S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership. Lucky you. Hello and welcome back to Big Mood, a little movie with Danny Lavery, I’m your host, Danny Lavery. With me in the studio this week is Inkoo Kang, a TV critic for The Washington Post and host of the All About Almodóvar podcast, Inkoo. Welcome to the show.
S2: Thank you. I only have medium. I thank you for inviting me on to this thing.
S1: I feel like it’s denoted by big mood, a little mood. It creates room for something in the middle, I think. Yes, that’s where I am. I mean, I admire that deeply. I hope to to get there myself. I’m also really excited to have you here, not least because when I was thinking about your podcast, I thought, it’s weird that I’ve never seen Almodóvar movies. And I went and I looked up his like filmography and I saw a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And for a second I had that confused with what that John Cassavetes movie like Woman on the Edge or something. Yeah, the one with the Gena Rowlands and everything. And I was like, wow, I always thought that was John Cassavetes. That’s amazing.
S2: Well, I think the tagline for our podcast now is an introduction to loving the films of Peter Almodóvar. So if you have not seen a single one, is actually a really good introduction. My co-host actually had never seen an Almodóvar film before this podcast either. And so while we were watching movies during the pandemic, when I was like basically gobsmacked that he had not watched any of them, we decided to do this podcast just so that I can, like, download information onto his brain about Almodóvar. And I think so Almodóvar has like a 40 year career and we are really like cherry picking the most essential films. So honestly, if you haven’t seen any of them, the podcast is a wonderful way to start and you should watch them because they’re so good.
S1: I want to and I feel like now I need to because I just looked this up and Woman on the Edge is a book by somebody named Samantha Emboli. So now I don’t even know what Cassavetes movie I was thinking of, but I know he made a movie like with his wife and with Peter Falk. And it’s like very a woman under the influence, a woman under the influence. That’s what it is. Not woman on the edge and not woman on the precipice of a nervous breakdown or whichever one is the the movie by Almodóvar. But a lot of things about women and precipices and edges. And I’m going to have to try to eventually explore them all.
S2: But if you like women and you love color and you like eyeliner and you like balcony’s and you generally like to sort of like the Spanish ness of stuff, Almodóvar is really your way to go. And honestly, while we’ve all been trapped in our homes for the last, I don’t know, like four or 16, 17 months, just having like this like small escape to Madrid, like every week or so has been a goddamn life saver.
S1: I mean, you you have absolutely had me sold. You had me at BalCONy’s, but like even now, even now. And what’s amazing is I keep now I’m just looking at his filmography and I’m like mixing up everything with a different movie. So I saw like I was looking at bad education. I was like, did I see that? Was that the Carey Mulligan movie? And it’s like, no, that’s an education. And so I guess just really his specialty seems to be movies with titles that remind me a little bit of movies I have seen or thought about seeing by somebody else. And that’s going to be a really exciting opportunity for me to get things mixed up.
S2: But once you start watching, you will be able to never confuse his movies for any other movie ever again.
S1: I appreciate your optimism and we’ll fucking see about that. All right, we’ve got, frankly, a question from somebody who I feel like my answer might need to just be like, have you considered, in addition to possibly changing your life significantly, smoking weed every day just to take the edge off? Because, like, that sounds like a joke or like a dismissive answer. It’s really not. I really do think one of the things that I want to suggest to this letter writer is smoking weed more regularly, albeit like in a controlled and careful fashion, because I know for some people, like anxiety’s can get ramped up a lot higher when they smoke. So I don’t want to just like, say like grab whatever weed you can find and go for broke. I’ll just read the letter, but letter writer to be. Aware that I think you should maybe try smoking more weed while you figure this out, the subject is burnout, bliss. I feel like I’m suffering from burnout. I did everything I was supposed to, I did well in law school. I passed the bar. I’ve been a practicing lawyer for more than a year now. I have a fine job that pays me enough and isn’t too demanding with a good work life balance. I live with my boyfriend and we make each other very happy. So why don’t I feel satisfied? I don’t particularly like my job, but the job I had before this was even worse. I actually find myself missing when I was in school and working as a waitress. I know people tend to look at the past with rose colored glasses, but I think I was happier than my boyfriend and I had a lot more time together and I had a lot more free time on my own. Now it just seems like every day is the same. I log in at home, work for eight hours, log out, eat dinner, exercise and go to bed. I look forward to the weekend, but it’s always over too soon. I just don’t see the point anymore. Am I supposed to keep doing this until I retire? It feels like a waste. Life feels meaningless, repetitive and boring. I’m at the point where I don’t want to work at all and I really doubt any job will be satisfying. When I tell my boyfriend how I feel, he asks me what I want to do instead. And all I can say is I just want to live. I know I have some anxiety when it comes to work. I have a constant fear that I will log in one day and just be fired. And I have serious imposter syndrome going on, but I can usually just think through that and realize I’m being ridiculous. These feelings of hopelessness, dissatisfaction and longing for something else just won’t go away. How do I live with the knowledge that nothing really matters and that I’ll probably just have to suffer through life this way? This letter really does take a turn, I was expecting an answer or the final question would be something like how do I figure out whether this means I need to quit? How do I figure out what else I want to do with my life? Those were the kinds of questions I was anticipating I was not ready for. How do I just, like, buckle down and get ready for another 40 to 60 years of absolute meaninglessness?
