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Grounded Geeks

Grounded Geeks

Welcome to Grounded Geeks, where we make the geek world relevant. It may feel like comic books and superheroes have no bearing on real life, but Aman and Lena (a Pakistani American brother & sister duo) are here to tell you one thing: That’s simply not the case. Join us as we discuss what all that superhero mumbo jumbo says about race, society, politics, and global affairs. New episodes drop every Thursday | The Grounded Geeks theme song is brought to you by Feyzan Beats. | SHOW NOTES:
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Squid Game: How South Korea Took Over
MAJOR SPOILERS for the biggest TV show on Netflix right now, Squid Game. Oh man...what can we say about this show that was wildly entertaining and yet also broke our hearts at the same time (marbles anyone? *sob*). Not only do we discuss our favorite characters and scenes, we also talk about some of the plot holes and the increasingly depressing wealth gaps there are in society. Oh and ample time is dedicated to discussing the character of Ali Abdul (duh) including what we loved about him—and what sadly made him a token. SHOW NOTES:
October 21, 2021
What If...The Multiverse Was Awesome?
MAJOR SPOILERS in this episode for the Disney+ series titled What If...? If you need a refresher on Kang the Conqueror and his whole deal with the multiverse and timelines and all that jazz, then we've got the episode for you. Not only do we talk about major themes from the show—such as grief and the impact of our choices—but we also talk about the role theoretical physics plays in the lives of these beloved comic book characters. SHOW NOTES:
October 14, 2021
Star Wars: The Bad Batch...and NAZIS
A conversation between a proper Star Wars fan (a.k.a. Aman) and someone who has no idea what they're talking about (Lena) focusing specifically on the new Disney+ series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch. We cover everything from the ethics of cloning to Nazi Germany. Also why do the Empire's prisons suck so much? SHOW NOTES:
October 7, 2021
Stop Being a Sh*tass and Watch Reservation Dogs
SPOILERS in this episode for a new show streaming on Hulu called Reservation Dogs, which is about four Native American teens growing up on—and trying to leave—a reservation in Oklahoma. Brought to us by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, it's the perfect mix of coming-of-age drama and dark comedy. Not only is the show hilarious and incredibly entertaining, it's also a great way to learn more about all the things we should have learned in U.S. history textbooks. SHOW NOTES:
September 30, 2021
Superhero Smorgasbord: Fatherhood
We have some exciting news: Aman is now a father! Yaaaay [cue confetti, balloons, flowers] and in honor of this joyous occasion, we wanted to do another Superhero Smorgasbord episode focusing this time on fatherhood. We each share which superhero we think is the best dad—and the worst. SHOW NOTES:
September 23, 2021
The Legacy of Streaming: Is It Here To Stay?
This episode is slightly related to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but it's not our official take on it (more on that later). What we DO talk about though is how streaming services are changing the world—whether we like it or not. Is it a bad thing? Is it good? Only time will tell. SHOW NOTES:
September 15, 2021
Reflecting on 9/11 Twenty Years Later
Be warned that this episode is a long one. But we wanted to take some time to reflect on 9/11 twenty years later and talk about how that day (when Aman was 15 years old and Lena was 12) and the many days after affected us. We asked each other questions that we've never asked one another before and of course, we also discuss how the geek world was affected by 9/11. SHOW NOTES:
September 9, 2021
Raising Dion and Respecting Boundaries
MAJOR SPOILERS for the TV series (based on a comic book) called Raising Dion. Well they're not really spoilers since this show came out in 2019. But if you haven't seen it, then don't listen to this episode! Raising Dion brought up a ton of real world themes for us to talk about like toxic masculinity, respecting people's boundaries, racism, the CDC's total lack of clear messaging to the public, and so much more. SHOW NOTES:
September 2, 2021
The Almost Brilliant, Definitely Bewildering, Green Knight
MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for the movie, The Green Knight. In this episode, we cover the hero's journey, Arthurian legend, brown people in medieval knight stories, Bridgerton, and so much more. We hated the movie right after we saw it, but the more we think and talk about it, the more we're realizing that maybe there's more to it than we first thought? SHOW NOTES:
August 26, 2021
Love, Death & Robots: The Robocalypse is Nigh
Love, Death, and Robots. It's what the future holds and also the name of an anthology series on Netflix. This week, we focus on the robots—specifically artificial intelligence—and talk about three episodes (titled Automated Customer Service, When the Yogurt Took Over, and Three Robots) that show us what could be our near-future, mid-future, and post-apocolyptic future. But essentially, all you need to know is that the robots are taking over. SHOW NOTES:
August 19, 2021
How The Suicide Squad Got Too Real
