Welcome To The Party Pal: The Mind-Bending Film & Television Podcast You Didn't Know You Needed!
Episode 108: White Lotus, Season 2
This episode of Welcome To The Party celebrates the return of Mike White's Emmy-winning television series White Lotus which premiered its sophomore season this past October. The second season stars Jennifer Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza, Will Sharpe, Theo James, Michael Imperioli, among others. It recently won Golden Globe Awards for Best Limited or Anthology Series and Best Supporting Actress for Coolidge. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and Justin Wells attempt to explain the phenomenon of White Lotus and its far-reaching appeal. They discuss the themes of the show revolving around desire, power structures, and the transactional nature of relationships. They breakdown the complex character interconnectivity in the season, what might occur in the forthcoming third season, and of course, tip their hat to the absolutely banging theme song, and much, much more.
Episode 107: Avatar - The Way of Water
In this episode of Welcome To The Party, Avatar: The Way of Water, the epic science fiction film directed and produced by James Cameron, who co-wrote the screenplay with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, is dissected and celebrated. It is the sequel to Avatar (2009) and the second installment in the Avatar film series. Cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, and Giovanni Ribisi reprise their roles from the original film, with Sigourney Weaver returning in an additional role. New cast members include Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, and Jemaine Clement. In the film, Na'vi Jake Sully (Worthington) and his family, under renewed human threat, seek refuge with the Metkayina clan of Pandora. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and River Jordan explore the themes of The Way of Water while discussing James Cameron undying love for the sea. They consider the film's gaudy runtime, the remarkable special effects and CGI featured in the film, and so much more!
Episode 106: 2023 Television Preview
This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal looks forward to the year ahead and previews a slew of the captivating television shows set to air in 2023. First, hosts Michael Shields and Ryan O' Connell discuss heralded television shows returning for their latest season — those highly anticipated, beloved programs such as Succession, Barry, The Mandalorian, and Loki. Then, they dig into a bevy of television shows premiering this year, ones that star such renowned actors as Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson, Natasha Lyonne, Harrison Ford, Kate Winslet, Bob Odenkirk, Jodie Foster, and Matthew Rhys (just to name a few!). A bounty lies ahead, and this episode of Welcome To The Party Pal aptly prepares viewers for the goodness that awaits.Two articles were mentioned in this episode, those are: "Which Wildly Different TV Shows Make A Surprisingly Good Pair?" by Ryan O'Connell and "Fargo's Perfect Second Season" by Michael Shields.
Episode 105: The Fabelmans
This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal pays tribute to The Fabelmans, the coming-of-age drama directed by Steven Spielberg and written and produced by Tony Kushner and Spielberg. It is a semi-autobiographical story based on Spielberg's adolescence and first years as a filmmaker, told through an original story of the fictional Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker who explores how the power of films can help him see the truth about his dysfunctional family and those around him. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy, with Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch in supporting roles. The film is dedicated to the memories of Spielberg's real-life parents Leah Adler and Arnold Spielberg, who died in 2017 and 2020, respectively. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and Mitch Lucas marvel at Spielberg's latest while exploring the themes present in the The Fabelmans. They discuss how the movie speaks to the power and beauty of film as they celebrate the tremendous performances found in the film. Ultimately, this episode serves as a tribute to one of the greatest storytellers in the history of filmmaking.
Episode 104: The Best TV Shows of 2022
In this episode of Welcome To The Party Pal hosts Michael Shields and Ryan O’ Connell share their choices for the best television shows of 2022. In a year absolutely chock full of brilliant offerings, across a multitude of genres, whittling it down to just ten was no easy task, but that was thej ob. And so, join in on a celebration of 2022's bounty. Does Barry, The Bear, Better Call Saul, Rings of Power, Abbott Elementary, Severance, Andor, or Reservation Dogs make our list? Tune in to find out what entertained most this past year.