S2: Yeah. You’re releasing this letter because I really relate it to a lot of it
S1: hugely, hugely, I think especially the last time I had a corporate job before I quit to write full time, like one of the ways that I knew it was just time. It was a, you know, a good enough job. My colleagues were nice. I mean, enough money to pay my bills, which was not the case when I quit to start writing full time. And I still, like most days when I drove into work, I was like, you know, that center dividers just right there. Mm hmm. And, you know, not not in the sense of like, oh, I’ve got like a plan, just like I found myself kind of semi regularly having a sense of, like, I hate this like way disproportionately to how bad I think it is, if that makes sense. Yeah.
S2: I mean, I have what I think a lot of people would consider like a dream job, and I certainly don’t know what else, I think I would enjoy doing more. But there are definitely times where I’m just like, oh, like, is this like the rest of my life, like, am I going to be doing this for like the next 30 years when I get to, like, the end of my life? Like, what will I love, like any of this have like summed up to I don’t know, I guess like the I like the subject line for that is like burnout blues.
S1: But yeah, this is not burnout. Yeah. To my mind this is way beyond the price.
S2: Yeah. I think like the fact that like they feel like they like nothing they do like really matters and they’re just sort of like doing the same things over and over and not garnering any sort of like joy. Yeah. Probably means that if you can afford it, which you seem to like, you probably can like go to a therapist maybe. I think that that’s sort of like blondness that like existential like blankness that this person is describing really makes me hope that they will check out some antidepressant options. I think that, like, if I’m a little bit like too quick to, like, be like playing armchair psychologist. The other thing that they might just sort of need is like a lot more stimuli in their life. I definitely remember I’m graduating from college and then coming back home and stuff like that summer between college and unfortunately grad school. I was like, wait, I’m just like hanging out and like, no one is giving me books. Three that I don’t have, like, new thoughts in my head all the time. And like, the point of my life is to just go, like, work for somebody else, like I was like a cog, as opposed to having, like, my own like a really cool experience is like really bummed me out. And so if this person was missing their school experiences, their school years, and also it’s like the waitress job, which sounds like for me like a recipe for a headache, but that’s like what they were really into. It just might mean that, like, they need to just have a lot more stuff coming at them all the time in order to feel alive.
