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Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh

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A Gen X-themed show with podcast veterans Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh and Karen Tongson (Pop Rocket). W2X revisits the pop culture & social issues that defined Generation X from a (queer) woman-of-color perspective in a way that sheds new light on the pop culture from both then, and now.
 
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show series
 
Our hosts close out season four with a Halloween-themed episode that covers a bushel of new horror-related releases from Halloween Kills to the Chucky TV series. Speaking of horror, Karen takes her first cross-country flight since the pandemic started, and lives to tell about it! Find all things W2X at w2xpodcast.com…
 
SPOILER ALERT: Details from the several episodes of Squid Game are discussed in the main segment. Wynter and Karen join the rest of the world in obsessing over Squid Game, the S. Korean Netflix series about contestants playing children’s games to try to win billions of won without getting eliminated...literally. The two also talk about this week’s …
 
Who is the “mother SCOBY” of all Karens? Find out on this week’s episode, which dives deep into Impeachment, the latest installment of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story anthology. How does the series ratchet up its scenes of bureaucratic drama as Sarah Paulson and Beanie Feldstein disappear into the roles of Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky? How ha…
 
Inspired by Kathryn VanArendonk's Vulture article about white men in crisis on TV, Wynter and Karen explore the many layers of white male aggrievement in TV, pop culture, and real-life (fr. Rutherford Falls, to White Lotus and Ted Lasso w/ a special shoutout to the new movie Vacation Friends). Wynter discusses the spoils she acquired in the Tom Gir…
 
Film critics and husbands Dave White and Alonso Duralde of the Linoleum Knife Podcast are GUEST HOSTING W2X this week! While Wynter and Karen are running around taking care of business (at a safe distance and masked, of course) Dave and Alonso have stepped in to discuss "geriatric" millennials, Xers, and whether these terms are even useful. And wit…
 
Karen and Wynter explore two high-profile and controversial documentaries about beloved figures Anthony Bourdain (Roadrunner), and Val Kilmer (Val). What do we get from conjuring their lost voices? And what do we miss in the process? Wynter performs our semi-annual Ryan Murphy check-in, and gets pumped up about ACS: Impeachment on the Lewinsky/Clin…
 
One of our generation’s greatest pop music critics, Ann Powers (NPR Music), sits down with Karen and Wynter to process the new Woodstock 99 doc, and music festivals in general, while exploring the cultural conditions that stoked this calamity. This week, both hosts are up to going deep on Mike White’s latest HBO limited series, The White Lotus, and…
 
Wynter tells Karen to suck it up for a ride down R.L. Stine’s Fear Street, especially with the release of the trilogy on Netflix and its deep GenX flex (from 1994 to 1978). SPOILERS ABOUND! Before we get to the scary parts, Karen insists we process this year’s Emmy nominations. Which categories does she deem a veritable “Sophie’s Choice”? Meanwhile…
 
We go long this week to pore over all the shout horns, crotchy synth chords and late-80s affluence of what Mike Pace famously describes as Spago rock. Molly Lambert explains the Spago-adjacent music she and her brother have dubbed “Glass Bricks rock,” and the whole panel gets into what Wolfgang Puck and Spago as fantasy and reality meant to pop cul…
 
Wynter asks us all to think about the films and TV shows that changed the game, from those that captured the style and essence of their era (Clueless), to those that transformed the cultural conversation (Boyz N The Hood, and the early-80s trifecta of Victor/Victoria, Tootsie, and Yentl). Karen celebrates Pride month by getting into the FX docuseri…
 
Wynter and Karen hit all the angles of the HBO Max Friends reunion, from the true MVPs of the cast, to Irish uncle Joey, to its efforts to compensate for the show’s lack of diversity by highlighting its global legacy. The two get into a surprisingly deep conversation about tennis as Wynter tells everyone to leave Naomi Osaka in peace. Karen plots a…
 
Their former girl group sister, Guy Branum told Karen and Wynter to watch the new Peacock series Girls 5Eva so they could all process it 3gether, which they do on this week’s ep. Karen is too busy cavorting in the gay woods with her vaxxed BFFs to absorb any new pop culture, though Guy does bring up one of their favorite old topics--lesbian represe…
 
