Dear Listeners, it’s time for another Book Club meeting. Our mission today is to persuade you to fall in love with the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourne. Our Director frequently admits to having a penchant for the mystery/romance genre and this series ranks high on her list of faves. Join our Speedwellian agents for a spoiler-light discussion about Veronica and her growing collection of eclectic compatriots. The agents sigh a lot and wax poetic on the romantic tension in novels and their book crushes on Veronica and “Stoker” Templeton Vane. Bonus side trips into sibling relationships, fan-casting our dream TV series, lepidoptery, and the not-so-secret terrors of our Director.
Our Agents were feeling a little housebound, so we packed our culottes and curlers and met up with Barb and Star in Vista Del Mar. This movie starring Kristen Wig, Annie Mumolo, and Jamie Dornan is a colourful and joyful spy romcom that exactly hits the spot for a quick getaway. It’s a movie about romance, but most importantly about that best friend who has always got your back. Most of the time. Well… some of the time. Join our Agents as they celebrate friendship and love and fishbowl-sized cocktails in the Florida sunshine. Comparisons to 50 Shades are inevitable, but brief. We promise.
Our Agents travelling back in time on this mission to explore all five seasons of Poldark. The BBC historical drama provides our Agents with plenty of personal and political drama to fill several episodes, especially with side trips into Outlander and historical drama fandoms. We discuss how truly historical a historical romance is and how modern viewpoints always shape these stories. Lace up your corsets and buckle your boots, we’re smouldering and shipping and hating on as much as we can in our allotted time for this mission.
Tigger warning Discussion of sexual assault in period dramas.
Join our Agents in our discussion about the 2015 film Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Everything about this movie makes our Agents happy: Cate Blanchett, the story, the music, the cinematography, the wardrobe. Did we mention Cate Blanchett? We are just here to celebrate a historical lesbian film with a happy ending and to introduce our Director to memes just a few years too late. Digressions include historical lesbians, Emily Dickinson, and the last movie we saw in the theatre. It’s all in this mission with compliments of the season from the Management.
The Agents get soapy in this mission with a look at The Royals. The scandalous series about an alternate universe Royal British family that has almost as much drama as the actual family. Our Agents were lured into this mission with a promise of hotness and romance, and they were not disappointed. It’s another installment of “Stories where people keep more clothes on and yet are hotter than 50 Shades” rating system. We start with a spoiler-free pitch for why you should watch and a bit of Royal History head canon before we really dive in. Join us on this self-indulgent mission as we discuss the series and with a focus on our favourite ships.
For our very first anniversary and our 50th episode, join us for our Valentine’s Day party! It’s part draft, part improv storytelling, part limes, and all ridiculousness. A large cast of our Agents has gathered to make the movie of our collective dreams. With no storyboards, no scripts, and no plans, we jump into the international waters of our imagination, each Agent bringing an actor of their choice. Together we find our North Star while singing sea shanties and folding towel art. Your Cruise Director is waiting! Meet us on the lido deck of the Agents of S.M.O.O.C.H. Love Boat. We’re shipping everyone!
Director Annette Wierstra (University of Alberta, MacEwan University, Royal Roads University) is joined by Agent Jean MacDonald (Beacon Hill, St. Lawrence, North Miami Beach Sr. High, University of North Carolina, Princeton) and Agent Sandra Wong (University of Alberta, Shizuoka National University) in this discussion about Kevin Kwan’s(1) (Crazy Rich Asians(2)) novel “Sex and Vanity.” This is an opulent(3) adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel and 1985 movie “Room with a View(4). This modern version is set in the decadent world of the uber-rich starring Lucie Churchill navigating family expectations and Society rules and high fashion(5). This retelling has all the romance and scandal with a good dose of humour and satire. Just note that there are so many characters that we forget half the names. And some places.
Our Agents are on the mission of Bridgerton and ready to love and critique this new series that has taken romance by storm. We’ve got a lot to say about the adaptation from the Julia Quinn book series, how inclusive casting affects the story and characters, sex, speculation about what’s to come, and yes, even warp drives. Don your best frocks and suits, it is time to step out into a new kind of Regency society.
