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Panel Questions


Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Helen, a new study shows that one key to a healthy relationship involves partners consistently doing what to each other?



HONG: Can I have a hint?

SAGAL: I was like, take my wife. I know you're my wife, but just play along.

HONG: Teasing.


HONG: Really?

SAGAL: Teasing and ridiculing each other.


HONG: Oh, my God. I'm so good at that, and I can't stay in a relationship to save my life.


SAGAL: Well...

HONG: Wait, so you make fun of each other...

SAGAL: You do.

HONG: ...And that helps you stay in the relationship?

SAGAL: New studies show that couples who make fun of each other are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship and sex life versus couples who love and respect one another. They're miserable.


FAITH SALIE: But wait - this isn't really about - I believe this. This makes sense. If you have a - because, first of all, if you have a sense of humor about yourself...

SAGAL: Yeah.

SALIE: ...Then you probably have - you're probably pretty healthy.


SALIE: And if your partner can poke fun at your foibles...


SALIE: ...That shows, like, that's intimate.


SALIE: It's, like, you know this about me. You can make fun.

SAGAL: That is, I believe, the theory.

HONG: I don't want anybody poking my foibles.


SALIE: If it's consensual.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ADAM BURKE: Also, don't you...

SAGAL: How about in space? Can they poke your foibles...


SAGAL: ...In space?

HONG: Yeah, I think they need gravity. Again, I think gravity is important...

BURKE: The correct term is (in dramatic voice) in space.


SAGAL: But this sort of thing is, like, a hallmark of all the classic romances. Who could forget in "Titanic" when Rose is like, sink much, Jack?


BURKE: Oh, yeah - and that great Shakespearean, right? Romeo, Romeo wherefore art you? I'm down here, you blind [expletive].


BURKE: That old joke.

SAGAL: Adam, a Russian scientist stationed in a remote research facility in Australia is recovering quite well after a colleague stabbed him because he wouldn't stop doing what?

BURKE: I know this story.

SAGAL: You do.

BURKE: Yeah. He wouldn't stop ruining the end of books.

SAGAL: That's exactly right.


HONG: What?


SAGAL: He wouldn't stop spoiling the ending of books.

SALIE: The first rule of book club...


SAGAL: Exactly. Well, this is a Russian research station and, you know, in the winter of Antarctica, which is just ending now, you know, their tiny, little library is extremely valuable. And, apparently, one scientist just liked to - in chatting with his fellows, just liked to spoil the endings of the books before the other guy could read them.

HONG: Yeah, he definitely deserved to get shanked.

SAGAL: Well, look, look...


SAGAL: Like, oh, yeah - this one, the murderer - it's all of them.

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Jesus dies, but then he comes back.


SAGAL: And, finally, one of his colleagues just snapped and stabbed him. The spoiler guy has been evacuated. He's doing fine. He's going to recover. But it was a little dicey. He's lying there, you know, like, oh, my God. I've just been stabbed. And the attacker leans over and whispers, spoiler - you're going to die.


SAGAL: Helen, the Marines are developing a high-powered laser that allows them to do what to their enemies from almost a mile away?

HONG: A high-powered laser that you can do something a mile away?

SAGAL: Yeah.

HONG: I'm assuming the answer is not just kill them.

SAGAL: No. That would be, I think, a little expected, wouldn't it?

HONG: Can I have a hint?

SAGAL: Sure. You thought this could only happen if you were a liar, liar.

HONG: Pants on fire.

SAGAL: Yes, set people's pants on fire.


HONG: What?

SAGAL: Or make them very hot.

BURKE: I was going to guess remove their tattoos.


HONG: Wait. You can set people's pants on fire from a mile away?

SAGAL: With a laser, yeah. Marines will soon be able to create a temporary, non-harming sensation of unpleasant heat, and it targets clothing using a laser, raising the question, is that a military-grade laser directed at your pants, or are you just happy to see me?


BURKE: Wait. So surely, the counterattack to this is to take off your pants.

HONG: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah. That would be the counter - ha, ha, ha.


SAGAL: You've - now I am pants-less.

BURKE: Yeah.

SAGAL: I have defeated you.


BURKE: The famous naked regiment.


SALIE: It doesn't matter how hot your pants get. They will never burst into flames.

SAGAL: I don't know exactly...

HONG: What, it makes you feel hot?

SAGAL: Yeah. You simply aim this device - it's called the scalable compact ultrashort pulse laser system. You aim it at an enemy...

SALIE: Wait, stop. That has to be an acronym. Slow down. The scalable what?

SAGAL: It's the scalable compact ultra-pulse laser.

SALIE: Hold on - scalable compact...


SAGAL: We looked at it.


SAGAL: It's SCUPL, yeah.


SALIE: Yeah. Yeah.

SAGAL: You said the name. This device...

BURKE: They could have made that scalpel. Send back...

SAGAL: That's true.

BURKE: Back to the drawing board until we have an acronym, damn it.

SAGAL: So it also turns out that it also can be used to transmit sound, so you can yell at people, tell them to stop marching...

HONG: From a mile away...

SAGAL: ...From a mile away.

HONG: ...With a laser?

BURKE: Hey, put your pants on.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: We need you to put your pants on. Don't ask me why.


JAMES BROWN: Bring it on. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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