S1: Yeah, I mean, one of my thoughts here was like, it’s it’s already really difficult to, like, find ways to build an enjoyable and meaningful life. Just full stop. And then on top of that, not only has this person had a lot of trouble, like with a demoralizing job, it’s also been during a pandemic. So, like, it’s not even just like I go to work for eight hours, it’s I log on to my computer and do my work in like this shitty little vacuum in my living room. And then I log out and I eat dinner and I exercise and I go to bed of I don’t want to like, say like, of course you’d have to be depressed if that happened to you. But the letter writer, it makes a lot of sense that you feel miserable and depressed right now. You are in a miserable situation. I understand when you say, like, I don’t feel like I should be this upset because thinking it’s like I’m able to pay my bills and like I’m not facing eviction, which is certainly true. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have problems. And like there’s a reason that people who are able to arrange their time according to how they would like, they usually do not arrange it in such an order. You know, people with freedom to choose their own schedules don’t choose. Log in in my living room, work directly for eight hours, log out, eat dinner, exercise, go to bed. So I think part of what I’m hoping letter writer is that if you hear us talk about depression, that it does not feel dismissive of like, oh, your problems aren’t real. You just have a brain chemistry issue. You should get on medication and then that’ll fix it. You’ll still have very real problems, like what do I want to do in terms of dealing with my distress and and loathing of my job? That’s a real question that you’re going to be faced with and that will still exist. But I want you to be able to face that with a little bit more external support and assistance, because right now, if there’s a part of you that’s like normally when I feel bad, I convince myself I’m being ridiculous. And my job right now is to make sure that I stop caring and I just buckle down and get through the next 40 to 50 years of meaninglessness. I don’t want that for you. Letter writer like that is, I believe, the voice of depression, trying to, like, berate yourself into shutting down and just doing nothing but functioning. And I really, really don’t want that for you. And I do think there are other ways to think about these questions. And so I think not like don’t worry medication or therapy or talking to a doctor or saying I have I think I have depression will fix these problems. I just think it will make it a little bit easier to distinguish between options you would actually prefer versus options that you think would make your. Life worse and yeah, that feeling like it’s all going to be meaningless, there’s probably no job that would ever work for me. That is the stuff that, like you Inkoo made me think. I think there might be. Something deeper going on here, and none of that is to say, by the way, that like a horrible job can’t be itself incredibly depressing like it can part of what you’re talking about, letter writers, just like the alienation of labor. And so, like, you know, you don’t feel satisfied because that’s not a satisfying way to live. Is logging in and logging off and having almost all the time you’re supposed to have is like quote unquote, free time being dedicated to necessary acts of self replication. You know, like we do the dishes so that we can make our next meal, we make our next meal so that we can, like, focus and stay awake for another eight hours. We don’t necessarily do those things simply out of joy or freedom of choice. We do those things because they’re required daily acts. Same with showering and with exercising. You can find joy in those things. They just mean like that’s all you’ve got going on in your free time right now. That’s not soul restoring stuff necessarily.
S2: I also wonder how much of their nostalgia for school and for waitressing is bound up in the how intensely social those environments are. And like now, embarrassed that I missed like the whole like quarantine this of the letter. Yeah. I mean, maybe, maybe who knows. Maybe like if you go back to like an office and you’re just like constantly in contact with other people all the time, your job might feel really different. It’s just felt like we can’t really know. It’s not like the information that we have. But I do think that just, you know, that, like, hamster in a cage feeling of like never getting to do anything other than like or three like activities. It’s probably like. Yeah, like a hundred percent maybe of like why you feel so terrible and. Yeah, I don’t know, like I think therapy is important, like in this case I do also think like just figuring out like a different activity to try if you can sort of like muster like the energy or like carve out the time to do it. I think it’s really important. Again, like that depends on a lot of things, but yeah. Do more things. You might feel better. And that thing can be weed.
S1: Yeah. And, you know, I also want to throw out there in addition to I do think you should talk to your doctor. Do you think you should consider talking to a therapist. I do think you should at least. Take seriously the possibility of trying medication. I also say that to someone who, like I have both been off and on SSRI over the course of my life, I realize that it is not simply a question of just like grab the first one that they recommend to you and just things will be great. I realize it takes time for them to start to take effect. I also realize that some of the side effects are really difficult to live with and you might need to try more than one. And that it is not simply a question of like, oh, that one didn’t work out for me. I’ll just stop taking it and feel fine, like I’m very aware of how fraught all those prospects are. But I really do just want to flag life feels meaningless, repetitive and boring. I think that’s true. And I just need to, like, find a way to like, go through. It is again, like not to say like and if you get on medication, you’ll be able to be like, no life does has meaning. I see it now, but like you’ll be able to wrestle with the question of like, what does meaningfulness look like? How could I find it? How might I try to seek it out? What do I think it is? You’ll be better equipped to try to answer those questions in your life. Not that that will answer them for you. And then beyond that, I guess I want to give it like a shout
S2: out to the post, sort of like piggyback on what you were saying, please. There is sort of like both like the emotional aspect of this and then like the existential aspect most. Right. Right. Because you like it’s a little bit hard to tell. Like where sort of like the emotional like blankness or biochemical blankness, like thoughts and the world sort of like the existential dissatisfaction begins. And so I think that like, for example, if you were to seek treatment and maybe like better take care of, like the emotional side, it gives you space to, like, tackle that accident a little bit more.
