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Episode 10: The JV Club
Jen Kirkman
The JV Club

The JV Club #10: Jen Kirkman

The podcast’s first listener-generated interview! You asked (most) of the questions, and Jen Kirkman was up for the task. Find out what she and Janet have to say about Judy Blume, making out in basements, ironic greeting cards and more in Episode 10 of The JV Club.


Follow @JenKirkman on Twitter!
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  1. Travis says:

    So I’ve been catching up on JVClub because I needed something to ease the symptoms of Korra withdrawal.  At the point when Janet and Jen are commiserating about breaking up with friends who then get together without you made me laugh, because I immediately thought of poor dopey Mako.  #foreveralone

  2. Eric Song says:

    Just a couple things I jotted down while listening to the podcast: I think it’s great that you were also a magnate school kid, although that bullying story made me cringe. Glad it eventually worked out for you because I got lucky and mine just moved away. It was great at the time, but now I wish I’d had the chance to stand up to him.

    Also, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury is one of my absolute favorite books. It’s the only thing I’ve read by him, but the allegory contained in each of the stories (and the book as a whole) is just amazing. I try to read it once every couple years. I’ll have to pick up his other stuff too.

    Finally, I can’t wait until you have Jen back to read entries out of your journals from the same day. It was such a cute, silly idea that I couldn’t stop laughing.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I didn’t really like the listen questions format of the interview; it really hindered the natural conversation that normally occurs. Maybe solicit questions but don’t let them dictate the conversation; there’s no way to get them all in.

  4. Todd Mason says:

    No, indeed, science fiction that’s well-written definitely is still sf…too often, sf that isn’t as widely-read as it should be, too. Very glad, Janet, that you’ve read some Bloch, and hope you’ve enjoyed his work…and I really should’ve written, writers who Helped make Bradbury the writer his is and has been…and thanks for not only a fine podcast, but for being so open to dialog and encouraging of feedback…it’s notable that young listeners, as well as your middle-aged ones, seem to be speaking up here, too.

  5. Liam says:

    I don’t think I’d call Ray Bradbury a “science fiction writer”, because he wrote in a whole bunch of genres, but he definitely wrote a lot of short stories and novels that I’d class as science fiction. It doesn’t stop being sci-fi just because it’s well-written! Or because it concentrates on character rather than how fast the spaceships can fly around or whatever.

    Sorry, I’m probably totally putting words in your mouth! It’s just a bit of a bugbear of mine, as someone who enjoys both genre and non-genre stuff, how a lot of people look down on SF but then perpetuate that image by denying the genre some of its great writers.

    ANYWAY aside from my total nerdy guy need to complain about one tiny thing, I loved this episode as always. This podcast has been a treat since the beginning.

    • Janet says:

      You’re totally right! I shouldn’t have been so quick to dismiss the sci fi genre. That’s not really what my intention was, but it definitely came off that way. I’m officially calling myself a proud sci-fi nerd!

  6. Jason McCraw says:

    Yes! Two of my favorites together! What an amazing, insightful interview.

  7. janet says:

    – Lloyd D: My pleasure! I DEFINITELY want to have Jen back and I’m VERY on board for more listener-generated episodes!

    – Mark- Thanks for helping me figure out that Seventeen wasn’t showing up on the podcast!

    – Paige- What can I say? OF COURSE you loved Dandelion Wine, because you’re AWESOME.

    – Todd- I have a boatload of great fiction to jump into! I’ve read a bit of Bloch but I think that’s it of the list you gave- so I’ve got some (fun) homework to do! Thanks! And BUST is definitely on my wish list!

    – Goatboy- I love that you made those mixes! That’s incredibly awesome!

    – Alec- That compilation list made me laugh out loud. What a combo! And I loved your descrip of Dark Side of the Moon. Could not agree more. Now I want to listen to it, too!

    – Lucia! If you read this, WELCOME! I loved your comment and I hope you continue to enjoy the podcast!

    – Wendy- thanks for weighing in! I loved Jen’s interview, too.

    – Superstarseven- Bless you. I’m beaming.

  8. Todd Mason says:

    Seventeen could wail!

    (And if you don’t manage to get SASSY/JANE’s Jane Pratt, perhaps the BUST women…when the Nation of Ulysses singer was named Sassiest Boy In America, all we DC punk people, including the fringers such as myself, were highly amused…)

  9. Superstarseven says:

    Thankies for the shout-out.
    Between the podcast, Korra and the puppet show you’re producing–could you be more on a roll?

  10. Wendy says:

    I am so very glad you had Jen Kirkman on. She has been the guest I relate to the most so far. I too was a judgemental asshole for my entire childhood. Probably up until I was about 21 actually. I have looked back in my journals and laughed at it now but I still feel that people misunderstand my point of view on things, which I think happens to Jen as well. Judging by her twitter account it seems like people take her words too seriously even though she is A COMEDIAN! I loved hearing her acknowledge/bash her old ways of judging others for being “normal” and how much detail she remembers from her teen years.

  11. Janet says:

    Guys, I’m completely speechless by the already-amazing comments about this episode after only a day!! I have so much to say about all of this and I’m under a deadline so I’ll reply more later, but I MUST thank you for your brilliant responses! I’m floating on air!

  12. Lucia says:

    This is the first episode that I listen to and I’m a fan already, what a beautiful concept, I’m 22 but still figuring out who I am and this is advice I really couldn’t get anywhere else. Can’t wait to catch up on the episodes.

    Keep it up!
    Lucía, from Buenos Aires 🙂

  13. Alec says:

    My favourite Bradbury story has to be The Veldt. The kids aren’t old enough to be called teenagers, but they’ve already got the misanthropy angle covered.


