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PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 53: Wanna go to prom?

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So here’s a little back story. Holly and I have a huge list of episode topics on the white board in my office. Sometimes we come in here to figure out what to talk about and one jumps out at us. We jot it down for the next session and cross it off the list. Other times we stare and stare at the board like we’re scrolling through hundreds of TV channels going, “There’s nothing onnnnnnnnn!” Then one of us has a eureka moment and comes up with something we’re stupid excited about. This was one of those times. I was stupid excited to talk about prom. And I didn’t really enjoy my proms. It’s a mystery.

  • Holly: One prom in high school. Me: Three. Her date: gay. My dates: Boys I met on wwiv BBSs and, one time, a group of girlfriends.
  • The trend of people who say “No prom for me!” and then begin to fear they’ll regret it if they don’t, so they go anyway.
  • The “How I Met Your Mother” episode in which Lily tries to break into a high school prom
  • Not a lot of anthropological research on prom, which surprised me. People think it’s too frivolous.
  • Prom origins and prom history: debutantes, the ’20s, the rise of the middle class, and the falloff in popularity in the ’60s and ’70s
  • Asking people to prom starts in February, and the whole prom experience lasts until the school year is over. Wow.
  • The prom as a practice wedding
  • Emotional investment vs. how much you actually enjoy the thing when it happens
  • How much prom costs (hint: a lot)
  • Duck tape prom dresses
  • The multiple levels of negotiation teenagers have to navigate to go to prom
  • Portrayals of prom in TV and movies: often fraught with drama, peril and comedies of errors
  • Prom controversies, such as proms being cancelled to prevent same-sex or interracial couples from attending
  • Grown-up analogs to proms (besides weddings)
  • The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” prom episode
  • Listener mail! It’s on our book-to-film adaptation episode, from Brittany, and Holly talks about Dr. Seuss adaptations

My research:

Holly’s research:

Episode link: Wanna go to prom?

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