S1: Yeah, absolutely. And so, yeah, there’s also the question of like part of what you liked about those old jobs were that you had more time to spend with your boyfriend and more time to spend on your own. That makes sense to me. Having lots of time where you get to decide what you were going to do is a good thing. That’s part of what makes your life feel like your life. I really get that. That’s a that’s a reasonable thing to miss. It makes sense to me that part of what I think you also miss about being a waitress was that sense of somebody orders food for me. I go tell the cooks to make the food and then I bring the food out. I know where my work starts and stops. I know what affect my work has in the world. It’s done when I finish the check with this particular table, like I can see and smell and touch the fruits of my work, you know, I can see it happening. And now I log into a weird computer and for eight hours I like, go clackety clack, clack. And I imagine that things happen or I pretend that things happen. But nothing about it is tangible. Nothing about it has like sort of like resonance or weight that I can hang on to. Yeah. I don’t see or talk to people, you know, that makes a lot of sense. And so if part of what you also decide at some point is I want to think about possibly quitting my like pretty good law job and waiting tables again and figuring out what else I want to do with my life, you should give yourself permission to think about that. It may very well be that the people in your life will say things like, that’s a bad idea. You’ll be giving up financial stability. You know, they might have their own reactions and you can decide whether or not you share those reactions. But I you know, I don’t I don’t want to just say like, no, obviously, like if you went to law school, you just have to be a lawyer forever or like you have to have a similar, like, office job. You might just feel like I can’t do office jobs. They make me want to die. And I would much rather have the sort of like other problems that come with like maybe waiting tables, which sometimes include like carpal tunnel syndrome or like, you know, back pain or wearing a lot of orthopedic shoes. I waited tables for a few years and in in and after college and I got orthopedic shoes and that was great. You know, I also smoked a lot of cigarettes. Those two things really helped my back feel better after work. I don’t want to encourage the letter writer to start smoking cigarettes. I guess I just want to talk about, like, sometimes it can help you think about what you want to do if you’re in a sort of like, morose place, not in terms of what will fix my problems, but like what set of problems would I be most excited to deal with? And so that might be helpful. The last thing I want to throw out there is like sometimes when you feel this generally bad about everything, it also means there’s like a bigger global thing. You seem to really like your boyfriend. So I don’t want to assume it’s that. But like. Sometimes if everything feels meaningless. Maybe you want to transition just a little bit. Probably not the case four to five percent chance, just wanted to throw it out there. If everything seems hopeless and the future stretches before you like a grave, think about doing it after transitioning. And maybe that sounds really fun and sexy
S2: or pivot to playing the piano for hours a day.
S1: Both great ideas when people start transitioning and then become a concert pianist. I just really feel for this letter writer and it also just I know I had mentioned earlier that I was hoping to discuss burnout more generally with you because I just feel like. I’m sure there are ways in which it can be and has been a really useful word, but I also sort of feel like it hasn’t served this letter writer well because like to reduce this huge set of problems as burnout, as if like, oh, you just you worked a little too hard last week. And if you can just be sure to clock out at 5:00 every day this week and get eight hours of sleep, you’ll be ready to go. You’ll find this work newly restorative and meaningful. It just does it seem slightly impoverished you? It strikes me as slightly impoverished language.
