Tag Archives: podmass

A meeting of the (twisted) minds: The directors of The Witch and Hereditary talk horror on The A24 Podcast

Podmass_In [Podmass](https://www.avclub.com/c/podmass),_ The A.V. Club _sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at [podmass@avclub.com](mailto:podmass@avclub.com)._  

Summer is the perfect time for sitting around the campfire to revisit the nostalgia of ’90s Nickelodeon classic Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Hosted in the heartfelt way that only folks from Springfield, Illinois can pull off, Sara Laurel Goeckner and Jeremy Goeckner, the wife-and-husband team behind Are You Afraid Of The Podcast? present a watch-through that is entertaining for new and old viewers alike. Their spot-on analysis of this bonkers show pokes holes in ridiculous plot points, highlights unfortunate outfits, and even includes interviews with actors from the show’s original run. Although the podcast is billed as biweekly, you might have to wait a bit longer for new episodes since the hosts are deep in summer stock season, but it’s worth the wait. “The Tale Of The Carved Stone,” episode 33 of Are You Afraid of The Dark?, features the “new to town” trope that dumps poor Alison Denny in the middle of nowhere with zero friends. Can Sardo’s Magic Mansion help her find a friendship charm to change her luck? A dissection of the episode’s non-sequitur time-travel plot is the highlight of the episode. [Morgan McNaught]


Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard
Lake Bell

Joining hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman this week is actress/director/screenwriter Lake Bell, who plays Shepard’s wife in the new show Bless This Mess. After pondering the feminine equivalent of a man’s musk, the trio discusses the current art exhibition of Bell’s husband, Scott Campbell, a celebrated tattoo artist whose show literally changes the people who see it—they put their arm through a hole in a wall to allow Campbell to tattoo them, sight unseen. Transitioning to an in-depth discussion of commitment and the nature of marriage, Bell shares her own insights on how a long-term, intimate, and trusting relationship allows humans to evolve. She’s found that spouses challenge each other in different ways and furthers the relationship by having children, a jumping-off point for unpacking the life-and-death stakes navigated by Bell and Campbell during their kids’ home births. As a guest, Bell is candid and personable, going deep into personal conversations as well as offering a compelling perspective on topics like careers, too. [Jose Nateras]


Every album has a story, especially the weird ones. With his new podcast, Bizarre Albums, host Tony Thaxton (Motion City Soundtrack, Feliz Navipod) will celebrate those stories through weekly mini-documentaries that explore the who, how, and why of history’s most infamous audio oddities. His inaugural episode takes us back to the year 1985 when the nation was suffering from a pandemic scientists have come to refer to as Hulkamania. Riding off the soaring popularity of Hulk Hogan and professional wrestling in general, WWF executives leaped at the opportunity to churn out an album of covers, parody songs, and truly twisted originals performed by their very own roster of leotard-clad brawlers. Despite the comedy album facade, the personnel listing on this record is nothing to sneeze at. Noted wrestling fan Cyndi Lauper provides backing vocals on a couple songs and legendary songwriter-producer Jim Steinman even lends a hand with production. In the end, the most bizarre thing about this album is the complete lack of the decade’s biggest star and the impetus for the whole project, Hulk Hogan. [Dan Neilan]


It’s the season-three premiere of everyone’s favorite show about a guy who fell into a portal behind a Burger King with all his podcasting equipment, landing in a magical world where he records a weekly show with Chunt the shapeshifter and Usidore the wizard. This beloved improv series, now in its fifth year, allows every stated addition to the universe to become canon, no matter how wild. This week they are joined by Rodney the Figurehead (Justin McElroy of the greater My Brother, My Brother And Me universe). Rodney wished upon a star and became an animated wooden man with a limited understanding of time and a truly confusing vocabulary; McElroy brings his humor and contagious laugh to the character. As always, the sound editing in this podcast, complete with background chatter and clinking mugs, lets listeners feel like they’re sitting right inside this seaside tavern, eavesdropping on our protagonists. For those who might be intimidated by this show’s back catalog, this season kicks off a new seafaring story arc, making it a great place to start. [Nichole Williams]


