Cat People (1942) | Crooked Media
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June 20, 2023
Ruined with Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer
Cat People (1942)

In This Episode

Halle and Alison swing by the zoo to see which cages are open while they ruin Cat People (1942).





[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread, keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, hello. Welcome to Ruined. 


Alison Leiby: I’m Alison. 


Halle Kiefer: And and I’m Halle. Oh, and this is a— 


Alison Leiby: Oh there we go. 


Halle Kiefer: —podcast where we ruin a horror movie. Just for you. 


Alison Leiby: Just for all of you. Halle, how are you doing? 


Halle Kiefer: Well, Alison, I think we got to ask how you’re doing because you’re in New York right now and headed—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —and we can talk sort of about the L.A. experience of what you just went through. But my God. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: How are you holding up with this? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The skies full of smoke. 


Alison Leiby: For everybody listening. I think we might be a week or two behind, you know, real time episode releases. But we just had the the Canadian wildfire smoke descend on New York and it was apocalyptic. And I’ve been in New York for many an apocalyptic experience. 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: Hurricane Sandy, the entire pandemic. But this was like my apartment, looks like it was nighttime the entire, for 24 hours. It was so dark. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so scary. 


Alison Leiby: And like outside was so like normally from my terrace, I can see the Freedom Tower. Like, really clearly. I couldn’t see the building next door. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, God. 


Alison Leiby: And I’m in Brooklyn, so, like, obviously, like I’m talking about a distance that’s, like, normally pretty far. Like, just like you could not see anything. And then I went outside for, like, 5 minutes just to, like, run to the store and come back. And it, like, truly just it smelled like the city was on fire. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, God. 


Alison Leiby: It was so bad. Like, I’ve never been in L.A. during wildfire season, so I’ve never experienced this, you know? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: On the West Coast, where it, like, is much more common. Like, have you? 


Halle Kiefer:  Yeah. The only year that it has happened since I moved here was the fall of 2020. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So I was like, deep into the pandemic. 


Alison Leiby: Oh God. 


Halle Kiefer: And we’re still in it. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: But I mean, it’s deep into the first year of the pandemic. And so everyone was already on fucking edge. And then the it was horrible smoke. And I think you guys actually had it worse than where I was. Like, I think if you were north of L.A., it would have been as bad. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: As it was. But like we have the mountain range north of the city.


Alison Leiby: Yeah that protects a little bit. 


Halle Kiefer: So we still had like, but we had that like you walk outside and the air is yellow because the sun. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Is being like obfuscated by the smoke. And fortunately we were able to get a air filter on a air purifier rather like on Amazon or something. But that’s the thing is like living in New York, you wouldn’t have like you wouldn’t consider like that’s something that you need. Whereas here it’s like, well, you do have to have an earthquake kit and like you should have. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Some other stuff. And also now if you do, you probably should have an air filter and maybe think about some other things. 


Alison Leiby: I know. 


Halle Kiefer: But for you guys, it’s just not something that you would have. I mean. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Now that you guys have hurricanes, obviously, but. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, but like, that’s not exactly. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: As like airborne. 


Halle Kiefer: Ugh. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I thought about getting an air purifier, like during early days of COVID just being like it’s in the air. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Will this help? I don’t think it I don’t know that it does for something that microscopic, but I am thinking of getting one now, just like in I’m like, man, it’s probably I mean, I’ve got a lot of plants in here that I think that that does like some serious lifting. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Especially I read snake plants. 


Halle Kiefer: I have one. 


Alison Leiby: The ones that look like kind of Nickelodeon hair. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: They are apparently like some of the best plants for filtering the, like, creating fresh air. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, good. 


Alison Leiby: Or whatever plants do?


Halle Kiefer: I’m immediately like, I’ll get eight of them. It’s like, okay, sure. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Right. I’m like, oh, I’ll buy a 100 plants [both speaking] one device that actually does the job. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Well. You know, if the power goes out, those, the snake plants will still be there. You know what I mean? 


Alison Leiby: This is true. 


Halle Kiefer: But I am so sorry that you guys had to deal with that. It was I mean, just scary to watch. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. The skyline of the city, city, I’m sure, like did not help keep things moving. Like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah—


Alison Leiby: I feel like it’s just like it all just kind of, like, sat here, but I left and came back and. And now it seems fine. 


Halle Kiefer: Good. 


Alison Leiby: And the AQ is AQI, AQ, whatever. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh yeah you have to—


Alison Leiby: The number that we’re all freaking out about is back down to normal levels. So I’m like, all right, the sun’s out. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Feels like we can breathe. But oof. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m very sorry you guys had to deal with that. It’s so scary and I just feel like, you know, I have asthma, so it wasn’t that bad with the there, but you never know. And. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I think it’s like just this really psychological strain of it. In addition to anyone who’s dealing with any sort of chronic illness, it’s just like. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: It’s bad. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s bad. Obviously. 


Alison Leiby: People who deny climate change being—


Halle Kiefer: I know. 


Alison Leiby: Something like even if you’re like, I don’t know if humans are causing it. Like why wouldn’t we take the precautions in case we are like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Obviously we are. But like, I just don’t understand that logic because it’s like, clearly I’m like, when has this ever happened? [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, exactly. And I think to your point, it’s like, okay, well, so if it isn’t us, then it’s still and it’s still happening. Then it we should assume that we need to do—


Alison Leiby: Could we help? 


Halle Kiefer: Everything we can to help. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Exactly.


Halle Kiefer: Rather than.


Alison Leiby: Nothing


Halle Kiefer: And I’ll tell you, if you watch nothing but fucking Fox News man. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know. I can’t remember which which one of the hosts immediately leapt into like, oh, they’re going to say it was climate change, whatever. 


Alison Leiby: What else—


Halle Kiefer: Do you know? And then there was a guest on Fox that we even got so far as like the air is always like this in India or China. It’s just particulates in the air. It doesn’t even make you cough, which is just a lie like that part is like.


Alison Leiby: You do cough. And also the air being like that in other cities does not make it okay that it’s like that in other cities. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. Exactly. And I think it’s like, yeah, there are a lot of places that have this problem specifically because they’re low lying and they’re on the water. So and then there’s like, you know, like it just kind of gets trapped there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So it’s like, again, why is to go so far? I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, you look at how they react with the pandemic where like literally. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like anything they cannot, they cannot handle any information other than to politicize and go insane. So but to see the air like that and be like, it’s not real. 


Alison Leiby: Is it was so also like all those assholes live here. And I’m like, I’m sorry, you’re not going. You’re not walking out of your studio into Midtown and being like, this is fine. Like, you’re just not I don’t care what your political 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. You’re a liar.


Alison Leiby: —alignment is like. It was very scary and very hard to breathe [laughs] and so dark. 


Halle Kiefer: And I guess it’s like we just have to know this as we go further. I mean, we know this about everything we talk about. You know, obviously like, you know, overturning Roe versus Wade and and women and other pregnant people’s access to medical health care. And we’ve talked about anti LGBTQ, the anti LGBTQ movement that they’ve attached—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —self to. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re that they’re capable of this level of denial because that’s the only thing they have. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: But I guess for us, it’s good to know that like we are going to have to try to move things forward on all those fronts, including climate change. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Knowing that they’re going to do this. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And that sucks. And I don’t understand it because like to your point. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: They live places where like, if it’s not there yet, it’s coming. You have children, you have grandchildren. Like why don’t you care about them? I don’t know what that is. I don’t know. I’m sure there’s some term for it, but it’s good for us to keep in mind. 


Alison Leiby: It’s awful. 


Halle Kiefer: That they’re not attached to reality. We know this. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And so when you see that, it’s like, don’t let that get you down, because there are some people we’re never we’re not going to reach them. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And we’re going to have to do other things without their consent or knowledge or permission. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, like it’s just going to have to happen. So. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And speaking of before we get into the movie. 


Alison Leiby: I was about to say what a segue opportunity. 


Halle Kiefer: So we are raising, or we are part of Crooked Media, of course, and they’re doing a Fuck Bans: Leave Queer Kids Alone fundraiser throughout the Pride Month, and their goal was to raise $50,000 to support organizations advocating for trans freedom. We’ve already raised that amount, so now—


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: —they’re going to double it. I think I can say that. I think so. So but if you’d like to donate and you’d like to donate more, you could also go to the website. You know, when I give you this information you can also see what organizations we are donating towards. There’s basically two ways to donate. You can go to 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: So that is the website. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: When you go there you have two options and I was I don’t I’m not I’m I’m not part of the political [laughs] part of this so I’m just saying there are two options you can either donate to nonprofit organizations or you can donate to the political impact part of Vote Save America that donate specifically to candidates. So if you’re someone who’s like, I want to donate to candidates and organizations that are specifically political in mostly. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Red states, you know, or I’d rather just donate to nonprofits either is totally fine. They just have this de— 


Alison Leiby: Both are important and very helpful. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. So it’s up to you. If you want to make a nonprofit a donation, it is tax deductible. I think that’s why they had it set up that way. 


Alison Leiby: Mm mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: And if you don’t care about that, you take a look. We of course. 


Alison Leiby: And—


Halle Kiefer: Oh sorry go ahead.


Alison Leiby: Oh, I was gonna say. And another way you can also contribute is that you could come to our live show, June 18th, Sunday, 7 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. Pacific, because we’re going to be donating all of the profits from our live show as well as all of the new Pride merch that we’re going to have at the live show, which is only accessible then. And I think like also like we’ve got tipping, like you could just like that’s just another like way of you’re like, I just want to donate $3. Like there’s a way to do that so you can get tickets at Moment.Co/Ruined and the movie that we’re doing is. 


Halle Kiefer: Beau is Afraid. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: From a truly a genius director. Heredit— Director Ari Aster, director of Hereditary. If you haven’t listened to our Hereditary episode yet, please do one of our favorites. 


Alison Leiby: Go way back. 


Halle Kiefer: And it has been fascinating to hear how many people hated this movie. And I’m so excited. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m so excited to watch it and tell you about it. Whether I hate it or whether I love it. 


Alison Leiby: There’s nothing more fun than when Halle hates a movie. So if you haven’t seen that in action. There’s a couple episodes in the archive, but definitely come to the live show and also you’ll be contributing to the Fuck Bans movement. What are we calling this? 


Halle Kiefer: Fundraiser? 


Alison Leiby: Fundraiser. 


Halle Kiefer: So yes, you can go. 


Alison Leiby: You’ll contribute to fucking these bans and protecting trans kids because that’s ultimately what’s important here. 


