Skip to main content
Top Five

Top Five

By Chris Paek and Liz Lin
Chris Paek and Liz Lin break down everything - pop culture, politics, race, food, religion, family, thirtysomething life, and all of their top fives.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


22. The New Racial Landscape
Happy Labor Day, everyone!  Liz is still buzzing from the Democratic National Convention, while Chris is reeling from the newly released bodycam footage of Masai Ujiri, president of the Toronto Raptors, and his run-in with police in the aftermath of his team’s championship win.  Which leads us into our topic of the day: how the racial landscape has changed in the post-George Floyd era, particularly in our Asian American communities.  We talk about the engagement we’ve seen in recent weeks compared to post-Ferguson in 2014, the conversations we’re having now, and how we hope to sustain momentum for the long haul. We end on a lighter note: our top five favorite stand-up comedians. In trying times like these, their wit and incisive observations are essential. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
September 7, 2020
21. So... It's Kamala, Right?
We’re back for our second season! And my oh my, how the world has changed. Liz is thinking about education and equity as a new school year starts in the COVID era, and Chris runs down everything that’s happened in the world since our last episode. Which leads us right into the news of the day (of recording): Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential candidate, and we can't wait to talk about it. We wrap with our top five silver linings of COVID times. We know we are lucky lucky lucky to have any at all -- let alone five -- and we’re trying to practice gratitude in the midst of this long slog. We’re grateful to be back with you! Note: This episode was recorded before the DNC. (Which we’ll discuss in our next episode!) “Why Ta-Nehisi Coates Is Hopeful,” The Ezra Klein Show, June 5, 2020 Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
August 27, 2020
20. I Guess We’re Voting for Joe Biden
In these trying times, we’re finding hope in the political realm, of all places -- Chris from old Obama videos, Liz from a surprising victory in Wisconsin. Speaking of politics: Now that the Democratic primary is settled, we finally have the spoons to talk about it -- who we were rooting for, our feelings about its conclusion, and our hopes and fears for the presumptive nominee. And as we wrap our first season, we leave you with the top five pieces of advice we’ve ever gotten. Thanks for taking this ride with us, y'all! We've loved sharing Season One with you. We’ll be back soon! ✌️ Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art (and episode title) by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
April 24, 2020
19. When 'Rona Meets Religion
Liz has Feelings about Andrew Yang’s op-ed in the Washington Post, and Chris is not feeling Tiger King.  We’ve also got feelings about how some religious communities have responded to the coronavirus, which brings us to a conversation about religion and science -- how the evangelical communities of our youth separated the two, our journeys of breaking down that barrier, and engaging (or not) with people who haven’t done that work yet. We wrap with a bittersweet top five, given the sports desert we currently find ourselves in: our top five athletes of all time. Sports! We miss you! Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
April 14, 2020
18. Life in the Time of Corona
The world has completely changed since we last recorded, and we’re trying to make sense of it all. We break down what our lives look like in the era of social distancing and working from home -- with and without kids -- and, to lighten things up, the silver linings and winners of quarantine. Then we share our top five pop culture things giving us life in the time of corona, because in these trying times, every bit of joy counts. Sending love to you all -- stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face! Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
March 26, 2020
17. Reckoning with the Suburbs
Liz devoured the Catch and Kill podcast, and Chris is thinking about the immediate and long-term implications of coronavirus. Then we break down our ever-evolving relationships with the suburbs: our childhoods in peak suburbia, fleeing to cities as young adults, and — dare we say it — slowly warming to the ‘burbs again in our thirties.  Plus, our top five movies that changed our lives. (Note: We recorded this a week ago, before coronavirus concerns reached fever pitch. Stay safe, everyone!) Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
March 12, 2020
16. Race and Friendship
We can’t wait to talk about the Oscars!  And we’re just as excited to talk about a recent Code Switch episode about race and friendship.  We break down the kinds of friends we had growing up and now, how intentional those decisions are, and how we experience interracial friendships as adults. Then, a super-fun top five: Ways we’re turning into parents. The transformation has begun, y’all. Resistance is futile. “Ask Code Switch: What About Your Friends?” Code Switch, January 22, 2020 Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
February 26, 2020
15. Out of Time
