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Avoiding podcast FOMO
Time traveling trivia, life coaching 101, big friendship decisions, peace's PR problem, a son's investigation, bear attack, Little House on the Prairie.
Do you remember… the 21st night of September? I’ll tell you what I didn’t remember about September – how many new shows fly into the feeds! Part of me recognizes that there are literally new shows and new seasons launching all year round, how lucky are we? But right now, there’s also a part of me that feels like we’re in a bit of peak! I’m listening to lots of new shows and trying to fit in the longtime loves and the other gems I missed when they first dropped. My queue looks like the way book lovers always have an ambitiously high pile of books on their nightstand. Bursting with intrigue and absolutely unable to resist adding more to the lineup. I’m doing my best to keep up with them all, but I love hearing what’s caught your attention lately, too. It could easily be something I’ve missed and that gives me podcast FOMO!
This week’s podstack
Have you ever listened to a podcast that’s actually a trivia tournament? As soon as you start listening to this, you’ll know you’re in for a fun time! And that’s before you even hear the drama of the second-guessing trivia contestants. The sound design and nostalgic references of Simone Polanen’s time traveling trivia machine is a blast! It’s starting in the 80s, then traveling all the way to the 2010s. It’s not just a simple trivia game either, there are rounds with different kinds of trivia, rapid fire questions, and it’s all building towards a time capsule prize full of nostalgic goodies. I’m so glad this first episode, all about 80’s trivia, features Emmanuel Dzotsi and Saidu Tejan-Thomas. I looooved when they did trivia on Not Past It together and it feels like the best idea ever to elevate that into a five episode tournament.
If you somehow missed the first two seasons of The Dream like I did and you’re hearing so many things about this third season that you want to jump right in, I’m here to tell you to do it! We can both go catch up on the past seasons later. This season is simultaneously about Jane Marie questioning and critically analyzing the life coaching industry while looking for a life coach for herself. The first episode is like life coaching 101. These are some of the sneaky ways life coaches can be harmful and all the different forms life coaching comes in, from Matthew McConaughey to Rachel Hollis. The second episode is where you might really get emotionally invested, because you get an intimate look at how emotionally invested Jane is. In recounting the way she’s been feeling with everything that has happened in the world over the past few years, there’s a dark cloud over her that she can’t seem to shake. It’s kinda making her the perfect target for a life coach to swoop in, but she’s going about it in a very careful and critical way. I can already tell this show is going to be my favourite kind of mix between educational and informative content, with a brave personal narrative guiding it along.
The moment I knew I needed to keep listening to this series is when I heard Mohsin describe when he knew he wanted to be a father and how powerful that feeling was for him. Then, as I began to learn more about Mohsin and Dalia’s friendship I wanted to hear more about how their close bond and fun dynamic would translate to such a uniquely complicated situation. The premise of this series follows Mohsin and Dalia as they explore the possibility of Dalia being a surrogate for Mohsin and his husband. This first episode introduces their friendship, how they became so close, and how they both feel about all the variables that go into a decision like this. I’m late to this one but the benefit is that all the episodes are out now and I can listen all the way through. (transcript)
Did you know that today is the International Day of Peace? I didn’t even mean to plan this recommendation so well, but here we are! Peace is not passive, it’s not just something that happens with the absence of conflict, but that’s one of the commonly held preconceptions about peace – that it doesn’t require purposeful action. The new narrative for peace is about connection, helping people understand it better, and encouraging more support. After all, we spend more money on Halloween candy than supporting peace building initiatives. This conversation between Elizabeth Hume, who runs peace building initiatives, and Andrew Volmert, who conducted a study about the public perception of peace, will make you think about peace in a more active way than you might’ve before.
It’s rare for me to listen to true crime shows, but something about this one has caught my attention. Maybe it’s because the host is directly related to one of the suspects and isn’t sure of his innocence. That suspect is his father and even though it was his father’s best friend who served time for an alleged murder of their former business partner, Alex Estrada has always wondered if the his father did have something to do with it. After listening to the first two episodes, there isn’t a lot of gruesome details but there is exceptional storytelling on the part of Alex and Angelina Mosher Salazar, the journalist helping him investigate his father. Since his father also passed away, it’s not like he can directly interrogate him. So the story is a puzzle of trying to put together all the things he did and didn’t know about his father, based on police reports, speaking to others who knew the people involved, and trying to understand what his father’s life was really like.
There’s one celebrity podcast that I truly miss and wish would produce more episodes. This is the Rogen podcast people should be listening to. I have to thank Erik Jones of Hurt Your Brain for mentioning it recently and making me realize I hadn’t even listened to all the episodes! If you haven’t heard Seth Rogen’s podcast, it is an exceptional example of adventurous audio storytelling. I say that because the scripting, flow, and sound design feels like an adventure, no matter which episode you’re on. That’s in large part because Richard Parks III, of Richard’s Famous Food Podcast, worked on the show and this is his specialty. This episode is a pretty detailed and brutal story of a bear attack but it’s got a very happy ending. As someone who is already terrified of meeting a bear in the wild, I’m surprised I made it through! If you haven’t listened to any episodes before, the first episode with Quinta Brunson’s life changing interaction with Paul Rudd is one I’ve listened to at least twice already. It’s that good.
The way this episode begins, you may feel like you’re going to learn about the cult of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of Little House on the Prairie. Host Glynnis MacNicol, along with producers Jo Piazza and Emily Marinoff, head to a small town where Laura is still celebrated. This part of the episode was so effective in capturing my attention because it gave me a sense of the style of the show - some interviews, some raw field recordings, and scripted narration to pull it all together. But as the episode progresses, it becomes more complicated and more interesting. Because what this is really about is how we critically analyze and understand the true impact of someone whose work we once loved. The way Glynnis describes her relationship with Laura’s books is so sweet and so important to who she is today. But today, she is prepared to look at the ways Laura’s iconic work got its strong grip on society and how it was also harmful.
More sweet treats
This is really well done, but a very hard listen. The first episode is still haunting me.
Brace yourself for the ultimate boy band podcast experience and help support the show!
A movie about audio storytelling in the 21st century? Sign me the heck up!
If you watch everything with subtitles on like I do, you’ll love this analysis of why it feels so necessary these days.
Thank you for reading! If you listened to something this week that made your heart sing, your imagination wander, or your brain ponder, I’d love to hear about it!