Aisha Harris

This week kicked off not with a bang, but with a series of turbulent tweets announcing the winners of the Golden Globes, after a year in which the awards have been mired in controversy. The soundtrack to Encanto reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and the Library of Congress announced the 2022 Gershwin Prize winner: Lionel Richie.

Before I learned Sidney Poitier was a great actor, I learned he was important, with a capital "I."

This week, viewers commemorated the finale of HBO's Insecure and the film world mourned the loss of director Jean-Marc Vallée.

Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Spoilers for the series finale of Insecure ahead.

In the end, Lawrence was Issa's Mr. Big.

Ok, that's a bit simplistic – on Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw and Big's on-again-off again relationship is far more dysfunctional and manipulative than the one between Insecure's Issa and Lawrence could ever be. In Season 1, Issa cheats on Lawrence, but he isn't putting in any effort to the relationship, either, and they both suck at communicating, so the damage is applied fairly equally from either side.

In 2021, movies tentatively returned to theaters. Television production stopped, and started, and sometimes stopped again. Movies and TV seasons that had been delayed were finally seen, and projects that would once have shown up only on big screens appeared on small ones.

With all that in mind, NPR's critics have rolled our movie and television picks into one big — and grateful — list of the things we most enjoyed watching this year, whether we were in or out of the house, with others or on our own.

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And finally today, we've seen the return of blockbusters to cinemas this summer. But now we also have the return of those smaller films that critics adore. And one of the movies in that category that's breaking out of the pandemic holding pattern is "Zola."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit