Totally Geeked is a monthly feature at Professional Geek Podcast's blog where you'll get an inside look at what our staff are geeking out about today.
Blaire Knight-Graves, Host & Executive Producer
First, it’s worth acknowledging that I usually watch, on average, three to five episodes of a sitcom every night before bed. It’s how I turn my brain off; most sitcoms are light enough material that even when they’re emotionally devastating, you can relax and not become fragile after watching. Ok, so… Hold my beer while I tell you about this truly wacky thing for me to be “totally geeked” about. Guys, I’ve become re-addicted to the sitcom Cheers, an old favorite of mine. I’m not just rewatching it randomly and without care as I do with many sitcoms. No, I’m once again all-in. I’m deeply invested in the character arcs, the political climate in which it was written and to which it makes frequent reference to, the addition and subtraction of characters due to cast drama and unforeseen actor deaths, and the divisive question: Sam and Diane, or Sam and Rebecca? (I’m team Rebecca)
Cheers is a sitcom that is truly unique. It had moral leanings that were never said but insinuated, like how a character was never seen leaving the bar drunk to drive, or how it was generally supportive of women working and being independent in a time where this was a part of the cultural conversation. The characters were also iconic in their broad spectrum representation of class, education, and belief systems, and the series specifically gives women agency within their careers and represents a broad spectrum of motherhood, marriage, and relationships as they pertain to their female characters.
But it also has many problems with gender and color diversity, both in representation and in how non-white men are treated. Women are frequently sex objects, and people of color are almost nonexistent. In the first two seasons of Cheers, Diane (Shelley Long) spends most of her episodes being sexually harassed or molested by the patrons of the bar, only to be saved by one of her male companions later, despite the agency mentioned above.
Needless to say, I could go on for hours about how I’ve come to dissect and become re-enamored with Cheers. I’ll leave you with my favorite thought, however: I am Cliff Clavin. I love Cliff Clavin. I will dress as Cliff Clavin for Halloween and maybe comic con. The obsession is real.
Mark Beers, Host & Guest Manager
Welcome to what appears to be a recurring theme in our “Totally Geeked About” posts. It’s called, “Video Games I’d Rather Be Playing Than Writing About, but Noooo…..Zach assigned me homework.” (I’ll admit that title might need some work.) This month, I continue my quest to find digital friends with the latest entry in the highly regarded RPG series Persona in Persona 5. Last month, Mass Effect returned me to a universe that I was intimately familiar with but with Persona 5 I am going into a series I’ve long been interested in, but have never been brave enough to try. Our Episode 16 guest Jessie Link has long extolled the virtues of this series of to me, and after a little bit of research and strong endorsements, I decided that Persona 5 was a great place for newcomers to jump in. The
Persona series is known for the unique JRPG, demon slaying, roleplaying elements that it combines with the trials of navigating the life of a Japanese High School student, deciding how to budget your time between study, work, and social interactions. It is such an odd combination that I can’t help but be drawn to it.
I am only beginning to explore the game, so again I wouldn’t consider this a review in any way, but my first few hours have been interesting. I’m not a big fan of most anime, but I understand that the trope of “High School student by day / Demon Hunter by night” is a pretty common one, and Persona isn’t shy about displaying it’s anime/manga influences. The game is gorgeous; it feels like a cartoon come to life. The story unfolds through amazing animated cutscenes. The combat is a largely menu driven experience, seeing as it is a turn based RPG, but rather than being a collection of boring text windows, the game incorporates a visual style in it’s text (of which there is a lot, despite extensive voice work in the scenes I’ve seen) and menus that feels like it would be right at home in the pages of a manga. I am very anxious to get into the meat of the game play, especially the social aspects of the game. If I have a fear, I guess it would have to be the same as my general apprehension when it comes to most anime. “Is it going to just be too weird?” Hopefully not.
Zach Weiss, Blog Manager
Appreciating serialized podcasts is not a new phenomenon for me. I think I heard about Welcome to Night Vale after its 6th episode was released, and I listened to The Black Tapes podcast for most of my last marathon training season. This month is different, though, because instead of being obsessed with just one show at a time, I'm obsessed with a whole collection of serialized, narrative podcasts.
By the way, it might be relevant to mention that our own Blaire Knight-Graves turned me on to nearly all of these shows.
I went from the really intense fictional investigation of Limetown, a story about a science community that mysteriously disappeared amidst a violent outbreak, to the true story in S-Town, where Brian Reed, a reporter from New York City investigates a possible murder in Alabama, and the eccentric John B. McLemore who kicked the whole investigation off. I also listened to scientists try to solve the mystery of a confirmed alien communication and the unusual medical side effects of that communication in The Message, a radio drama sponsored by GE.
The show I’m most excited about right now, though, is Rabbits, a bi-weekly podcast follows PRA reporter Carly Parker’s search to find her missing best friend, Yumiko, who disappeared while researching an ancient and dangerous augmented reality game. The narrative is pushed forward through exposition aboutvideo games and easter eggs, internet culture and the deep web. The show is only on it’s 5th episode but it already feels more real, and with higher stakes than The Black Tapes.
I’m excited to see where the genre goes from here. After hearing all these fiction shows that share the same format as real life shows like Serial and the aforementioned S-Town, I’d love to hear a show that breaks that convention. I’m not sure how they would do it, but I really want to see what else the podcast medium can do.