Content Warning: Sex, Sexual Assault
Let our Agents take you to Prom! We’ve gathered for this first mission of the New Year to think about musicals, adaptations, and how much we just like singing and dancing. The mission may start with some of our less favourite parts but then we celebrate that with the Prom movie is a joyful lesbian love story that hits us in the feels. Our Agents discuss how we need even more LGBTQ2+ stories and that they are important to show a diversity of queer experiences. Put on your sparkly sneakers and be our dates to Prom.
(Hey high schools! We really do want to see your productions of Prom so send us invites.)
Happy Holidays! Welcome to our final installment of 12 Days of Love Actually. For today’s mission, our full ensemble of Agents come together to discuss the Red Nose Day Actually reunion video from 2017 and reflect on how Love Actually holds up in 2020.
December 25, 2020 • 32 minutes • 12 Days Love Actually: Final Thoughts • Annette Wierstra with Kirsten Goruk, Kayti Burt, Jean MacDonald, Sandra Wong, Kathy Campbell, Moisés Chiullan and Brian Hamilton
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Sam, Joanna, and Daniel with Agents Kirsten Goruk and Kayti Burt.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Natalie and David with Agents Kathy Campbell, Moises Chuillan, and Brian Hamilton.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Harry and Karen with Agents Jean Macdonald and Sandra Wong.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Colin and the American Girls with Agents Kirsten Goruk and Kayti Burt.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Billy Mack and Joe with Agents Kathy Campbell, Moises Chuillan, and Brian Hamilton.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Juliet, Peter, and Mark with Agents Jean Macdonald and Sandra Wong.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is John (My friends call me Jack) and Just Judy with Agents Kirsten Goruk and Kayti Burt.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Harry and Mia with Agents Kathy Campbell, Moises Chuillan, and Brian Hamilton.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Jamie and Aurelia with Agents Jean Macdonald and Sandra Wong.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Today’s mission is Sarah and Karl with Agents Kirsten Goruk and Kayti Burt.
Welcome to our 12 Days of Love Actually. Our Agents are taking on Love Actually one relationship at a time. From now until Christmas our mission is a deep dive on the holiday classic. We start by looking at our traditions for the movie and our initial thoughts about this movie. This special holiday advent mission is brought to you by an ensemble or our Agents of S.M.O.O.C.H.
We are jumping back in time with a Christmas crossover episode with Lions, Towers & Shield podcast. By popular demand among both members and panelists actual and potential, we explore this 1945 classic. Peter Godfrey (who?) directs Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and a cast of delightful character actors in a holiday story about covering up lies with more lies on a farm in Connecticut on Christmas Eve. Holiday food and sleigh rides aplenty.
Join our Agents as they travel to the Czech Republic with Queen Latifah in Last Holiday. On this mission, we find the joy of the season and of just being kind in the most glamorous of hotels. So throw that pashmina over your shoulders and meet us for an exquisite meal in the hotel restaurant or at least for a roast chicken in First Class.
We jump right into the holiday with a little international house swap movie called The Holiday (2006) starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black. Our Agents debate which storyline is more romantic and which actor is the weakest link. Our agents do deep dives in our various headcanon proving they’ve thought about these characters a lot. Sidetracks include: Who is taking care of the dog? Would Idris Elba be a good rom-com movie lead? Where will everyone live after the movie ends?
Here at the S.M.O.O.C.H. Agency, we like to jump fully into the Holiday spirit as soon as the Halloween decorations are put away. There is a Christmas Tree in every corner of the office. Christmas Sweaters are required Agent wear. And excessive tinsel is drifting through the air. We are starting our SMOOCHtastic holiday season with a BONUS! Incomprehensible Commentary for the beloved Christmas Classic The Christmas Prince (2017). Get out your cozy slippers, your eggnog, your whimsy, and your love of fake European royalty and join our Agents on this mission to Balmorovia or something like that.
Our SMOOCHtacular Halloween month is ending with the modern classic and original ZomRomCom: 2004 Shaun of the Dead. Join our Agents as they search for love triangles and zombies on this spoOoOooOOoky mission. This movie is every bit as much a romance as it is a horror-comedy and is halfway to a musical with its precise choreography. Agents also discuss the Cornetto trilogy and reminisce about early 2000s technology. Will we make it to the Winchester? We got you covered with our kitchen implements and cricket bats.
But, um… you’ve got red on you.
