Pete Fenzel, Mark Lee and Matt Wrather overthink the cultural experience of driving and buying cars.
Subscribe to the Overthinking It Podcast
Want new episodes of the Overthinking It Podcast to download automatically?
Subscribe in iTunes
Subscribe with RSS
Tell us what you think!
(203) 285-6401 call/text
Speaking of pandas, there’s a school of thought out there that PANDAS ARE TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!! They are not to be trusted!!!
At least that’s what my guitar player tells me. He’s kinda weird.
I have a Hyundai Elantra. It’s fine. I’ve never really understood the need to know a bunch about cars, though I guess that would be the responsible thing to do since they are, as you rightly say, a money pit. As for the buying experience, the only thing that made it at all tolerable was that the salesman was an old friend from college, so I was able to get through it all pretty much stress free. Car buying is awful. It is just the worst.
Re: Car copycatting
Getting the same car as your sister may not be as much of a theft of individualism as you might think, particularly if she’s the first in the family to “discover the brand.”
My dad always took a bit of pride in having introduced his family to Hondas. When he bought his first in the mid-eighties his brothers picked on the choice quite a bit. By the time he had 300,000 miles on it there were about 15 Hondas “in the family”. (He eventually got 500,000 out of it which is still extremely impressive by 2014 standards.)
So if you play it right she get’s the Explorer credit. If you need to engineer the situation a bit send her an email casually criticizing the Prius (“it looks nice, but I don’t think it has the YaddaYadda…”) then if she responds just be completely won over by her analysis, or send another email completely retracting your earlier criticisms (“Forget everything I said! I did more research, you made a great choice”).
Re: Gendered vehicles.
For a while I owned both a tiny 1986 Honda Accord AND a 3/4 Ford with a 800 gallon water tank in the back.
Most days I’d commute 40 miles to the shop, and jump into the truck. Other times I’d wind up using the car to make customer visits, or be working close enough to home that I just kept the truck.
It was like participating in some weird social experiment. People I didn’t know well tended to not recognize me when I showed up with the other vehicle.
And I suspect that for a while the neighbors thought my wife was having an affair with a much more rugged man.
One odd thing was the sense that I was a much more aggressive driver in the car and a much more cautious one in the truck. The sense of caution may have been an illusion, but the increased aggressiveness was pretty clear ( I was fairly regularly hitting 100 on a few sections of the ride home.)
I don’t know if that was merely a reaction to the sheer amount of time I was spending on the road, or the feeling of switching from my Scimitar-class truck to my Rapier-class car.
“Planet of the Pandas” sounds like Rust Cohle’s dream come to life:
“Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk paw in paw into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.”
Time is a flat circle of bamboo.
One sweet car identity thing that is a huge deal in my native Pacific Northwest and perhaps not as much of a thing back East (I imagine it exists in LA, if not as prevalently) is the Subaru station wagon with the Thule rack on top, which is the car for people who pride themselves on actually doing all the outdoorsy car commercial stuff that people in SUVs and Kia Sols never actually do. I feel my own car gets extra points for having a layer of dust on it from trailheads all summer long and for having visible external rust on it that it had when I bought it, but which has no internal impact. I wants car to say “I don’t always drive, but when I do, it’s to go do something cool outside.”
It also goes along with what I call the Han Solo school of industrial design: it may not look like much, but it’s got it where it counts.
It is also, interestingly, almost identical to my parent’s car I learned to drive on, as well as being very similar to their more recently purchased version. So obviously the whole parent individuation thing didn’t hit me in this regard.
Subarus are a big thing in Vermont as well. I visited a friend there for a wedding, and I’m told that if you move to Vermont, you are issued a Subaru and a golden retriever at the border.
If anyone is looking to buy a car here is a good way to get the price down:
It works for used cars too.
Some well-meaning feedback:
I’m not ready to batter down any doors or anything, but I would much rather listen to (over) educated analysis of pop culture entertainment personally. I just found this podcast around a year ago, and the reason I enjoyed it so much was that you folks took works that either 1) I wasn’t interested enough to care about (ex. Fast and the Furious) or 2) Was so interested in that it was difficult for me to look into deeper or criticize in any meaningful way (ex. Marvel Studios movies) and provided insight and discussion I never would have come up with myself. The TFT branch is now the prime example of doing this, but I connect much better to movies, TV, and books than with music.
I enjoy the occasional diversion, but of the last eight episodes, maybe two (X-Men and perhaps the World Cup episodes) were focused on movies or entertainment. The brunch cast, the diet/tattoo cast, and the like weren’t terrible when I actually listened to them by any means, but I wasn’t excited enough to listen to them for days after they came out (unlike the entertainment related episodes, which were eagerly downloaded as soon as I got to work on Monday).
