Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #4 — HBO’s “Chernobyl”: Why Do We Enjoy Watching Suffering?

On the HBO mini-series Cher­nobyl. Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt first get into the var­i­ous degrees of loose­ness in something’s being “based on a true sto­ry.” Does it mat­ter if it’s been changed to be more dra­mat­ic? We then con­sid­er the show as enter­tain­ment: Why do peo­ple enjoy wit­ness­ing suf­fer­ing? Why might a dra­ma work (or not) for you?

We also touch on Game of ThronesThe KillingGod Is DeadIt’s Always Sun­ny in Philadel­phiaBig Lit­tle LiesSchindler’s List, Vice, Ip Man, and more.

Some of the arti­cles we looked at to pre­pare:

Our Lucy Law­less inter­view will be out next week! Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is a mem­ber of the The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Pod­cast Net­work.

Get more at Sub­scribe on Apple Pod­casts, Stitch­er, or Google Play. Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is pro­duced by the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Pod­cast Net­work. This episode includes bonus con­tent that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.