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.