Halle Kiefer: And trans people need. First of all, all of our dollars and all of our attention right now. I remember it was trans day of visibility earlier this spring and, you know, trans people online are like, well, it’s the problem is that we’re very visible and it’s the other stuff. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: We need, you know what I mean. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like. We have like we have been made we’ve been made [both speaking] over visible, and now we need other people to show up and be visible with us. So this is we are part of that. And obviously this fundraiser will be ongoing. It’s just like Pride is the push for it. But again you can go to to learn more to donate and yeah please join us for the live show. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And we love you. And now we’ll get into this week’s movie. 


Alison Leiby: As we must. 


Halle Kiefer: And of course it is a Pride Month and you know it is it’s not hard, but it is sort of interesting to try to figure out what movie to do because so many movies that are quote unquote, “queer” are in the coded way that—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —queerness has had to exist in society. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Which I knew before I came out last year, but I didn’t really understand, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Mmm. 


Halle Kiefer: So you’re seeing these movies that are like, oh, these are classically queer movies. And then you’re like, well, there’s nothing in the plot that seems queer, but I trust you. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And what are those movies that’s on every fucking list is from 1942, it is the movie Cat People. 


Alison Leiby: This has got to be the oldest movie we’ve done. 


Halle Kiefer: This is from 1942 this is, I believe it is the oldest that we’ve done. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t think we’ve done anything else even remotely. I think like the seventies. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Is like what we go back to for the most part—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I was like The Crazies might’ve been the oldest old one. So, yeah, this is is directed by and you know, I’m going to, somebody called me out for my pronunciation of the French—


Alison Leiby: Oh yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —names in Knife + Heart and I’m so sorry to every French person because I’m going to do it again. This is directed by—


Alison Leiby: We’re not French. 


Halle Kiefer:  Jacques Tourneur, landed it, nailed it. 


Alison Leiby: Got it. 


Halle Kiefer: And it was produced for RKO and it was written by DeWitt Bodeen. And I—


Alison Leiby: Those are such like—


Halle Kiefer: So good. 


Alison Leiby: —1940s show business names like when even just like when I was watching the trailer and it like listed all that, it’s like Jack Holt—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah so good. 


Alison Leiby: —and it’s like that’s such a 1940s like actor’s name. 


Halle Kiefer: And I want to say DeWitt Bodeen the screenwriter, his full name is Homer DeWitt Bodeen, it’s like, oh, it’s so good. 


Alison Leiby: It’s so good. 


Halle Kiefer: And this movie, I will say, is so queer and it seems it is sort of classically sort of seen as like a lesbian story. 


Alison Leiby: Mm. 


Halle Kiefer: About a woman caught between conventional marriage and perhaps her own animal nature that should she unleash it, it will destroy this fantasy of a heterosexual life she’s built, been there girl. And what I think is helpful to point out and again, I don’t think that you have to be straight to I don’t think that you have to be queer to write a queer story. I don’t. But I do think it is helpful. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And I only said it because DeWitt Bodeen was gay, my friend. And I feel like you could feel it. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: He lived with an American actor. His name was Val. Val Dufour. 


Alison Leiby: Val Fufour, man these names. 


Halle Kiefer: So again, an era in which, like obviously people are having queer relationships like they were queer, but it all had to be. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: Behind closed doors. It had to be hidden. You know, people had beards. People were in order to work in Hollywood at all, you know, it’s just sort of this the glass closet, you know. So it is from that era. And seeing it now, it’s like, oh, yeah, no. This feels very queer to me. [laughter] This is absolutely belongs on all these lists. And yeah, so I, I couldn’t be happier with this movie. I loved it so much. And of course, we always like to have Alison watch the trailer before we do a movie. Alison, what are your thoughts about the Cat People trailer? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I’m, first of all, loving a movie with a cat. I just really—


Halle Kiefer: Oh, this is, absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: I’m just like—


Halle Kiefer: As a cat person. 


Alison Leiby: —Rizz, should we watch this? But yeah, it’s very sexy. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And I’m just like, oh, someone’s a cat or a cat’s a someone. And that sounds great. I was very in. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, good. And we also like to take a baseline scary. Alison how scary do you find the concept of turning into a cat?


Alison Leiby: I don’t find that scary. 


Halle Kiefer: I know it sounds fun. 


Alison Leiby: So I often look over at Rizz and I’m like, I would trade lives with you in  one second there is just no like, I’m like, oh, all you do is take naps and get fed by somebody and play and you don’t have anything to worry about. You don’t pay bills. You don’t pay rent. Like, that sounds great, but. Somebody I know turning into a cat? 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: Would be scary because I’d be like, how did that happen? 


Halle Kiefer: And they sort of try to they create a mythology that I really enjoy in this movie. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. I’m excited. 


Halle Kiefer: And I guess like the the larger, sort of, cats as more manageable. And even in the in the movie, the animal sort of avatar that is sort of you know, the movie plays with is a black panther. But there is something like how how scary do you find the concept of turning into a monster, like to find yourself. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Transforming into a monster. 


Alison Leiby: Well, it feels like if you don’t know how it’s happening, then you also won’t know how to stop it. 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: And that feels like a very scary out of control scenario to be in. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think what feels so queer about this is like the the only way to stop this is to live a solitary, lonely life. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: I know. 


Alison Leiby: I see. 


Halle Kiefer: And so. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Got it. 


Halle Kiefer: And then, like, so as she tries to approach, you know, specifically sex and love, that it becomes this threat of is this real do is this thing that I believe is going to happen? Is it going to happen when everyone around me is telling me I’m insane? But I know that should I step out of, for example, say, a closet sized space in which I’ve created a life? Would it destroy everything that I— 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —that I actually think I want? And the answer is, you better believe it will baby. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And so before we get started. Alison, would you like to guess the twist in Cat People? 


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: Would you say that there’s like a conventional twist? Or is it—


Halle Kiefer: I would say what you see is what you get, baby, when you see the title Cat People, you’re getting— 


Alison Leiby: 1942. 


Halle Kiefer: You’re getting. [laughter] Yeah, exactly. You know, there’s a 1982 remake. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So I don’t know if they play it quite so literally. But like, the whole movie is like, uh oh, there might be some cat people showing up. So the question is, do they show up, Alison? 


Alison Leiby: I think that, yes, the cat people do show up and that. There is a cat in charge that eventually presents itself. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. A ruler of the cat. [laughter] Queen cat? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: I love it. 


Alison Leiby: And that perhaps the characters in the movie know them? 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Yes. Okay, great. Excellent work. Let us begin, ruining 1942’s Cat People. We open up, we not only open on, we open and close on text on the screen. Couldn’t be happier. And so the quote on the screen, which is sort of over a statuette on a desk, which we will have contextualized for us in a minute. The quote is, “even as fog continues to lie in the valleys, so does ancient sin cling to the low places, the depressions in the world consciousness.” This from the Anatomy of Atavism by Dr. Louis Judd. We find ourselves at the zoo. Alison.


Alison Leiby: Is that a real person? Is that a real quote, or is that a quote for the movie? 


Halle Kiefer: I believe it’s new. And I think this movie also I mean, we’ve certainly raved about conventional Christianity a lot. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, we love it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. [laughter] This movie, you know, actually, maybe it’s not real. It’s not real. Oh, I’m such a dumb ass. Sorry, everyone. Sorry, it’s like, oh, it was like, oh, Dr. Judd, I’m like, that’s a character in the movie. [laughter] We’re going to meet Dr. Louis Judd. I was like, oh, wow, that’s so crazy. 


Alison Leiby: You’re like, this documentary is crazy. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Like, damn, this lady. Whatever the hell she’s going through. So, no, that’s a fake quote that we are going to—


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: —meet the character that said it. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, great. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, I only say it because the quote to the end is a real quote from something. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: So I was just like, oh, whatever. I don’t know. And then it’s like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: No, there’s not that many Louis Judd’s in the world. Halle. Sorry, everyone. I’m going to blame all the allergy medication I’m on. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So for that and we meet up we’re at the zoo, where a beautiful woman she’s sketching a black panther in the saddest cage. And it’s obviously just a set, but it’s just like a bear cage that a panther walks back and forth in all day. It’s a bummer.


Alison Leiby: Aww that makes me so sad. 


Halle Kiefer: And this woman’s there. She’s sketching the black panther. She’s in a perfect skirt suit with, like, a matching hat. She looks incredible. The woman’s name is IIrena Dubrovna and the panther’s name and we only know because Amazon has the whole cast. 


Alison Leiby: Oh great. 


Halle Kiefer: The panther’s name in real life is Dynamite. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: Which I did think was sweet. 


Alison Leiby: I really like that. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see Irena turn and she’s crumpled up her sketch and she throws it towards the trash can. She misses and it lands at the feet of a handsome man in a fabulous suit who’s drinking a soda from the soda cart. There’s a soda cart in the zoo. And I’m like, oh, I’d love to have a soda at the zoo. 


Alison Leiby: I want a soda cart to follow me around. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh God. 


Alison Leiby: And just give me cold Diet Cokes all the time. 


Halle Kiefer: If only. So we see Oliver he picks of the paper, and he, he sort of tosses it and then wordlessly points to this anti littering sign. And it’s so beautifully written, this anti litter, littering sign, it basically is meaningless. It says, let no one say it to your shame that all was beauty here until you came. So that’s what it has instead of saying no littering. Alison that’s  downright obscure. 


Alison Leiby: I would have not figured out what that means. 


Halle Kiefer: I think we’re just dumber, [both speaking] the dumbing down of America. But we’re just like we’re particularly we in particular are dumber. 


Alison Leiby: The two of us are stupid. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. [laughter] We’ve been dumbed down. And Irena  kind of like gives him a nod and goes back to sketching and then she keeps tearing up. She tears apart the sketch crumples it up and goes to throw it and Oliver kind of playfully swoops in and takes it and he slam dunks in the garbage can and he says, well, you probably hear this pick up line all the time. But I don’t know many artists or I don’t know any artists, she says. I’m not an artist. I just do sketches for fashion drawings. Like I work at a fashion house. I was like, well, that is art, but okay. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And it turns out she’s a designer. She’s from Serbia. And she said, If you actually saw my sketches, you might not want to know any artist and he said they had to be pretty bad for that to happen. And we see her crumple up her last sketch and it kind of falls to the ground and blows in the wind, in the leaves. And we see the sketch. It’s the panther being stabbed through with a sword. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, no. Dynamite. 


