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NPR Arts & Life

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Celebrity Apologies And A Regrettable Television Pop Quiz

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.

With the ever-intrepid Linda Holmes attending the Toronto International Film Festival — more on that next week — Glen Weldon and I get to welcome our Code Switch pals Kat Chow and Gene Demby to this week's show.

As you might imagine, we open with a few words about Joan Rivers, who died Sept. 4, and along the way encourage folks at home to read Rivers tributes by Julie Klausner ( in Vulture) and Caissie St. Onge ( in xoJane). Then, we delve into a thorny, Rivers-inspired topic: the celebrity apology. Along the way, we examine how an assortment of famous folks — including Ricky Gervais, Henry Rollins, Cee-Lo Green, Ray Rice, Justin Bieber, and even Rivers herself — have dealt with public outcry over their recent statements and behavior. This, as you can imagine, sends us off on tangents about sincerity, authenticity, free speech, and the many ways a poorly worded apology can exacerbate PR problems it was meant to defuse. (During the segment, I recommend Linda's piece on John Edwards, as well as Lindy West's recent piece on Gervais for Jezebel.)

From there, we revisit an old standby: the Regrettable Television Pop Quiz, in which the gang proves shockingly knowledgeable about bad TV in the past and present. (Tragically, like a Pip with no Gladys Knight, I'm forced to warble the theme song all by myself.) Gene's pick is timely, in light of a show on this fall's schedule. My pick is timely, in light of the way it makes Gene cover his face with his hands for the better part of a minute. Kat's pick triggers memories Glen and I both wish we'd purged entirely. And Glen's pick... gosh. Yeah, Glen's pick.

We close, as always, with a spirited round of what's making us happy. Kat loves this blog. Gene loves this blog/comic, and this book it spun off. Glen tiptoes up to the Zaxxon rule in his discussion of this piece of exercise equipment. And I discuss the way this web feature renewed my tattered faith in people's ability to be nice on the Internet.

As always, we'd love to hear from you, so find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Glen, Kat, Gene, our absent pal Linda, producer Jessica, producer Nick, and our producer emeritus and music director, Mike Katzif.

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