Who is Dr. Melinda Lewis sitting down with today?
Episode 1: The Cult of the Superhero Movie
The increasing popularity and financial ramifications of superheroes and their universes.
Episode 2: The Gift of Kick-Ass
Debuting in July 1988, the Oscar nominated film, Die Hard challenged preconceptions of the action film genre and what constituted a Christmas film. Going from cult Christmas film to holiday mainstay, Die Hard delivers a powerful (holiday) punch, while also unpacking the institutionalization of the Christmas spirit. Drs. Melinda Lewis and Kevin Egan embark on an analysis of this Christmas class, and even discover a few stocking stuffers in the process.
Episode 3: Serendipity in Science
In the 19th Century, the pursuit of truth and holistic understanding of science were hot new trends. Little known Russian scientist Sergei Vinogradskii was one of the hippest cats, with his microbe work paving the way for the emerging fields of microbiology and ecology. Dr. Lloyd Ackert joins Dr. Melinda Lewis to till fertile ground related to the role of serendipity in scientific discovery, theories of mutual aid and Darwinism, and how microbes have impacted life and culture.
Episode 5: All How You Frame It
For graphic novelist and educator Jamar Nicholas, city life, popular comic strips, and reality TV all inform his creations.
Episode 7: Indie, Eclectic, Undefinable
Music industry professor and Jade Tree Records co-founder Darren Walters went from listener to active participant, supporting the work of artists on the ground level for the past three decades.
Episode 9: Bonus Episode:
Guilty Pleasure Songs
In a special live episode of Pop, the Question, recorded at the Philadelphia Podcast Festival, Dr. Melinda Lewis digs deep in the crates with pop music fans to talk about songs filed under the category of “guilty pleasure,” where earnest tastes somehow prove misaligned with what's considered cool.
Demons Don’t Buy Kitty Litter
Horror punk godfather and musician Glenn Danzig birthed the Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig with iconography and inspiration from the likes of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and B-list horror and sci-fi flicks from his formative years. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis and veteran Drexel University WKDU DJ Johnpaul Golaski explore Glenn Danzig’s legacy and peculiar rise to fame.
An Apple Conspiracy
Apples are nature’s candy, as well as a popular motif and metaphor. At their core, they represent original sin, despite the adage that one a day keeps the doctor away; still there’s relatively little consumer information available in the cybersphere about this handy fruit. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis gets to the root of the matter—and even holds a taste test—with apple aficionado and Drexel University Computer Engineering undergraduate Doug Gerichten.
The Schrute Factor
The Office, an American mockumentary sitcom, ran on NBC for nine seasons through 2013 and continues to resonate with fans for its satirical humor and sometimes brutally absurd depiction of everyday work life. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis gets to the bottom of the paper piles with longtime fan of The Office and Drexel University Mathematics professor Dr. Dimitrios Papadopoulos.
There’s ‘Something’ About the Beatles
The Beatles made an unprecedented impact on music and pop culture when they first arrived on the scene over a half-century ago. To this day, their influence continues to reverberate for new generations of listeners worldwide, including a curious and critical group of Drexel University staff members who dove head first into The Beatles’ back catalog. In a special live episode of Pop, the Question (recorded for the 7th Annual Philadelphia Podcast Festival), Dr. Melinda Lewis breaks down the band’s canon of work with fans Dr. Kevin Egan, Broc Holmquest, and Julia Wisniewski.
Episode 4: Celebrity Crushes
A celebrity crush is a rite of passage for people all over the world. The emotions are real, while the relationships typically are not. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis flirts with this cultural phenomenon alongside six guests, revealing myriad ways in which fans crush on those in the spotlight.
Episode 6: This Thing is Gonna Blow
Host Dr. Melinda Lewis and aspiring volcanologist Nick Barber grapple with what the 1997 volcano extravaganza Dante’s Peak gets right, what it gets wrong, and how popular culture shapes the way audiences interact with their natural environment.
Episode 8: Sweatpants & Stilettos
Keeping Up With the Kardashians has pivoted reality television and social media to reinvent how audiences gain access to celebrity lives.
Episode 10: Glitz, Glamour & Shoulder Pads
Working Girl and its protagonist Tess McGill set sail on the Staten Island Ferry for a piece of the capitalist pie, challenging gender and class stereotypes. For three decades now, the 1988 film’s influence has docked in the hearts of moviegoers and feminists alike. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis and Drexel University alumnus Maren Larsen reflect on the greater cultural appeal and impact of Working Girl.
The Western Hero
Once upon a time in America, Westerns ruled the film landscape. While the Western genre no longer commands the front line of popular culture, the legacy endures through space epics, heist films, and anthology TV. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis discusses the complex and inspirational nature of the great Westerns with late filmmaker, writer, and Drexel University cinema studies professor Dave “D.B.” Jones.
No Representation is Bad Representation
Following growing discussion around identity politics, Hollywood rolled out the red carpet in 2018 for diverse film offerings like Black Panther, Sorry to Bother You, Blindspotting, BlacKkKlansman, Crazy Rich Asians, and Eighth Grade. While the industry hasn’t turned over its equitable leaf quite yet, these titles represent an exciting moment and promise for historically underrepresented filmmakers and narratives. They present great specificity and character development to reach and resonate with their diverse global audiences. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis shines the spotlight on film and diversity in conversation with cultural critic and Drexel University English undergraduate Byshera Williams.
Once relegated to undergarment necessity, the T-shirt has evolved over the last half century to fashion trend, art form, political statement, and now collectable item. For artist and musician Perry Shall—a self-identified T-shirt archivist of over 1,400 shirts (among other artifacts)—his unique hobby is an unprecedented labor of love mixed with a lifelong thrill of the thrift store hunt. Host Dr. Melinda Lewis and Shall dive deep into the stories and cultural trends sewn into the very fabric of the ubiquitous T-shirt.
Life is Just a Wheel of Fortune
Game shows are a decades-long American television tradition, and Wheel of Fortune has one of the strongest legacies. Take a spin with Zaarah Abdul-Aziz, a Drexel University undergraduate who was a contestant and prize winner on Wheel of Fortune (engaging in plenty of wordplay with Pat Sajak and Vanna White). Host Dr. Melinda Lewis quizzes Abdul-Aziz about her TV game show experiences, as well as the obsession that took the pre-med student from her living room to the set of Wheel of Fortune.
Dr. Melinda Lewis
Melinda's first babysitter was a VHS tape of bootlegged music videos from MTV. It was no surprise then that from her toddlerdom, she would immerse herself in all things popular culture - reading Premiere on a regular basis at age 12, listening obsessively to REM, and formulating elaborate personal investment in the success of celebrity couples. See how she parlayed her interest into a career.