Dust off your dial-up, and join Wynter and Karen for a glimpse at social media through the ages, from the classic AOL Instant Messenger, to all the apps we rushed to download during the pandemmy like Marco Polo, HouseParty, and Clubhouse. Karen is all-in for HBO’s Mare of Easttown and all things Kate Winslet, while Wynter tells us about her adventu…
 
What upcoming movie releases will inspire Karen and Wynter to leave the comfort and safety of their pandemic bunkers to go to an actual theater?!? This is an especially tall order since news broke of the Arclight & Cineramadome’s demise in Hollywood, RIP. Hint: (M)CU at the movies… Meanwhile, the two continue on a docu-tear as Wynter reveals what S…
 
Wynter and Karen welcome longtime listener Nick Murphy, a fierce advocate and fan of the great Tina Turner, to chat about the new HBO doc revisiting her legacy. The three focus on what it means to truly pursue your dreams in your 40s. Wynter is deep in a doc dive, and gives us the skinny on Hulu’s We Work exposé as well as Q: Into the Storm. Karen …
 
Karen and Wynter confront the surge in anti-AAPI hate and violence during Covid, while exploring how its longer histories are intertwined with pop culture. Karen shouts out some writers doing the hard work of responding to the Atlanta shootings in venues like Vanity Fair and GQ, and tells Wynter what she’s been watching--both good and bad--to ease …
 
Wynter and Karen reveal the different reasons each of them cried when they watched The Real World: Homecoming, which reunites the cast of MTV’s first season of The Real World: New York (1992). Whose fashion and “smooth concave chest” do they miss most? And what are their impressions of the cast members both then and now? Plus, the two take a deep d…
 
Wynter and Karen immerse themselves into WandaVision, as they explore how we use TV to work through our grief in myriad ways. Ever the completist, Karen re-watched all 23 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in timeline order, and reports back to us after a month living through the Infinity Saga. Wynter gets into the deja vu vibes of Tiger Woods’…
 
Writer, comedian, and Asian American cultural icon Jenny Yang joins us to process WTF Bling Empire is all about. Karen and Wynter call an audible, and devote their ‘sup segment to Framing Britney Spears, because it truly is the only thing that’s on everyone’s minds these days, as the pressure intensifies to #FreeBritney from her father’s conservato…
 
Karen and Wynter kick off season 4 and 2021--the year this millennium is finally old enough to drink--with reflections on when they each turned 21. For Wynter, it was 2001, and she recalls her days tearing up the San Francisco scene, while immersing herself in new tech & the internet as her primary form of entertainment. Karen throws us back to 199…
 
While the show is on a holiday hiatus, we wanted to share a podcast project Karen has been working on at USC that you might be into! The Consortium for Gender, Sexuality, Race and Popular Culture is a start-up podcast network within the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies, and working with both faculty and students to produce informative audio…
 
It’s a family affair for our season 3 finale, as both Wynter and Karen’s parents pop into our Zoom room to chat about their favorite pop cultural memories--the gifts that keep on giving--from then and now. Each of our hosts get into what’s on their watch lists as “Christmastide” approaches, while Allyson, W2X’s own version of Ros from Frasier joins…
 
Karen could barely wait through the holiday weekend to hear what Wynter, her self-described “cis-het” gal pal thought of The Happiest Season, the new holiday romcom with sapphist leads. Find out what a “Madewell femme” is in KT’s taxonomy of lesbian types, as well as the provenance for a “min-pin or pocket-sized butch.” Wynter has some choice words…
 
We are so grateful to our extended W2X family, and some very special guests, who sent us their dedications and messages of gratitude for the Thanksgiving holiday, while also reminding us about this vexed occasion’s origins. Karen gets to play out her “Mr. DJ” (a la Sharon Cuneta) fantasies, while artist, writer and podcaster Nicole J. Georges, auth…
 
Karen & Wynter binged all of Netflix’s The Crown in a single day, as season 4 of the prestige series swerves into the GenX sweet spot of 1977-1990. The two get into the Charles & Diana of it all, and the cognitive dissonance of seeing Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, while taking a stab at answering why two California-raised WOC like themselv…
 
