Linda Holmes

We're always excited for the beginning of summer movie season. Despite the fact that it's almost guaranteed to contain some major disappointments and jarring disasters, we often find goofy fun, sharp writing and new stars blowing up (sometimes literally) our cinematic seasons.

The first thing you may notice about Great News, a comedy premiering Tuesday night on NBC, is its similarities to 30 Rock. Here, a news producer named Katie (Briga Heelan) has her work life disrupted when her boss (Adam Campbell) hires her loving but overbearing mom (the great Andrea Martin, late of SCTV and truckloads of comedy since then) as an intern at the station. And while the focus is news rather than late night, the frustrated goofball at the center of a constantly careening television production has a familiar tone.

The first thing you should know about this week's show is that PCHH regular Glen Weldon has a strict rule against seeing Fast And The Furious movies, and while he would have waived it if he absolutely had to, we fortunately had willing correspondents in beloved fourth chairs Gene Demby and Chris Klimek, so they joined me and Stephen Thompson for our first segment.

It's not just Hamilton.

Musicals have always had a built-in advantage as cultural products. Individual songs can translate and build interest via cast albums or Tony telecasts in a way that's very difficult for plays to emulate. A lot of kids grow up on musicals like Grease and Annie -- and, yes, now Hamilton — while early introductions to plays, however great, might make them seem impenetrable or like homework. (I'm looking at you, William Shakespeare, and doing so lovingly.)

Note: This piece discusses the plot details from the sixth-season premiere of Veep.

Our team is just back from a wonderful live show in Chicago — thank you all for coming! — with W. Kamau Bell as our special guest and Sam Sanders in our fourth chair. (Both were wonderful.) We'll have audio from that show in your feeds later, but this week, we've got a special edition.

First up, we bring you a segment Glen Weldon did with our buddy Gene Demby of Code Switch about diversity in comics. It originally aired on the Code Switch podcast, but we thought we'd bring it to you here as well.

We're all back at the table this week, and we're joined by our library consultant, Boston pal, and wearer of colorful clothing, Margaret H. Willison. First up, we all listened to the new podcast S-Town, which has again raised the profile of narrative podcasts. This one, in seven parts, is about a man who wrote to This American Life to air his complaints about his small Alabama hometown — and that was only the very, very beginning of a complex story.

Tale as old as tiiiiiiime ...

By which, of course, I mean "tired people return from South By Southwest."

But in any event: this week's show kicks off with a discussion with our pal Katie Presley of Bitch Media about the live-action version of Disney's Beauty And The Beast. How are the candlesticks? How's the new music? And, as Katie wonders, is there adequate eroticism within the Beast, compared to the cartoon Beast who set Katie's young heart aflutter so many years ago? And what's the Les Miz-iest part of the Beast's new tune, anyway?

The six-episode podcast Missing Richard Simmons dropped its final episode on Monday, two days ahead of schedule. For a project nominally devoted to finding out more about what happened to onetime fitness guru Richard Simmons, it wasn't very satisfying by that standard. Host Dan Taberski concluded, in effect, that Richard Simmons was safe and physically healthy and had withdrawn voluntarily from public life without much fanfare, which is ... pretty much what we already knew. That's what Simmons had said in a call to Today that Taberski played again and again.

First, it was the iron. Then, it was the thimble. Now, Monopoly has kicked two more longtime tokens out of the game.

Step away, boot. Roll yourself away, wheelbarrow.

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