As the title implies, this movie podcast isn’t going to be a scholarly deep-dive into the vast, flickering world of cinema—even though it’s slated as the audio companion to CNN’s new show The Movies. Instead, CNN writer Lisa France, CNN reporter Sandra Gonzalez, and professional podcaster Kristen Meinzer record casual conversations about movies, especially popular ones. The opening minutes of this episode feature Gonzalez’s top five audience-friendly desert-island movies (Love Actually! Edward Scissorhands! The Lion King!). This week’s guest is Trace Lysette, a trans actress and activist who discusses being influenced by strong female characters as a kid, how Hollywood needs to start hiring trans women for trans roles, and that time she starred in an action movie that got shelved because her trans identity was revealed. To close things out, Lisa France solemnly reveals her undying love for Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Considering that several people on Twitter last week—of all genders—dropped enough divisive takes on Scorsese to make him a trending topic, it’s like France knew she had to get on the mic and speak on behalf of all her Scorsese-loving sisters. [Craig D. Lindsey]


A cop records himself trying to coax a confession out of a wounded bank robber he’s carrying downhill in the cold open of this intimate, documentary-style show. Despite its name, Pretend profiles true events, with special focus on imposters. It’s not entirely clear what George Wayne Smith was pretending to be, unless it was a criminal mastermind. That he had a gifted mind and conditioned body was a given, but prior to May 8, 1980, Smith had nothing in his history to suggest what he was about to do. His military training and born-again-Christian indoctrination combined with a lifelong sense of superiority led him to subscribe to a paranoid fantasy of the world ending in 1981, and for whatever reason, he needed a lot of money before that happened. His bank robbery plan was one part too intricate, two parts overkill. Before it was all over, Smith and three accomplices used their considerable firepower to shoot up 33 cop cars and a helicopter. Host Javier Leiva wisely gets out of the way and lets author Peter Houlahan (who wrote <a rel="nofollow" data-amazonasin="B07GS7J2Z3" data-amazonsubtag="[t|link[p|1836724687[a|B07GS7J2Z3[au|5876237249237154266[b|avclub[lt|text" onclick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Commerce', 'avclub – A meeting of the (twisted) minds: The directors of The Witch and Hereditary talk horror on The A24 Podcast‘, ‘B07GS7J2Z3’);window.ga(‘unique.send’, ‘event’, ‘Commerce’, ‘avclub – A meeting of the (twisted) minds: The directors of The Witch and Hereditary talk horror on The A24 Podcast‘, ‘B07GS7J2Z3’);” data-amazontag=”kinjaavclub-20″ href=”https://www.amazon.com/Norco-80-Spectacular-Robbery-American-ebook/dp/B07GS7J2Z3?tag=kinjaavclub-20&ascsubtag=e00342e7b8d4cb881d7a561959c2265326454ebe”>the definitive account of the robbery) color the scenes with his exacting knowledge of the case. [Zach Brooke]


It’s almost impossible to talk about horror movies of the last decade without mentioning Robert Eggers’ hyper-superstitious period piece The Witch or Ari Aster’s dread-ridden family drama Hereditary. The two films sparked a conversation around the massive divide between critics and audiences, yet the two films are undoubtedly some of distributor A24’s star children. This year already saw the release of Aster’s latest film, Midsommar, and later in 2019, A24 will release Eggers’ The Lighthouse. The newest episode of The A24 Podcast places microphones in front of the two visionaries to discuss some of their past work and their newest films, sans spoilers. The two directors, who are also friends, nerd out at almost a rapid-fire pace, jumping to topics like CinemaScore, Carrie, the importance of watching films more than once, and directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, and Andrei Tarkovsky, but mostly Ingmar Bergman. Film buffs, get ready to take notes. [Kevin Cortez]