Wynter and Karen visit USC--this time virtually--in Sarah Kessler’s class on Audio(visuality). Sarah is a media studies scholar, TV editor of Public Books, and KT’s spouse aka quarantine hostage. The three get into a discussion of the role lip-syncing has played in U.S. pop culture as entertainment, the source of scandal, and as a means of building…
 
This week, we teamed up with our old pals Guy Branum and Margaret Wappler and raised $750 for Stacey Abrams' FAIR FIGHT! During our taping the day before election day, we covered everything from Who's the Boss, The Queen's Gambit, the fall of Quibi, and what everyone's election day drink of choice would be. As we continue to wait anxiously for this…
 
Wynter and Karen welcome a witch, healer and the Oracle of Los Angeles, Amanda Yates Garcia (author of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch), to offer some perspective and guidance about the astrological plane and what we might be facing in the weeks ahead. Before Amanda arrives, our hosts catch up on some recent movies, including Justin Simien’s Bad Hair,…
 
Wynter brings an all-horror loving posse over to our Zoom room to get hyped for Halloween. Patrick Hamilton and Gena Radcliffe of the Kill by Kill podcast come to defend their favorite horror sequels. Wynter advocates for her own favorite, and Karen judges the soundness of all three pitches. Who will take the prize: Psycho II, Hello Mary Lou: Prom …
 
Karen and Wynter are joined by Dr. Megan Auster-Rosen, the co-director of the mental health program at Cedars Sinai, to talk about how to ride out the next several weeks. How do we break free from doomscrolling? What binges feel good to us, and what series have successfully undertaken the difficult task of depicting trauma? (SPOILERS for the realit…
 
Wynter and Karen take a look back at SNL’s political coverage, especially its parodies of presidential debates past and present, as the show resumes production with a live studio audience. Is satire even possible in the political world we’re living in today? Trying with all her might not to get too caught up in the onslaught of news, from 45’s COVI…
 
Karen and Wynter do their best to catch you up with season 2 of Hulu’s cringe comedy Pen15, while reminiscing about their own deeply awkward middle school years. ***Warning: Pen15 Spoilers and Middle-School Callouts in this Ep!*** Plus, Wynter tells us about the Peloton pandemic lyfe, while Karen is soliciting any additional info anyone may have ab…
 
Karen has fled Los Angeles for the rest of September, as both she and Wynter mourn the loss of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg by girding their loins for the fight ahead. The two give a full rundown of the pandemic Emmys, and get into why so many of us are seeking refuge in nostalgic all-star table reads, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, to the…
 
Wynter has made some upgrades to her club, The Palace, on Grand Theft Auto, while Karen calls Away, the new mission to Mars drama on Netflix, “normporn in space.” Dr. andré carrington, a renowned scholar of race and science fiction--and a birder!--joins us for a retrospective of Chadwick Boseman’s tragically short, but illustrious career. We get be…
 
We’re a full month into Lovecraft Country, so Dr. Jon Paul Higgins from the Learnt podcast joins us for a spirited discussion about the show’s horrors, both everyday and paranormal, as well as what it’s done for Blerds (Black nerds) everywhere. Karen seeks refuge from “Dumbkirk” and the week’s other stupid and tragic occurrences by mainlining Cobra…
 
Karen and Wynter explore what it means to be excellent to each other in a world as dire and apocalyptic as our own, as they get into the #girldad energy of Bill and Ted Face the Music (spoilers in the discussion!), and the entire Bill & Ted trilogy. Wynter tells us about a Brit comedy called I Hate Suzie that she happens to love. Karen is super bum…
 
A bonafide rock star turned author, Kathy Valentine (yes, THE Kathy Valentine from The Go-Go’s, and author of the new memoir All I Ever Wanted) joins Karen and Wynter to talk about ALL OF IT--from her time on the scene in Austin and Hollywood in the late-70s and early 80s, to The Go-Go’s imperial years, and her new life as an author. Wynter tells u…
 