Episode 103: Andor
This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates the first season of Andor, the science-fiction action-adventure television series created by Tony Gilroy for Disney+. It is the fourth live-action series in the Star Wars franchise, as well as a prequel to both the spin-off film Rogue One (2016) and the original Star Wars film (1977). The series follows thief-turned-Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the five years that lead to the events of the two films. Diego Luna reprises his role as Cassian Andor and also serves as an executive producer. The ensemble cast also includes Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Stellan Skarsgård, Denise Gough, Genevieve O'Reilly, Faye Marsay, Varada Sethu, and Elizabeth Dulau, among others. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and Douglas Grant discuss showrunner Tony Gilroy's bold and novel approach to storytelling in the Star Wars Universe. They talk about the tremendous cast assembled for the project, Nicholas Britell's engrossing score, a moment where a droid's anguish broke our hearts, Luke Hall's game-changing production design, and so much more.
Episode 102: House of the Dragon
This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal dissects the first season of House of the Dragon, the fantasy drama television series that persists as a prequel to Game of Thrones. It is the second show in the franchise created by George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal for HBO. Both series are based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by Martin with Condal and Miguel Sapochnik serving as the showrunners. Based on parts of the novel Fire & Blood, the series is set about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen, descendant of the eponymous royal house, and 100 years after the Seven Kingdoms is united by the Targaryen Conquest. It portrays the beginning of the end of House Targaryen, the events leading up to and covering the Targaryen civil war of succession, known as the "Dance of the Dragons." In this episode hosts Michael Shields and Ryan O' Connell expound on the most exciting moments of this first season of The House of the Dragon while celebrating some of the most nuanced and cutthroat characters that can be found on television today. They explore the challenges presented by the time-jumps that take place throughout the season, the events that occurred in the season that couldn't be found in the novel Fire & Blood, what the finale means for the series moving forward, and much, much more.Check out Ryan O' Connell's pop culture blog, Giddy Up America!
Episode 101: The Greatest HBO Character of All Time
In this episode of Welcome To The Party Pal hosts Michael Shields and Ryan O' Connell set forth to answer one of the most impossible questions in television: Who is the greatest HBO character of all time? Basing their conversation on an article written by Ryan O' Connell at BroBible titled, "Who Is The Greatest HBO Character of All Time? We Set Up A Massive Battle Royale To Figure Out The G.O.A.T," the two overly prepared hosts analyze all the characters who have inhabited the programs of arguably the premiere television network ever. Does the cream of the crop hail from The Wire (Omar? / Bubbles? / McNulty?), Game of Thrones (Daenerys? / Cersei?), or perhaps one of HBO's acclaimed comedies (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep, Eastbound & Down)? Find out in an episode that offers a definitive answer to this pressing question. Beyond getting to the bottom of the best of the best, Michael and Ryan go on to tip their hat to a few notable Honorable Mentions, and then discuss some Future Stars from the rookie class (Rue from Euphoria / Kendall from Succession / etc.) that could one day be in the running for the top spot.Ryan O’Connell is a writer, event professional, and one-time musician from the great state of Maine who currently resides in New Jersey. He has contributed work to UPROXX, Heavy, and BroBible. He also maintains his own blog Giddy Up America. Ryan has watched ‘The Wire’ all the way through five times and as a result, will make reference to it on a near-regular basis.Two articles mention in this episode of note: "The Top 20 Episodes of Breaking Bad" and "Boardwalk's Empire."
Episode 100: Elvis
This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal journeys to Graceland to commemorate Elvis, the 2022 biographical musical drama film directed by Baz Luhrmann, who co-wrote the screenplay with Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, and Jeremy Doner. The film follows the life of rock and roll icon, singer, and actor Elvis Presley, told from the perspective of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It stars Austin Butler in the title role with Tom Hanks as Parker, while Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson and Richard Roxburgh co-star. Elvis has grossed $285.8 million worldwide against its $85 million budget, becoming the second-highest-grossing music biopic of all-time behind Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) and the fourth-highest-grossing Australian-produced film. Butler's performance garnered widespread acclaim, while the film's costume and production designs as well as musical sequences received positive reviews. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and River Jordan celebrate the spectacles that are Baz Luhrmann's films. They discuss Tom Hanks polarizing portrayal of Colonel Tom Parker while hailing the astounding performance of Austin Butler as Elvis Presley. They talk about what Elvis says about America's longstanding problems with racism, puritism, and homophobia, how biopics can often be predictable and repetitive, Elvis's impact on America and American music, and so much more. Join in as a lifelong Elvis fan and a fledgling admirer celebrate the "King of Rock N' Roll."