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What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend reading, listening and viewing

Group photo of Bakers in the Tent (L to R) (back) Sandro, William, Abdul, Carol, Maisam, Syabira, Maxy (front) James Rebs Janusz, Dawn, Kevin on <em>The Great British Baking Show</em> on Netflix<em>.</em>
Mark Bourdillon/Netflix
Group photo of Bakers in the Tent (L to R) (back) Sandro, William, Abdul, Carol, Maisam, Syabira, Maxy (front) James Rebs Janusz, Dawn, Kevin on The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.

This week, Twitch made some controversial moves, the plot thickened in an elite chess cheating scandal, and Idris Elba will probably not play James Bond, unfortunately.

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


There is a show on HBO Max called Industry that just wrapped Season 2, which I absolutely love. I think it's fantastic, and I think one of the things that I enjoy a lot about it is it's showing young people in the beginning of their career kind of going on a journey and everything that comes with that.

But it's set in the finance industry, and me, who is decidedly not a finance bro, really enjoys seeing the high-intensity finance scenes where lines like this are said: "How much Rycan is available in the market? No idea. We'll have to check the free flow. Source it. Buy it. I don't need a price."

And I'm sitting on my couch like, "Nah, the back end's going to be killer. You want to stop out as soon as possible," like I know what I'm talking about. It's really exciting. — Ronald Young Jr.

George Clooney and Julia Roberts' 2014 interview for Vanity Fair

Recently, a clip, resurfaced from 2014 of George Clooney and Julia Roberts giving an impossibly adorable, sexy, and amazing interview to Vanity Fair, went around on Twitter.

This is in anticipation, I think, in part because they have a new movie coming out, a rom com, which I'm very excited to see called Ticket to Paradise.

In this clip, George Clooney is prompted by the interviewer. You know, like, "What's the first thing you think of when you say Julia Roberts," and they're both just being so charming. Just listen to them and hear Julia Roberts' infectious laugh that we all know and love.

The full on chemistry, the vibes, the old Hollywood feel reminded me of the '90s and the early aughts in the best way possible. — Aisha Harris

Music for Animals and Ambient Music for Watering Plants

I've been swimming in a three-hour album by the German composer Nils Frahm, who is a pianist and multi-instrumentalist, and he's got this new album called Music for Animals. It's his pandemic project.

The title Music for Animals is a reference to the fact that animals seem to like it. It's not engineered to be appreciated by animals, but I tested it on my cat Bashi and he seemed to sleep comfortably. Well, he was sleeping comfortably before I pressed play, but it seemed to work beautifully for him.

Here's one of the singles, the 27 minutes on "Briefly".

This Music for Animals record reminded me to revisit a piece of music from this past May from a musician from Virginia who goes by the name Past Palms. He specializes in ambient music for watering plants, as evidenced by the title of his latest EP, Ambient Music for Watering Plants.

I'm just going to take his word for it that this is exactly the piece of music you will want to listen to when you're watering your plants. — Stephen Thompson

The Great British Baking Show

I am always surprised how happy I am when the Great British Baking Show returns to Netflix. Do I love it as much as I did when it was Mary Berry and it was run by the BBC? No. Do I love Matt Lucas as a host? No. Am I completely happy about all the changes that they've made? No.

Nevertheless, I am always so happy when it comes back and as soon as I see people in that tent baking stuff – struggling, hot people, old people, lovely people with great senses of humor – making all different kinds of food. I am always so excited to see it.

We are now getting it very much at the same time as it airs in the UK. It's like a day later, but you have a much lower chance of being spoiled about everything. You know, hit up your Netflix, watch some baking, learn to make some stuff. New season. — Linda Holmes

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

The Discovery+ documentary Batali: The Fall of a Superstar Chef is ably made and raises some enormously important questions about sexual harassment and misconduct in the restaurant industry (and elsewhere). It does raise the question of how to make sure films like this remain constructive and respectful and don't simply gawk at awful stories, but for the most part, this one stays on the right side, I think.

A story from Bob Mondello kicked off an NPR series about regional theater this week. Give it a listen — and stay tuned for more.

NPR's Jeevika Verma covered Saeed Jones' new poetry collection, Alive at the End of the World.

NPR's Maison Tran adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. 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 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.
Ronald Young Jr.
Aisha Harris
Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
Maison Tran