Linda Holmes

First, it was the iron. Then, it was the thimble. Now, Monopoly has kicked two more longtime tokens out of the game.

Step away, boot. Roll yourself away, wheelbarrow.

While we're waiting for Stephen Thompson to return from South By Southwest, we wanted to bring you two of the segments we did on our fall tour with friend of the show Guy Branum, who hosts the Maximum Fun podcast Pop Rocket and is also the host of the upcoming TruTV show Talk Show The Game Show, based on a live format he's been doing for a while. Guy joined us at the Now Hear This festival in Anaheim to talk about memes and fads, and to offer some pop culture advice to our listeners.

I've shed many of my physical books during my various moves, but one that I still have is Bill Walsh's Lapsing Into A Comma. Its subtitle: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong In Print — and How to Avoid Them. I either loaned it to someone at some point or I intended to, because I wrote on the dedication page: "A book I read and loved, that it takes a grouchy writer to appreciate."

That comma should not be there, so that's embarrassing.

When we offered our friend Barrie Hardymon the chance to sit in our fourth chair for a discussion of Big Little Lies and Feud, I must tell you, listeners: she leapt. And if you know anything about Barrie, you know that she doesn't leap halfway.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Well, excuse me while I throw away my first draft, won't you?

If you've found yourself with little taste for sniping in recent days and a serious thirst for entertainment that's satisfying and warm, you're not alone. I've heard this from an awful lot of folks in the last couple of months. And while there are lots of places to go to find what you're looking for if this is the headspace you're in, one place is the terrific Charleston season of Top Chef that's about to wrap up. The penultimate episode is Thursday night, and the finale is in a week.

This week's show brings a new voice to our fourth chair: Alan Sepinwall, TV critic at Uproxx and author (of The Revolution Was Televised and, with Matt Zoller Seitz, of TV (The Book)), is with us to talk about two new shows.

Perhaps nobody cares about their clothes anymore.

Back in 2013, Monkey See brought you an exclusive interview — "exclusive" in the sense that it happened only in our minds and we therefore were the only ones who knew about it — with the iron, just after Monopoly announced it was being retired from the game. During that interview, the iron darkly alluded to a difficult history with another game piece: the thimble.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that parsing the broader implications of The Bachelor/Bachelorette can feel an awful lot like examining the semiotics of mashed potato flakes. But can we not also agree that the fact that a narrative is ridiculous and phony doesn't mean it isn't both reflective of and influential upon the culture out of which it grows?

It's always fun when somebody from the NPR podcast family sits in our fourth chair, and this week, we've got two of them.

The New England Patriots don't always win the Super Bowl. Tom Brady isn't always the face staring at you on Snack Digesting Monday, the traditional follow-up to Super Bowl Sunday. But it can sure feel that way.

Oscar season is upon us, and very often, it's a time when a lot of energy goes into analyzing a few races and a few of the highest-profile films as they square off against each other. We'll be doing that too in a couple of weeks, in our annual Oscars roundup. But first, we wanted to celebrate the season in a different way: by looking at some of the categories that sometimes fly a little under the radar, ours included.

For decades, Archie comics represented the wholesome, sweet-faced American teenager in none of his or her actual complexity. But reflecting some of the recent changes that have come about in the comics, the CW's new drama Riverdale places the gang at the center of a murder mystery. The show is less about having fun down at the chocolate shoppe and more about who shot whom and which clandestine affair is only a moment away from being discovered.

Grey's Anatomy is back Thursday night for the second part of its 13th season. It's hard to last that long, but it does seem that Grey's is — in the words of a friend of mine — "unkillable." And when you press its viewers on their thoughts about it, you often get a clear-eyed, fully aware evaluation of strengths and weaknesses that add up to a habit that's endured for over a decade.

Pages