Join our Agents for a bonus mission to the Back of the Moon. This film is part of the upcoming online Canadian South African Film festival and we got a sneak preview. We follow the gangster Bra Max on the last day in 1958, in Sophiatown, a black community just at the edge of Johannesburg. Our agents look at the local gang battle set within the greater story of Apartheid in South Africa. And within these threads sits the romance of Max and the singer Eve Msomi who get one night to explore their love before everything changes.
Content Warning: We do discuss violence and sexual assault that is depicted in this movie.
We are continuing our SMOOCHtacular October of spooooky romances with the classic Practical Magic. We stan the sisters Gillian and Sally and their perfectly witchy aunts in this movie that is a romance and so much more. Get out your broom as we discuss all the Halloweeny, witchy things and multiple generations of powerful women who come together to cast a spell on us.
We are starting our SMOOCHtacular October with a mummy and a boy with a pretty epic treehouse. It’s time for a Brendan Fraser double feature! In this mission, we look at how *The Mummy *and *George of the Jungle *focus on the female gaze. And not just because both these movies have particularly pretty casts. We head into the jungle and the desert to look search for treasure, battle enemies, woo the handsome hero, and find out why these movies are still enticing us all off on adventures.
Mix two hot actors, a sexy red room, and a lot of sex and nudity, and you’d think you’d have sexy movie magic. But our Agents find the movie Fifty Shades of Grey lacking in chemistry and rather mechanical. We bring a new Agent with kink expertise on this mission to help us discuss our feelings about the book series, movie, and what we wish it could be. What do we want? More fun and humour and joy in the film’s portrayal of sex and romance. And montages. Sexy, sexy montages. The real question is: Can we do a Moises style mini-series and make it good?
Warning! This is episode is marked explicit just so Agent Moises can properly express the depth of his feelings. We also are talking about sex, consent, and kink, a lot.
Join our Agents for an Incomprehensible Commentary where our usually refined and thoughtful commentary is subsumed under wine and cocktails. It starts chaotic and goes off the rails while we watch and sometimes discuss 1985’s The Jewel of the Nile. The commentary is a final bonus episode to end our 2020 Virtual Vacation. It is the (probably inferior) sequel to our more sober Romancing the Stone discussion. If this kind of nonsense is your kind of nonsense, you can sign up to be an Incomparable member to get access to all our commentaries and more member extras at: https://www.theincomparable.com/members/. *Caution! *There may be swearing. *Warning! *There is definitely singing.
Join us in our final Virtual Vacation mission hiking through Columbia to rescue one of our own in Romancing the Stone (1984). Our Agents are relieved that this croc-laden 80’s adventure romance is more exciting than our last one. And ultimately, we acknowledge the greatness that is Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas (and their free-flowing hair). Our Agents use the internet to solve all our problems so we don’t have to go on an elaborate adventure due to the lack of a cell phone. Pack carefully because we’re tossing that luggage as soon as it becomes too much a bother to carry around.
In our Penultimate Virtual Vacation stop, we squeeze in a mission to Iceland and Edinburgh to watch 2020’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Our Agents discuss how comedy with heart is the best comedy and develop our spin-off movies and shows about Sigrid, Lars, Alexander, and Mita. Our resident Eurovision expert from Sweden, Julia, gives us the low down on how well this movie represents the Eurovision Song Contest and lots of Icelandic Elf lore. Warm-up your vocals, because there will be a song-a-long.
We’re in France for our Virtual Vacation! Drinking wine, eating cheese, taking the train across the country with French Kiss (1995). This classic Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein is a little bit rom-com and a little bit caper and comes together in Cannes for romantic hijinks. Will our Agents be swayed by Luc’s slightly greasy charm and Kate’s insistent quest to win back the man she loves? They definitely have opinions about French and Canadian accents. And about men who are like little boys who follow their whims without thought. Join us in France for a Sea Breeze by La Mer.
Our virtual vacation long weekend in Italy with Only You (1994) begins with controversy because our Agents are divided about the quality of this movie. Only You is a road trip through Italy with your BFF who knows how to pack your bag better than you do. It is jammed packed with people making bad decisions while Faith searches for the elusive Damon Bradley who may or may not be her Mr. Right. Will any of our Agents switch allegiances? Probably not, but join us for a passionate battle to win your heart over to this film or to get you run in the other direction.