Halle Kiefer: And, you know, now they’ve struck up a conversation. They she packs up her stuff and they start to walk away. And Alison, they’re already falling in love. Alison—


Alison Leiby: Who wouldn’t be? 


Halle Kiefer: Where in the zoo do you think you’d want to fall in love? 


Alison Leiby: Oh, great question. 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, as far away from the house of birds as possible. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. What about monkey house? Also pretty stinky. But [both speaking] monkey island is they’re usually outside.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I think, like, I wouldn’t want to be around any of the monkeys because I’m like, we’re all a little too close. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. Yeah.


Alison Leiby: Genetically. [laughter] Like—


Halle Kiefer: Are you afraid that you might fall in love with a monkey? Inadvertently,  inadvertently. 


Alison Leiby: The person who I would like to fall in love with me would fall in love with a monkey instead of me. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: How was your date at the zoo? Well, you won’t believe what happened again. 


Alison Leiby: I thought I was on a date. He leaves with a chimpanzee. I mean, look. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I think. [laughter] I think, um, just based on some zoos I been to like, I think where like the seals and sea lions are hanging out. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, absolutely. That’s very fun. 


Alison Leiby: Because like, it’s like water. It’s kind of like, you know, they’re playing with toys. 


Halle Kiefer: I love it. I just keep thinking like it’s Sex and the City, but it’s instead, I know Kim Cattrall’s coming back for And Just Like That cameo. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But they just replaced her with you and your thing is that your ex is dating a chimpanzee [laughter] and you’re trying to like. It’s like it’s hard not to take it personally, you know what I mean, like at a certain point it’s not even human you know. 


Alison Leiby: You’re like, I guess this is better than you. Where would you where would you want to fall in love at the zoo? 


Halle Kiefer: You know, I feel like if they have any kind of, like, butterfly or insect room, I feel like that would be fine. If not, I think I want to fall in love in the lizard house. 


Alison Leiby: Oh I like that. [both speaking] There’s something about the lizards. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: They don’t seem like they would be something I like, but I do like them. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: Me too. I think they’re so beautiful. Like the verdant green of a lizard. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I think that’s romantic, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And so as they walk, Oliver. Oliver asks Olivier, I sorry, I’m like, off my nut, okay. [laughter] As they walk Oliver asks Irena can I write you a letter asking you out to tea? And I’m like, oh, it’s the 40s. [sighs] And she says—


Alison Leiby: Courtship. 


Halle Kiefer: She shakes her head and she’s like, okay, well, you know, can I write you a letter asking you something else? She’s like you don’t have to write me a letter at all. This is my house we can have tea right now. And she invites him up. I was like, oh, okay. 


Alison Leiby: Daring. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, oh, you’re making this too easy, aren’t you? So they go up and she’s about to open, so she’s in the brownstone. And then like her apartment door is like up a flight of stairs. And she says, I’ve never had anyone over yet. Like, I have, I know people at work, you know, like I immigrated here. But you’re the first, like, actual friend I’ve made out in America. And I am bringing you right home, aren’t I? 


Alison Leiby: Wow, wow. 


Halle Kiefer: But they clearly have a vibe. And I was like, good for you. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah do it. 


Halle Kiefer: You are a modern woman. It is the forties. You might be turning into a cat person in a minute, you know, and he walks in and he smells the air and he says, what’s that smell? She’s like, oh, it’s my perfume. Lalage. And she’s like, I spray myself with it every day. Maybe it’s sort of in my apartment. I probably like it too much, you know? And night falls and we cut to just hardcore fucking. No, I’m kidding. It’s the forties, we don’t see any of that. 


Alison Leiby: I was like, wow bold for the forties.


Halle Kiefer: [laughs] Yeah. No. We see them, the night. I think the intimation of sex is like he’s smoking on the couch and Irena’s sitting at the window, humming in the pitch darkness. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think we’re suppose to think like the sun went down and like, they’ve just been like talking and we could hear the lions roaring from the zoo because she only lives like two blocks down. And he says, does it bother you that sound? She says, no. My neighbors complain about it sometimes, but I’m like, to who? The lions? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But she says—


Alison Leiby: To you? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. To me, it’s like the sound of the sea, natural and soothing. I like that. 


Alison Leiby: I like that too.


Halle Kiefer: And but she says, but some nights I can hear the panther. It. It screams like a woman. And I don’t like that. It’s like, okay, yep, that would be bad. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I wouldn’t like that either. 


Halle Kiefer: So she cleans up the tea, she turns the light one, says, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize how dark it was in here. And he admires the statues. This is a statue we saw over again the fictional quote that I just realized was fictional. And it’s the statue of [laughter] a king on horseback, holding aloft a sword and impaled on the sword Alison, you’re not going to believe this. It’s a panther. It’s a big cat. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, boy. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, what’s this crazy statue? She says, oh, it’s the King John of Serbia. He drove out the Mamluks and he freed the people. And Oliver was like, yeah, well, why is he impaling a cat on a sword? He says—


Alison Leiby: Great question. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is the story Alison. This is like where we’re starting out. Irena says—


Alison Leiby: Okay great. 


Halle Kiefer: The Mamluks came to Serbia a long time ago and enslaved the people. At first the people were good and worshipped God in a true Christian way. But little by little, the people changed. When King John drove out the Mamluks and came to our village, he found evil things. People had bowed down to Satan and sent their masses to him. They had become witches and were evil. 


[clip of  Simone Simon]: King John put some of them to the sword and some the wisest and the most wicked, escaped into the mountains. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, so just. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: To clarify. 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hm. 


Alison Leiby: Mountain cats? 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Came to the towns. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: The Mamluks, the Mamluks came. I don’t— 


Alison Leiby: Is a Mamluks like a cat? 


Halle Kiefer: No, I think there are some sort of people, but I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: Then the intimation is they came in and started worshiping the devil. And then I guess the devil gave them the ability to become cats. Does that s—


Alison Leiby: Are we sure that it’s not just like the cats made the people worship the devil? 


Halle Kiefer: I that makes sense. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, both are like, really not real. But um—


Halle Kiefer: Also this is it does feel racist. I’m looking up Mamluks itself is not a word, but Mamluks was a term mostly most commonly referred to non-Arab ethnically diverse enslaved mercenaries. Slave soldiers and freed slaves were assigned to high ranking military and administrative duties, and they worked in the Ottoman and Arab dynasties. So I think we’re—


Alison Leiby: So that all. Yeah. Got it.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So there’s the Christians and then this other, you know—


Alison Leiby: Other people. 


Halle Kiefer: The other shows up. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And of course, gives people like [both speaking] you know, the ability to turn into cats and worship the devil. So, yeah, the timeline is a little hazy on that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So Oliver says—


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s quite a tale. You know, like what? Why do you have it? Like, what does have to do with you? We see Irena’s face fall and she says, the legend of the wicked ones who escaped it haunts my village. And the clock chimes. And Oliver goes, well, okay, it’s getting pretty late. You know, I’m probably going to head out after that, but, you know, as he walks down the stairs, he asks her can I take you out to dinner? And she says, yes. And he says, how about tomorrow? And she nods. And he walks down this like winding bann— Like a staircase. And they lock eyes, gets to the bottom, locks eyes, and she smiles. So they’re in love. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Love. 


Halle Kiefer: After one date, we then go to C.R. Cooper’s ship and barge construction [laughter] because the 1942 version of architect is some sort of barge engineer. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Which is what Oliver does for his day job. And he works with his coworkers, the Commodore, Doc Carver and Alice. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And all of them hear a meowing and they turn and on his like drafting table. Oliver has a kitten in a shoe box filled with newspapers shredded up. 


Alison Leiby: Aw. Okay, that’s okay, I guess that’s what they like.


Halle Kiefer: I was like that’s this probably was the fashion at the time. I don’t know much about it. And Alice scoops it up and everyone’s like, oh, my God, you got a kitten. 


Alison Leiby: Tiny kitten. 


Halle Kiefer: and so everyone says, ooh, Oliver must have a girlfriend because girls like cats. And he says—


Alison Leiby: I guess. I’m proving the rule. So. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: I know exactly. I was like, also, I can’t have cats because I’m allergic. But boy, boy, this cat’s cute. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, kittens. 


Halle Kiefer: And he—


Alison Leiby: They’re a whole other deal. 


Halle Kiefer: And Alice says, oh, so is she really your girlfriend? And he says, well, not yet, but we’ve been on one date and I’m in love. So it’s probably gonna, we’re probably gonna get married at some point. And he kind of then wedges the kitten back into the box. [laughter] It’s like, did you get the box at the pet store—


Alison Leiby: Yeah what? 


Halle Kiefer: Or they were just, they probably were just putting them in shoe boxes. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Um, that night, Oliver goes to pick up Irena for their second date, Alison and gives her the kitten, which immediately hisses and sort of rears back. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And she says, yeah, I’m sorry it didn’t come up on our first date, but cats don’t really seem to like me. 


Alison Leiby: Hmm. 


Halle Kiefer:  He’s sort of let down. She’s like, you know, actually, that’s okay. Let’s go to the pet store and see if we can exchange it for another pet. 


Alison Leiby: Like what? 


Halle Kiefer: Like, is that what you could do? I don’t know. I never been. I never purchased from a pet store. 


Alison Leiby: This cat hates the love of my life. Can we get a bird instead? Like, I don’t know, like. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Well, also, that’s exactly what they’re going to do. 


Alison Leiby: Oh no. 


Halle Kiefer: And as soon as they go to the pet store, it’s torrentially raining outside, they step in, all the animals go nuts. And it’s so loud. Both they and the pet shop ladies step out under the awning and the pet shop lady is like I am so sorry. I don’t know why they’re going crazy. The last time this happened is because an alley cat got in overnight and ate up my finches. So I don’t know what that is. What’s the deal with that? And Oliver’s like, okay, anyways, can we exchange our cat for a canary? Alison can you do that?  


Alison Leiby: I mean. Are the same price?


Halle Kiefer: Let’s say it’s a flat exchange. I guess you could. 


Alison Leiby: I guess you could. 


Halle Kiefer: And the pet store lady says come on back, this is how she describes the canary which really put a fucking smile on her face. She says, I’ve got a nice little lemon fellow with top notes like Caruso. And I don’t know who Caruso is, but a nice little lemon fellow. 


Alison Leiby: I like that. Lemon fellow, lemon fellow is great. 


Halle Kiefer: And so they start to go back in and all the pets have calmed down. Irena says, Oliver, you go pick out a canary. I’ll stay here outside of the rain. And she waits under the umbrella. 


