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What's making us happy: A guide for your weekend watching, reading and listening

Peter, Zelda, Thomas and Eva in City of Ghosts on Netflix.
Courtesy of Netflix
Peter, Zelda, Thomas and Eva in City of Ghosts on Netflix.

This week, NPR Music shared their picks for the best music of the year, ELLE banned fur from its pages and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returned for its 15th season. It's the longest running live action sitcom on TV.

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

Once Upon A Bennington College, C13Originals

I was absolutely riveted by Once Upon a Bennington College. This is a podcast that was seemingly engineered in a lab for Gen Xers like me. It's a salacious gossip-fest involving the undergraduate careers of writers Bret Easton Ellis, Donna Tartt and Jonathan Lethem when they were all at Bennington College in Vermont and traces who they became and their cultural impact. It's delicious fun. — Neda Ulaby

Broadway Performers Honor Stephen Sondheim

This is a little bit of a happy, sad, bittersweet situation because we've all been mourning Stephen Sondheim's death, but also celebrating his absolute magical, fantastic legacy. Last Sunday, Broadway performers took to the main area in Times Square, and sang "Sunday" from Sunday in the Park with George. And that video, I cannot tell you how many times I've just cried watching it. — Bedatri Choudhury

City of Ghosts, Netflix

This is a show essentially just for little kids, but it's exactly my vibe and I find myself drawn back to it again and again. It's about a group — Zelda, Thomas, Eva and Peter — they go around Los Angeles interviewing ghosts about why they're still hanging around. Through it, you learn about the Filipina chef on the corner or the Japanese chef or the small business owner in Koreatown. It's so gentle and thoughtful and empathetic that it serves as a really nice palate cleanser. Maybe even more than that, between all the horrors of our day to day, from the news or movies that are dark.

There's something to be said about the fact that these are 18 to 20 minutes per episode — just really resetting your mood a little bit. It's the kind of thing that I wish that I had when I was a kid. — Walter Chaw

80s News Screens on Twitter

80s News Screens. That is a Twitter account where the truth is in the advertising. And if you take my advice and you follow it, you'll be doom scrolling, wracked with despair and outrage and this feeling of baseline helplessness that we're all dealing with. And then — boom, a still from an 80s local newscast will appear in your feed, with the cheesiest graphics, the worst hair, the shoulder pads, the makeup, the raw sincerity in these chyrons along the bottom of the screen.

So many stiffly quaffed, moussed-to-the-gods news anchors are staring down the barrel of the camera, while behind them, there's a graphic that's like "dangerous chicken," or"turkey tips,"or many times "obesity." Glen Weldon

NPR Kroc Fellow Mia Estrada adapted this Pop Culture Happy Hour segment into a digital page.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

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.
Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.
Bedatri Choudhury
Walter Chaw
Mia Estrada
Mia Estrada is a 2021-2022 Kroc Fellow. She will spend the year rotating through different parts of NPR, including the Culture Desk, National Desk and Weekend Edition.