In Conversation with The Roundup Podcast

I've started to come to the realization that I might like podcastsmore than music. Never in my life did I expect spoken word to overtake my love of song, but it appears to have happened. I've become a bit of a podcast snob over the last year or so and am constantly curating my selection to the highest quality. I'm always on the lookout for the next best podcast so today's FIRST Trendy Thursday just had to be about the brand spanking new The Roundup Podcast With Elena and Meg, created by Dorkshelf.com writers Meg Smitherman and Elena Lowe (go follow them @megsauce and @elenaloweski). The Roundup is all about pop culture and what these two lovely ladies are digging in the worlds of movies, TV, video games and comic books. 

I contacted them and asked if I could write about them and then gathered my courage to ask if I could INTERVIEW them. Graciously, they both agreed, so here it is!

Without further ado, let's jump into my conversation with the lovely Elena and Meg of The Roundup Podcast.

Also, how awesome is their banner?

Also, how awesome is their banner?

JaneFirst of all, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Anytime I meet new fangirls, my fandom heart gets giddy (and when these particular fangirls send you GIFs of Tom Hardy within days of meeting, you know you’ve found kindred spirits).

When I saw the premise of The Roundup Podcast With Elena and Meg, my heart soared because it was the kind of podcast I had been looking for. Women of my age, talking about all the stuff that I love, and teaching me about some new things to love along the way. It’s the podcast I would have loved to have created myself, which is very high praise, ladies!

First for the tough questions. What prompted you to create the podcast in the first place?

Elena: I regularly listen to Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow that features the two long-distance friends talking about a wide range of topics such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, caftans, casual racism and emojis. One of their episodes this year highlighted the lack of women in the podcasting world and emphasized the importance of hearing women’s voices and perspectives. Empowered by the show, Meg and I approached Dork Shelf’s Editor in Chief, Will Perkins, with the idea of a pop culture podcast that featured two women. The rest is now (very brief) history!

Meg: 100% Elena’s doing. We were already internet buddies and got along super well, so when she asked me pretty much out of the blue if I wanted to do a podcast with her, I was like YES OK. I’d never thought about doing a podcast before but I was immediately way stoked about it, so obviously fate brought us together.

Our podcast is shaped by our own quirky (and often lady-centered) interests and we hope people can relate to our passions and our personalities!
— Elena

JaneWell fate definitely worked in your favour, because the podcast is totally awesome. I also definitely need to start listening to Call Your Girlfriend, especially if it’s anything like The Roundup. Do you think female geeks need something like your podcast?

Elena: I do! While there are a lot of excellent pop culture news podcasts out there, I think people’s personalities and perspectives heavily influence the topics that a show features and how it addresses certain issues. Our podcast is shaped by our own quirky (and often lady-centered) interests and we hope people can relate to our passions and our personalities!

Meg: Heck yeah! One of my favorite podcasts a while back was just two dudes talking about weird news stories and pop culture for an hour. I loved it, but wished there was something like it out there by two hilarious ladies? And now there is! Except only Elena is hilarious. [Elena edit: LIES. Meg cracks me up at every turn and uses her adorable dog Lyall on Skype to break my concentration. It’s how she keeps me in check.]

Jane: You guys were both hilarious, I was definitely giggling listening to it (while playing Mass Effect, of course!). And that’s great because the friendly banter on the podcast makes you feel like you’re eavesdropping on two girls at a comic book store. Why did you choose to do to the podcast together?

Elena: Funny story! So, Meg and I have never met in real life (she lives in Portland and I am based in Toronto). Yes, that friendly banter was all a clever ruse, as we have never once cuddled on a couch to watch together Gilmore Girls while eating warm sandwiches [Jane edit: That sounds like the best day ever.]. A few months ago Meg and our dear friend Sam Maggs met in real life after being long-time Twitter buds and I creeped Meg’s social media after seeing photos of the two ladies together. I couldn’t help but notice how friendly, sweet, and interesting Meg was, so I sheepishly asked if I could be her friend as well (spoiler: she said yes!). We then added each other on social media and realized how much we had in common and how fun it was to talk to one another. When the idea of a podcast came up, Meg was the first person I thought of to partner with on this wild little adventure! [Meg edit: I’m not crying, it’s just raining on my face]

Meg: Another funny story: Elena and I tried to come up with topics we disagree on for an upcoming episode, and literally could not think of one thing. We get along… TOO well? Which is ridiculous(ly awesome) considering we’ve only known each other for a few months. I feel like our love was written in the stars tbh. It can’t be explained or contained.