S2: I mean, I think there is a sort of this like lack of firmness, like a lack of flexibility around what burnout is even supposed to mean. I think that, like, there’s sort of the recent trend of trying to describe burnout as like a generational concept of just like having so many things, the weighing on you that like how are you supposed to possibly exist in the world? I think that the way that, like, I conceive of my own occasional burnout, it’s sort of something similar to like a repetitive motion injury. Do you know what I mean? Like, in the same way that like if you practice a piano four hours a day, you’ll get carpal tunnel. I feel like there’s like a way where if you just, like, use your brain in, like, the same way over and over, like you’re not doing any real thinking. And so I don’t know, like I think you just sort of get this like numbness or like this like fog of utility with that like sometimes comes with just like doing the same thing over and over and over again. And so like a burnout, like,
S1: I don’t know, I feel like this is purely a suspicion. I don’t I cannot confirm this. I feel like I started to see the word burnout more frequently somewhere around the mid aughts. And I feel like I started to see it first from like corporations or H.R. departments or like job coaches, where the sort of unstated goal was to get people to be more efficient workers again. So it felt a little bit like this concept that was sort of like, oh, it’s went like weirdly doing your shitty job that you only do because you have to because of money doesn’t make you feel rested, energized and fulfilled. And here are all these little tweaks that you can make or that your manager can make or like corporate culture can make. Yeah, to to reduce burnout, to see it coming and to make life a little softer on yourself. And so I always find it a little like. Certainly, I’m always for trying to make life easier on yourself, but it also feels a little bit like if the nature of your job is like by itself alienating, divorced from like the product of what your work creates, if you’re not able to dictate, like anything that you do within your work schedule, if you’re just completely, like moving around at somebody else’s whims and not spending your time in any way that feels like useful or meaningful to you. Like burnouts, not the word, it’s like you’re you’re you’re in a bad situation, you’re being you know, if I’m feeling dramatic or say you’re being tortured, if I’m feeling, you know, non-dramatic, I’ll say something like you’re in a stressed position and being like, oh, now in this stress position, you might find that your legs cramp up. And here are some techniques to reduce it. It’s like, well, this is causing it. It’s not it’s not a question of scale. It’s a question of of. This is the nature of this work, like people with like draining corporate jobs, where you just sit in front of a computer and do a lot of things that feel fake. It’s like it’s a burnout or is it just like a horrible, horrible way to live? And like, when you put a computer on top of it and then, like, have to try to sleep or have a family, you just have no time that is actually yours. Like, I don’t know how much scented candles or mindfulness apps are going to help with that.
S2: Yeah. And yet there are so many people who sort of have to work those types of jobs. And so I don’t know, I guess like I think all of this stuff a lot because I’m sort of like the daughter of like working class immigrant parents. And I feel like they have like really never been in the type of position to like the Dorival huge amount of personal satisfaction from their jobs because like a job is like what you do in order to, like, make money so that, like you and like your children can survive. And so I feel like my parents have dealt with this particular dilemma in very different ways. The way I like my mom is a much more like just grin and bear it type of person. And my dad as someone who just sort of like offloaded from job to job every, I don’t know, like year or a couple of years because he would just get, like, incredibly bored and then he would quit and then my parents would fight and then, like, you would have the same cycle, like over and over again. And I think as I get older, I sort of like used to judge my dad a little bit for not being able to stick it out for the sake of his kids, i.e. me and my brother. But now I’m sort of like this is also probably exactly what I would do because, yeah, it’s really hard to, like, take bullshit’s, especially if you feel like you’re either, like above it or you just feel like there has to be like a better situation. And I think for the writer there, it’s absolutely possible that that’s what it is. And also it’s entirely possible that this is just like kind blues. And once, like, the world starts up again, they would just like have like a very different experience of their job because this person says, like, they’ve been basically at it for less than two years. And so I don’t know, like how much of like. What they’ve been doing like the past year, like how much of that is really like a reflection of like what their job or their career is, lots of soul searching necessary, I think.
S1: Yeah. And I’m glad you brought that up to you, because while I am, I think, rightly suspicious of like when recommendations about how to address burnout come from ones like H.R. department, that’s not to say that, like all you can do is like hold tight and wait for a full communist revolution, because in the meanwhile, you do still also have to live. And so that question of does it make your life easier if you think of your job as something that you have to make bearable for yourself so that you can, like, fill the rest of your life with things you care about, that would make a lot of sense to me. And again, in that case, you might want to decide how important is making a lot of money to me, like if I’m able to pay my bills as a server, if I’m able to, like, maybe try to get into, like waiting tables, fine dining, sometimes that can be more of a like long term career prospect than waiting tables at, like the restaurant on the corner. Maybe that’s the trade off that I’m willing to make in order to fill my time outside of work with the things that I love more.