Alison Leiby: Go get me a bird. 


Halle Kiefer: Pet store lady is packing up the canary and like a little caged for him to take and wraps the cage in newspaper cause it’s raining. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: She says animals are always so psychic. They always know when someone’s not quite right, anyways probably no big deal. I’ll take the cat back and you can take this little bird here and they go back to her place and Oliver falls asleep on the couch when he wakes up, Irena’s watching him sleep and they sit by the fire and it’s very romantic and cozy. And he tells her, Alison, I love you. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s the second damn day, and I guess it is the 40s [both speaking] so what are we going do? We have to get married. We’re obligated to get married. So you seem fine, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Oliver says, and you love me. And she nods and he says, it’s funny. I love you. And I haven’t even kissed you yet. And she says, well, why is that funny? And he’s like, oh, sorry, this must be a Serbian thing. It’s like in America, people tend to fall in love, like after they’ve kissed for like a while, you know. 


Alison Leiby: So. They haven’t kissed—


Halle Kiefer: They haven’t kissed. 


Alison Leiby: But we kind of implied that they had sex. 


Halle Kiefer: I think we are to understand that they did not. They haven’t done anything. 


Alison Leiby: Oh I see. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So—


Alison Leiby: They just were together like, all evening talking. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: Falling in love. 


Halle Kiefer: And because I did, I did. I was also surprised cause I assumed they must have kissed. I was like, okay if we didn’t. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: If we didn’t have sex. But you assume you canoodled. There must have been some canoodling. 


Alison Leiby: Some canoodling. 


Halle Kiefer: To be fair, this is their second date, so maybe they just hadn’t got to it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But, you know, he’s like, oh, sorry. Like, he’s just assuming, like, okay, sure, this is like a Serbian thing. Don’t worry about it. Like, I don’t. We’ll figure this out. But in America, yeah, typically people kiss like there’s a lot of kissing. And then there’s like, you get to know someone then you get married. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Irena becomes downcast and she says to Oliver, I’ve lived in dread of this moment, which everyone loves to hear on a second date. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yes. When you’re like, I’m in love with you, here’s a bird you’re in dread. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: She tells him. I’ve stayed away from people. I never wanted this to happen. I, I fled from my past. Some things you can never know or understand. Evil things. And he’s like, are you talking about the fucking cat people? That’s a fairy tale. That doesn’t scare me. And he tells her, and this. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t know. 


Halle Kiefer: This is the word Alison, that comes up over and over again. And that, you know, at the end of this, I’m going to talk about my queer feelings about this. He says to her, you’re not like that. You’re normal. He tells her, you’re so normal. You are going to marry me. Ooh. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says—


Alison Leiby: Loaded. 


Halle Kiefer: You could tell those fairy tales to our children. Alison, they get married and the, the implication is, like, it’s not that far off. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, it’s not like the third date, but, like, it’s pretty soon after, let’s say, maybe a couple of months or something. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s wintertime now and again. Like, I love that it’s like, you know, we see the rain, we see the leaves, we see the rain, we see the snow, you know, sort of tracking it without calling out how long it’s been. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And they’re celebrating. They’re having their post-wedding dinner like a very small party at the Belgrade, which is a Serbian restaurant, and everyone’s cutting it up. And Doc Carver calls the waiter the waiter [?] because he thinks it means waiter. Irena says that means thief. You can’t call him that. Everyone’s laughing and having a good time. The Commodore, who again is one of Oliver’s coworkers, turns to—


Alison Leiby: Uh huh. 


Halle Kiefer: —Alice and says, Doc Carver thinks Oliver’s bride, is a nice girl, but she’s terrifically odd. He’s worried about the marriage. 


Alison Leiby: Terrifically odd is a great phrase. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s also like, dude, you’re four feet away from her. There are only 25 people here. She can hear you. You cannot say they’ve just got married. But Alice is like, no, no, I talked to her. She’s really great. Oliver’s so in love, they’re going to be just fine. No one’s going to turn into a cat person. It’s going to be okay. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Just then, Alison, a woman in a fucking sickening, splat, black sparkly dress. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh. 


Halle Kiefer: And she has a black bow arranged like cat ears and sort of these two rolls down her like her hair is done up in like two rolls. So it kind of looks like cat ears as well. Looks at them from across the restaurant and locks eyes with Irena. And everyone’s kind of like, look at her and in case we didn’t get it, Doc Carver’s like, she looks like a cat. So in case we didn’t get it. 


Alison Leiby: [laughs] I love the 40s. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so good. Alison this cat person, if you will, walks over to Irena and says to her [speaks Serbian] and Irena crosses herself and looks horrified. And everyone kind of falls silent and watches this woman sashay out turns out she there’s a fucking cape attached to the back of her dress, and she puts a fur over it like a fur cape, and she exits into the snow and everyone’s like, oh, my God, who was that woman? She looked incredible. Like what a weirdo. And Oliver says, who is to Irena, who is still silently staring with horror. She said, what did that woman say to say to you in Serbian? And and Irena says, she greeted me. She called me sister. Alison, what would you do? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


Alison Leiby: Am I Oliver? Olivier? Whatever? 


Halle Kiefer: You could choose. You could be Oliver. Or you could be Irena. It’s up to you. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, if I’m him, I’m probably like, oh well. 


Halle Kiefer: At this point. 


Alison Leiby: I guess my wife will have our own thing going on, and that’s fine. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah it’s the forties. It’s like, okay, sure. 


Alison Leiby: I feel like that’s what was happening. I get. Yeah. I like clearly there’s cat stuff happening. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. But that. Would that be enough for you, to—


Alison Leiby: I don’t think at this point it’s enough to like. It’s just like, oh, lady. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like, I don’t know. There’s a bunch of ladies around doing weird stuff all the time. Like, I feel like, you know, you come across a strange person who, like, freaks someone out, and it’s like, all right, that’s not enough to, like [laughter] be suspicious that someone’s going to turn into a cat. Like. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: One stranger in a fur is not enough. 


Halle Kiefer: And then what if you’re Irena and this happens. Are you are you taking you’re already kind of nervous. 


Alison Leiby: I think I would flee. 


Halle Kiefer: You’d flee, you’d flee into the snow. 


Alison Leiby: I think I would flee. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t know where I would go, but—


Halle Kiefer: You have to go somewhere. 


Alison Leiby: It seems like this woman’s got my number and it doesn’t seem like a good thing. 


Halle Kiefer: I completely agree. I would also flee into the snow. I think that that’s what you got to do. All right. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 




Halle Kiefer: She says, Oliver, you saw what she looked like and he’s like, oh my God, you’re telling me she’s one of King John’s cat people? Now, we’ve talked about this so many times. You and those cat people. [laughter] 


Alison Leiby: We’ve talked about this so many times. It’s a very funny. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s like, okay, yeah, you’re going to talk about it a lot because this is the basis of your marriage, basically. So the working drives them home and drops off Oliver and Irena. And as soon as they drive away, Irena’s sort of silent and sullen. And Oliver says, what is it, Mrs. Reed? She tells him, I want to be Mrs. Reed fully, but I need time. He’s like, well you are, Mrs. Reed, we just got married. She’s like. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: No, no. What I’m saying is I need you to be patient. I have to. I need time before I could do that stuff that we’re supposed to do tonight. 


Alison Leiby: Mmm. 


Halle Kiefer: Cause I know, I know it’s been a couple months so, I know that we haven’t haven’t done much so. 


Alison Leiby: So they still we’re we’re assuming they haven’t really had sex yet or. 


Halle Kiefer: I Alison, I think we’re to think they have not even kissed. Which I just feel like I know it’s the 40s, but come on. 


Alison Leiby: Come on. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s not the 1840s. It’s not the 1400s. But she says—


Alison Leiby: At least a peck? A hug? 


Halle Kiefer: And again here’s the queer quote. She says, I need to have time to get over feeling like there’s something evil in me. It’s like, girl, okay, but like, what’s the plan? How are you going to do that? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, what’s the path forward? You know? But you know, Oliver’s like, do not worry. I, don’t feel any pressure. I’m in no rush. We’ve got all the time in the world baby. Like, it’s totally fine, but it’s to the point where she does not want to sleep in bed with him. So he’s asleep on the couch, and they re—


Alison Leiby: They can’t have a two bedroom?


Halle Kiefer: Yeah can’t you do the the Lucy and Desi? 


Alison Leiby: Twin beds? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah twin beds. At least you’re in the same room you’d hold hands across the gap. That sounds nice. She puts on her robe and her pajamas, her like nightgown and robe. So she’s now more dressed then she was on her own. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. [laughter] 


Halle Kiefer: Like, it’s like a nightgown that has it looks like a white collar shirt over it looks like a full length dress. It’s incredible. And they have this—


Alison Leiby: I mean. Elegant pajamas and robes of kind of the 40s and 50s. Are just like, there’s nothing more chic. 


Halle Kiefer: And she has like, all these incredible like skirt suits, like a black, like sort of like wrap top. It’s so she looks incredible. The fashion is incredible. And they have this awkward like, are we gonna are we? But she goes into the bedroom and shuts the door and Oliver knocks and tells her goodnight. And we see her almost open the door to let him in until she hears the feminine screams of the panther from the zoo. And her hand drops from the knob and she whispers goodnight, Oliver. A few weeks later, Irena stops by the zookeeper, who is one of these, like, much like we’ve discussed in previous movies. Say, for example, the owner of the gas station, the old crotchety town kook who’s going to warn you about what’s going to happen. The zookeeper. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Is that character where he’s sweeping out—


Alison Leiby: I love that.


Halle Kiefer: —the panther cage. And she says, Oh, I just love to see the panther. I love coming here. The panther so beautiful. He says, no, he’s an evil critter. She says, excuse me? You telling, this is the zookeeper. 


Alison Leiby: Also, critter? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah it’s like don’t work at the zoo if you think some of the animals are evil, first of all. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Also the word critter. Really quick, have I talked about this on the podcast? The graffiti on the Puss in Boots. 


Halle Kiefer: No. 


Alison Leiby: One of the subway ads in one of the stations was for Puss in Boots 2, I guess, which is like an animated movie about Puss in Boots and somebody graffitied on it and wrote, I would fuck these critters. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh my God. 


Alison Leiby: [laughs] That is so funny.


Halle Kiefer: That’s so funny. 


Alison Leiby: The word critters now only has that association for me. 


