Pop Culture Happy Hour guests and hosts share what’s bringing them joy : NPR

Blair Penner, left, Chloe Bennet and Anthony Konechny in Married by Mistake.

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E! Entertainment

Blair Penner, left, Chloe Bennet and Anthony Konechny in Married by Mistake.

E! Entertainment

This week Toronto warmed up for a different kind of film festival, good music really got things going, and we continued to hope for an end to the strikes.

Here’s what the NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Married by Mistake, streaming on Peacock


What’s making me happy this week is Married by Mistake. It’s a movie starring Chloe Bennet — you might know her from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — she graduates from business school, goes to Vegas, and wakes up married to one of her classmates – and the classmate is like, ‘Hey, I think we should stay married.’ Turns out he’s heir to the throne of a big supermarket conglomerate. She ends up getting hired to make the supermarket chain more progressive and then in walks a boy who she has a little meet cute with – and we find out he’s the brother of the person she’s fake married to. The movie is quite well done the acting is wonderful. It’s very light and airy — if you’re looking for a Hallmark Christmas movie, but it’s summertime — this is the right vibe. — Candice Lim

Made In Heaven, streaming on Prime Video


In 2019, Season 1 of Made in Heaven came out and — the chokehold it has on me! Season 2 is out now and I haven’t started watching yet, but it’s already making me happy. It’s primarily about two friends who run a wedding planning company in Delhi. It markets that whole Indian wedding shenanigan very well. They’re wedding planners so there’s a wedding in every episode — but marriage is a sticky, messy subject in India and elsewhere. So they explore everything that is wrong with the society through the lens of these very elaborate and posh weddings. — Bedatri D. Choudhury

Gran Turismo


I recently brought my 9-year-old son to see Gran Turismo. My expectations were extremely low. I figured it was going to be a 2.5-hour placement fiesta for Sony — which it was. But … my kid loved it. The audience was full of gamers who were clearly rooting so hard for Jann — the main character who’s grown up playing the racing simulation game Gran Turismo and has this life-transforming opportunity to become a real racecar driver. The most interesting thing to me was a tiny lesson that taught me not to be nearly as cynical as I am: To chill out and relax before big races, Jann would listen to Kenny G. Want to guess who owns most of Kenny G’s music these days? Sony. And I was like, oh, that is pernicious and clever. But it turns out the real Jann, the real kid-turned-racecar-driver does indeed love Kenny G. — Anastasia Tsioulcas

The Speed podcast 50 MPH

I have been listening to a podcast called 50 MPH which is a planned 50-part podcast about the making of the movie Speed. Does 50 episodes sound like a lot to devote to Speed — the legacy of Speed, the making of Speed, the creation of Speed? Yes, it does. But this podcast, which comes from entertainment journalist Kris Tapley, has interviews from the directors, writers, and some of the actors. (I’m still hoping that there will be a Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock opportunity.) Is it too much? Of course. Nevertheless, it is also just enough. Because if you love Speed, as I do, there are a ton of fascinating details and I think honestly, it’s just a really fun podcast that almost justifies the concept that it has. — Linda Holmes

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

Vulture had a fascinating examination this week of how messed-up things are over at Rotten Tomatoes, and of how depressing it is that people still look to those percentages for anything meaningful at all.

NPR’s Eric Deggans took a look at a new Little Richard documentary.

Sophie Vershbow, who was working in social media for Penguin Random House when I published my first book there, wrote an incisive, deeply researched piece for Esquire about the troubled matter of book blurbs. Oof. (Sophie is one of regrettably few people who’s getting big pieces about the book business published right now; I couldn’t be more pleased for her. She also has a great dog.)

Writer Jen A. Miller, who you might know best for her work about running, recently suffered the loss of her adventurous dog, Annie Oakley Tater Tot. And while this was an incredibly sad moment, Jen resurfaced a piece she wrote in 2017 about losing a pet, which remains as essential and helpful as an examination of grief as it was then.

We seem never to run out of stories about bad workplaces in television and film; this week’s Rolling Stone piece about life at Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show is pretty painful.

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Beth Novey adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment “What’s Making Us Happy” for the Web. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.