MAJOR SPOILERS in this episode for the movie, The Suicide Squad (not to be confused with Suicide Squad, which came out in 2016). We talk about whether this movie is a sequel or a reboot (it's neither) and there's lots of discussion about American imperialism, the Monroe Doctrine, the Iran-Contra Affair, and of course the heart and soul of the movie: King Shark. SHOW NOTES:
August 12, 2021
Good Idea, Bad Execution: The Thanos Doctrine
This episode is not timely at all since Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame came out years ago, BUT we still wanted to talk about Thanos' plan to get rid of half of the universe. What did that even mean and was it a good plan in the first place? Not only did we take this chance to talk about Thanos as a villain, but in this episode we also cover climate change, women's rights, racism, sexism, poverty, and so much more.  SHOW NOTES:
August 5, 2021
We Are Lady Parts—Each and Every One Of Us
SOME SPOILERS for the new Peacock original show, We Are Lady Parts.  Have you heard of this incredible new show called We Are Lady Parts? No, of course not and the only reason WE have is because the show's about five young British Muslim women who start their own punk band—and we're into that. And honestly, you should be too. If you've ever wanted to see more than one token brown person on screen or more representation of Muslims in general or simply something that you can rock out to, then this is the show for you. SHOW NOTES:
July 29, 2021
The Loki Letdown
MAJOR SPOILERS in this episode for the Disney+ show Loki. We got very philosophical and analytical and reflective on this episode—right after talking about how much we just....didn't like the show Loki. We're sorry but also we stand by our opinions. We also spend a good deal of time talking about how we're all cogs in a great big machine, sheeps in a bureacratic system. Enjoy! SHOW NOTES:
July 22, 2021
Black Widow and the Girls We've Forgotten in Real Life
MAJOR SPOILERS in this episode for Black Widow. Despite the fact that Black Widow should have come out years ago and that she should have gotten her own trilogy of movies and her character should have been treated better in general throughout all the other movies (the list goes on), we liked this movie! This episode starts off as a movie review, then Aman goes into great detail about a totally different storyline that he thinks Marvel should have done for this movie, and Lena describes why Black Widow reminds her of the real life girls and women around the world that not enough people talk about—or fight for. SHOW NOTES:
July 15, 2021
The Little Joys of Luca
We've talked a lot in previous episodes about more intense movies and TV shows that touch on racism, time travel, white supremacy, and other heavy stuff like that. But in this episode, we wanted to talk about the adorable film that is Luca and the real world impact it may have on kids. And the best thing to come out of this little movie may be the "Silenzio Bruno!" defense mechanism. SHOW NOTES:
July 8, 2021
Superhero Smorgasbord: The January 6 Insurrection
Welcome to the second round of Superhero Smorgasbord! As a reminder of what this mini series is all about, this is when we take something that's happening in the real world and then talk about how certain characters or entities in the geek world would react to that particular situation. So for round two, we naturally had to talk about the January 6 Insurrection. For the first bit of this episode, before we get to the superhero part, we shared our own reactions to that day. As a reminder, these are our opinions and we had some raw emotions to share because that day was scary for us—and dare we say, for many Americans. SHOW NOTES:
July 1, 2021
We Want To Talk About Palestine
Aside from being a real place, Palestine is also the name of a 1993 graphic novel written and illustrated by journalist Joe Sacco. On this episode, we talk about what makes this book so great to this day, the role of objectivity and the "two sides" argument in journalism—and whether we have any hope for the future. SHOW NOTES:
June 24, 2021
The Power of Bingo Love
Happy Pride and happy (early) Juneteenth, dear listeners! On this episode, we decided to talk about a lovely, happy comic book titled, "Bingo Love" written by Tee Franklin, art by Jenn St-Onge, and colors by Joy San. This is the story of two Black women named Hazel (a.k.a. Elle) Johnson and Mari McCray who meet at church bingo in New Jersey as young girls in 1963. They go on to become best friends and fall in love, but are then torn apart by their families because their love is seen as forbidden. But this story—which spans more than 50 years—has a happy ending that celebrates love, joy, and freedom. We loved it and think you would too. SHOW NOTES:
June 17, 2021
Watchmen / Lovecraft Country Part 2: Everything Else
MAJOR SPOILERS in this episode for Watchmen and Lovecraft Country (both shows that are brought to you by HBO). In Part 2, in addition to acknowledging how dumb it is to even try and talk about two spectacular and important shows in one podcast episode, we also discuss parallels that we see in both shows. And we talk about bigger themes like racism, time travel, generational trauma, and technology. We promise it's a good one! SHOW NOTES:
June 10, 2021
Watchmen / Lovecraft Country Part 1: The Tulsa Race Massacre