Hosted by Marin Buljan, this fictional documentary podcast follows the trial that will determine whether women are allowed to play in the top male soccer league at East Keilor High School. Focusing on the push and pull between men and women and their relationships with sports, the podcast is framed by Marin’s commentary of soccer games, news clips, and interviews with players, their coach, and others. “Retaliation” picks up after Alice, who spearheaded the change and was the first (and for a while, the only) woman to join the team, convinces her friend Grace to join and sees them through their first match, when the boys on the team structure a subtle but devastating retaliation. The games are cleverly time-lapsed, with Marin describing the highlights and interacting with their coach as his anger builds toward his team every time they ignore his instruction. The Graduate’s Cup unabashedly points out how an administration can (and does) turn their backs on the people they’re supposed to be supporting. [Elena Fernández Collins]


Host Fran Tirado kicks off this new weekly series with a discussion of all things ballroom, the competitive performance and pageantry originating in queer and trans communities of color. Out magazine senior editor and ballroom scholar Mikelle Street joins Tirado for a look back at the origins of voguing and ballroom dating back to the 1920s, as well as major moments in pop culture visibility long before RuPaul’s Drag Race launched ballroom into mainstream consciousness. Now, ballroom culture and language is everywhere: “It has seeped into every nook and cranny of the mainstream in a way that I personally have never seen before,” Tirado says. Terms like “reading,” “kiki,” and other catch phrases popularized on Drag Race all have roots in ballroom, but correct usage and exact definitions can sometimes get lost in translation (fans of the show might be surprised to learn that a “death drop” is actually called a “dip”). Tirado concludes with “Week In Gay” (WIG), a light news recap segment. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]

Source: Kotaku.com

Spirits talks Pokémon’s mythical roots, confirming Exeggutor isn’t just some animator’s fever dream

Podmass_In [Podmass](https://www.avclub.com/c/podmass),_ The A.V. Club _sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at [podmass@avclub.com](mailto:podmass@avclub.com)._  

Sex And The City premiered nearly 21 years ago, and people are still talking about it. But people aren’t talking about it the same way they talk about the other hit shows of the past two decades (“Aw, remember how good Breaking Bad was?”). No, when fans of Sex And The City talk about their favorite show, it’s like Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha never really left. At least, that’s the impression you get listening to comedians, best friends, and SATC superfans Jamie Lee and Rose Surnow on their new podcast. While the impetus for the podcast was to do an episode-by-episode retrospective, the hosts can’t help but insert themselves into the storylines so they can analyze their own relationships, the Samantha-like adventures they’ve had in the past, and the reasons they now relate more to the jaded Miranda. Surnow’s previous experience as a sex and relationship columnist (“Essentially a living, breathing Carrie Bradshaw”) helps these discussions go deeper than any TV show ever could. Be forewarned: Not everything in Sex And The City has aged well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it. [Dan Neilan]


Co-hosts Rachael Marr and Carlea Holl-Jensen gear up for the upcoming release of Disney’s Aladdin with a feminist critique of “The Three Apples,” a story from the historic folktale collection The Thousand And One Nights, which inspired the original film. This early whodunnit, however, is far from family-friendly. When a fisherman stumbles upon a chest containing a woman’s dismembered corpse, the caliph commands his royal advisor to find the perpetrator and solve the case within three days or risk execution himself. The story only gets darker and more disturbing as a series of flashbacks reveal further instances of violence against women, culminating in a deeply upsetting conclusion. There’s a lot of blatant misogyny to unpack here, and Marr and Holl-Jensen discuss the story’s problematic treatment of women, a legacy still prevalent in the true crime genre. Examining “The Three Apples” through a feminist lens reveals this isn’t merely a tale of barbaric, ancient gender norms. As this story and many recent high-profile cases confirm, telling the truth won’t always set women free. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]