Our Agents are traipsing through Europe in this Virtual Vacation, trailing after the president’s daughter Anna in Chasing Liberty (2004). While we like the scenery (Hello Matthew Goode and Mandy Moore), we question whether Anna should be quite so careless with her wallet and her wellbeing. Follow us on this caper through the countryside with side trips into Canadian and Newfoundland accents, the Good Wife, and COVID era travel (or the lack of it). Our Agents offer valuable travel safety tips to keep you safe on your own romantic virtual vacation.
Welcome to another crossover where Lions, Towers, and Shields podcast host, Shelly Brisbin, joins our agents for a timey-whimey road trip for our Virtual Vacation series. Our agents tease apart the five(?) timelines in Two for the Road (1967), starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney using the cars the characters drive. Join us as we criss-cross through ten years of time and space while road-tripping through France towards the Mediterranean coast. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing, sometimes it’s rocky, sometimes there are too many people in the car. Make sure you pack the sunscreen.
It’s time to visit Nairobi, Kenya on our Virtual Summer Vacation with 2018’s Rafiki. Our agents come away from this visit with a deep appreciation for the Afrobubblegum style of filmmaking and the beauty of the movie. The story of Kena and Ziki is set in the context of a community and country where being queer is banned and yet Rafiki portrays a confident and intimate love story. Our agents were both moved and hopeful for the story of these two young Kenyan women.
This week on our virtual vacation we are staying at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in Jaipur, India. While this is a movie that provides beautiful images of India, our mission examines how its colonial lens affects the movie’s portrayal of the characters. Our Agents imagine bringing to life the romance and the stories that we see hiding in plain sight within the movie. This inevitably leads to someone deciding that this is a story that would be better told in a TV series. We have our brand, and it is always for more romance and more depth and diversity.
ISO: Romance novels about senior lovers.
We hope your suitcases are full of fancy gowns and designer shoes. No? That’s okay, we are overdue for a Makeover Montage! We’re heading to Singapore on our Virtual Vacation 2020 for a family wedding with Crazy Rich Asians. We continue our escapist mission travelling the globe through romance movies. This gorgeous movie is all glam with possibly the fanciest wedding movie ever conceived. Are the books better? Do we want to see the sequels brought to life? Find out in this mission. Perhaps not surprisingly, Annette is focused on dumplings so the Agents plan a dumpling party that you are all invited to.
Our Virtual Vacation continues with this bonus episode! Join us on our second Crossover Mission with Julia Skott and AJ Knox and their Chick Flick Fix Podcast.
My Life in Ruins also NOT known as My Big Fat Greek Vacation. But it could be. We take a fantasy vacation to explore ruins and romance. And souvlaki.
Our Special Agents discuss virtual vacation logistics on this Hong Kong stop for our mission about the 2015 movie, Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong. It’s a movie that gives you a front seat on an almost, kind of, sort of date that wanders through Hong Kong’s nightlife. Prepare to get hungry because we talk about spicy crab and dim sum. A lot. We tease the ending repeatedly because our Agents really want you to watch the movie before we spoil the ending. So just go watch it. We’ll wait until you get back.
Our Virtual Vacation continues with this bonus episode! Join us on our first Crossover Mission with Shelly Brisbin and her Lions, Towers & Shields Podcast.
We offer you a summer movie set in Rome. Directed by William Wyler, and starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, Roman Holiday tells the story of an American newspaper reporter who meets a princess and liberates her from the confinement of her royal station for a romantic adventure in 1950s Rome for a classic royal and the commoner tale. The people and the scenery are beautiful, and the actors have lovely chemistry. This is among the earliest, and best of the 1950s-60s films that took Americans to a Europe that had finally begun recovering from the horrors of World War II.
Our Virtual Vacation continues with a stop in Australia for 1986’s Crocodile Dundee with Paul Hogan. It’s always risky when you revisit the hits of 35 years ago. We remembered the heady of days of being a reporter with a seemingly bottomless budget. And how the movie inspired all of us to put Australia on our travel lists. Did it age well? Were we pleasantly surprised? At least when you travel back to the 80s you are guaranteed to get some awesome wardrobe choices. Linda Kozlowski as reporter Sue Charlton did not let us down. Come back to the 80s Outback with us, if you dare. It’s not just the crocodiles that are dangerous.