Jane: I believe Sam Maggs is the reason I got in touch with you too (though I do not have the privilege of calling her a friend… yet?) It truly is a beautiful thing when two fangirls come together in perfect harmony. *sniffle* Though the podcast is great with just the two of you, if you had to bring someone else in, who would be your ideal guest on upcoming episodes? (*hint hint* Felicia Day *hint hint*)

Elena: Oh man, Felicia Day would be an absolutely amazing guest! I think for me, my dream guest would be Amy Poehler because I find her to be so incredibly warm, funny, and insightful. She would be an absolute blast, and I can guarantee the three of us would go off on strange tangents together, possibly having something to do with Little Sebastian (the tiny horse from Parks & Recreation).

Meg: Okay but who wouldn’t want Felicia on their podcast? So I mean, yeah. But also, if we’re gonna be crazy and go with absolute Dream Guest, then it would have to be Amanda Tapping. Stargate SG-1 is one of my favorite shows -- nay, things -- of all time and I would love to just sit around and nerd out with her for an hour or two! She seems so personable and fun and I know we would all get along like gangbusters!

Jane: If you get either Amy or Amanda, I think you can officially retire because life made. Alright, here’s a fun one, if you could live in any fictional/fandom world, which would it be?

Elena: Harry Potter universe. Easiest answer I’ve ever had to give in my life.

Meg: Mass Effect universe. Also the easiest answer I’ve had to give in my life.

One of my favorite podcasts a while back was just two dudes talking about weird news stories and pop culture for an hour. I loved it, but wished there was something like it out there by two hilarious ladies? And now there is!
— Meg

Jane: Now for some quick takes. No need for long answers here, ladies, just hit me with the first thing that pops into your head.

Current obsession?

Elena: I adore bad movies (my favourite is Andy Warhol’s ‘Blood for Dracula’), so right now I’m hooked on the hilarious podcast How Did This Get Made, hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas that centres around movies that are so bad they’re good. If you have yet to give it a listen, their Con Air is a good place to start!

[Jane’s recommendation: Listen to the Winter’s Tale and Face/Off episodes if you want to cry with laughter in public.]

Meg: The BBC series Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is airing right now. It’s based on a book of the same title, and boy howdy is it not as good as the book! And yet I’m still super obsessed with it even though I want to hate it! For realsies though: do you like costume drama? Do you like fantasy? Do you like British men in Regency outfits? If yes to any or all of these, I suggest you give it a try.

Current thing that makes you RAGE?

Elena: Bloggers and journalists giving attention to purposeful trolls like the ones who wanted to boycott Mad Max because Charlize Theron kicked so much ass that it somehow shrivelled up their man bits. Let those suckers scream into the void, their incoherent ramblings never being given the legitimacy of being featured in national publications.

Meg: Steven Moffat [Jane edit: current head writer of Doctor Who.]. This is more like a slow-burning, constant rage that flares up at odd moments, but every time I look at my TARDIS tattoo I get so sad/mad. Moffat thinks he’s a feminist dude who writes female characters really well, but he actually just recycles his own storylines and plays into gender stereotypes over and over, it’s the worrrst. Please go away forever. [Elena edit: I DIDN’T MIND CLARA? Is this our first point of contention??] [Meg edit: Clara is OKAY but the worst companion tbh! I can’t believe this is happening!!] [Elena edit: I tried to type that she’s not my favourite but my conscience didn’t let me. That betch made me cry and I love her ever since S8. Sorry Jane, is this how interviews usually go?] [Meg edit: Uuuuuughhh.] [Jane edit: Yup, this is how I kinda hoped it would go!]

