Here’s a look at some of the amazing, hilarious and thoughtful things that are making me happy this week.
Within the Wires is the lastest podcast from Nightvale Presents, the group behind Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn’t Dead. Written by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson (and narrated by Matthewson), Within the Wires presents itself as a series of “relaxation cassettes” that you, the listener, are to experience when you are calm, quiet and alone. In your designated room. Somewhere inside “The Institute.”
As the 10-episode series progresses, fulfill the narrator’s mandate to “listen, remember, comprehend” and you’ll discover a story within the surrealism. A story with specific instructions. There’s more than mindfulness going on here, and each small revelation adds to the larger narrative. I’m having great fun listening, remembering and comprehending Within the Wires.
Dilemma is a half-hour panel show on BBC Radio 4 extra in which the delightful and hilarious Sue Perkins presents guests with morally ambiguous situations and forces them to defend the actions they’d take if in those very scenarios.
It’s a lot funnier than I’ve made it out to be.
Much like the 1990’s party game Scruples, Dilemma presents a situation and asks players how they’d act. For example, “You’ve been offered $25,000 to give a one-hour talk at a convention put up by [Company A]. The topic is right in your wheelhouse. The only problem is that Company A is owned by your spouse’s nemesis, and s/he is begging you not to do it, despite the fact that you really need the money.”
The reason that Dilemma works so well is Sue Perkins. She’s very fast on her feet, witty and does not let her guests out of giving a definitive answer and defending it. My favorite segment is the lightning round in which contestants have only a couple of seconds to pick the more morally upright item in a pairing:
“One massive eye in your forehead or never eat dairy again.”
“Robocop or Terminator: which is the better middle name for your child?”
“Would you rather the queen’s face be as small as it is on stamps, or that stamps were as big as her face?”
It’s smart and funny.
Last year I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey and now I’m going crazy for this trailer. This atypical zombie story features Melanie, a “hungry” (the book’s term for zombie) who is strapped to her wheelchair every morning, at gunpoint, and wheeled into her classroom. Melanie’s teacher, scientist Helen Justineau, recognizes something in her student that’s beyond her condition or her genius IQ. The story goes on from there.
The trailer seems to retain the smart, subtle horror, heartbreak and moral ambiguity of Carey’s novel. It’s gotten me excited for the film, and that’s a trailer’s job, isn’t it?