    There wasn’t a ton of variety in the English-language music on the radio when I grew up, and the only stuff I listened came from a faint alt-rock station based in upstate Vermont. It turns out that Montreal had had a great music scene for ages, but at the time, I had no idea it existed. The first piece of music I went out and bought was a compilation album, like Jen’s. It was a mishmash of ‘alternative’ acts put together by MuchMusic. (Blur, Marilyn Manson, Smash Mouth, The Chemical Brothers, Sugar Ray and Radiohead, together at last!)

    At some point, I found my parents’ Dark Side of the Moon LP in the basement and managed to get the thing onto my MiniDisk player. I’d wait until everyone had gone to bed and the house was completely quiet, then crank the volume up under the covers for the opening track so that I could hear the heartbeat kick in as early as possible. I loved how it would rise up in intensity until it was almost painful and then plateau and blend in with a bit of the wordless vocalizing from Great Gig in the Sky. In fact, I think I want to listen to it right now.

  14. Goatboy says:

    I’ve recently been put in charge of a youth group at my church. I remember when I was a youth and one of my leaders gave me copies of the first three Rancid albums, Operation Ivy, and Social Distortion at the Roxy, I wanted to do a similar thing for these kids, and so I started making a mixtape to give as a birthday present. I had some Clash and Violent Femmes and some newer things like The Shins and Arcade Fire, but this episode reminded me of how much I wish I’d had The Smiths and The Cure earlier than I got them, and how some music needs to be heard at an age when you will take the time to truly absorb it.

  15. Todd Mason says:

    (Bloch’s own influence continues to be felt through the likes of Bloch fans such as Mike Mignola, who asked Bloch to introduce the first HELLBOY comics collection not too long before Bloch’s death, some years back…like Mignola, Bloch also frequently could be very funny…)

  16. Todd Mason says:

    And thanks to Paige for reminding me to add that I hope that you explore at least some of the work of people who made Ray Bradbury the writer he is and has been…his first great model, Theodore Sturgeon, for example, one of the first people to get a science fiction story included in BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES back in the 1950s, and whom Bradbury clearly followed in his early work…Leigh Brackett, an “old” pro who advised and collaborated with Bradbury on some fiction, once out of necessity when she was called into the studios to adapt THE BIG SLEEP for the Howard Hawks-directed film (William Faulkner apparently wasn’t as much help to the project as he should’ve been)…she continued to write impressive prose and scripts, including adapting Chandler again, on her own, for the Altman-directed THE LONG GOODBYE, and just before her death was the natural choice to write the script for the second (and least bad) STAR WARS film (though sadly she didn’t live long enough to get beyond the first draft)…or Robert Bloch, the genius who helped revolutionize horror and suspense fiction, another “old pro” a few years older than Bradbury who like him was a star of WEIRD TALES magazine in the 1940s, and who was with Fritz Leiber one of the two great friends and students of H. P. Lovecraft to pick up Lovecraft’s concepts of existential horror and expand and enrich them…Bloch most famously though not by any means solely through writing PSYCHO, creating Norman Bates….a collection of work from their WEIRD TALES days was issued in the 1970s, BLOCH AND BRADBURY…

  17. Todd Mason says:

    Hello back at you…and condolences for all those bad days on the bus (as the Special Kid going to That Other School, presumably you were an easy target for pointless hostility) and the other scarring experience (literal and figurative). As Ms. Dobler notes, the only downside to this audience-driven questioning is that in trying to get in all the questions, you might not’ve had enough time to explore all the alleys of memory they sent you down. And, like Mark, I’m looking forward to the snatch of Seventeen (a phrase that should not be taken out of context). As the sort of primitive who doesn’t yet tweet (though I must admit that Twitter is being more of a stand-up corporate citizen than Google or FB, which I do use, if not much of the latter), I didn’t contribute to your questions list, but Kirkman is indeed as good at fielding this kind of questioning as anyone might be…it doesn’t hurt that I was making not-dissimilar discoveries in lit and music and such a few years earlier than y’all were…the terrible 7-9th grade years only about thirty miles north of Kirkman in suburban New Hampshire, and 10-12th on Oahu, no paradise (despite the Tourism Board’s best efforts, among those of others, to indoctrinate us all in thinking of it as such) but an improvement over the default New England hostility atop the young adolescents in school hostility. And as someone who always did well on Those Tests (whether from the College Board or Stanford-Binet or their competitors), I can assure you with no sour grape staining what a limited range of thought and aptitude they measure…and Kirkman, as she realizes now, should’ve known then as well that part of what made her interesting would’ve been the passion, or at least openness, to things such as dance and literature…and as much as our adult brains aren’t as prone to taking in Everything as they were when young, taking a little intellectual or similar challenge on from time to time can be remarkably reminiscent of those early thrills of discovery…I’ve been doing some of that of late, though never enough. Another excellent episode…and that you’re intentionally hoping to make them accessible and attractive to young listeners is a dimension that not too many of the other podcasts are exploring, and that you’re doing so without condescension to the potential young listeners is Better Yet…

  18. Paige says:

    I’ve seen Jen Kirkman perform about four times and always love her. And Janet, my favorite book as a kid was Dandelion Wine.

  19. Mark says:

    The tiny sliver of Jen’s band you mentioned would be at the end sounds EERILY like Say Hi! 😉

  20. Lloyd Dobler says:

    The teen years/listener questions idea was genius. This was a great episode, even though it should be 10 times longer. Loved the conversation, I hope you both do this again sometime. Thanks Janet! Thanks Jen!