Pop culture-y item that’s coming out soon that you’re too excited about?

Elena: The new Pixar film Inside Out! It has some of my favourite comedians in it and seems like a wonderfully sweet story about emotion and adolescence. I have been following this film ever since the studio announced it so I can’t wait to see it in theatres!

[Jane edit: THIS MOVIE LOOKS AWESOME, CAN’T WAIT!]

Meg: Is it too soon to say Star Wars? Is that boring? I don’t care. It’s Star Wars.

[Jane edit: Never too early for Star Wars.]

Girl crush of the moment?

Elena: Amy Schumer! Her comedy sketch show ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ is absolutely brilliant. I love how unafraid she is to tackle difficult social issues with humour and discuss topics that make her feel vulnerable. Her 12 Angry Men parody is a must-watch.

Meg: Charlize Theron. FURIOSAAA. Because Mad Max was the best film of 2015 and Charlize makes me want to actually go out and be physically active (namely punching things), which nobody else has ever been able to do in my life! Arrgh punching!

Jane: Okay now I need some sort of Mad Max/Inside Amy Schumer crossover. Somebody make this happen!

What’s one thing that you love that you wish got more attention?

Elena: There are a lot of foreign TV series like Black Mirror that I really wish got more North American attention. One of my current favourites is the French show The Returned. It’s like Twin Peaks meets zombies meets ghosts meets quiet family drama? Watch it immediately so we can talk about it!

[Jane edit: That is officially going in my Netflix queue.]

Meg: I just read the Paradox series by Rachel Bach, which is a space opera about a badass lady mercenary, a wide-reaching conspiracy, romance, and guns. These are easily some of my favorite books of all time. The first book is Fortune’s Pawn, and there’s a distressing lack of fandom on the internet! Help! Spread the word.

[Jane edit: I definitely started reading Fortune’s Pawn after seeing you discuss it with somebody on Twitter. I’m totally not a stalker, I promise. Also, it’s fucking amazing and I just bought Nice Dragon’s Finish Last for $0.99 today so I can keep the Rachel Bach going.]

Guilty pleasure (though I believe no geeky love should ever cause you shame)?

Elena: Hmm. I can’t say I’m particularly secretive about the things I enjoy, but I don’t talk about my love of the (rather smutty) True Blood book series as much as I do everything else, so I will choose that.

Meg: I’m a huge fan of the Portland Blazers. They’re an NBA team. Like… sports. I own a lot of Blazers t-shirts and I one time did Blazers fanart, ugh who am I? [Elena edit: the first time I read this I pictured jackets with shoulder pads playing basketball] [Jane edit: HA! Also... what is sport?].

One recommendation that a fangirl just HAS to read/watch/play/ingest?

Elena: This may be already be a ubiquitous read, but I highly recommend Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half blog and accompanying book. Brosh has such an amazing way of telling complex, emotional (and often gut-bustingly funny) stories with raw (purposely bad) drawings. It’s great alternative comic art.

[Jane edit: This book is such love. It came out while I was still working at Indigo and about 10 of us at the store had it as our Staff Pick.]

Meg: Okay this is the most obscure thing, but The 10th Kingdom is a must watch. It’s a miniseries that aired back in 2000, but it’s a classic. A girl and her dad (and a prince who’s been transferred into a dog’s body?) travel through a magic mirror and into a world of fairy tales. It’s dark and weird there’s family drama and romance, and oh man. It’s so worth hunting down and watching.

[Jane edit: I am already so into this, it sounds fab.]

Time for plugs! Where can people find your content and chat with you?

You can find us on our home website at Dorkshelf.com! We are also on the Twitters @Roundup_Podcast! We’d love to chat with you so give us a ping/add/download (basically anything that is not a Facebook poke). [Meg edit: You can poke me]


Check out the very first episode of The Roundup podcast HERE! GO LISTEN NOW!