Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Topics, with Desk.
Desk: I'm Desk.
Alisha: This is Topics. This is already so weird, so good. We're going to try a podcasty thing today. "Podcasty" means podcast-like, where we discuss something in English for fun. You can hear what a real conversation sounds like. Anyway, today, thanks for coming, Kyle.
Desk: I'm Kyle. I was never a desk. I was Kyle all along. Thanks for joining.
Alisha: Forever Kyle?
Desk: That's me forever.
Alisha: Forever 21?
Desk: I was born this way.
Alisha: Really?
Desk: Yeah.
Alisha: I think Lady Gaga has a song about that.
Desk: Aye. It's about all the Kyle's of the world.
Alisha: Yeah? She was also born this way.
Desk: She was born a Kyle but she changed her name twice.
Alisha: To Stephanie first.
Desk: Stephanie first, and then Lady Gaga later.
Alisha: She's really cool with rolling with this. Is that what you think?
Desk: Yeah.
Alisha: Yeah? Okay.
Desk: We miss her. Me and all the other Kyle's, we get together sometimes and talk about it like, "Man, she was a good Kyle, but now she's a great Lady Gaga."
Alisha: Have you ever considered a name change?
Desk: My first name is actually Jonathan.
Alisha: No.
Desk: Yeah.
Alisha: Really?
Desk: Yeah.
Alisha: What a revelation.
Desk: Why are you called Kyle? Wait, you're just lying to us. You said you are always and forever Kyle. We can't trust you, Desk.
Desk: Middle name, Kyle's count.
Alisha: Middle name?
Desk: That's the important detail. Middle name Kyle's count too.
Alisha: I feel lied to.
Desk: Most people do, but you'll get used to it.
Alisha: All right.
Desk: My parents asked them.
Alisha: All right. Let's go on to safer territory.
Desk: Okay.
Alisha: Let's discuss media. Our topic with Desk for today is to discuss the last thing we watched, the most recent thing we watched, TV show, movie. I suppose it could be a sporting event. We can explain the details of that thing and then try to give just enough information so the other person can guess what it was that we watched. The rule of the game would be we'll give the other person a hint. There will be a guess. If the guess is wrong, the hints continue. We will try to continue until the correct answer is reached.
Desk: Is the rule to last longer or to be guessed first? Maybe, if you make the rule the person tries to make the other person take longer to guess, then, you're naturally not give away important detail.
Alisha: That is true. Are you ready? I'm ready.
Desk: Yeah.
Alisha: Yeah?
Desk: I was born ready.
Alisha: You were born Kyle as well. Okay. Okay, do you want to go first? I'll guess.
Desk: Okay. The last thing that I watched features a middle-aged man.
Alisha: "House of Cards."
Desk: No.
Alisha: Okay.
Desk: Now, is it your turn?
Alisha: Oh, okay. The last thing that I watched features five men.
Desk: Was it "Party of Five?"
Alisha: No.
Desk: That's not five men, is it? "Party of Five."
Alisha: I don't know. I never watched it.
Desk: Okay. The last thing that I watched takes place in the East Coast of the United States.
Alisha: Was it "Groundhog Day?"
Desk: No. Nice guess, though. One of my favorites.
Alisha: Yeah, village man. East Coast. Okay. The last thing that I watched has a special guest in every episode.
Desk: Oh, this is cheating, if this is something we were talking about earlier. Is it "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee?"
Alisha: No.
Desk: Oh, never mind, then.
Alisha: Okay.
Desk: The last thing I watched, now I said it features a middle-aged old man. Actually, to be honest, there's lots of middle-aged men and women of all ages. I just didn't want you to get stuck in the middle-aged man detail, because I can tell when you said "Groundhog Day," you're thinking things that are just one middle-aged man.
Alisha: Well, you should say features.
Desk: The point was to make it hard for you to guess, so my first clue helped in no way at all, basically.
Alisha: Okay. Well, that's fantastic. I'll disregard that. East Coast. Was it "Mad Men?"
Desk: No.
Alisha: Okay. All right. The last thing that I watched, the episodes take place in the south of the US.
