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What's Making Us Happy: A guide to your weekend viewing and reading

A snake (cake?) from the third season of <em>Is It Cake?</em>
A snake (cake?) from the third season of Is It Cake?

This week, Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé! Also, somebody paid a lot of money — a lot — for a door, and baseball returned, extremely terrible uniforms and all.

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

Collecting the Simpsons: The Merchandise and Legacy of Our Favorite Nuclear Family

/ Mango

Collecting the Simpsons is a book about Simpsons merchandise — niche audience, I know, but if you're in this niche, you will love this book. I was a '90s kid. I was a Simpsons kid. This book takes you through the T-shirts, the video games, the comics, the cookie jars, all the Simpsons stuff that was being produced around the mid-'90s. It's got interviews with writers, directors and collectors. It goes into the bootleg Bart phenomenon where Bart Simpson was drawn fighting in the Gulf War and playing reggae music. It's a really fun and interesting trip into that time — and a really gorgeous book. — Jordan Morris

The Angel of Indian Lake, by Stephen Graham Jones

/ Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster

Horror novelist Stephen Graham Jones has just publishedThe Angel of Indian Lake.It's the conclusion of The Indian Lake trilogy, about Jade Daniels, a young woman who wonders if she is a final girl.She's a big slasher movie fan, and she uses all the information and knowledge that she has learned from those stories to survive — it's sort of her philosophy of living. Jones is a Native American author and he's so close to the culture when he writes about horror, and werewolves, and vampires and slashers. It is frightening and bloody, but it is also a thoughtful journey of a young woman coming to terms with the idea that she may not be a final girl, but may in fact be a trainer or a mentor for a series of final girls. He writes with such poetry and sensitivity; his books are 90% about these really beautiful, touching, complex interpersonal relationships, and 10% the best gore you ever had. — Walter Chaw

The new season of Is It Cake?

In a world in which you never know what you're going to get when you turn on a streaming show (Is it going to be too heavy? Is it going to be too goofy?) Netflix's Is It Cake? is a game show where people look at something and try to answer the question: Is it cake? It's hosted by Mikey Day with a very interesting collection of judges and bakers who come on.

Between that, and the return of the Netflix show Physical: 100, which is just 100 people competing on all kinds of different physical tasks — I am completely happy when it comes to things that I can watch on Netflix without having to pay any attention. — Linda Holmes

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

I can't believe I haven't been doing the history quiz from NPR's Throughline, but you can rest assured I am righting that wrong as we speak. This week's is about Monopoly, and as you'd expect from the Throughline team, it's a step more interesting than your average quiz.

As a person who loves streaming documentaries, I'm always delighted when I come across a specific call to action that tells people about good ones to watch right now. Here are a few chosen in The New York Times.

Beth Noveyadapted 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.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jordan Morris
Walter Chaw
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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