It may sound odd, but I was looking forward to Overthinking It this summer blockbuster season specifically because I wasn’t very excited about many upcoming movies.
All that being said, I’d rather hear people talking about something they’re excited about than listen to a group that felt forced to watch blockbusters complaining about how terrible kids and their movie tastes are these days–so I’m not sure there’s any ideal solution.
For more OTI-conventional entertainment analysis, I highly recommend the 24: Live Another Day real-time recap!!
Seriously, though — I’m really glad that you like our main wheelhouse stuff. We haven’t forgotten it — that’s what we love to do, too — and we’ll be getting back to it before too long.
We did get a bunch of negative feedback from listeners about _always_ focusing on a specific movie, because if they didn’t get to see if they didn’t feel like they could participate. And then we got a bunch of positive feedback about these broader topics, probably because it was something new.
So it’s been fun to try this out, but it’s cyclical, and we’ll be doing some tried-and-true pop culture podcasts soon. Starting with the #PURGECAST next weekend, when I will definitely be seeing and talking about “The Purge: Anarchy.”
Also, we owe it to ourselves and our listeners to see and talk about Snowpiercer, starring Overthinking It muse Tilda Swinton.
I do think there are two additional factors at work in the topic selection this summer:
1. An inordinate amount of travel. I know I’ve had to travel almost every weekend. It’s mostly been because of my sister getting married (congrats, Meg!), but a lot of other people have been having weddings and other events, too. So, not just me, but other Overthinkers as well have been moving around more this summer than past summers, and have thus been less successful at seeing movies.
2. The movies this summer really have been less interesting. As I mentioned in the podcast — it’s not just us. Year-over-year box office receipts are down something like 15%. And while I’m more than willing to podcast about a crappy movie, I don’t want to podcast about a _boring_ crappy movie.
We did cover two great ones recently — X-Men: Days of Future Past, and of course two episodes on Edge of Tomorrow, which really was great.
We probably could have done a 22 jump street show — and if Edge of Tomorrow hadn’t gotten such good reviews, I probably would have seen that rather than Edge of Tomorrow, and it would have been covered.
I guess what this boils down to is we aren’t a reviewing site, so we don’t go to reviewer screenings for movies. So we have to go to the movies ourselves and pay for them ourselves. I’m not saying this should mean we cover fewer movies — it shouldn’t; we love movies. But it does means the movies we cover are going to reflect the movies we want to see and talk about.
The next four weekends in a row all have movies I want to talk about (Purge: Anarchy, Hercules, Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) — so I suspect we’re going to see a swing back toward our more usual sorts of topics.
All that said — I also think it’s worthwhile to consider a broader definition of what pop culture and entertainment constitute, and that it’s worthwhile to look at meals, cars and body ink from a similar lens as you look at movies. I think this has been a good run.
But BRING ON THE ROCK AND THE NEMEAN LION!!
Thanks again for listening!
You should DEFINITELY see and talk about “Snowpiercer,” starring Cockney Ayn Rand. It is totally nuts in the absolute best Korean Cinema way possible.
Don’t let an English person hear you call that accent Cockney. In fact my friend, it is the finest Yorkshire accent that voice-coach-dollars can buy (as if The Swinton needs a voice coach).
Yeah, I knew it wasn’t quite accurate, I was just trying to give a basic impression given my limited knowledge. Unfortunately there is no Shazam for dialects! Yet…
Turns out I’m seeing Snowpiercer tonight! So hopefully that will make the podcast on Sunday night. It’s been a busy pop culture week!
And Tilda Swinton doesn’t need a voice coach. She just buys a crate of dirt from wherever she needs the accent from, then smears it on herself and sleeps in it. Next day, _it’s like she was born there_ … _in a high school musical_.
Will you do a physical/fitness-focused ‘bodcast’ just for me? See my (only mildly insane) comment on podcast 314 for a treatise on my love of mountaineering and desire to see it overthought.
Well, a number of Overthinkers are going mountain hiking in a couple of weeks, so maybe you’ll get your wish!
Although we aren’t using belays and pitons and all that. So it’s not technically “mountaineering.”
Although I also have a new-ish rock climbing gym in my neighborhood, and a gift certificate….
It’s a complex web of possibilities…
And rock climbing is a whole other fun topic! They’re about the only people who make mountaineers look sane. Crazy melonfarmers. Let me know when you get to ice-climbing – that shiz is awesome. Crampons, ice axes, lots of other dangerous sharp implements… as you say, the possibilities – in this case to horribly injure oneself – are endless.
Look forward to the launch of Iceverthinkingit in 2016!