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What's Making Us Happy: A guide to your weekend viewing

Scotty Lyon (Sienna King), left, and Dorothy "Dot" Lyon (Juno Temple) in Season 5 of <em>Fargo</em>.
Michelle Faye
/
FX
Scotty Lyon (Sienna King), left, and Dorothy "Dot" Lyon (Juno Temple) in Season 5 of Fargo.

This week, we learned about the Met Gala theme, which will mostly be ignored, Jon Stewart came backand Beyoncé got (more) into country.

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

Fargo

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The latest season of Fargo just wrapped up last month and I loved it. Season 5 follows Dot, a young mother played by Juno Temple, who, it turns out, escaped years earlier from an abusive cult-like marriage to a brutal man played by Jon Hamm. In the first episode he tracks her down and throughout the season we see her trying to liberate herself from his grasp. She does so with cleverness, fierceness and — at certain points — brute force. It is so fun to cheer for her because she is tiny and smart and kind and clever all at the same time. To see her fight back against Jon Hamm's character — it's just such a rush. I watched the whole thing in three days and I still cannot stop thinking about it. — Kristen Meinzer

Only Connect

Britain has a lot of game shows and they are all amazing in their own way. Only Connect — by far the hardest of all British team shows — just finished its 19th season. It is an impossibly difficult quiz show where you have to find the connections between four seemingly unrelated things. For example: A hammer and a feather, six American flags, Eugene Shoemaker's ashes, and two golf balls. What do they have in common? Those are the things we left on the moon. A quarter of the questions are impossible because they're about something deeply British, like Blue Peteror the highway system. But it's so much fun. And the host, Victoria Coren Mitchell, is very possibly the best presenter we have in television today. If you like the joy of being stumped, go watch some. — Guy Branum

Siren: Survive the Island

Siren: Survive the Islandis a Korean competitive reality series on Netflix following six teams of badass women who compete against each other in a high-stakes version of Capture the Flag. They're stranded on this island for seven days and there are cameras everywhere. There are two kinds of competitions: Arena battles they fight against each other to win perks, and base battles where the team hides their flag and then they go out and raid other bases, or defend their own base from somebody else coming in. They make alliances with other teams that have very short lifespans. I love how simple and clear it is. It is just a perfect weekend binge. Ten episodes. You will develop very strong feelings about every player and even stronger feelings about how it ends. — Glen Weldon

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The Muppet Show's "Chicken Western" sketch

Lately I've been rewatching The Muppet Showas one does when you need a pick-me-up — and there'sa sketchfrom a Season 2 episode featuring chickens in a Western: There's a saloon. There's chickens. Gonzo is bartending. There's no human dialogue, but there are a lot of "clucks." A cigarette-smoking bad rooster enters and causes havoc. He harasses a female chicken and then gets into a shootout with the good rooster. Gonzo narrowly escapes getting shot. The sound effects are ace. It just made me burst out laughing uncontrollably. — Aisha Harris

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

Friend of the show and NPR TV critic Eric Deggans wrote, as he has valiantly done for years, about the Super Bowl ads.

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We'll be covering the Oscar-nominated documentaries as the ceremony approaches, but I want to recommend them to you most highly, at least the ones I've seen. 20 Days in Mariupol is on YouTube, Four Daughters is available for rent, and Bobi Wine: The People's President is on Disney+. (I've also seen To Kill a Tiger, which is also very good, but that's not streaming yet.) They are all tough stories, but they are all, in different ways, exceptional pieces of filmmaking and so, so compelling.

Kelly Link's short stories are well-known; her first novel is now out. Called The Book of Love, it's a big fantasy tale about a group of teenagers caught up in a war between life and death, but who still have regular problems like sibling arguments and difficult romances. It's fabulous, even for somebody like me who isn't always a fantasy person.

Another book I recently loved is Tracy Sierra's Nightwatching, a terrifying thriller that starts with the sentence "There was someone in the house," and then does not let up as the narrator hides with her children from an intruder. There are tantalizing questions about the reliability of the narrator, the line between dreams and reality, and what to do with a story that is emotionally gripping but might not be literally true.


Beth Noveyadapted 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.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Kristen Meinzer
Guy Branum
Glen Weldon
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
Aisha Harris
Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.