How intrepid is Pop Culture Happy Hour's intrepid Linda Holmes? So intrepid that, when she goes on vacation in February, she heads to even-colder climes, braving the snow-swept Alcatraz that is northern Minnesota. This, of course, left the rest of us to pick up the pieces — which we did, thanks to the arrival of our dear Code Switch pal Kat Chow.
Kat, Trey Graham, Glen Weldon, and I kick off the show by discussing the new second season of the Netflix drama House of Cards — which I'd never seen before and attempted to enter midstream, while the other three managed to barrel through most or less the entire series thus far. Which, in turn, rendered us nicely equipped to talk about the show in-depth, albeit largely spoiler-free. Intrigue! Portent! Talking into the camera!
Then it's on to one of our favorite old standbys: Pop Culture Punching Bags, in which we take turns defending the seemingly indefensible. This starts with a rousingly ambivalent dissection of Shia LeBoeuf — performance artist, plagiarist, D-bag, or some combination thereof? — which includes references to these attempts to mount at least a partial defense. (This one hadn't run by the time we taped on Tuesday.) Along the way, we also discuss NFL analysts, a surprisingly (and wisely) diverse string of action movies, present and future musical pariahs, a 2008 film you might not expect to hear defended, and more.
And, as always, we close with What's Making Us Happy. Kat uses a recent ski trip as a jumping-off point for a discussion of ... jumping-off points. Trey praises cats with new homes and a departed writer. Glen is keen on these web videos. And I plug next week's Oscars Omnibus by bragging, as is my wont — before reminding everyone, as is also my wont, to visit the treasures in NPR's First Listen series.