Desk: Ah. I got this one. "Fab Five." You watched "Queer Eye."
Alisha: I did. Yeah.
Desk: Yeah. Whoo. I win?
Alisha: Yeah. Yes.
Desk: A, I win. And, B, "Queer Eye" is awesome.
Alisha: It is awesome. It's a good show.
Desk: It's a good show.
Alisha: Did you watch the previous version? They used to be a show called "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
Desk: I haven't.
Alisha: I watched that.
Desk: I want to.
Alisha: It was more entertainment driven. While the new one is--of course, it's entertainment, it's a TV show. It's not just about giving someone a makeover, but they're also actually talking about important issues related to race and sexuality, and your job, and your position in society. I was quite surprised, pleasantly surprised at how it is a silly and fun show in some ways but there's some depth too it.
Desk: Yeah.
Alisha: I liked it. Have you seen the new one?
Desk: Yeah. I think, I'm on about Episode 3 of Season 2. I agree completely, from what I knew from the old one, which I never really watched, my understanding was it was just making over schlubby guys, more or less. The new season is all about making people better just in all sorts of ways, improving how they take care of themselves, how they treat themselves and other people. They pick people who are already making an effort to improve other people. They're just giving them a push to bring them even further along in that process.
Alisha: Yeah. I was also surprised at how open the participants on the show were. I found it very interesting that they were choosing people that, perhaps, we might stereotypically associate as being very closed-minded, like a guy who's very active in his church community but was very welcoming to people of different backgrounds, or like a police officer. These are stereotypical, I think, especially white men, in that area of the US have this stereotype. It's associated with being close-minded, but the show is showing, "Well, no. People can be open-minded no matter what they look like or no matter what their backgrounds are."
Desk: The South is, as you said, that is a stereotype. People the South won't be accepting these certain lifestyles or what have you. Even some of the people that they help are on the political spectrum that you would definitely not expect them to be accepting of the "Fab Five." What you find is once people get to know each other and see how the other person works and how the other person thinks, then they see that all of our similarities are way more prevalent than all of our differences.
Alisha: Yeah. That's a good show.
Desk: It's good.
Alisha: I really enjoy it. Yeah. You're on Season 2?
Desk: Season 2.
Alisha: Okay. I'm still in Season 1.
Desk: Oh.
Alisha: I'm looking forward to it.
Desk: Now, we do rapid-fire?
Alisha: Yes, please, rapid-fire. Hint time.
Desk: Okay. I'll try to make it progressively easier for you.
Alisha: Okay. I know almost nothing. East coast, range of ages with men and women.
Desk: I gave you so little--I thought that was the point. All right.
Alisha: It was, to be fair.
Desk: Something a little easier. There are some clues that will make it very easy.
Alisha: Okay.
Desk: Do you want those? Or, do you want me to build up to them?
Alisha: Let's go with the build-up, yeah.
Desk: Okay. There is crime in this show.
Alisha: "CSI." New York. Miami.
Desk: The main characters themselves are criminals.
Alisha: "CSI." I know they're not.
Desk: With these many middle-aged guys together committing crimes, you might call it organized crime.
Alisha: That one mafia show with the guys. It's called --
Desk: The show's named after the head person's last name.
Alisha: Yes, I know. "The Sopranos."
Desk: Yeah. There we go.
Alisha: You saw "The Sopranos" recently. I've never seen that show.
Desk: You should watch it.
Alisha: Everyone seems to love it.
Desk: It's good.
Alisha: Yeah?
Desk: It's the polar opposite of "Queer Eye," where you have these criminals, you see that they're good in some ways. Obviously, not good in a lot of ways. The show really highlights the weakness inherent in a lot of these people. Instead of making them better, you see them become tragic figures because of their weaknesses. A lot of the time, that has to do with how closed-minded they are and how, I don't know if "ignorance" is the right word to ever use to refer to anybody, but just they have an insular meaning. It exists within itself, kind of, mindset, where they don't get a lot of feedback from outside influences. The way they think to today's standards seems very old-fashioned.
Alisha: It's not exactly a feel-good show. You don't watch that show to feel happy.