Join our Agents on the first stop of our Virtual Vacation 2020! While we are all stuck at or close to home during the COVID-19 pandemic, our mission is to travel the globe through romance movies. We start our vacation in Beechwood Downs, New Zealand with Falling Inn Love. This movie is a gentle rom-com that shows off the scenic country while leading us through Netflix’s take on a Hallmark movie. Its slow pace and likeable characters are the perfect companions for a relaxing start our vacation together. Weighing comfort over romance, our Agents just can’t endorse hiking in the dark in wet clothes. And then they turn their imagined sequel into a very different kind of movie.
Next stop: Australia!
Time for Mission Double Feature and Chill! It’s an Austen adaptation mashup with Clueless and Bridget Jone’s Diary. At least two decades later do these classic romcoms hold up? Can modern Austen heroes and heroines give us the vapours? Ultimately our Agents just want you to know that despite your silly mother, your bad driving, your blue omelets and green gunge, your refusal to listen to The Cranberries… We like you. Just as you are.
Our Agents of S.M.O.O.C.H. are drinking on the job. Is this a good idea? Probably. Not. After discussing the creepy romanticness of the Twilight movie, we present our first tipsy commentary. This commentary expands on our regular Twilight discussion with immediate reactions to the movie through red wine tinted glasses. Which doesn’t make this movie any less blue. If chaotic commentary is your thing, uncork your bottle of red and press play on 1, 2, 3, Bella!
It’s our first Heart Surgery mission where we pick apart a movie that is much maligned and decide what our hearts really feel. The surgery candidate: Twilight the movie, the book, the TV show that we expect will inevitably appear. Is this movie your “Great Shame” or do you love it unabashedly? Is Edward smelling a skunk or is he swoon-worthy? Do you like all the baseball or is it too much baseball? Do you think it is too blue or exactly the right amount of blue? Regardless of your opinion, we have an Agent to defend your opinion. Except for the blue. No one’s defending that. Well, maybe one.
Forget superheroes! Our special agents are on a mission of love in the pages of comic books and graphic novels. To do this topic justice we’ve brought in some specialized agents including Danica Le Blanc, an owner of a local comic book store (LCBS), and Paul Cornell, a comic book writer. Our team has recommendations for teen romance, queer romance, and erotic romance proving that everyone can find love in the racks of the comic book store.
Listen to our agents on this swoon-worthy mission for the Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek. If you are wondering if this show is for you, the agents open with a spoiler light pitch for why you will want to join this fandom. Then, with a focus on the Rose family’s romantic relationships, they reminisce over all six seasons of the show. The agents declare that we’re all a little bit Alexis before spontaneously awarding our second SMOOCHIE for romance in a Comedy Show. It’s simply the best.
Welcome to our First Jane Austen Mission! Our Special Agents of S.M.O.O.C.H. discuss the newest Emma adaptation directed by Autumn de Wilde. They explore their feelings around Austen, adaptations, and how Austen always presents us with so much more than romance. It’s hard to stop so our Agents are already plotting more Regency related missions.
Join our Special Agents on their first double feature. We examine the first two installments of the Netflix trilogy: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the teen rom-com centred on Lara Jean Covey. Inevitably we discuss which romance team we are on and the trials and tribulations of a high school romance. It’s a roller coaster of emotions where we propose multiple spin-offs and toss about wild speculations. But there is one thing we all agree on: we’re all paging Doctor Covey.
Join our agents as they melt over the first installment of our Merchant/Ivory Club: A Room with a View. This classic movie from 1985 is packed full of stars who present a love story with humour, a sweeping classical soundtrack, and a kiss that weakens the knees. A love story this rich and fulfilling deserves to be savoured.
Join the S.M.O.O.C.H. Organization Mission #2: In which we delve into the romances of Little Women. Will Jo meet her match? Will Amy win our hearts? Will Meg find happiness? Follow our agents as we celebrate the latest spin on this classic by Greta Gerwig. And we spontaneously present the first ever SMOOCHIE Award.
Happy Valentine’s Day Agents! Welcome to our inaugural episode from the S.M.O.O.C.H. Organization. We’re celebrating the holiday of love with a draft of our Special Agent’s favourite romance movies paired with a romantic dessert. Will we pick your favourite romance? Maybe Probably not. But we promise it will be delicious.
You are invited to join SMOOCH. Become part of an organization dedicated to searching out romance and celebrating all the things that make you swoon. Before we launch our inaugural mission on Valentine’s Day, we want you to meet some of our special agents and learn why we are excited to be part of SMOOCH.