May 31, 2021 marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. In this episode, we talk about what the prosperous all-Black community of Greenwood was—and what was lost in one of the worst acts of terrorism that took place in U.S. history. And to help us process this horrific event (since clearly not enough of us learned about this in our school textbooks) we turned to some of our favorite shows, Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, both on HBO Max. SHOW NOTES:
June 3, 2021
The INVINCIBLE Immigrant Experience
MAJOR SPOILERS in this episode for the Amazon Prime original animated series (and the comic book), Invincible! Today we talk about why this show reminds us of "the immigrant experience"—including random details from our lives about growing up as the children of immigrants—and why colonizers suck. SHOW NOTES:
May 27, 2021
Superhero Smorgasbord: The Pandemic
Welcome to our new series at Grounded Geeks called Superhero Smorgasbord! This is when we'll take something that's happening in the real world and then talk about how certain characters or entities in the geek world would react to that particular situation. So on this first round, we naturally covered the COVID-19 pandemic. SHOW NOTES:
May 20, 2021
The Hamzanama: (Arguably) One of the First Comic Books Ever Created
It's the end of Ramadan so Eid Mubarak to one and all! For this episode—our Eid special—we roll back the clock and discuss (arguably) the first comic book ever created called The Hamzanama. (We don't know if it's THE first comic book ever because we're not scholars so chill). The Hamzanama came about because the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great commissioned a series of paintings to turn the epic of Hamza into a comic book back in the 1500s! So buckle up for a very casual yet thorough history lesson on comics and how they came about through oral storytelling traditions dating back to the 600s. SHOW NOTES:
May 13, 2021
The Mandalorian and Religious Extremism
We're releasing this week's episode early just so we can say "May the Fourth be with you!" to our audience. (We literally call ourselves Grounded Geeks. Don't be surprised). So naturally, on this joyous day we wanted to discuss The Mandalorian and the surprising parallels to religious extremism that can be seen on this show. SHOW NOTES:
May 4, 2021
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier...and the Truth
Be warned: There are MAJOR SPOILERS in this episode for Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier! And also major spoilers for how much racism/fascism sucks. Aman and Lena do a deep dive on the show, what they loved about it, and the disappointing—and often horrific—truth about so many aspects of U.S. history. SHOW NOTES:
April 29, 2021
Why Captain Planet Should Be Everyone's Hero | Earth Day Edition
Happy Earth Day! Take a trip down memory lane with Aman and Lena as they discuss their childhood obsession with Captain Planet and how much they wanted to be Planeteers too. And also how we—meaning countries, governments, and corporations—really need to do something about climate change...yeah. SHOW NOTES:
April 22, 2021
Why We Love Ms. Marvel So Much | Ramadan Edition
Ramadan Mubarak / Happy Ramadan! In celebration of the beginning of this holy month for Muslims, Aman and Lena wanted to talk about their absolute favorite comic book character, Ms. Marvel. Her name is Kamala Khan, she's a first-generation Pakistani and Muslim-American teenager growing up in Jersey City. And in this episode, we talk about all the ways that her story has broken stereotypes, barriers, etc. and personally brought us back into the comic book world as (semi)adults. SHOW NOTES:
April 15, 2021
The Best Show You've Never Heard Of: Warrior
Not only did we get to talk about one of our favorite TV shows (that not enough people are watching right now), but Aman and Lena also discuss how incredibly timely it is—especially considering the recent rise in anti-Asian hate and violence across the U.S. Everyone needs to watch Warrior and in our humble opinion, it should be required viewing for every American. And if you're paying attention, HBO Max, we need you to make #WarriorSeason3 happen. SHOW NOTES:
April 8, 2021
Zack Snyder's Justice League versus...well Justice League
After four long years, Zack Snyder's Justice League is finally here! So naturally Aman and Lena had to talk about it and compare it to the theatrical Justice League, which came out in 2017. There were compliments, complaints, and disagreements shared. And at one point we went on a tangent to talk about that time we used to live in Kiev, Ukraine. SHOW NOTES:
April 1, 2021
Exploring the Depth of WandaVision
In this episode, Aman and Lena geek out on all that WandaVision had to offer—the grief, the trauma, the philosophical questions on life and death, and everything in between. Be warned: This episode contains major spoilers for WandaVision and pretty much everything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. SHOW NOTES:
March 25, 2021
(Re)Introducing Grounded Geeks
This podcast began in 2016 and then we went on hiatus...for five years. A lot has happened since then, so Aman and Lena wanted to (re)introduce themselves, give some updates on their lives, and talk about just how relevant the geek world can be to the real world—and why sometimes we need stories of superheroes in our own lives. SHOW NOTES: The Grounded Geeks theme song is brought to you by Feyzan Beats.