The whole world has changed since our last episode. We discuss the death of Kobe Bryant and what he meant to our communities, and Liz gives a nod to her childhood friend Jason Polan, who died the day after Kobe.  Then we move to a bright spot of the last few weeks: Chris got to see Hamilton (!!!), so we can finally talk about it -- whether it lived up to the hype, the parts that moved us, and why it the show feels so revolutionary.  Plus, in honor of the Oscars, we share our top five Oscar moments.  For better and for worse, these lists already need to be revised because Sunday’s telecast provided so many good moments!  We can't wait to talk about them in our next episode. "Jason Polan, Fast-Drawing Artist of the Offbeat, Dies at 37," The New York Times, January 27, 2020 Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
February 13, 2020
14. Always Hustling
Chris is thinking about baseball’s sign-stealing scandal, while Liz is verklempt after getting a glimpse of her brother’s life in DC. Then, we talk about side hustles - the pros and cons of having projects to work on after work, piecing together a professional life with multiple jobs, and making room for rest in the midst of all of it. Plus, the top five dining experiences of our lives. Who knew that a Burger King in Budapest and a basement food court in LA could ever taste so good? Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
January 30, 2020
13. The Biggest Stars in the World
Chris is still reeling from a visit to a California cannabis dispensary, while Liz can’t get over Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio’s interview on the WTF Podcast. Speaking of Brad and Leo, the Golden Globes happened! We break down the moments we loved, the things about award shows that make no sense, and why we love celebrity culture (all the time for Liz, some of the time for Chris). Plus, the top five things we want to see happen in the 2020s. One of us is putting their faith in Elon Musk to save us all. "Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio," WTF with Marc Maron, January 6, 2020 Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
January 16, 2020
12. Decade in Review
Impeachment catches Chris's attention, and Liz revels in the food trends that defined the 2010s. Then we reflect on what the decade meant for each of us -- where we were when it started and where we are now, the central conflicts we had to navigate -- and what we hope the next one will be about. And to celebrate all the delicious gifts of the 2010s, we wrap them up with a retrospective top five: pop culture that defined the decade for us.  We hope you relished it as much as we did, and we can't wait to talk about everything the next one brings! "8 Ways Restaurants Have Changed in the Past Decade," The New York Times, December 17, 2019 Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
December 31, 2019
11. Home for the Holidays
Liz reflects on the end of Kamala Harris’s run for president, while Chris embarks on his first man-date. Then, in honor of the holiday season and all the big dinners that come with it, we talk about contentious family conversations: navigating them with our families and in-laws, how the addition of partners and children can change the dynamics, and setting boundaries when your parents have (literally) no language for them.  Plus, the top five millennial stereotypes we embody.  (We do have a podcast, so… there’s one.) Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
December 19, 2019
10. Making Friends In Your 30s
It’s our first in-person episode! We talk about Chris’s weekend in Ann Arbor for the Michigan-Ohio State game and Liz’s last hurrah with football. Then, we get into a topic that isn’t discussed often enough: making friends in your thirties. Why is it so hard? What makes it so different from making friends in your twenties? How do we get over the hurdles and make these friendships happen? Plus, in honor of the big game, the top five sports moments of our lifetimes. We laugh, we cry, and we remember that sports are magic, and sports are never just about sports. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
December 5, 2019
9. RIP Sports Illustrated, or How to Survive Capitalism
Liz wonders if she’s reached the final straw with football, and Chris raves about Parasite and Boon Jong-ho. Then, a discussion about the end of journalism as we know it, most recently evidenced by the gutting of Sports Illustrated and Deadspin, morphs into a conversation about how to mitigate our complicity in a capitalist system. We close with the top five things we can’t believe are still around in 2019. Once you start asking "How is this still a thing?", it's hard to stop. "Inside Football's Campaign to Save the Game," The New York Times, November 7, 2019 "The NFL Has A Painkiller Crisis That It Never Wants To Go Away," Deadspin, September 12, 2019 "A Lineman Became a Doctor, but Dementia Made Him Retire. He's Only 42," The New York Times, October 28, 2019 "The Ham-Handed, Money-Driven Mangling of Sports Illustrated and Deadspin," The New Yorker, November 3, 2019 "I Was Fired From Deadspin for Refusing to 'Stick to Sports,'" The New York Times, November 11, 2019 "How Internet Trolls And Online Extremists Are 'Hijacking' American Politics," Fresh Air, November 12, 2019 Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
