Bob Thompson

Legendary American Actress, Cicely Tyson passed away on January 28, 2021 leaving behind a body of work that represents a significant part of groundbreaking productions important to Black television history.  On this Black History episode of Pop Life, television historian Bob Thompson of Syracuse University, joins host Joe Lee in exploring Ms. Tyson’s career and the two discuss other notable Black television shows that have made important contributions to the growth and development of Black images on the small screen.


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Media historian Bob Thompson says of the late Cloris Leachman’s role as Phyllis on the Mary Tyler Moore show, “She was the best 3rd banana in all of American comedy.”  Bob joins host Joe Lee on the latest episode of Pop Life to pay tribute to one of America’s favorite comedic actors. 


Gone are the days when you had to wait for Christmas movies and specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas or A Christmas Carol to get scheduled for a one-and-done airing by the big three networks.  Today, outlets like the Hallmark Channel and streaming services like Netflix combined have more content than you can watch in an entire year.  Does the proliferation of this content make it less special?  Who are the major players?  What are the new classics?  Pop Life host Joe Lee is joined by Syracuse University Newhouse professor and popular TV expert, Bob Thompson, to discuss this and more.  


Noted actor Sir Thomas Sean Connery passed on October 31, 2020 at the age of 90.  The actor, best known for is role as James Bond, left behind a legacy of work expanding 70 years.  On this episode of Pop Life, Joe Lee is joined by media scholar Bob Thompson of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University to discuss Connery’s body of work and the problematic nature of the James Bond character.  


In response to great social change happening in our society, Warner Media decided to temporarily remove the 1939 motion picture classic Gone With The Wind from its HBO Max streaming platform until it could be properly contextualized.  The move has been hotly debated among historians and the entertainment industry, among others.


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On this episode of Pop Life the celebration of Black History Month continues. The conversation begins with Ja'Net DuBois, but also includes Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and more.

Joining host Joe Lee to pay tribute to Dubois and to discuss some of the great sitcoms that featured African American ensembles on this Black History Month episode of Pop Life is the original guest expert Bob Thompson, founding Director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture and Trustee professor of Radio, Television and Film at Syracuse University.

What better way is there to build a bridge between what happens in school and what happens in life than using popular culture?  Especially when it comes to subject matter that we find troubling or difficult?  On this episode of the Pop Life podcast, host Joe Lee explores how the use of popular culture as a teaching device has grown from frowned-upon activity to mainstream staple.


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On January 29th, actor Jussie Smollett, known for his role on the FOX show Empire, reported that he was assaulted by two masked men who beat him while using racial and homophobic slurs in Chicago.  After weeks of investigation, the Chicago Police Department has now issued Smollett a felony disorderly conduct charge. 

Joining Joe on this episode of Pop Life is Bob Thompson, Director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, and Leslie Streeter, entertainment writer for the Palm Beach Post out of West Palm Beach, FL to help make sense of it all.


Whatever it may be, most of us have a holiday classic or two we count on every year to get us in the holiday spirit.  Joe Lee and Bob Thompson from  Pop Life  are no exception. This week they sit down to discuss holiday favorites such as Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas, that are being considered differently in today's culture. 

They'll also share their favorite rendition of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.

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The iconic Stan Lee passed away earlier this month after a lifetime of creating classially well known characters. His work ranges from the likes of Iron Man and Professor X to  The Fantastic Four and Luke Cage.

This week kicks off Season 2 of Pop Life as Joe Lee welcomes Bob Thompson to discuss the body of work that Stan Lee created and how it's become a staple of entertainment. 

Plus the guys recommend their picks for shows to binge watch in this week's edition of 'Invitation to Binge'. 

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