March 23, 2021
Bonus Episode - SDCC 2016
Our commentary and first impressions on all the awesome/weird/maybe racist? movies, TV shows, and comics announced at San Diego Comic Con 2016! Oh and this bonus episode definitely contains explicit language and/or spoilers. You've been warned
July 27, 2016
Episode 07 - Loki-Trump 2016
Welcome back for Episode 7 of Grounded Geeks! Where we strive to make the geek world relevant. In this episode we discuss the prospect of the the God of Lies and Mischief, Loki Laufeyson, running for President. Of course, we can't do that without discussing the candidacy of Donald J. Trump and the Republican National Convention! We also give you an update on Civil War II. Things are getting interesting! And of course, a bunch of other random musings on current events. So what are you waiting for? Start listening!!
July 21, 2016
Episode 06 - Independence Day
Welcome to Episode 06 of Grounded Geeks! This is our July 4th special episode. How convenient that Independence Day: Resurgence is out right now for this special occasion! We talk cheesiness, Brexit, alien invasions, humanity's future, history, and so much more! P.S. Listen also for Bill Pulman's epic speech from 1996
July 4, 2016
Episode 05 - CivilWar II (Not the same as Ep. 3. We promise)
In our quest to make the geek world relevant, this episode is all about Marvel's new event, Civil War II. Which is NOT the same as Captain America: Civil War the movie. So don't worry. This isn't a repeat of our 3rd episode. So hold on to your seats listeners, as we hit you with heavy issues of privacy, civilian rights, terrorism, bias, and much much more! And a disclaimer by a terrible Lyndon B. Johnson impersonator!
June 17, 2016
Episode 04 - X-Men: Apoca-meh
This episode is centered around the new X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse. Even though the movie was a massive disappointment, we still have a lot to talk about. We grew up loving X-Men as kids, and as pseudo-adults, we now know why! We talk about the X-Men and their relevance to race and LGBT people, and also how X-Men/Inhumans are metaphors for Muslims in America. Of course, we do still critique the movie, and how it lacked the soap-opera element that made X-Men a thing. Come join us! And find the show notes here:
June 2, 2016
Episode 03 - Captain America: Civil War
WARNING! THIS PODCAST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that Captain America: Civil War came out in theaters earlier this month. In Episode 4, we discuss all things related to Captain America from Cap's shield to the physics of Ant-Man to non-state actors to Wakandan diplomacy. And joining this discussion is our special guest/friend, Olivia! She brings an uninformed non-expert opinion on superhero-related issues. FYI: We apologize for any background voices you may hear in this episode. But honestly, you should take this as proof that we are poor and can't record our episodes in a proper sound booth.
May 19, 2016
Episode 02 - Black Panther
Welcome back for Episode 2! We're happy you're giving us another chance to enlighten you! Yea... We're using a rather broad definition for the word "enlighten." The new Black Panther comic series is out, and is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the king of Wakanda has made his grand entrance in the MCU. So of course we talk about that. We talk about race, culture, and how Wakanda is the dream never realized of countries rich in resources.
May 14, 2016
Episode 01 - Pilot
Grounded Geeks discusses "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and how the movie FAILS TO ADDRESS the issues of aliens, social issues, and popular sovereignty. We go off on some other tangents, but that's the main gist of it.
April 16, 2016