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What’s Making Us Happy: A guide to your weekend viewing, reading and browsing

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Time Bomb Y2K looks back on the time when we thought civilization might collapse because computers wouldn’t be able to handle the switch from the 1900s to the 2000s.

Brian Langley/HBO


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Brian Langley/HBO


Time Bomb Y2K looks back on the time when we thought civilization might collapse because computers wouldn’t be able to handle the switch from the 1900s to the 2000s.

Brian Langley/HBO

This week, Jon Stewart came back (part-time), you were not the only person to occasionally mix up Tom Holland and Tom Hollander, and Madonna got sued for being late for work.

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

Revisiting Sense and Sensibility, and Emma Thompson’s screenplay and diary for the 1995 film

My “happy” is the new virtual class I’m leading on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Because I both love the novel and desperately want to tweak it, we’re going to be reading it while playing with the fan fiction practice of “Fix-It Fics”: making small changes to scenes and seeing how they impact the story as a whole. This means I’ve been able to incorporate one of the greatest books of all time, which is Emma Thompson’s filming diary for the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility — an incredibly delightful text I can’t wait to introduce people to! I’m so excited to see the like-minded nerds who sign up to marinate in all of this with me. — Margaret Willison

Time Bomb Y2K, streaming on Max

YouTube

Time Bomb Y2K is an archival documentary directed by Brian Becker and Marley McDonald. Y2K was my first idea of what a catastrophe could look like. Now, people say, oh, nothing happened — it was just Millennials overreacting. But it wasn’t, you know? It was a very big deal, and I love this documentary because it treats it as a big deal. We thought it would be the end of the world as we knew it. Anyone who is my age and older — or younger for your general knowledge and education! — please watch this documentary. — Bedatri D. Choudhury

The Traitors, on Peacock

YouTube

There is a parlor game that improvisers like to play — some call it Mafia, some call it Werewolf — but the basic idea is you’re trying to figure out who’s lying. All I want out of television is for beloved celebrities to play parlor games, a there is a show called The Traitors where you get to see your most beloved reality show liars, and it is beautiful to watch. Like, you realize that a Bachelor has to be able to lie and cheat as much as a Big Brother contestant. Amazing. At all times, Alan Cumming, the host, is dressed as if he’s essentially performing the Deborah Kerr character from Casino Royale. It is a magical show. — Guy Branum

Actor Richard E. Grant’s Instagram

Richard E. Grant has had a long and storied career, playing mostly villains — or what the Brits call cads. When you need to cast a human sneer, you go with Richard E. Grant. But his Instagram account is wholesomeness distilled to its essence. He just greets the world with open-hearted wonder at everything and shares with you his feelings of delight. The one I’ve gone back to most often is the simplest one: It’s just his wonderfully crinkly, character-filled face staring down the barrel of his phone (it’s a little like Zooming your Mom). He’s outside on a city street and there are flurries in the air around him. And he just says simply – “Vienna — snowing at Christmastime” — and I could watch that all day. — Glen Weldon

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

I recently read The Fury by Alex Michaelides, and it’s great fun. It’s a twisty, decadent murder mystery among fancy people, set on a Greek island — so yes, it will remind you a bit of Glass Onion, and by extension The Last of Sheila. It’s the kind of book where you get to the end, perhaps after reading it in one giant gulp like I did, and you say to yourself: Did this book perhaps have one too many twists? And then you think: Maybe, but I don’t care.

I had never watched Mulholland Dr., one of David Lynch’s more notoriously impenetrable projects, until this week. That’s partly because of its reputation for being impossible to figure out; I sometimes have to push myself to watch things that I’m nervous will leave me behind. But in truth … not that impenetrable, I don’t think! Either way, it’s a gorgeous, loopy (in more ways than one) mystery that inspired me to take the surprising note: “Oh, now they’re at the phone booth where the guy was scared to death by a Yeti.” (It’s not a literal Yeti. But if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.)

Maris Kreizman has a new books column at Lit Hub, which is good news for all of us. She kicked it off with a piece that sets out to do one of the essential things I can’t get enough of: tell you what’s coming up that you should be planning to read.

I liked this Ann Powers column at NPR about what she loves about music journalism, written in the wake of an awful wave of layoffs at Pitchfork.

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.





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