Halle Kiefer: Not that this is as funny, but I always [?] during the pandemic I saw my favorite graffiti, which is somebody spray painted on a walls it says, I just want my stimmy.[laughter] And I did think that was great. 


Alison Leiby: I love graffiti. 


Halle Kiefer: So the zookeeper goes on to tell Irena he’s like, you know, the book—. 


Alison Leiby: Evil cats. 


Halle Kiefer: He says, you know, in the Book of Revelations. 


Alison Leiby: That’s coming up? 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, yeah, and he says. 


[clip of Alec Craig]: And the beast which I saw was like undo a leopard. 


[clip of  Simone Simon]: Like undo a leopard.


[clip of Alec Craig]: Yes, ma’am. 


Halle Kiefer: Like a leopard. But not a leopard. I guess that fits this feller.


Halle Kiefer: So he’s literally saying this is the beast from Revelations at the zoo. 


Alison Leiby: It’s like, why is he even at the zoo then? [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: And and she she walks off and the zookeeper says, congratulations on getting married because she you know, he knows her from coming every fucking day to the zoo to look at the panther.


Alison Leiby: Draw the cats. 


Halle Kiefer: Back at home. We see Irena sketching outfits and humming a song, same song the zookeeper was singing. Her canary starts singing back and Irena goes over and she reaches into the canary’s cage. And similar to like a cat batting a bird kind of tries to grab the canary and it has a heart attack. It drops dead. 


Alison Leiby: Not great. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison she puts the canary’s body in a shoe box. She takes the little corpse to the zoo. She takes out the box and she hurls it into the panthers cage. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Then she runs back home. Back at home, Oliver pours them a sherry. And Irena is distraught because he just thinks, oh, the bird died, you buried it or threw it, you could actually throw your pet away in the New York trash. But you have to label it as such. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So you could hypothetically put out, say, a dead dog. It has to be obviously in a bag and you have to write— 


Alison Leiby: A sign that says dead dog on it?


Halle Kiefer: Dead dog on it. I know. But also it’s like where else are you suppose if you don’t have a car. It’s like, what do you do? 


Alison Leiby: Right. You can’t always have. 


Halle Kiefer: And like to [both speaking] pet I think they you make they make you pay for it. I mean, like if you like, or want them cremated, like it’s not free. 


Alison Leiby: Rizz. Cover your ears. 


Halle Kiefer: Sorry. Not you. You’ll be. [laughter]


Alison Leiby: You’re never going to die. 


Halle Kiefer: You’re going to be stuffed and mounted in the Smithsonian. [laughter] The best cat section. 


Alison Leiby: World’s best cat. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s like, you know, look, I know you’re really sorry, but I know you’re really sad about the bird dying. But it was his time. And she says, no, it’s not that she turns to Oliver and again gives this, like, trapped lesbians speech where she says, I envy every woman on the street. They’re happy. They make their husbands happy. Oh, they lead normal, happy lives. They’re free. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, my God. 


Halle Kiefer: Are they Irena? Seems like a little bit of projection here. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But again, normal wanting normalcy to lead a normal, happy life. And she admits to him. The bird died what I was trying to grab it with grab it in my hand. And he’s like, okay, the canary was  afraid of you. I had a rabbit that hated me, which I thought was a very funny line. [laughter] 


Alison Leiby: Very funny. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like I had a rabbit that hated me, and I turned out fine. 


Alison Leiby: Like, what was it talking shit? [laughter] Like, how did you know? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it’s like this son of a bitch. Um, but she says she tells him about going to the zoo and throwing the canary in the panther cage, and she says I had to do it. That’s what frightens me. 


Alison Leiby: Oh no. 


Halle Kiefer: And then Oliver takes a very progressive like stance during this movie, which I really appreciate. he’s like, you know, I’ve been trying to, like, joke you out of this. Things seems like you’re obsessed with these, like, cat stories. But I see now that the issue is not the stories, it’s that you believe in them. So we need to get you help. We need to get someone for you to talk to. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see—


Alison Leiby: This is a more progressive and advanced position than many of the men. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh yeah. 


Alison Leiby: In contemporary movies have had. 


Halle Kiefer: And, you know, and he says, you know, he’s he is Irena looks over at the King John statue. He goes, nope, not that kind of help. No, we’re not going to stab the panther. [laughs] Okay. She’s he says we need to face this together. We need someone who can find the reason for your belief and cure it. That’s what we need. A psychiatrist. Alison. I was like, okay, someone in a horror movie. Even, like—


Alison Leiby: Finally. 


Halle Kiefer: —now wouldn’t go to a psychiatrist. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Someone in this movie’s like, we got to go. We got to find somebody because we got to figure this out. 


Alison Leiby: We need a professional. We need to work on this. Yeah, that’s great. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately. 


Alison Leiby: Good for him. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, unfortunately, when they do find a psychiatrist, we cut to Irena and he is, the psychiatrist is immediately hypnotizing her, like. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: First session. And this is, of course, Doctor Louis Judd from the fictional quote. 


Alison Leiby: Oh from the quote. 


Halle Kiefer: From the beginning of the movie. [laughter]


Alison Leiby: Real person. Doctor—


Halle Kiefer: Real to me, real to me. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, real in the movie—


Halle Kiefer: He tells, hypnotized Irena, he goes, so you were telling me about the cats. Clearly like in her hypnosis, she’s also just been like and the cats and the cats. 


Alison Leiby: And the cats and the cats and the cats and the cats. 


Halle Kiefer: And she says, the cats torment me in my dreams. I have no peace, for they are in me. And Dr. Judd repeats it, in me? But she doesn’t reply. He opens the shade he takes Irena out of her hypnotic state by kind of lightly slapping her on the cheek with the back of his head which I was like I—


Alison Leiby: Medicine. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I don’t think you’re aloud to just riff in that way, you know? 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: But she has no memory of their conversation. So he’s like, okay, great. Don’t worry. I took notes. He said, you told me about the cat people of your village who, out of jealousy or anger or out of their own corrupt passions, can change into great cats like panthers. And I agree, a panther is   a great cat. Let’s give it up for—


Alison Leiby: Great cat. 


Halle Kiefer: —panthers Alison. Let’s round of applause for all these great cats out here. [applause]


Alison Leiby: Rizz just looked up at me, it’s like he knows we’re talking about kitties. But yeah, panthers are great cats. 


Halle Kiefer: He said if one of these women were, one of these proposed cat persons who hypothetically and this is all women, he said if one of these women were to kiss her lover fall into his embrace, she would be driven by her own evil to kill him. And she’s like, oh yeah—


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: —that seems like something I would have told you when I was a child. That seems about right. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, okay? The fact that, yeah, she’s like, I can’t believe I’m not telling it to you right now. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And he says, okay, so here’s what I’ve got. Obviously, like, this is from some trauma in your youth. Like, this is about like the village you’re raised in, the stories that were passed to you. Here’s some things that I think probably led to this. One. Your father died in a mysterious accident in the forest before your birth. So. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: All these other all the other children would make fun of you and call your mother a witch and a cat woman and say blaming your father’s death on her, saying that she was like a witch. 


Alison Leiby: Is he saying that that is what happened? Or—


Halle Kiefer: We’re to understand.


Alison Leiby: Is he like, my guess is this is what happened. [laughter] 


Halle Kiefer: No. She we’re to believe—


Alison Leiby: She revealed that. 


Halle Kiefer: She revealed that when she was hypnotized. And he’s like, look early. I was, to me, this also felt like very moderate. Like early traumas can sort of form a canker in the mind, like this sore spot that you could either sort of reopen or we could heal it. I was like, that’s a helpful way to look at it. And then on her way out, she says, that should I tell my husband about our sessions? Like, I don’t know exactly like how to talk to her about it. And Doctor Judd, again it’s still the 40s. He says, tell him what all wives tell their husbands. Nothing. Okay. [laughter] Anyways, get out of here crazy kid, see you next week. 


Alison Leiby: Oh boy. 


Halle Kiefer: Irena comes home. I fucking love this scene that’s coming up here. Irena comes home to find Oliver smoking with his coworker Alice. Irena’s met Alice, she’s like okay, great. Alison, Alice turns to Irena and says, so how was Doctor Judd? And the actress who plays Irena, her name is Simone Simon. And is her face—


Alison Leiby: What a name.


Halle Kiefer: —in, I’m sure I we’ll look up what her actual name was. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But her face in that moment is the perfect expression of oh, my God. My husband told his hot female coworker. 


Alison Leiby: Coworker. 


Halle Kiefer: That he is close friends with about my weird cat related sexual trauma and Oliver being a dumb ass being like, oh no, Alice is really like, don’t worry. She’s both of our friends. I told her. Dr. Judd was actually Alice’s recommendation. I got his name because I told Alice about this, like right away, and Irena’s like. 


Alison Leiby: Not great. 


Halle Kiefer: Excuse me? Which I completely agree. It’s like you have to check with your partner if you’re going to be telling their psychiatric business to your friend. 


Yeah, yeah. 


Or your coworkers, I think, you know?


Alison Leiby: And definitely you’re like. Coworker that you could be interested in. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Yeah. Someone who is like an age appropriate person that you’re very close to. Oliver immediately realizes he fucks up. He’s like, no, I knew Alice would understand. She’s a good egg, but Irena’s furious, and even Alice starts apologizing. She’s like, please don’t be offended. It wasn’t like that. And and Irena says, basically ask her to leave. So Alice leaves again, apologizing and Irena yells at Oliver like, why would you tell her that? She’s like, I’m telling you, Alice understands everything. She’s a dear friend and Irena says, well, there’s some things even a woman doesn’t want other women to know. Of course, that night they’re still sleeping separately. So Irena gets up in the middle of the goddamn night, you know, where she’s going Alison. That’s right. She’s going back to the fucking zoo and she’s at the zoo and she’s pacing outside the gate in like the panther’s pacing in the cage. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh. 


Alison Leiby: So they’re sort of like paralleling each other, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes, yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: She gets back. Oliver is up and is terrified because he like I woke up. I like the door, like the bedroom door was open you weren’t there. 


Alison Leiby: Also like the answer, where were you? The zoo at night, like. 


Halle Kiefer: Pacing around? Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: You know, like a cat would. 


