current research

Welcome to Pop Culture Lab Notes

There are plenty of pop culture blogs out there, but none of them have been started by Alex Nichols and Lou Schumaker. Pop Culture Lab Notes will finally fill that void by finally releasing to you, the public, the findings from our ongoing research in the field of watching stuff. If all goes according to plan, this blog will be like Gustavo Fring’s meth superlab in Breaking Bad, except instead of meth, we’ll be producing 99.1% pure pop culture commentary. Or, if LOST is more your style, this blog will be like the DHARMA Initiative, except we’ll be making jokes instead of polar bears, or whatever it is the DHARMA Initiative did (neither of us got past season 2). Either way, we’ll be bringing our unique perspectives (sorry) to the pop culture blogosphere (again, sorry). So, in order for you to get a better idea of who writes for this site, we’ve filled out a brief survey.


Lou: 22

Alex: 21 and 25/26ths

Writing experience:

Lou: 1 semester on the University Daily Kansan, semi-constant twitter updates.

Alex: 6 semesters on the University Daily Kansan, multiple sporadically-updated blogs with a couple posts that people actually read.

Title of award-winning academic paper:

Lou: “‘[We]ll Met By Moonlight’: The Gynocentric Worlds of Batman Returns and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Alex: “’Have I understood you?’: The Emergence of a New Liberal in Coetzee’s Life & Times of Michael K

Most vitriolic negative comment received on a UDK column:

Lou: “Why don’t you speak only for yourself and stop the lies…Poor journalism at it’s finest.”

Alex: “Your picture says it all. You’re a pretentious, self righteous, cow paddy who transfers your failings onto others. You build up your self esteem by trying to make light of the efforts of others. I’d get a new picture if I were you and go stealth.”

Favorite Aaron Sorkin trope:

Lou: When someone passionately lays out their argument point by point, then shouts “But that’s not the point either!”, then says something brilliant.

Alex: The infamous walk-and-talk. (Runner-up: Gilbert and Sullivan parodies)

Examples of both the “walk and talk” and “That’s not the point either!” from the West Wing episode “The Women of Qumar”

Favorite Star Trek episode:

Lou: “Amok Time”. It really explores the different facets of Spock and his friendship with Kirk. Nimoy’s delivery of the line “I have killed my captain… And my friend.” is absolutely unforgettable.

Alex: Which one has Jar-Jar Binks? That one.

Favorite thing to say after playing a 7-letter word in Scrabble:

Lou: “That’s right, walk away! Walk away! ‘Cause I’m gonna burn this motherfucker down!”

Alex: “KING KONG ain’t got SHIT on ME!”

Favorite YouTube video:



Excuse for not watching Treme:

Lou: I’ve yet to become bored by reruns of The Wire.

Alex: It’s just too soon.

Mad Men character you wish you resembled:

Lou: Ken Cosgrove — Handsome, hard-working, likable, engaged to a beautiful woman

Alex: Don Draper — Cool, smooth, charming, mysterious, irresistibly handsome, incredibly talented

Mad Men character you actually resemble:

Lou: Bert Cooper — Single, fat, cranky, in poor health

Alex: Don Draper — Cold, unlikeable, pathetic, miserable, utterly lost, extremely neglectful

Least favorite fictional detective:

Lou: Sherlock Holmes. His method of detection involves a lot of boring exposition and then letting the criminal go.

Alex: Encyclopedia Brown. STOP SHOWING OFF, PUNK!

What you would name a cooking show hosted by Liam Neeson:

Lou: Schindler’s Dish

Alex: I Have a Very Particular Set of Skillets

Best book you quit reading halfway through:

Lou: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. I gave up after 100 pages of characters talking about exciting things that happened in the past and exciting things that would happen in the future, all while spending the present sitting around and drinking wine.

Alex: I tried to read The Pelican Brief when I was like 12 years old. It had one too many scenes of people being murdered in porno theaters for my sensibilities at the time.

Favorite season of The Wire involving a fake serial killer storyline:

Lou: Season 5

Alex: Season 5

Fictional high school you wish you could attend:

Lou: Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters from the X-Men comics, but only if I get mutant powers. If not, I want to go Shermer High School from the John Hughes movies.

Alex: John Adams High from Boy Meets World. My original answer was going to be William McKinley High from Freaks & Geeks only so I could make out with Linda Cardellini, but then I realized I could go to John Adams High instead and get to make out with Linda Cardellini on a ski trip while avoiding the grim realism of Freaks & Geeks.

Kanye West song that best describes you:

Lou: “We Don’t Care” because I don’t care.

Alex: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” because you can’t tell me nothing



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