Low Key


Watchmen: In Praise of High-Risk TV

Season 1, Ep. 50

Watchmen complicatedly combined falling squid, horrifying racism, a glowing blue man, nuclear panic, fear of sexual humiliation, piles of dead clones, questions about whether we could all be doing more, and an armchair trap door. In the new Low Key podcast, we talk about why it worked for us.

In every episode of Low Key, your co-hosts Aaron Lanton, Keith Dennie, and Tim Molloy talk about pop culture moments we think others may have missed, often through a racial lens. 

As Aaron explains near the 20-minute mark of this episode, "Watching this as a black viewer is very different, I think, from watching it as a viewer of some other ethnicity." It isn't just because of the show's heavy references to the Tulsa race riots, or secret racist societies. It's because of the show's difficult questions about how much obligation all Americans have to one another—and how those obligations relate to race.

Watchmen is undeniably, deliberately, messy and confusing. While most screenplays aspire for clarity, Watchmen makes its most searing points by trying to cloud some of our most firmly held perceptions. It asks us to explore our deepest fears, and better understand ourselves in the process.

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More Episodes


Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

Season 1, Ep. 70
In this episode we explore Netflix's Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, about a Puerto Rican TV astrologer who rose from humble beginnings to become a sequin-caped inspiration to millions.With his distinctive look, aura of mystery — especially about his sexuality — and ability to blend many religious beliefs into a medley of optimism, Walter Mercado gave hope to the hopeless — until an ugly legal dispute yanked him from the air and cost him control of his own carefully cultivated image.:45: Our late-night infomercial memories3:00: Is the Michael Jordan-approved The Last Dance real journalism? Is Walter Mercado getting the Michael Jordan treatment?5:45: "Celebrities nowadays are derivatives of celebrities back in the day."5:50: How Walter Mercado was like Michael Jackson and Prince7:05: About that psychic phone line...7:50: How is Walter Mercado different from a televangelist?8:50: "You just can't swindle a swindler"10:00: Let's talk about Walter Mercado and his manager's relationship11:45: Zodiac signs12:40: "What's the difference between a Walter Mercado and a Tony Robbins?"15:00: Tim has the same religious beliefs as Walter Mercado: "No one has a monopoly on God"18:00: "He had a much better life than most people have"24:00: A Billy Dee Williams story (and here's the background on the gender-fluid story)27:00: Another excellent famous-person story30:55: "The only person I ever saw solve racism was Prince"31:50: "Netflix, again, coming through on the diversity point before it was fucking cool. ... They've been on this train."33:15: Netflix's $120 million donation to HCBUs36:00: "I have an appreciation for any man that dresses up like a wizard"Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado is now streaming on Netflix.