Halle Kiefer: And she’s like, I will. He’s like, I will literally do whatever you want. I like, know, whatever. And she’s like, I don’t want to fight about this. And she says, please do what you can and never make me feel jealous or envy or envious. And we realize it’s not so much that she was upset is that she is also afraid her feelings of jealousy or envy will trigger her transformation to a cat person, which is really hard to then be like, I’m going to restrict myself to certain emotions. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, because they’re not within your. Like, you can’t control if you feel jealous or envious of somebody or something. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Like it just isn’t really. You can like recognize that and try and mitigate it. But like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: If you feel that and you think that’s going to turn you into a cat. Girl. You’re about to be a cat. 


Halle Kiefer: Girl you will be a cat. 100%. At work sometime later Alice see’s that Oliver’s looking really miserable. And Oliver confesses that Irena has stopped going to Dr. Judd. And he did. She didn’t tell him, so she stopped seeing the psychiatrist. And he’s really upset because he’s like. And he says to her he’s like, I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever actually been unhappy before. Like, I you know, I didn’t I just kind of went through my life and we got married and now I was like, I don’t know how to resolve this. I’ve never actually been unhappy. Like, now that I look at my life. Alice starts crying and she says, I can’t stand to see you unhappy. I’m in love with you. 


Alison Leiby: Of course she is. 


Halle Kiefer: But she says, I know you’re with Irena. I know you guys are in love. But he goes, well, wait one second. Well, hang on. And he says, I don’t know anymore if I know what love is. And I don’t know if I love Irena and Alice says I know what love is. It’s two people coming together and sharing a life and being honest and and not having any weird stuff about cats. I’ll tell you that much. And Oliver says, wow, like, you give me a lot to think about. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: He says, sometimes I feel like Irena and I are strangers. And Alice takes his hand and says, oh, Oli, you and I will never be strangers. 


Alison Leiby: Mm. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile Alison, Irena is, you guessed it, back at the zoo. 


Alison Leiby: Oh good. 


Halle Kiefer: And she’s found—


Alison Leiby: Glad she’s there. 


Halle Kiefer: The zookeeper. 


Alison Leiby: Nothing to worry about. 


Halle Kiefer: The zookeeper has left his key in the lock of the panthers cage. And so there is this moment it’s like. 


Alison Leiby: This guy is not helping. 


Halle Kiefer: He is he is a terrible zookeeper. First of all. 


Alison Leiby: That’s like the the number one thing. 


Halle Kiefer: The number one—


Alison Leiby: That’s it, that’s priority one is like, okay, once you’re like, okay, the animals are all alive, it’s keeping them in the enclosures. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: That they live in. 


Halle Kiefer: And they, and they, and like, people could get to the outside of the cage area by stepping over a little fence. So like, it’s like there’s a moat or anything. Like, it’s like. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: The door will open and the panther could just leap over the fence. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But she doesn’t open it. Alison. She takes the key out. She gives it the zookeeper. And then she she turns and standing behind her is her therapist, Dr. Judd. And he says. 


Alison Leiby: He’s at the zoo? 


Halle Kiefer: He’s at the zoo everyone’s at the zoo. 


Alison Leiby: Is it night?


Halle Kiefer: No, no, it’s day. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s day. So Oliver is at work and Irena is not at work. She’s at the zoo, not releasing the panther from its cage. And he says congratulations on not opening it. She says, well, I wasn’t going to do that. Why would I why would I do something like that? And he says.


[clip of Tom Conway]: There is, in some cases, a psychic need to loose evil upon the world. And all of us carry within us a desire for death. You fear the panther, yet you’re drawn to him again and again. Couldn’t you turn to him as an instrument of death? 


Halle Kiefer: Why don’t you come back to see me? I know you have a troubled mind, she tells him. No, it’s not my mind that’s troubled. It’s my soul. There’s a difference. Alison, do you feel like there is sometimes a psychic need to unleash evil into the world? 


Alison Leiby: Yes? 


Halle Kiefer: I know. Why do we have that? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I don’t know. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s not good. 


Alison Leiby: Sometimes and like. And even just, like, separate from it, like, sometimes I, like, just want to start shit. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh I get that. 


Alison Leiby: I feel like that’s the same instinct, like instinct. Like where I’m like. Sometimes I’m like, I just want to unleash some chaos and, like makes something worse. I don’t know. Like, I almost never, ever, ever even think about acting on it. But it is like a human instinct. 


Halle Kiefer: I get that there was, this was yesterday, and I think you’ll understand this as a comedian. But there is this—


Alison Leiby: I think that’s also a huge part where you’re just like, It would be funny if things got worse. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, you know, someone at work and it was like it would be in a funny way, but it was like, oh, I just want to like, bully this person in a really funny—


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —way and make a bit out of it. But it was someone whom they like I know that they wouldn’t enjoy that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like there’s some people you could do that with. 


Alison Leiby: Totally. 


Halle Kiefer: And you can kind of, then you could sort of be mean to each other and joke. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But there’s certain people that whether they’re more sensitive or they just that’s just not their sense of humor. 


Alison Leiby: Just don’t enjoy that kind of joking. 


Halle Kiefer: I was like, don’t do it. But I was like, oh, I want to be mean in a fun way because I like that. That’s one of the things that I do sort of not miss. But like I really enjoyed about living in the comedy community is like, you could just be fucking mean to each other’s face [both speaking] like, it was really nice. 


Alison Leiby: And it’s like, I like people have said such mean things to me, like in jokes, like, know knowing that they’re joking. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: And it’s just like, all I could do is laugh cause I’m like, that’s funny. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like a roast. [laughter] Like going to a roast. Or taking part—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —in a roast. Like, it is hilarious to have to say what people like, see in you. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: That is make fun-able. You know. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes. So, yes, I believe in that instinct to like, you know, maybe not unleash evil on the world, but certainly to shake shit up a little bit.


Halle Kiefer: I mean, what a treat. Yeah, we wouldn’t unleash a panther. But don’t. Don’t we all have a panther inside. And just that panther want occasionally be a bitch? You know in whatever way that looks like. [laughter] And, you know, she kind of, like, abruptly leaves the conversation with Dr. Judd. At home Oliver confronts Irena and says, hey, I want to talk to you. We are you’re not being frank with me. I ran into Dr. Judd, and I feel like this is how couples grow apart. I really want to sit down and talk and be like, what’s going on? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But then and it’s like, that’s all very like, again, thoughtful. And he’s trying to be smart and open. And then he makes a huge mistake. He says, it’s like I told Alice, and Irena goes, excuse me, you told Alice this? And he’s like, look, I know I promised you that you we wouldn’t quarrel because I didn’t want to, like, trigger you. You know, I don’t want to make you jealous or envious, so I’m going to go to work now it is nighttime and apparently they. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: They designed barges around the clock. These barges have to be made Alison.


Alison Leiby: Get those barges out there. 


Halle Kiefer: These barges aren’t going to design themselves. And he says, I’m going to do a little work and then come back. And when I’m calm in the morning, we will then we’ll talk about this. Okay. I don’t I don’t want to have a fight. He goes to the office. But there’s a cleaning lady, Miss Agnew, who is mopping the wait. What’s the door where it turns in a circle? 


Alison Leiby: Revolving? 


Halle Kiefer: A revolving door. Wooh.


Alison Leiby: Door where it turns in a circle. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: I’m going to take more medication. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Before our next recording. 


Alison Leiby: Great idea. 


Halle Kiefer: Is mapping the revolving door. Which seems [laughs] like that’s a hard thing to do— 


Alison Leiby: Just going in a circle in it with a mop? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Well, she’s on her she’s on her hands and knees having to, like, scoot around in a circle. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, I see. Still.


Halle Kiefer: So she’s. And he’s like, oh, sorry. She’s like sorry. I’ll be done in a minute. You can come through. And he’s like, you know what? I’m going to go around the corner to there’s like an all night coffee shop for pie and coffee and the name of it at least according to the way it’s spelled on the screen is Sally Lung [laughs] Like. Sally Lung.


Alison Leiby: Spell it.


Halle Kiefer: Sally and then l u n g. Like someone’s last name is Sally Lung. 


Alison Leiby: Sally Lung? [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: She’s like a character in like a children’s anatomy book. Like, oh, hello, It’s Sally Lung. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, we’re twins. There’s two of us. 


Halle Kiefer: Sally—


Alison Leiby: We turn breathing air into energy. 


Halle Kiefer: And I was like, I want to know everything about Sally Lung. 


Alison Leiby: Sally Lung. 


Halle Kiefer: That is such a fucking funny name. 


Alison Leiby: That is such a funny name. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, Irena, of course, calls the office because now she’s like, oh, God. I drove my husband off to the office in the middle of the goddamn night. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Of course, when she calls who’s up late working, it’s Alice. So now she’s thinking, wait a minute, he’s not just going to work, to work. He’s meeting up with Alice, that bitch. On her way out. Alice then exits pretty much after she got the phone call. She sees Miss Agnew, and Miss Agnew says, oh, you know, Oliver’s around the corner to get coffee. You know, I just saw him. So Alice is like, oh, great, I’ll see if he’s still there and I’ll stop in and say hi. So of course, as soon as Irena gets down there because she’s just like, I’m going to the fucking workplace and confront this bitch. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: She finds them. See’s them through the widow having pie and coffee. So it does look like he left just to meet up with Alice, even though that isn’t. You know. 


Alison Leiby: Right. But it’s a bad. 


Halle Kiefer: It looks bad. 


Alison Leiby: It’s a bad look. 


Halle Kiefer: And to be fair, he she told him that she’s in love with them. He was like, I don’t know how my feelings are my wife, but they are keeping it platonic. There’s they’re not doing anything. 


Alison Leiby: No funny business. 


Halle Kiefer: Like he walks her to the corner. And he’s like, do you want me to walk you home? She says, I’m a big girl. It’s fine. And they literally shake hands to say goodbye and then leave. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So they’re like, they’re not even hugging. They’re trying to like, you know what I mean, and I think it is intentional.


Alison Leiby: Boundaries. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Like you’re. You’re married. I want to like you sort that out. Unfortunately, Alice starts to walk through the park because this is supposed to be Central Park, but it looks like it’s just shot at a lot, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And she here sort of following her. And then suddenly this is great roar. And when she turns, luckily, the bus pulls up and she’s able to get on. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, great. 


Halle Kiefer: And as she looks, she sees these trees shaking. But obviously she’s being stalked by something, perhaps some sort of cat person. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Cat. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, over at the zoo, the zookeeper has found two dead sheep. And I was like, what kind of zoo has sheep? But he also finds—


Alison Leiby: Petting zoo. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s true. This is not that kind of zoo. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: He finds a set of bloody paw prints, same as a panther, and as they walk, they turn into high heel prints. Which I love. 