Desk: No.
Alisha: What do you gain from watching the show? Do you feel more introspective? Introspective, meaning you look at yourself more closely and into yourself and think about yourself more? Or, is it purely entertainment, dramatic entertainment?
Desk: A bit of A, a bit of B. It's certainly dramatic. There's some tension and suspense. You do learn to like these characters despite their flaws, and hope that they'll improve and end up in a better situation. It's TV. It's one of the earlier of these high-quality shows that would be considered the television renaissance that's going on right now. "Sopranos," and then, "Deadwood," and then, "Breaking Bad," and "Mad Men." All of these shows brought the serialized drama format to TV and an almost Hollywood quality, a film-like quality. Sopranos was one of the originators of that whole change.
Alisha: Yeah, I remember when "The Sopranos" first came out, first became available, people were shocked at the quality. People were shocked at the storytelling because it was so different from anything that had appeared on TV up until that point. We had lots and lots of sitcoms. Throughout the 90's, it was so many sitcoms, "Friends," and "Will and Grace," and "Seinfeld." All of these really popular fun-to-watch things. The dramas that were available, like I jokingly talked about "CSI" as an example, it was very predictable and cookie cutter in some ways too. But, then, something like "The Sopranos" came on to the scene. It took everybody by storm, meaning took everyone by surprise, I think.
Desk: Yeah.
Alisha: Viewers just really into it, it seemed like from the beginning.
Desk: Yeah. Instead of being limited to all the drama and all the character arcs have to be confined in one episode, you have seasons that it can sprawl throughout. You have characters who have arcs that last over the whole show, maybe, or over multiple seasons, or just a few episodes. You have so much creative ability with storytelling in that way.
Alisha: Yeah. That's huge to be able to tell a story over a long period of time, instead of having 22 minutes.
Desk: Of course, there is also an art to telling stories in those 20 minutes. TV, overtime, really perfected that model. There's value in both, but the serialized format just opened the floodgates of the kinds and the complexity of stories you can tell. Then, now, we have "Game of Thrones" and "West World," and all these shows that owe their existence to, pretty much directly, "Sopranos."
Alisha: Really. That was the catalyst, the thing that started it all.
Desk: I would say so.
Alisha: Or, at least, a major factor in that shift in presentation. Exciting. Yeah, I haven't watched it. Have you seen all of it, then?
Desk: I'm on the last season. There are six seasons.
Alisha: Okay. I haven't seen it.
Desk: You should watch it.
Alisha: Sounds good.
Desk: I hadn't watched it until this most recent viewing, and everybody talked about it the way I just did, like, "Oh, it was one of the most important TV shows of all time." It's like, "I guess, I'll give this Sopranos thing a shot." I'm hooked.
Alisha: Now, here we are.
Desk: Here we are talking about it.
Alisha: Good one. Well, thanks for all the hints. Those are good. Sorry, I sucked at guessing.
Desk: You got it.
Alisha: It took a while. It took a while.
Desk: That's the important part.
Alisha: Hey, we got their final.
Desk: Hey.
Alisha: Cool. All right. Well, those are the last things that we watched. Quite different. What was the last thing you watched? Leave us a comment and we'll read it, probably. Won't do much.
Desk: We won't reply.
Alisha: We probably won't reply.
Desk: But we will read it.
Alisha: We will read it, someone.
Desk: We will judge you.
Alisha: We will. We will. We'll read your comments on the next episode and be like, "Look at what this guy watched."
Desk: Look at what this guy said.
Alisha: Yeah. We do it every episode. It ends with this.
Desk: Oh, we forgot to check in with Table.
Alisha: Yeah.
Desk: Or, Desk.
Alisha: Desk, what do you think? As I thought.
Desk: Desk doesn't watch TV.
Alisha: Desk. Desk supports TV only. All right. We'll finish that up. All right. If you have any other comments or questions, or media that you think would be good for people to watch, please feel free to let us know in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this episode and we'll see you again next time. Bye-bye.
Desk: See you.


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Quotes are something like famous sayings, right? The title of this episode is " the famous quotes". But the two hosts are talking about TV series.