S2: Or maybe just like I know this is like a very square thing for me to say, but like maybe maybe making a lot of money is like really important to you for, like, a lot of reasons. And if that’s what it is and like you can afford to sort of like distract yourself with, like, a lot of like really cool, really expensive things in order to, like, make that high paying job more bearable. I don’t know, like I don’t want to judge those people, you know.
S1: Oh, my gosh. Not at all. I mean, I don’t think we’re talking about, like, billionaire level stuff where somebody would be making the kind of money that, like, can only be wrested from, like, the backs of others. But, yeah, if somebody is, like, in a position where they’re like the ability to travel is really important to me, the kind of freedom and independence that, like this amount of money gives me and I’m in a position to try to make it makes my life feel really good. Yeah, absolutely. That that might be a choice that a different letter writer might want to make. I really think it’s just to. Yeah. As you were saying, like to start from the assumption that my job is not likely to be the single factor that produces the most meaning and value in my life. What decisions do I want to make about my job, given my own personal and individual limitations based on like where I live, my job experience, etc.? What do I want to do about that? You know, for me, at the time, it was I want to quit this day job and try to make a go of writing full time any way that I can, I would rather deal with the problems of, you know, I knew my own situation. And I was like, I would rather gamble on not having health insurance for a while and see if I can make it, because I think the level of unhappiness I deal with in an even pretty good corporate job is high enough that I’m just eventually going to get fired because I’ll be so miserable. That was worth it for me if that hadn’t paid off. I don’t know what else I would have done, but I would have had to figure something else out and boy, oh boy, I just didn’t have health insurance for a really long time. I definitely thought it was going to be like a year. I was like, I’m just going to, like, roll the dice and hope for the best. And then it was like a decade before I got.
S2: Sounds like a writing career. Not great. But I do wonder and the same way that you were talking about, like. Being like a little bit too focused on that center divider like this person calls it, like an imposter syndrome of like wondering if they’re going to log in one day and then see that they’re fired like that imposter syndrome, or is that like. Wishing and hoping maybe think about that. Yeah, we can’t do the soul searching for you, unfortunately.
S1: Yeah, but do you think that’s right, to take that as an indicator of like is there another phrase for that besides imposter syndrome? Is there another phrase for this besides burnout that speaks to what’s going on with me? And, you know, like the last I like to go back to that letter writer. Like when my boyfriend asks me, like, what do you want to do? And I say, like, I just want to live like a really, as they say sometimes in youth group resonated with that, you know, like I just feel for all that. I don’t think that’s going to be able to be your sort of founding principle in terms of what you do next. I really get that. I really get that. Like, I want to fucking see my friends and hang out and maybe occasionally read a book and just really seems like we have enough like invention’s it’s been long enough since the Industrial Revolution started that we should just all be able to do that. Why can’t we all do that all the time? I really relate to it.
S2: I wish I could remember.
S1: I mean, I have one that I can recommend to you. My one of my favorite things about it is that I understand almost nothing that’s going on, which is a really great way to read when your brain already feels like a pair of fuzzy dice. It’s not Ferber’s I found out a confidential chronicle of the 1920s and he’s just this long dead newspaper reporter who worked a lot in the early aughts and 20s. And like I’m on this chapter right now where it’s just like, oh, I’m going to get faster on the Migi scandal. And I’m just like, oh, Foster was involved in the McGees scandal. I had no idea. Wow. I didn’t see that coming. I have no idea who Foster is. The only Maggie I know from that general time period is like Flipper Maggie, which I feel like was a radio show where, like people were always dropping things out of a closet. I’m not describing this well, but somebody’s listening to the show is going to know what I’m talking about. I have no idea who any of these, like local politicians are or what the scandals are. But every time he gets a telegram, I’m just like, hell, yeah. Furber You get them.
S2: I would have to check this out. Please do. One day when I myself and no longer print out.
S1: That’s what mayor of town is for. In the meantime, I have been having so much fun. How many times people say her name on that show, like just everything is like, hey, mayor, mayor deserve a second mayor. How do you want your coffee?
S2: Mayor, there was a point very briefly where Jean Smart, who plays Kate Winslet mom gets very angry and says Mary Ann and like literally took me like two entire seconds to realize who she was talking to, especially because, like, I
S1: I’ve met a couple of Maryanne’s in my life and I never knew any who went by mayor.