Alison Leiby: [gasps] I love that. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So Irena drives home. It’s the middle of the fucking night. Oliver is terrified again because he’s like I did go to work. I ended up having coffee, but that was my plan. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And so when he gets home, he’s like, I thought you were just. You just left. Like, I thought you just fucking bailed. And again, he. Apologies. I’m so sorry we fought. Please forgive me. I really do want to work this out. And she says, I forgive you. And then goes into her bedroom to draw a bath. And he tries to follow her in, but she shuts the door. And then she just sits in the bathtub and sobs. And it’s very like real way. Like it really is. Like she’s so distressed and alone and afraid. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But thinks if I if I open up to this person, to my husband, the whole thing, the whole thing falls apart. 


Alison Leiby: [both speaking] Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So that night Irena dreams of cats and King John with his sword. And the next day, Alison, she goes back to the zoo. And the key is in the panther’s cage once more. 


Alison Leiby: Oh boy. Feels like it’s harder to turn down this time. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. Who will survive? 


[voice over]: Who will survive? 


Alison Leiby: I think only Irena. And she is a cat. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. 


Alison Leiby: I think that she’ll kill her husband and Alice and then. 


Halle Kiefer: Love it. 


Alison Leiby: Live her life possibly as a cat forever. 


Halle Kiefer: Where do you think she’ll escape to? Where do you think she’ll will she make it up to Canada, go to New Jersey? 


Alison Leiby: I could see her maybe getting on one of the barges and heading back to Europe. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, exactly—


Alison Leiby: I don’t know if a barge can cross the Atlantic, but it’s, you know, closer at least. 


Halle Kiefer: Only one way to find out. Somebody tell us. 




Alison Leiby: Next time we’re we’re with Irena and Oliver and Alice tags along as a third to go to the museum. 


Halle Kiefer: This bitch. 


Alison Leiby: It’s like read the room, Alice. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But she’s in love with Oliver, you know. So they visit the maritime section. Oliver says, oh, we know that you hate boats and think they’re boring, so why don’t you go look at the modern art, and we’ll meet you downstairs in an hour, even though Irena says, well, I like looking at the little ships like trying, you know, she’s like, I want to spend time with you. It’s like, oh, no boo, stink, you know. And then as soon as she steps away to go, look at the modern art, Oliver is like, oh, Alice, blah, blah, blah. Here’s this barge. We know so much about boats. And you can see Irena’s face like, I don’t know anything about boats. My husband’s talking to another woman about boats. 


Alison Leiby: All I know about is cats.


Halle Kiefer: That night. They get separated when they go downstairs. Irena’s not there. However, when Alice starts to go home, we know that Irena has started following her. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Alice lives, I believe, lives in a hotel because there’s a front desk and she asks for the key to the swimming pool. And I feel like that was more of a setup back then. 


Alison Leiby: I do think that people lived in hotels more. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And like mid-century like that, especially in the cities. Like, I think that was happening. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, exactly. And it’s like if you’re like, I just work and go to my house, like, go to my hotel room, that makes sense. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So she, she gets the key to the swimming pool, which is in the basement, and the desk clerk has a little black kitten who Alice kind of plays with. And when she goes out into the pool area to change, she doesn’t notice the kitten follows her. Alice puts out her bathing suit. It’s all it’s incredibly dark in the swimming pool area, and she turns to the doorway and sees the kitten yowling in fright and she sees a shadow. And Alison, what does she do? She leaps into the pool. It’s like you see something scary. So you’re going to get into water?


Alison Leiby: In a pool? And like, not just like what, like you can’t like, it’s not like, oh, I’m going to swim away. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. It’s not a river. 


Alison Leiby: It’s in a closed pool. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison I mean, you are more of a swimmer that I. So is your first instinct when you’re afraid to leap into a pool? 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, well, yeah. So I don’t know why she did that, but again, you need it for the scene, and she’s swimming around and we’re hearing like the yowling, filling up the darkness in this pool room. And you see, like the water reflecting in the ceiling and a shape moving in the shadows and she screams. And the desk clerk and the housekeeper run down to help. But the figure emerges out of the dark it’s just Irena, she says, you know, Alice, do you know where my husband is? Because I got separated from you at the museum and Alice says, oh he must have gone home. Like we looked for you. We didn’t see you. We went, we went separate ways. He’s not here. I’ll tell you that much. And Irena’s like, oh, that’s probably what it is. I’ll just head home. She leaves and the desk clerk hands Alice her dressing gown and they both see it has been torn to ribbons by some kind of cat person. 


Alison Leiby: Claws claws. 


Halle Kiefer: So it’s the middle of the damn night. But Alice calls people are up and about. I guess it’s Manhattan like it’s New York. City doesn’t sleep. So I guess it would make sense. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah people are out and around. 


Halle Kiefer: So Alice calls Dr. Judd and he comes to her building and Alice says, how much do you believe about the cat people that Irena believes in? Because I’ve been followed twice and I swear to God, it was by the cat version of Irena. And Dr. Judd says, man, I’m going to be so rich, caught all these cat ladies like catching each other’s crazy. He doesn’t believe a word of it. 


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: And he says, let’s think about this logically. Why would Irena want to hurt you? She’s like, well, that’s the thing. I’m in love with her husband. He goes, oh, okay. Well, he’s like, I think that this makes sense, it’s like you’re she’s sort of influencing how you’re thinking, like you’re caught up in this like, weird triangle of, like, fear and like her anxiety, and now you’re sort of being affected by it. But I wanted to go talk to Irena and get her side of things. And Alice at this point was like, Irena is a cat person. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So be careful. And she says, oh, well, I guess you’d have me carry a gun with a silver bullet. She says, yeah, like if you had one. But he says, don’t worry. And he shows he the inside of his cane is a sword, which is pretty fucking badass. 


Alison Leiby: That’s awesome. But like, weird for just like, a psychiatrist. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: See, I absolutely think this is exactly the kind of guy who would have something like that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, it’s never going to come up. But he just gets to show women that there’s a sword in his cane. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He leaves and we have him go back for another session. And so it really is the second session with Irena, and she. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Tells him that she’s having more and more frequent memory lapses, ostensibly when she’s turning into a cat person and she’s becoming more and more afraid. And he says, you know, I’m having a hard time giving you counsel because you aren’t being honest with me. And she says, I have always told you the truth. I’m being 100% honest. I don’t know how to explain what’s happened to me, but I am being honest with you. And he says, are you telling me you’re honestly concerned if you kiss your husband, you will turn into a cat and ruin him to bits? And she says, I don’t know. But obviously on some level, yes, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And then Dr. Judd leans and he says, well, what if I were to kiss you? 


Alison Leiby: I mean. 


Halle Kiefer: Doctor Judd. 


Alison Leiby: Boundary crossing.


Halle Kiefer: You’re a professional. Irena says, oh, I don’t know what would happen, but I do know I do not want to be kissed by you. And so, of course, then Doctor Judd is becomes like a huge bitch. He’s like, you’re very clever. You must really enjoy this little game. You know, some people could be outsmarted by their patients. And clearly, you’re too smart for me. You got it all twisted up. And she’s like, I am not lying to you. This is not a game. 


Alison Leiby: Claw him to death. 


Halle Kiefer: I believe this is 100% true. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He says, I’ll tell you this right now. If you believe this, you are this close from real insanity. And then he says, I can’t help you. You have to help yourself. Just forget those stories of your youth and get rid of any cat objects in your house. It’s like, if she could do that, she would have done that. 


Alison Leiby: She would just do that. 


Halle Kiefer: You are a horrible psychiatrist. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, he’s not good at his job. 


Halle Kiefer: But Irena says, you know what? I think you really helped me. And we sort of see her wheels turning in her head. At home, Irena sets up a candlelit dinner when Oliver arrives home, and she says, I went to Dr. Judd’s and now I’m no longer afraid and we can have sex. And she doesn’t say that part, obviously. But Oliver says, well, if this was a little while ago that would have made me the happiest man in the world. But things have changed. I’m in love with Alice. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, my God. Kill them all. She’s correct in killing all of them. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: He’s like, I’m sorry. I will give you a divorce. I’ll give you whatever you want. It’ll be better that way. I’m sorry this didn’t work out. She’s devastated. She’s like, fine. And she collapses on the couch. She’s like, what, can you offer me? Solace? Just silence. Well, guess what I love silence. I love loneliness. All I need is the cats. I can hear them. And Oliver goes to her and says hey, hey, hey Irena, you’re talking like an insane woman. [laughter] The phrase, it’s like the idea of somebody saying when you’re distraught, you’re talking like an insane woman. 


Alison Leiby: Like an insane woman. 


Halle Kiefer: Again. Exactly what you want to say to someone where they’re going through it, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: She screams at him to get out, and when she leaves, she sort of claws over the cushion of their velvet couch and like, the stuffing comes out. Alison. Doctor Judd, Oliver and Alice meet up to discuss what to do about Irena. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Because Oliver and Alice, despite the fact that they’re in love with each other, do really care about her and want to figure it out. And Dr. Judd is a fucking dumb ass piece of shit, and we know he’s about to be killed by a cat person. So, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Deserved.


Halle Kiefer: He says well we could either have her committed or you could have your marriage annulled. It’s like, wow that is history for women. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, those are the options baby. And he says as a psychiatrist, I would recommend you put her away. But as a friend, I would say have your marriage annulled. Because if you can’t, you cannot divorce an insane person. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I was like, this is a very dehumanizing conversation about this person. And Oliver, to his credit, says, if she’s insane, then I will not divorce her. I will support her through this. I’m not going to abandon her. And Alice says, that’s the right thing to do, and I will help you do it. Like just because—


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: —this is complicated. We’re not going to abandon her if she’s mentally ill. I was like, this is 1942 baby. I appreciated this. 


Alison Leiby: We’re like, barely there now. 


Halle Kiefer: But the problem with that is it’s like, okay, so we’re not gonna support, we are going to support her which means we’re going to have her committed to a mental institution. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Not great.


Halle Kiefer: And he says, we’re going to draw up the commitment papers and then we’ll all meet and we’ll sort of have an intervention at 6 p.m. at your guys at at Oliver and Irena’s place to, like, be like, we’re going to put you in a facility until you don’t believe there are cat people any more. And they’re just having coffee, talking about having—


Alison Leiby: In the meantime.  Like, you’ll be there and you can’t leave, and then we’ll be at work together. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Right. Yeah, I know. Exactly. It’s like, yeah, that’s really going to help her. But so they go home, they’re waiting for her. Irena never comes home. Right. And it’s late. And finally Dr. Judd says, I’m just gonna go home. We’ll talk tomorrow. And Oliver and Alice go back to work. To work on a barge. [laughter]


Alison Leiby: I mean, are they working like a 90 hour work? I mean, I guess they kind of aren’t working [both speaking] during the day. They’re like, we’re at the museum. I’m walking around let’s get coffee. 


