This podcast matters. But Why Tho? Is a pop culture podcast that is a bit different from all the rest. The episodes aren’t just about why some aspect of pop culture is good, bad, both, or neither; each episode goes further and explains why this bit of pop culture is important to pop culture as a whole and what it’s done to further its genre, make something more mainstream, etc. With certain areas of pop culture/fandom still seen as niche, this kind of analysis is important because it brings pop culture to those who may not be inclined to see what the chain reaction has been in society due to the creation of what is being discussed in each episode. This series covers all different kinds of things: video games, movies, television shows, older things, newer things, etc. I also really appreciate that this podcast doesn’t shy away from discussions about race, gender, class issues, and other topics that are usually seen as academic or uninteresting to most listeners but the hosts do this in a really accessible way that is easy to listen to and easy to comprehend and understand.
Other great things about the podcast have to do with the hosts and their dynamic. I love the way they converse with each other, all the jokes that get thrown in, how when a host doesn’t know something or isn’t a fan of something they aren’t afraid to say so, and also how each host gets to take a turn being the lead on a subject — especially if it’s something that’s totally their jam. This show also does some really fun crossovers and I’ll get into more about that in this next section where I tell you all about what episodes you absolutely need to hear, but I’m totally a sucker for a great crossover and/or a great guest host.
Episodes I recommend: Star Trek (a great look at one of the shows that made fandom and conventions come more into the mainstream), Hayao Miyazaki (if only just for the fun argument of whether all the Ghibli movies take place in the same universe or not), Horror (I really appreciated the guest host!), Mortal Kombat (one of my favourite game franchises and the hosts did the series so much justice with regards to its pop culture importance), Quentin Tarantino (if I recall correctly, the episode was done before all the things that have come to light recently from Uma Thurman’s experience; the episode was great, but I would love for the show to revisit this with all the new information further regarding Tarantino’s problematicness), Bill Nye the Science Guy (Matt is a really great host and I’m glad he was on this episode! If I were to get someone started on this show out of order, it would definitely be with this one. Pretty much everyone knows who Bill Nye is, but we might take for granted why he’s important to pop culture and society; this episode does a great job of breaking that down), eSports (bringing video games even more mainstream and paying people’s college tuitions; how could this show not discuss MLG and all the games that have been played professionally?), True Crime (I am huge into true crime and have been for pretty much my entire life; it’s how I’ve made most of my friends, it’s the genre that most people go searching for podcasts for, the notion of commodifying death/true crime as a form of capitalism, the cathartic use of true crime by those with mental health issues, etc.), Selena y los podcasters with It’s About Damn Crime (I love both of the sets of hosts for this episode and Selena is life so of course this episode is gold.), Religion & Myth in Assassin’s Creed (so one of my passions and something I wish I could study more is pop culture portrayals of religions. This episode wasn’t the standard kind of analysis that Assassin’s Creed usually receives and that was super important to me.).
But Why Tho? is an absolutely fantastic podcast and has easily become one of my favourites. I wish I could be friends with the hosts in real life and pick their brains. Each episode captured my attention in so many ways that I could continue to gush about, but I’ll just end this review here and tell you to subscribe and listen to this podcast right away.