S2: And yet this is a gross generalization about white people make one. White people really love monosyllabic names. I do, yeah. How often do you go by then? Never.
S1: That’s my one thing. That was my one thing when I picked this name was like, Daniel is good, Danny is good. Anybody who calls me Dan just like fundamentally does not get me and I will never talk to them ever. I’m not a dam. It’s not that there’s anything it’s like smoking pot every day, not necessarily anything wrong with being a Dan, I am not a dad that just felt so true to me. Like I was like, this is my name for sure. But Dan’s not a part of it.
S2: I really agree with you. You are not. Dan, thank you.
S1: I really appreciate that.
S2: Just really want to, like, affirm your choices.
S1: Thank you. I want to affirm your choices, too. I want to affirm everyone’s choices. I even can affirm the people who chose the Whigs for mayor of town. They’re very unusual, big choices. Gene Smart’s wig is driving me absolutely bonkers.
S2: But that can’t be what, wig?
S1: There’s several scenes where it looks like she just walked out of a spirit of Halloween store having no juice. No, she’s wearing like a gray fright wig in most seasons. Most episodes, it’s only one season.
S2: It’s great.
S1: I feel like there’s been a couple of scenes where it’s like very late blonde verging on gray, at least one scene where it was just awful gray. There might have been a scene where it was red. Maybe I’m hallucinating, but I feel like she has had many different wigs on this show.
S2: Have you watched her yet?
S1: I have not watched tax yet. What’s the wig situation like?
S2: The wig situation is so good. She has like a you know, that scene where, like a woman sits in front of like a mirror and she’s like looking at her face. And I hate those scenes because I’m like, think of like one other way that like a woman could possibly be introspective without, like, looking at her appearance. Like, you don’t generally shoot men looking in the mirror or, like, studying them.
S1: That’s literally a reflection. I don’t know what better shorthand you can get for reflecting than a reflection.
S2: Come on.
S1: But come on. Telling me to write the alphabet and then saying like eight X are off limits,
S2: but there is a scene where she is like doing exactly that. And then she does like a surprise, like a big reveal. It’s beautiful and it’s like, I don’t know, like the first five minutes of the show. So you don’t even have to, like, get that deep into it in order to, like, get this, like, really fun wig reveal and then like the hair, she has this like also really good.
S1: So I take it this is not a show about like computer hackers, which was what my first assumption was when you said the show hacks.
S2: Oh, it is actually about the comedy generation gap between two female comedians.
S1: Oh. So no computer hacking at all?
S2: Not in the first six episodes that I’ve seen. But it is, I think, Gene Smart sort of plays like a Joan Rivers, the like all time comedian. And then she got sort of like paired with a millennial like tweet disaster person who is like your jokes are so old. And then Jean Smart says, well, your jokes are not funny, but then they’re going to go like, be really cool together. I know I’m going to do the show, man.
S1: It sounds good. The only thing is I’m now a little disappointed that there’s not a show where Jean Smart like plays a hacker who has like a hacking wig. I’m just like, hang on a second, let me get my computer wig.
S2: It’s like, how would you say it’s like made up like a watermelon.
S1: A watermelon, OK, like a Gallagher wig. I mean, do you do you think that a person who, for example, hated the marvelous Mrs. Masel would maybe still enjoy it?
S2: I hated the marvelous Mrs. Masel and I enjoyed Hack’s.
S1: OK, that is helpful. That was a terrible show.
S2: I believe that that’s ongoing and that we should say it is a terrible show.
S1: However, happily say it is a terrible show.
S2: However, I will say that now any time I see a top hat anywhere in the wild, I have to put it on my husband. And then we play a game where I take a picture of them and then he has to guess whether he is The Babadook or instrumentality. You know,
S1: you’ve given me a lot to think about, a lot to think about today. I will say this ever since I did see The Babadook, whenever I go to someone’s house who has like a coat rack, you know, where they hang up the coats, usually for the first minute or so, I’m scared. That’s just like especially in like period movies where there’s like, you know, men walk into a building and they hang up their hat and coat right away. And then there’s like a quick shot of it hanging behind them. I was like, oh, OK, fine. It’s not going to turn into The Babadook. It’s just as hard.