Halle Kiefer: And I guess it’s cool like, can make your own hours at the barge construction company. 


Alison Leiby: I guess. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: But Dr. Judd fixes the lock, like, basically sets the lock on Oliver and Irena’s apartment so he can get back in without them. So we know that Dr. Judd’s gonna sneak back in. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, well, that’s his problem. 


Halle Kiefer: Of course, at work, the phone rings, Alice answers and there’s a hang up call. And Alice was  like, that’s crazy. That happened that one night when someone followed me home. Oh, fuck. That was Irena. Irena’s coming here. 


Alison Leiby: Oh boy. 


Halle Kiefer: And Oliver says, get your things. Let’s go. Alice point and stops him. The door to the hallway was open and it’s now closed and locked. Alison, they hear a growl and there’s a full on fucking panther in the office. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, shit. 


Halle Kiefer: There’s a panther loose at the barge construction company. 


Alison Leiby: During night shift. 


Halle Kiefer: The panther backs them up into the corner and Oliver grabs a T-square, which then forms, of course, the shadow of the cross. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, my God. 


Halle Kiefer: One true cross of course. And he tells the panther. In the name of God, leave us in peace. The panther falls silent and they sort of peer around. It’s all dark in the office and the panther is gone. But when they get down to the lobby, Alice notices that the lobby is filled with Irena’s perfume, her signature scent, and they walk out of the [?] and I think this is the funniest line they walk out of the [?]. Alice goes, I need a drink. [laughter] It’s just like her delivery is like, you think it’s going to be like now they’re going to treat it really serious. And she’s like, yeah, I’m going to need a drink after that one. [laughter] Back to the apartment, Dr. Judd has— 


Alison Leiby: Love the 40s.


Halle Kiefer: —let himself back in. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: Alice tries to call to warn him because she’s like, we called you at home. And I guess you just snuck back into our apartment. I don’t understand. But Irena is a cat person. 


Alison Leiby: Yep. 


Halle Kiefer: And she is. If she’s not here, she’s probably going to come there. Irena enters and Irena goes to Dr. Judd and he—


Alison Leiby: As a human? 


Halle Kiefer: —basically just fucking puts a full court press on her. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, you know, you’re, you live in fear of yourself, but I’m not afraid of you. I’m not afraid of your perfume or your hair. I’m not afraid of your body. So don’t be afraid of me. And they kiss. Well, Alison. Proof’s in the pudding here. Irena’s face she kind of has this blank look and then her eyes start to dazzle this, like, very fun effect. And Dr. Judd backs up and grabs his cane, pulling out the sword. And then we see a huge fight in shadow. But it’s obviously the actor just holding like a panther mannequin and flailing around [laughter] like the panther is attacking him, it’s obviously just like a stuffed panther. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: And it’s, it’s incredible. It’s so funny. He’s holding it. He’s like flailing and falling down. Of course, she kills him. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And she’s able to escape right as Alice and Oliver are running up the stairs. She’s able to, like, hide behind a plant on the stairwell. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And all the other neighbors have heard this so all the neighbors run down. And Irena, from the bottom of the stairwell cast one last look up the stairs, just as Oliver did at the beginning. Alison, Doctor Judd, if you can believe it, has been killed by what they believe to be a panther.


Alison Leiby: Bye, bye.


Halle Kiefer: They look and they see that his sword cane has broken off, which means Irena is got stabbed so badly it’s in her body or broke off of in her body. They have to find her. 


Alison Leiby: Oh I thought it was going to be like now she has a knife. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, God, no. I wish. [laughter] Fuck there is a sequel, and I hope it’s that she just gets the knife. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So they go find Irena and she’s of course, you better believe it at the fucking zoo again. She has a the sword blade stabbed through her shoulder, so she’s like, staggering around. She’s still on her heels because she’s a woman and she finds the key to the panther cage in the door. Alison, for the third time. Third time’s the charm. 


Alison Leiby: Well. 


Halle Kiefer: Finally she opens it and the panther leaps out, knocking her to the ground. She collapses and the panther then scales and leaps out the exterior wall and immediately gets hit by a car. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, that panther didn’t deserve that. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately. I know. And when Alice and Oliver arrive at the zoo, they find next to the cage the dead body of a panther. And the last line of the movie, Oliver turns to Alice and says she never lied to us, the Cat People. [laughter] And then we end with a text on the screen, which is from something that does exist. It is for it is from the Holy Sonnets, John Donne. But black sin hath betrayed endless night. My world, both parts and body parts must die. Alison. The reason I’m watching this, I was like, this is, in a way, exactly how I felt coming out. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like it was this very visceral. I the term I was in my mind that I used is lesbian werewolf, where it was this really bodily—


Alison Leiby: Also like write that movie, please. 


Halle Kiefer: 100 fucking percent. There’s a lot of lesbian vampires. Incredible. And bisexual vampires. We love it. A lesbian werewolf. 


Alison Leiby: Great. Lesbian werewolf. That’s what we need.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it was this interesting experience. And I’ve kind of read other people who came out later and there was one one sort of personal essay I wrote, where the person described it as like realizing there they were queer, was like getting punched in the face. And there is something for me when I was realizing it, like I was. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: Sort of the time between I realized it and like told Dave Bi Friend of the Pod, who I interviewed at the end of our last episode, Men, and we talk about that time. It really was like I was like not sleeping. I was losing weight. I was like, I was it was like a physical experience. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah sure. 


Halle Kiefer: And it was both like the shock of it, but also was like, oh, no, I have to blow up my whole life. And.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And. I love Dave. I hoped that in the end we would be friends. But it was, it was like, all right, I just have to do this and it is—


Alison Leiby: You have to pull the trigger and just. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: What happens happens. 


Halle Kiefer: And I have a lot of deep, like, admiration for people who came out of, say, in the forties and were like, I can’t live like this. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Because it is such a psychologically you do have to go through the gauntlet and obviously it’s 2023 I feel very well and that’s a mixed bag in and of itself. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: But I do feel very fortunate. It was so much easier for me. But even though it was like the most to date, one of the more easy times to come out. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: It was a it was such an intense psychological and physical experience to watch this movie. I’m like, well, it is kind of what it’s like, you know, fortunately I didn’t get—


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: —stabbed with a sword, but a story about queerness that is not about queerness at all, but absolutely feels. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Queer to me. 


Alison Leiby: Easily mapped onto, I think so many experiences and stories. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: So at the end, both of all the panthers are dead. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, unfortunately. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. That’s tough. 


Halle Kiefer: And I guess—


Alison Leiby: Her panther and regular panther are both. [clicks]


Halle Kiefer: And Dr. Judd, at least he got murdered, so that’s good. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: What are some fatal mistakes you think people may have made in the movie Cat People? 


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I’ll say it, the zoo employing this zookeeper who can’t keep the key out of the cage. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m saying one time, okay, we all make mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: One time. Okay. We all make a mistake at work. 


Halle Kiefer: Two times, okay, look, hey, you know, we had an off day. Three times in what appears to be a matter of weeks. Like this is definitely less than a month from when the first key in the door situation. This motherfucker is lucky that no one got killed. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. And like. Of all of the animals that. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: You know, it’s like you leave the lizard house open. They’re just going to kind of like scurry around like they’re not like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: A carnivorous jungle cat, like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: It’s a that’s got to be priority one of like, make sure this one doesn’t get out. 


Halle Kiefer: Something that could take down a human being and could absolutely kill a child. Like, I mean. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Do you remember when that cobra escaped out of the Bronx Zoo? And then someone started a Twitter account like before they found it, they think it was just like in a wall or something. I think it ended up being fine. 


Alison Leiby: Which also, like. Ugh. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: I know it. Yeah, it’s all funny games. Till you’re the one who finds the cobra, like. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Like in the women’s bathroom or something? 


Alison Leiby: No. My God, no, no, no. So I guess that guy is a big one. [laughter] And then. I would say also like Oliver continuing to kind of like carry on this relationship with Alice. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like even if it stayed platonic and like obviously they had to see each other at work. It’s like, why is she at the museum? Why are you getting coffee? Like, it’s just, you know. 


Halle Kiefer: Also, I’m sorry like, why not tell him? Maybe she didn’t realize until they got married, but I’m like, girl, if he’s, like, such a good friend and your colleague and you know that he’s engaged or, you know, like, I do feel like you should just fucking say something. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I agree. 


Halle Kiefer: And like to wait until they’re married and his wife is having a cat related sexual breakdown. Yeah. Read the room. [laughter] Read the fucking room. And I would say, Dr. Judd, I think to believe in your your abilities as a psychiatrist. The most fatal mistake of all. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He was torn apart by a panther. And as well he should have been. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And then, finally, where would you place Cat People on the spooky scale, Alison? 


[voice over]: A spooky scale. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, this feels like a two. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Like, I don’t even know if it’s a two, but I’m like, I guess something was probably scary. I think finding out my psychiatrist has a sword hidden in the office would be unsettling to me. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I feel like, um. Yeah, it’s not scary, but it is beautifully shot. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The acting is great. It is a compelling story. 


Alison Leiby: It’s fun. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah I’m gonna give it a two. I’m gonna give it a two. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Ten for enjoyment. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, absolute ten. And yeah, great movie. If you’re someone like I can’t really watch horror movies. This is a horror movie you can watch. I promise you that. It is more of a thriller. It is a it is a monster movie in its own right, a creature feature. But it is a creature is allegory for a woman’s suppressed sexuality. And you know what? What if she you know, it’s like if you kiss this man, you turn into a panther had you kissed a woman, maybe it all would have been okay. We don’t really know all the rules about the cat people. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: We’ll never know. 


Alison Leiby: We’ll never know. 


Halle Kiefer: But to you at home, feel free to kiss a woman if you want. Or man. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Or non-binary person or all three because it is Pride Month and I hope everyone is out here shaking ass. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Please, we beg of you. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And until next week. Thank you for listening. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. And please keep it spooky. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Meow. Meow. [music plays]


Halle Kiefer: Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media for show updates. And if you’re as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. The show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat Iossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy, and Ewa Okulate.