Lucy Lawless Joins Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #5 on True Crime

Lucy Lawless (Xena the Warrior Princess, currently starring in My Life Is Murder) joins Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt to think about the true crime genre, of both the documentary and dramatized variety. What’s the appeal? Why do women in particular gravitate to it?

We touch on Making of a Murderer, SerialThe StaircaseAmanda Knox, Ted Bundy Conversations with a Killer, I Love You Now Die, Mommy Dead and Dearest (dramatized as The Act), American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, My Favorite MurderCasefileCrime Talk with Scott ReischTrue Murder, and American Vandal.

Sources for this episode:

Here’s an article about Lucy’s new show and her love of the true crime genre. Watch the trailer.

Get more at Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play. Maybe leave us a nice rating or review while you’re there to help the podcast grow. 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

Pretty Much Pop is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

Actresses Lucy Lawless & Jaime Murray Perform Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit” for The Partially Examined Life Podcast

Spartacus sartre

Lucy Lawless (Star of Xena the Warrior Princess and notable contributor to such shows as Spartica, Battlestar Galactica, and Parks & Recreation) previously appeared on the Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast in Fall 2012. And, in Spring 2013, she sang with me (under my musician moniker Mark Lint) on an original song called “Things We Should Do Before We Die.” Now she’s joined fellow PEL host Wes Alwan (“The Valet”) and me to create an audioplay of Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 play “No Exit,” where she plays the working class, hostile lesbian Inès Serrano with a pretty hilarious off-the-cuff generically European accent against my relatively deadpan Joseph Garcin.

The third damned soul in our one-room hell was played by a delightfully shrieky Jaime Murray, friend and Spartacus co-star of Lucy’s. You likely know Jaime for her role as Lila, the psychotic main guest star in Season 2 of Dexter, and right now she appears in the sci-fi shows Defiance and Warehouse 13.

The play is about three dead people stuck in a room together, any two of which would probably reach some equilibrium. But, as a threesome, they enter into a toxic dynamic where none can get what he or she needs out of the others.

To hear Lucy, Jamie and me perform “No Exit,” click below or listen at


The recording was made in support of the Partially Examined Life episode discussing Sartre, covering this play as well as his essays “Existentialism is a Humanism” (1946), and “Bad Faith,” (which constitutes part 1, chapter 2 of Being & Nothingness, 1943). These convey the essence of Sartre’s existentialism and give a picture of his view of man’s radical freedom (we’re condemned to be free!) and what for him serves as some semblance of an ethics.

For the Sartre episode, click below or listen at


The audioplay is the second in a series, with the first being the PEL Players’ performance of Plato’s dialogue, The Gorgias.

For those with who want more, PEL offers access to an outtakes reel. The picture above features both actresses in Spartacus.

Mark Linsenmayer is the head honcho at The Partially Examined Life, the #1 downloaded philosophy podcast on the planet, which provides amusing, in-depth discussions of philosophers old and new. Mark is also a musician who wrote a song just for this audioplay.

Related Content:

Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit: A BBC Adaptation Starring Harold Pinter (1964)

Walter Kaufmann’s Classic Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (1960)

The Existentialism Files: How the FBI Targeted Camus, and Then Sartre After the JFK Assassination

100 Free Online Philosophy Courses

How Political Commitment Led Lucy Lawless (AKA Xena, the Warrior Princess) to Study Philosophy

It’s certainly not uncommon for celebrities to take up political causes, though this does not usually lead to them getting arrested for holing up in a high tower oil-drilling ship for four days. What’s less common is for this interest to burgeon into a full-on obsession with all things philosophical, but that’s exactly what happened to Lucy Lawless (best known as Xena, the Warrior Princess).

“I went to the UN summit on sustainable development after getting involved in the whole… big oil protest… and I saw all of these people working very hard but seemingly at cross-purposes about how do we create a just society.” On a full two-hour episode of The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast (which she claims was largely responsible for turning her on to philosophy), she describes how this political interest drove her to look at the foundations and histories of theories of justice, and eventually decide to go back to school to study philosophy, which she’s now doing in New Zealand between flights to the states to film TV spots such as her recent appearance on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

The Partially Examined Life interview with Lawless is a five-person, roundtable discussion of Tom Payne’s 2010 book, Fame: What the Classics Tell Us About Our Cult of Celebrity. You can listen here:

The thesis of the book is that celebrities serve as an outlet for society’s aggressive instincts. Drawing on canonical texts about religious anthropology like James Frazer’s The Golden Bough, the author compares the treatment of modern celebrities to ancient rites where young maidens were lavishly bestowed with fineries and then sacrified. Lucy thinks this well matches her own experiences, and talks about the existential weirdness involved with being and dealing with the famous.

The Partially Examined Life has also covered related topics of Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents and Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Mark Linsenmayer runs the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast and blog

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.