Low Key


What Is 'Joker' Trying to Say About Poverty and Mental Illness?

Season 1, Ep. 44

What does "Joker" want to say about poverty, mental illness and other problems society has failed to solve? That's the subject of our latest "Low Key" podcast.

Every week on "Low Key," your hosts Aaron Lanton, Keith Dennie and Tim Molloy look into pop culture subtleties you may have missed. Well, except for this week: This week Tim is replaced (quite successfully) by special guest Sam Perrin of the “Sam Said It” podcast

Sam, Aaron and Keith go deep on "Joker," questioning how to interpret its ending, whether it wants to make political statements or avoid them, and where it stands on the divide between rich and poor. They focus especially on how the film deals with mental illness, and how to interpret director Todd Phillips' presentation of Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur losing his grip on reality.

Also: Do nice pearls really fall that way?

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.