The Irish sitcom Derry Girls is one of the finest television shows we have seen since M*A*S*H. While undeniably hilarious, the six-episode first season arc builds to a hand on a shoulder that knocked the wind out of us.
If you have never been to northern Ireland, you might not know that there are towers with directional microphones and cameras pointed at every corner of Derry and Belfast. The NYPD deploys mobile surveillance units that give Bushwick the same ambiance.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. A. Whitney Browne’s SNL monologues contain so many current cultural references he might be the best evidence we have that time travel exists.
When he delivered the punchline, “[c]ourse sometimes one candidate is such a pork fed pea brain that he’s even an embarrassment on Capitol Hill and in that case, the choice is easy. But we can’t all live in North Carolina,” he could not have guessed at the artless chicanery Mark Meadows would stab at thirty years later. SNL’s cold open that recapped the Cohen hearing did pass along most of the highlights, but it did so with defanged silliness. We could use a sage like A. Whitney Browne these days.
Amazon’s Comrade Detective is undeniably silly and intentionally prescient in a way that A. Whitney Browne’s writing only appears to be.
This paper from the Cato Institute is worth the time it demands of readers. Regardless of how you feel about the Cato Institute, this lede is objectively gripping:
“U.S. arms sales policy is out of control. Since 2002, the United States has sold more than $197 billion worth of major conventional weapons and related military support to 167 countries. In just his first year in office, President Donald Trump inked arms deals at a record pace, generating hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of potential sales.”
Nobody captures the dystopian scènes à faire like the Irish, and Samuel Beckett is one of the best. Beckett is probably most well known for Waiting for Godot, but the collaboration between Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Channel 4, and the Irish Film Board adapting several of Beckett’s shorts as films first aired in 2001. The project, Beckett on Film, was prohibitively expensive for even the wealthiest of our members, but a well written request to a library in North-Central Florida put the entire series at our fingertips. Until recently, however, our favorite shorts were not available online.
Play, set in the barren landscape of Beckett’s devastatingly rendered purgatory, witnesses the three corners of a love triangle repeating their stories as quickly as possible to satiate a spotlight that fixates on each of them in turn. This adaption is faithful to Beckett’s stage directions, repeating itself so quickly that a casual observer might not recognize the eternal loop implied by the characters’ repetition.
The late Alan Rickman is at his finest delivering some of Beckett’s more memorable lines such as, “adulterers take warning, never admit,” and “she had a razor in her vanity bag.” Nearly every line in this dense piece is worth digesting. Beckett rewards multiple readings, and this adaptation rewards multiple viewings.
While not strictly dystopian, this Alan Cumming short evokes Brazil and is punctuated with dark undercurrents. Alan Cumming, he’s so much fun. He makes my bathtime so much fun. Alan Cumming, we’re awfully found of you.
While listeners have analyzed the podcast for hidden clues in the background, the closest thing to a bread crumb anyone has found is a website for the in-universe Gatewick Institute. We sent an email to the contact listed on the website and received a cute, automated response reading:
“We are now tracking your participation. We will be in touch shortly.”
It is a cute marketing effort, but none of our members are yet playing Rabbits. We are still on the lookout for wardens.