S2: I mean, they probably should turn into The Babadook. That’s the only way, like, so good.
S1: This is why you make such a great TV critic, you know, the best ideas and you agree with all of mine. I’m so grateful to you for for coming on the show today. Do you have any last words of wisdom for anyone who hates their job?
S2: I’m. I don’t know when. I don’t know, I guess like maybe there’s this, like, whole thing right now, I think there’s this burgeoning discussion about whether, like, the pen that is going to lead to like a mass quitting slash hiring thing because people have been too afraid to leave their jobs because of all of the economic instability and people reevaluating their priorities and life and all of that stuff. And I really feel like that’s going to be a really big deal. Sorry, that sounds like a very dumb thing to say, but I also really believe in it. And I hope that people sort of and all of this like in a much happier or like at least like a much more self-aware place than they started out with.
S1: Yeah. I mean, there’s definitely things that have felt like exciting, restorative and possible to me here on the like, tail end of quarantine that like had you had you gone back to twenty nineteen and it’s like, here’s something you’re going to be doing in twenty twenty one. I would have not believed you. And I would be like what sort of. Outrageous overall change would have had to take place within my psyche for me to be the kind of person who would enjoy this or who would do this. And it’s kind of shocking.
S2: But I mean, we’re here at the end of the pandemic and we are also starting new jobs.
S1: I’m ready to say, like at a tail end of quarantine, I’m so not ready to say end of the pandemic, but not least because I think it’s tempting fate. But certainly it’s not like where I was in March of twenty twenty, which is to say, like only in my living room washing my groceries.
S2: Yes, I think yes, I do live in like that’s like a Bay Area bubble. And so everything does feel sort of like things coming to an end. But I know that’s vastly different in all sorts of other places, so I should be more careful about the words that come out of my mouth. You’re doing great. Thanks for having me.
S1: Thank you so much for being here and for just reading me and my clothing choices.
S2: I was going to say, like, I really appreciate the Ninja Turtle vibe that, like you’ve brought onto this. You know what?
S1: You’re welcome. You’re welcome. I strive to bring a bit of the turtles energy to everyday life. And it just means a lot to me that I that you see it in me.
S2: Good. I hope you continue to spread that joy.
S1: Thanks for joining us on Big Mood, a little mood with me, Danny Lavery, our producer is Phil Surkis, who also composed our theme music. Don’t miss an episode of the show. Had to slate dotcom mood to sign up to subscribe or hit the subscribe button on whatever platform you’re using right now. Also, please leave us a review on our podcast. If you get a minute, we’d love to know what you think. If you want more big mouthed little mood, you should join Slate. Plus Slate’s membership program. Members get an extra episode of Big Mood, a little mood every Friday, and you’ll get to hear more advice and conversations and interview questions with our guests. And as a Slate plus member, you’ll also be supporting the show, Go to sleep dot com forward slash mood plus to sign up. It’s just one dollar for your first month. If you need some little advice or big advice and you’d like me to read your letter on the show, had to slate dot com slash mood to find our big mood, little mood listener question form or find a link in the description of the platform you’re using right now. Thanks for listening. And here’s a preview of our Slate Plus episode coming this Friday. There’s no way for me to answer a question about weed without just feeling like I just feel so reflexively embarrassed by myself already or see him in. It’s just weird. Like everything I’ve ever said about weed sounds stupid to me.
S2: And yet you dress like a stoner every single day, it seems.
S1: Every single day. Oh my gosh.
S2: I don’t know if they saw me looking at you coming in hot video like basically like the only time we’ve really met.
S1: So and yet the confidence with which you just said every day was beautiful, go hard
S2: or go home.
S1: I guess you’re you’re not wrong. One of the things that my girlfriend said to me recently and she said it and meant it in like a very tender and affirming way, but it also just cracks me up. She was like one of the things that I really like about the way that you dress is it’s often like a little kid who’s been like Toltz. You can pick out your own outfit for tomorrow. I was like, absolutely, I know what you mean. And like, yes, that’s true. I often do go in for just, like, real joy of like I can mix all of these patterns together. To listen to the rest of that conversation, join Slate plus now at Slate, dot com forward slash mood.