November 21, 2019
8. What Do You Talk About With Your Parents?
Both of us are thinking about recent episodes of Fresh Air - Chris, an interview with the writer with whom Prince collaborated on his memoir; Liz, a discussion about the cost of rebuilding coastal real estate in the face of climate change. Then we get into another topic we can’t reasonably cover in 20 minutes: our relationships with our parents, now that we’re in our thirties. What do we talk about with them, with and without grandkids in the picture? Does the pressure stop after we meet the usual thirtysomething milestones? How have these relationships evolved since our younger days? Plus, our top five celebrity crushes - lists that were harder to make, and more self-revealing, than we anticipated. "Prince's Co-Writer Reflects On Posthumous Memoir," Fresh Air, October 28, 2019 "Climate Change & The Cost of Coastal Real Estate," Fresh Air, October 17, 2019 "Going Home With Ocean Vuong," The Atlantic, June 4, 2019 Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
November 7, 2019
7. Couples and Money
Liz binges on Conan O’Brien’s podcast, while Chris reflects on the geopolitical rift between the US and China opened by… the general manager of a basketball team. Then we get to some real talk about couples and money: Does everyone merge their assets when they get married? Who should pay for the first date when culture and feminism give us different answers? Will we ever be free of our anxiety about picking up the check? Plus, the easiest top five lists we’ve ever made: pet peeves. Talking about the most irritating things has never been so fun. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
October 24, 2019
6. Did You Apply to Harvard?
It’s been a minute since we applied to college, but those memories come back QUICK. We talk about that formative time, inspired by our topic of the day: the decision in the Students for Fair Admissions vs. Harvard case. We break down why affirmative action and race-conscious admissions are important, the use of Asian Americans as political pawns, and the perils of organizing without understanding our place in the racial landscape. Then, a classic top five: TV shows of all time! Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
October 9, 2019
5. Why Aren’t We Excited About Andrew Yang?
The internet has been overflowing with good stories this week! We talk about the articles and podcast episodes that grabbed us the most. Then, we ask: If we’re all about Asian America, why aren’t we jazzed about Andrew Yang? We get into the model minority myth, the ideology undergirding Yang’s proposals, and our experiences with the YangGang. And that’s before we get to the real controversies: our top five things everyone loves but we don’t. Come for the sociopolitical commentary, stay for the shade. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
September 25, 2019
4. What’s More ‘90s Than a Hidden Track?
Chris watches Aziz Ansari’s first standup special after his #metoo accusations, while Liz can’t stop talking about the new season of the 30 for 30 podcast. Then we ask our burning questions about our very different thirtysomething lives: resuming adult life after a five-year break (that’s Chris) and parenting two kids while struggling to find time to work (that’s Liz). Plus, a jaunt down memory lane as we discuss our top five albums of the 90s. Brace yourself for nostalgia, all your teenage feelings, and a wicked horn section. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
September 11, 2019
3. We Need to Talk About The Farewell
A typhus outbreak makes Liz realize the extent of the housing crisis in California, while Chris grapples with giving up his car. Then we break down The Farewell -- what the film nailed, the scenes that stayed with us, and (spoiler alert) a surprising difference of interpretation on the ending. Also, an extra-fun top five: power couples! It’s the dawn of a golden age of power couples, y'all, and we’re lucky to be living in it. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
August 28, 2019
2. New Year's Resolution: Skin and Teeth
Chris catches three race-related movies on a flight to Tanzania. Liz binges on Adulting, which leads us to break down the most adult things we’ve done in the last year. We wrap with this week’s top five: problematic faves. Nothing and no one is safe. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
August 15, 2019
1. Ali (Wong) Is the Greatest
Liz tries to figure out why #goback feels different and Chris escapes the madness with a trip to Fenway. Then we break down Always Be My Maybe, our anxiety watching Asian American media, and the ways in which Ali Wong shows up for Asian men. Plus, our first top five: podcast episodes that changed our lives. Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
August 14, 2019
0. ... Another Podcast?
If Malcolm Gladwell is to be trusted -- and we think he is -- 750,000 podcasts are already out in the world.  So why make another one?  We explain why we decided to start number 750,001 and what we'll be talking about.  (Spoiler alert: It's everything.) Instagram: @topfivepod Twitter: @thetopfivepod Art by Colin Turnbull Music by Origami Pigeon
August 14, 2019