what we all could use right now.

Pete Williams

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