Our dear friend and the smartest mouth in town, Katherine Spiers (Smart Mouth podcast, Table Cakes Productions) joins us to mull over some of the new food TV being cooked up during the pandemic, from Selena + Chef, to Amy Schumer Learns to Cook. We also get into the ins and outs of what’s happening more broadly in the food scene, from moldy jam-gat…
 
Media scholar & author Dr. Brandy Monk-Payton (Fordham University) joins Karen & Wynter to talk about the preponderance of domestic psychodramas like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Sleeping with the Enemy in the early 1990s. Together they explore what they say about cardigan femininity, race, and the terror of misaligned hand towels. The three …
 
Karen and Wynter kick off a brand new season joined by June Diane Raphael, co-founder of the Jane Club, and star of Grace and Frankie, Long Shot and The High Note. June Diane drops in to BLOW OUR MINDS with her read on Clueless, a movie she used to think was good, but realizes might actually be bad. Meanwhile, Wynter’s crush on Dr. Fauci has led to…
 
In this summer bonus episode, Karen shares her spring interview with Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls in preparation for her NPR article on the duo. Special thanks to NPR Music (especially Ann Powers and Marissa Lorusso), as well as the Indigo Girls and their team (especially Carla Parisi and Russell Carter) for making this all happen!…
 
In this summer bonus episode, Karen shares her spring interview with Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls in preparation for her NPR article on the duo. Special thanks to NPR Music (especially Ann Powers and Marissa Loruss o), as well as the Indigo Girls and their team (especially Carla Parisi and Russell Carter) for making this all happen! Stay tuned for K…
 
Wynter and Karen welcome guest Karina Longworth of You Must Remember This for their season 2 finale! Karina tells us all about Polly Platt, the subject of this season’s YMRT. Polly was an Oscar-nominated production designer, screenwriter, producer, and executive who put her stamp on some of the greatest and most loved films of the 1970s and 80s – i…
 
Wynter and Karen reunite with their former podmates Guy Branum and Margaret Wappler in this supersized episode fundraising for G.L.I.T.S and SummaEverything! The fierce foursome indulge in a deep catch-up about everything from the demise of the “girl boss,” to 90 Day Fiance and Top Chef All Stars (Margaret even cameos at a boozy brunch in one of th…
 
Wynter returns this week, as we welcome special guests Renee Bever (artist, co-host of Attack of the Queerwolf), and Tavia Nyong’o (author, Professor of American Studies at Yale). The panel catches up about how they’ve been participating in the national uprisings, while reflecting on some of the media moments, both head-scratching, and inspiring ov…
 
We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement in advocating for racial justice, and against police violence. Wynter and her family have also suffered a personal tragedy, so this episode is in somber observance of this, as well as our current national events. Queer scholars & activists, Homay King and Jeanne Vaccaro join Karen to offer reports and r…
 
Wynter is off for the week, so one of Karen’s oldest BFF’s, the poet, writer and performer Raquel Gutierrez joins her from Tucson, AZ to talk about everything from making pizzas with coral mushrooms to Netflix’s Lovebirds. Raquel, aka “Raquefella” also reveals Karen’s AIM name from back in the day, while bringing us her thoughts on why we are so ob…
 
Guy Branum joins us for an impromptu reunion to talk more about Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood on Netflix. Last week, guy texted Karen about the show, which we covered in our supersized Ep. 35. 6 hours later, we got together with Guy to dish even more on all the golden age of cinema hawniness! Want to see the video and get all the other BoCo? Join our Pat…
 
Wynter and Karen are not alone! Special sexxy guests, Guinevere Turner and Alonso Duralde join them in the W2X Zoom Room for a deep hang, and some scandalous conversation about Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood, a new limited series rife with queer pool parties and other gratuitous forms of wish-fulfillment. Find out how Alonso and Guinevere are both being a…
 
Karen & Wynter dive into the fray to discuss Mindy Kaling’s latest sitcom, Never Have I Ever on Netflix. They engage multiple perspectives on the show, from controversies around its caste bias, to its role in diversifying contemporary teen representation. This has also been a busy week for our two hosts. Which one is going in for a free drive-thru …
 
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