Geek bros everywhere will swoon for WEEI Sports Radio Network’s #Dork podcast—that is, if they can fit it in between crushing at Legends of Zelda and their local comic-book store’s happy hour. Consistent in its quest to cover relevant TV, movie, and video-game topics, #Dork doesn’t shy away from popular media or comic-book material. Indeed, this podcast covers many Marvel movies and consistently lets the audience in on future DC Comics characters coming to the big screen, but more than a dorky, extra-focused study on niche-nerd aspects of entertainment, the show is essentially two buddies engaging in deep discussions about their favorite shows and movies.
Hosted by Rich Keefe, an on-air sportscaster for WEEI radio’s Dale & Holley with Keefe show on Boston’s 93.7 FM, and Ryan Davey, a blogger and friend of Keefe’s, #Dork feels most in its element when reviewing movies and pointing out new things for the listener to pay attention to. While reviewing Stranger Things 2, for instance, Davey asserts that the characters Max (the show’s second-season addition to the kids’ crew) and Billy (Max’s evil step-brother) are completely useless to the plot of the second season. Your first instinct as a listener is to disagree, to fight for Max’s relevance to the show—I mean, she is a skateboarding bad-ass. But the more Davey and Keefe discuss it, the more obvious it becomes they’re right. Even though Max is a fun character, she isn’t given any essential role or part to play besides love interest to Lucas and Dustin. During one of the podcast’s more memorable episodes, “Will Ferrell Movies” (December 5, 2017), Keefe and Davey remind listeners about Ferrell’s early days in the movie business. Rightly designating the actor’s first great movie role as Mustafa in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Davey points out that Ferrell’s next great role after that, Mugatu from Zoolander, is basically the same character.
There is a professional feel to #Dork, likely due to Keefe’s background in radio. The program is neatly chopped up into review segments: movies in theaters, TV renewals and new releases, and a fairly informative and up-to-date segment on video games. Quirky jingles start off each segment, such as the rock-’n’-roll hair band that belts out “This week in dork!” before the weekly news blurb. Audience members who tune in faithfully will see their bank of unconventional movie facts and television trivia increase. During the November 28, 2017, episode, listeners learn about a reference to The Punisher in the ’90s teen movie Coyote Ugly. In “2018 Movies” (January 17, 2018), Keefe points out that “there’s going to be a scene in Avengers: Infinity War which will have 40 superheroes on the screen at one time,” with both hosts agreeing that 40 characters in one scene is a terrible idea. Every #Dork episode includes recommendations on trailers to look out for and updates on the latest Netflix and Hulu renewals. Comic-book fans obsessed with the newest Marvel movie will get everything they need to know in order to keep up with the comic-movie genre.
Some listeners will experience a steady bro feel to the show, and a lot of male-focused content—most of which can be explained by the domination of male comic-book characters in the movie industry as a whole. #Dork, while loyal to comic books and video games, produces more of a brew-hall vibe as opposed to what going to your local comic shop feels like. The tone of their conversation somehow doesn’t always match the content, reminding the listener we really do live in a society where nerds can be popular and dorks can be bros. Keefe and Davey occasionally crack jokes, most of which are mildly humorous, others of which come off like bad stereotypes—for instance, when Davey refers to patrons of the movie 50 Shades of Grey as “lonely cat women.” The show is not, however, exclusionary to female listeners, even if they did characterize the latest Golden Globes, a night overwhelmingly recognized as a statement of women against sexual assault, as “kind of a snore”; rather, it’s more about celebrating Keefe’s and Davey’s favorite projects. Underneath a layer of fist-bumping and Will Ferrell quotes is genuine feedback and plenty of reminiscing about characters we all know and love. Hearing Davey describe the first time he watched the bloodbath in Kill Bill pleasantly reminds listeners to go log in to Netflix and see whether Volumes 1 and 2 are available. And anyone who likes comics will appreciate the sheer amount of time the hosts spend on everyone from Thor to Batman to the Defenders.
For podcast enthusiasts who don’t mind a little bro attitude with their geek, #Dork succeeds in providing relevant comic-related television and movie entertainment news. You could easily replace your favorite movie blog with #Dork and stay caught up with everything you need to know. Though at times a bit meandering during the discussion portion, the reviews are always reliable, and you get a sense that the hosts truly love dorky comic-based entertainment (although to be fair, who doesn’t these days?). #Dork is a straightforward examination of comic culture. A fun discussion about who is faster, Superman or the Flash (according to their show’s Twitter poll, it’s Superman). A show that makes audience members feel like they’re sippin’ a beer and flippin’ through their favorite comic book.