This Week in Podcasts a weekly roundup of mini-reviews of all of the podcasts I’ve listened to in a week. If you see any podcasts that you feel are missing from my list, there’s a good chance I haven’t listened to the show yet! Feel free to give me recommendations–as well as any feedback or discussion!–in the comments below, in my asks on tumblr, or on twitter.
This week was a week! Here’s just a short run-down of everything pertinent to podcasts and this blog that happened:
- I started listing podcast news under a new “Podcast News” category on the blog. This category will have updates on new podcasts, information on podcasts that have made big announcements, and events within the podcast community like PodCon.
- I updated my “Changes to This Week in Podcasts” post to reflect that reruns won’t be reviewed.
- I gave my top 10 tips for nonfiction podcasts
- I got caught up on The Gray Area and Greater Boston, both of which are phenomenal
- NPR’s contract with SAG-AFTRA expired, spawning a “strike” and the hashtags #WeMakeNPR and #ISupportNPR
- The Adventure Zone began its finale
- 36 Questions debuted
- Dylan Marron’s new podcast, Conversations With People Who Hate Me, got a trailer
- Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson also started a podcast
- Three episodes made my Highlights section, which is a new high–usually, there’s just one or two
- Not a single podcast this week is getting listed in my “Pitfalls” section. There were no podcasts that did worse than bore me a little.
What a week!
“Act 1 of 3”
It should come as no shock that Two-Up Productions, the team behind Limetown, has brought listeners another astounding premier. 36 Questions is a musical about a wife who has been lying about her identity trying to repair her relationship with her husband. The music is beautiful–I could write essays on some of the musical decisions, like the wife being harmonized with herself–and the acting, writing, and production are all fantastic. The intrigue of why the wife would lie so much for so long hangs in the air, but the focus here is what Two-Up has always been great with: its characters. The chemistry, tension, and history between the two characters is immediately believable and bittersweet. When this episode premiered, I listened to it three times back to back, even while I had a new Wolf 359 waiting to be heard. 36 Questions is a 3-part mini-series, and if this episode is any indication, this show will be another landmark in podcasting under Two-Up’s belt. As a reminder, the show is listed as “Two-Up” on many podcast apps, not “36 Questions.”
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous Strangers
“69. Love Is Everywhere”
This episode of Beautiful Anonymous marks an important landmark in the show’s history: it’s the first time that host Chris Gethard has cried in the recording, and for good reason. The caller in this episode talks to Gethard while awaiting news about her daughter’s cancer. The show, though, is shockingly beautiful for having such grim timing. Gethard asks the caller about their Make A Wish trip to Disney World, whether the caller and her husband ever get date nights, and how the daughter has taken everything. The consistently line throughout the story is not the tragedy of the situation but the beauty in how it has brought the family together and made them appreciate the moments of happiness they’ve had. The episode feels both impossibly timed and precious for nonfiction but also a complete inevitability for what Beautiful Anonymous is. If I had to point to a single episode to explain what the show is about, this would be it. Sorry, Joe Biden’s Baby; you’ve been dethroned.
The Adventure Zone
“Ep. 67. Story and Song – Finale, Part One”
I’m not going to write up much about this episode, because anything I could say would either be covered in my discussion of “The Stolen Century” or it would be spoilers. I wasn’t intending on even putting this in my Highlights section because I don’t want this show to be present each time an episode drops, but I’m genuinely going to be thinking about this episode for years to come. If you haven’t listened to The Adventure Zone, I will implore you, always, to start as soon as possible.
None! This week was great in the world of podcasts.
This Week’s Ratings
- The Once and Future Nerd, “What Used to Be Enough, Pt. 4”: B+
- The Sporkful, “Why Lefties Buy Less Soup”: C
- Point Mystic, “1.6 The Secret of Point Mystic Pt. 1: ‘Ghostlilly'”: C+
- The Heart, “People Who Need People”: B
- Hello from the Magic Tavern, “Season 2, Ep 17 – Crazy Jared”: C
- 36 Questions, “Act 1 of 3”: A
- My Brother, My Brother and Me, “Travis McElroy Presents: Waffle Friend”: B-
- Wolf 359, “Episode 49: Out of the Loop”: B-
- Beautiful Stories From Anonymous Strangers, “69. Love Is Everywhere”: A-
- Strangers, “Franky Carrillo: Life Now”: B-
- Myths and Legends, “75-Pecos Bill: Rider on the Storm”: C+
- 99% Invisible, “266- Repackaging the Pill”: B-
- The Moth, “Radio Hour: Gestures Great and Small”: B
- Imaginary Worlds, “The Book of Dune”: B
- The Adventure Zone, “Ep. 67. Story and Song – Finale, Part One”: A
- The McElroys Will Be In Trolls 2, “Chapter 3”: B-
- All Songs Considered, “k. d. lang Reflects on 25 Years of Ingenue“: C+
- Song Exploder, “Slowdive – Sugar for the Pill”: C+
- Grammar Girl, “577 GG The Trump Jr. Punctuation Kerfuffle. Generation Names.”: B
- Snap Judgment, “Snap #816 – Bad Medicine”: C
- Pop Culture Happy Hour, “Spider-Man: Homecoming and Tour de Pharmacy“: B-
- Bite, “We Watch Game of Thrones for the Food Porn”: C+
- Radiolab, “The Ceremony”: B-
- Nancy, “#15: Q Is Growing Up”: B