Episode 444: Prairie and Her Home Companions

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle Netflix’s new show The O A, starring Brit Marling.

Ben Adams, Peter Fenzel, and Matthew Wrather watch and discuss The O A, examining its storytelling, its critique of contemporary society, whether the mystical elements add up, the shocking twist at the ending, and the deep relationship between OA and OZ.

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9 Comments on “Episode 444: Prairie and Her Home Companions”

  1. Jason #

    Hi guys

    I agree with most of what you said in relation to The OA -and the revelation of the meaning of the title was perhaps the most gallingly naff moment for me. A Big Mac may have been the perfect metaphor, in that I largely enjoyed it while I was hating it but it gave me indigestion later… What the show bought to mind and (even if it had to steel this idea) what would have brought a satisfying resolution to the narrative, is the climax of the John Irving novel, A Prayer For Owen Meany. In that, you might remember, one character has another obsessively practice a series of seemingly abstract movements which pay off spectacularly when they turn out to have a very real-work application and save one of the characters lives.

    Love the show.


    • Jason #

      Damn it- that should read “eating it” and “real-world”!


      • Derdrom #

        I’m not familiar enough with Irving’s work, but does A Prayer for Owen Meany inform The Karate Kid?


  2. Random #

    I didn’t watch OA so I can’t comment there but I would to say something about that PSA. I saw it a week ago on the local news which said it was being shown to school kids. This really upset me. Because it is a video, and is framed as such, we watch the action that it focuses on. And then at the end it tries to make us feel guilty for not noticing the guy in the background they weren’t focusing on. So they set us up for failure and then blame us for failing. Promoting Evan and diminishing, I’m assuming, Chris is the choice THEY made. Then they say “While YOU were watching Evan…” B.S. Pure manipulation.

    I don’t even want to go into the ‘you all should be monitors for the authorities’ moral that seems more and more common everywhere these days.


    • clayschuldt #

      I absolutely agree. Also, this video is severally lacking in adult supervision. Yeah, we all supposedly missed Chris’ behavior, but Evan and his pen pal are vandalizing a desk in the library. Maybe if this was a bathroom I could buy it, but not the library. Some media center teacher would have put a stop to that destructive but cute behavior long ago.


  3. Derdrom #

    I think the name of The O A also evokes “the alpha and the omega”, irrespectively.
    The combination of Pearl Jam and school shooting evokes their music video and song, ‘Jeremy’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS91knuzoOA
    To my understanding, ‘Jeremy’ is supposed to depict suicide and not homicide, but it’s stylized enough to be ambiguous and typically would read as homicide, though it was years before Columbine.


    • Derdrom #

      Ah–the Jeremy reference is in the podcast after the outro. That’s why I usually wait until I finish an episode to comment, which is why I forget to make most of my comments. Also, “The O A” should have been the name of a Star Wars property on account of the round and triangular shapes dominating its title.


  4. Margo #

    Like all of you, I was annoyed by the OA while still feeling compelled to watch the whole thing.

    The Brit Marling project I would recommend is 2011’s Another Earth. In this film, a duplicate Earth with a matching Moon appears near our own Earth. Weirdness ensues.


  5. joel #

    Hi Matthew, AWESOME!

    I’m not sure if my previous message had any effect, or indeed was read at all, but thank you — the repetitions in this podcast were essentially zero. Bravo. It did not sound like you were straining or doing anything unnatural vocally; I hope my comment helped more than it annoyed (if it had any effect at all). Carry on, your listeners are appreciative of the slight change.


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