On Our Love of Movie Sequels From the ‘80s and ‘90s (Livestream)
Public Programs

On Our Love of Movie Sequels From the ‘80s and ‘90s (Livestream)

A Conversation With Emily Marinelli and DDS Dobson-Smith


  • Register to Access the livestream and one week of ad-free replay access
  • Books are available to add to your order at check-out for pick-up from Marcus Books in Oakland, California or delivery within the United States 
  • These tickets are for the Livestream version of this event. To buy tickets for the In-Person event CLICK HERE.


When a film touches us, makes us laugh, and has that feel-good spirit, we want more of it. We want the story to continue. We even want the same story, just recycled and offered in a slightly new way. We want a sequel! What felt so good about the original can come back two-fold and be the same, but also different.

Join CIIS Assistant Professor in the Integral Counseling Psychology program and psychotherapist Emily Marinelli with therapist and activist DDS Dobson-Smith for a conversation exploring the psychology of movie sequels from the 1980s and 1990s. Sharing personal stories and insights from their latest book Comfort Sequels, Emily dives deep into the psychology behind what makes certain movie sequels memorable, safe, predictable, and comforting. These sequels are more of the universe we love—exploring something new while maintaining something familiar. Emily interprets characters, story arcs, and major themes while sharing fun and random behind-the-scenes facts about sequels including Grease 2, Gremlins 2, My Girl 2, Ghostbusters II, Batman Returns, and more.

Emily invites you to playfully explore our love of movie sequels and to celebrate the campiness and nostalgia that sequel films evoke.

Emily (Em) Marinelli color portrait. Em is a white, gender queer - queer femme person. They are posed in front a neutral wall and are smiling. They are wearing cat-eye style glasses, and a dark-colored button-down with yellow laves and feather designs throughout.

Emily (Em) Marinelli (they/them) is a genderqueer- and queer femme-identified Virgo. They are a psychotherapist specializing in working with trauma, addiction and recovery, adult children of alcoholic families, and with LGBTQ-plus communities. Em is a Assistant Professor in the Integral Counseling Psychology program at California Institute of Integral Studies and teaches in the Trauma Prevention and Recovery Certificate at City College of San Francisco and the Addiction Studies Certificate at Santa Rosa Junior College.

They are a writer on the 25YL, Film Obsessive, and TV Obsessive websites, and their essay on The Elephant Man will be included in the upcoming David Lynch Encyclopedia (in 2025 by Tucker DS Press). Em hosts the Twin Peaks Tattoo Podcast (based on their favorite cult TV show, Twin Peaks), teaches an elective on Twin Peaks and depth psychology at CIIS, and is co-authoring a book on trauma recovery and Twin Peaks. When not immersed in Twin Peaks, they enjoy comfort sequel films from the eighties and nineties, watching sketch comedy, reading queer YA, playing with their rescue dog, singing with their sweetheart, and tap dancing. Follow them online at @emsmarinelli.


DDS Dobson-Smith black and white portrait made into the shape of a circle. DDS is a queer, nonbinary, non-disabled, middle-class, neurotypical, white British immigrant posing in front of a dark gray background, is wearing a hat slightly pushed back, has their hand resting on their cheek and chin and is wearing a dark-colored button-down.

DDS Dobson-Smith is a guiding presence in the landscape of mental health and activism as a beacon of compassion and scholarly rigor. With over three decades of corporate experience and an extensive academic background, they stand out as a thought leader whose professional journey intertwines with their profound commitment to personal authenticity and social justice. DDS graduated from California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) with an MA in the Integral Counseling Psychology program and holds credentials in neurolinguistic psychotherapy from the Academy of NLPt, further underpinned by their degree in further and higher education from the University of Wolverhampton. As an adjunct faculty member at CIIS between 2020 and 2023 and at Southern Connecticut State University since 2024, DDS has been instrumental in shaping future licensed mental health professionals, sharing their wisdom and experience with a blend of scholarly acumen and lived experience as a white, queer, trans/nonbinary, neuro-spicy, temporarily able-bodied, individual.

DDS is currently heading towards the dissertation phase of a PhD in critical sexuality studies and their award-winning research is carving out a new narrative that challenges the joy deficit in the social sciences by spotlighting trans joy as an act of activism and resistance. A prolific author, DDS has authored two best-selling psychology-based business books and numerous scholarly articles to esteemed publications such as Sexuality & Culture and the Harvard Business Review. Their work, which encompasses a dynamic range of subjects, is informed by a deep understanding of human psychology and a passion for fostering environments where individuals can thrive as their truest selves. DDS's approach to therapy and teaching is undergirded by the principle of hard human kindness, an approach that marries empathy with candor to forge genuine transformation.

DDS's holistic perspective is further enriched by their role as a Reiki Master and Crystal Bowl Sound Healer, reflecting a synthesis of spiritual practice and activism. This confluence of skills and insights was pivotal during their tenure as the Board President of the Pacific Center for Human Growth, where they championed LGBTQIA2+ mental health as a core social justice issue. Now a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Connecticut, DDS's private practice, SoulFull Therapy, offers a sanctuary for individuals to heal and flourish, particularly within the queer and trans communities. Their work, deeply resonant with the need for societal shift and acceptance, is a testament to the power of embracing one's multifaceted identity to effect change within oneself and the broader community.

We are grateful to our Bookstore Partner

Marcus Books is the nation’s oldest Black-owned independent bookstore celebrating its 60th year. Marcus Books’ mission is to provide opportunities for Black folks and their allies to celebrate and learn about Black people everywhere. Learn more about Marcus Books.



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Important Event Information

Access to the livestream event is limited to registered guests. Registered ticket holders will receive the link to watch the livestream, will have access to chat and Q&A, and will have an ad-free watching experience.

Recording Policy

Ticket holders will have access to an ad-free replay of the event for one week after the live event. A replay with ads will be released on our YouTube channel one week after the livestream. Portions of the audio will also be released on our podcast. Only registered ticket holders who choose to watch live can participate in the chat and Q&A.

Refunding Policy

All tickets and donations for this event are nonrefundable.

Related Academic Program
Integral Counseling Psychology