They Got Him in the Hat

jellicle rats

Hello and welcome to The JP Pick Vol. 12! (wow!) For vol. 11 click here.

Gang, I have just binged all of Bridgerton and so I’m white-knuckling through the impulse of making this intro drift into a heightened Lady Whistledown-like tone (and though the show is not one of my “picks”, please rest assured it is soapy and just the right kind of horny) (which is to say, incredibly).

It has been a week of a year of a week and as we dodge proclamations from our oblivious Internet friends declaring, “2021 is gonna be my year!” we can all hold each other’s digital hands with the assurance that we shall tread into this period of time lightly, quietly and with the timid calculation of an endless game of Don’t Wake Daddy.

Let’s get to it!


Article to Read

  1. “The Otherworldly Comedy of Julio Torres” by Michael Schulman for The New Yorker

As we eagerly wait the covid-delayed return of Los Espookys, bask in the bizarro glow of Julio through this top-shelf profile in the-motherfucking-New-Yorker! Even better, this article came out in their annual “Cartoon Edition” — for once, I can proudly say I tore through an issue cover-to-cover within a day (versus the average 3 weeks-infinity).


Book to Devour

  1. Luster by Raven Leilani

A book I wish I could wipe my memory to experience fresh again. Believe the hype.


Podcast to Download

  1. Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend: “Matthew Rhys”

Cone-heads, don’t we love it when he can’t contain his fandom over a guest? Don’t we love it even more when said guest is someone whose personality surprises us? Matthew Rhys better buckle up and brace himself for comedy roles, because boy is quiiiiiick. And Conan is having a good time. And aren’t we happy when Dad’s happy?

Another fun tidbit for the Needs a Friend listener — paparazzis scouted him and his family on vacation in Aspen and he was wearing the hat he got as a joke in Australia. Made even better by the rag writer calling it a “rockin’ cowboy hat”. Made even even better by his flagrant disregard for the “Mandatory Mask Zone” sign a few feet to his left (but then again, there are like 7 people in Aspen currently). God giveth and he provideth, y’all.


Movie to Watch

  1. Black Bear written and directed by Lawrence Michael Levine

Wowowowowowowowow. Y’all said it was good and it was good. Performances that are sharp and brazen and inject life into their characters in ways that defy the tricks of the plot. Direction and music and production design that make you feel loose and creepy and happy. Comedic moments that surprise you and heighten in ways that make all of the other elements sing. Truly inspiring. Go out and watch it.


Broadway “Show” to Stream

  1. Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical on TodayTix

I am fully aware that if you were the kind of person who wanted to watch a cobbled-together covid-era unauthorized “Broadway musical” about a beloved Pixar film, you would’ve damn already done it. However, I can not sit here in these same pandemic four-walls and consider the possibility that those you wanted to, couldn’t.

As of the publishing of this newsletter, you have until 4pm PST to pay what you can and stream the on-demand “Ratatousicle” which features both the TikTok’ers who crafted its made-up solos and dance lines and professional talent who help craft some sincerely heavy-hitter barn-burners. They’ve even splashed in some celebrities the like of Adam Levine (playing Remy’s brother), Wayne Brady (Remy’s father), Titus Burgess (Remy), but the true stars are the ones seemingly unsung. The nameless dancers who explode onto the screen in their respective homes, shot vertically, clumsily, but brimming with talent and drive. The un-famous Linguini who’s so picture-perfect, it almost makes you wanna drive up to Bob Iger’s house directly and plead that he greenlight “the real version” (which is more likely than Disney Parks opening in California anytime soon).

This is a weird, covid-specific thing that’s nice and light and fun. Let’s savor it as we can.