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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Denzel Washington And 'Gilligan's Island'

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The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington in the kind of role (the "Sad Jedi," as our own Chris Klimek put it in his terrific review) that Liam Neeson has been specializing in for several years, hit theaters last weekend. It made a lot of money, and that got us thinking: How does this fit into the larger arc of Denzel Washington? For that discussion, we brought in our pal Tanya Ballard Brown, who has spoken on the show before about her affection for this particular actor and some of his films. So in this episode, we chat about his intriguing mix of stoicism and high-powered charisma, as well as about the wicked grin that is unfortunately largely absent from this latest effort.

And then we move along to Gilligan's Island, which is hitting the 50th anniversary of its arrival. It's not that we necessarily have allthat much to say about the glory of Gilligan and friends, but we do take a moment to reflect on the absurdist era of television comedy (in which Martians, genies, and talking cars and horses ran free) and whether it resembles anything we have today. Naturally, this also means that we explore some of our favorite episodes, with audio that's well worth hearing.

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about a surge in great music to edit by (important to him!), including the Gone Girlsoundtrack (still available at NPR Music as of this writing!), some other music included in a recent episode of All Songs Considered, and a record from an artist that really does seem to be named after the depths of Stephen's soul. Glen is happy about a show with a cast he can't believe he didn't think of himself. Tanya is happy about several books she's taking on vacation when she finally has time to read, including one that's for book club. I am happy about good news for friends and folks I admire, as well as a novel I enjoyed very much.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Stephen, Glen, Tanya, producer Jessica, and producer Nick.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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.