If you don’t have many opportunities to think about drain tile, the latest episode of Field Work might open some doors for you. With their easy charm, hosts Zach Johnson and Mitchell Hora (both commercial row-crop farmers themselves) prove that the question of water management in U.S. agriculture is relevant not only to everyone who farms, but everyone who eats. Drain tile, which is used to aerate the soil on many commercial American farms, can sometimes cause the soil to lose vital nutrients such as nitrate, which then flow and deposit in surrounding streams and reservoirs. This issue has led farmers like special guest Rodney Rulon, a fourth-generation farmer living north of Indianapolis, to adopt a variety of water conservation strategies. Johnson and Hora are also joined by Professor Matt Helmers of Iowa State University, who provides a more technical perspective on the water management issues raised by drain tile. Both Rulon and Helmers emphasize a full-system approach to water management, seeing drain tile as one piece of a highly variable puzzle. It’s valuable information for commercial farmers—and for all listeners, it’s an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the system we rely on to feed us. [Jade Matias Bell]


Just Another Shark-Man Podcast! is the bright and cheery kick in the face that the current state of pop culture fandom deserves. The podcast is hosted by two sycophantic sociopaths named Jack and Fergus (played by series creators Jack Bradfield and Fergus Macdonald), who are addicted to internet fame and the Shark-Man film series. Shark-Man is a superhero who has the power to throw sharks at people, and the Shark-Man universe is quite literally the center of Jack and Fergus’ world. The power of these films is so absolute that the studio can have people murdered for releasing spoilers. Jack and Fergus are a spot-on parody of the fans who worship billion-dollar franchises beyond all reason. They are glib and internet savvy, and their sprightly banter dances over a reality of extreme violence and pain caused by a series of films that are seemingly choking the planet to death. It’s also very funny. Details like a DVD island that has formed in the middle of the ocean and a former co-host who murdered everyone involved with Dark Squid, the only bad film in the Shark-Man universe, hilariously fill out this world that is only slightly madder than ours. [Anthony D. Herrera]


The Hills are alive with the sound of babies! In the first episode of her podcast Asking For A Friend, Lauren Conrad opens up about the newest chapter of her life: motherhood. The former reality star turned entrepreneur has an inspiring conversation about the ups and downs of modern maternity with her friend and New York Times bestselling author Leslie Bruce. Bruce is a mother of two who is very passionate about the phenomenon of “mom guilt,” and she encourages other women to find their own parenting styles. “Feeling guilty is a really good reminder of how much you love your kids,” Bruce says as she shares her own experience being a working mother. Both women agree that juggling high-powered careers has only improved their lives. The two break down the pitfalls of the current Instagram culture we live in as well, explaining why it’s important to not take everything you see at face value. While the first episode focuses on a topic close to Lauren’s heart, she’s sure to remind listeners that this episode is only a sample of what is to come, and promises many more answers to share with your “friend.” [Vannessa Jackson]


What if the horrific turn of events that happened to Lindsay Lohan after the release of The Parent Trap was because Lindsay wasn’t really Lindsay at all? Lindsay: A Radio Play is the never-before-heard behind-the-scenes (and completely dramatized) saga of filming this beloved and often maligned remake and the offset drama between “twins” Sydney and Lindsay Lohan. This bonkers film noir follows Marzipan, a stoner with questionable boundaries, as she becomes extra security for the twins when terrifying letters threatening Lindsay (and maybe Sydney) begin appearing on set. The letters take a dark turn in this episode, and a catastrophic bucket accident (not an accident) sends Sydney to the hospital. Hiding in the isolation cabin, Marzipan concocts a madcap plan to entrap the killer, confident that the threats will stop. Maybe there is a murder. Maybe art imitates life and one twin takes the place of another. Who could say? Lindsay: A Radio Play scratches a wildly specific pop culture itch in the most satisfying and ridiculous way while examining the questionable ethics of creating child stars. Clearly, all characters and events, even the ones based on real people, are imagined. But, like, are they? [Morgan McNaught]


Pizza is an incredible food. The universe loves gooey mozzarella cheese lying atop a base of hot tomato sauce, melted together on a circular bed of freshly made dough. But what actually makes good pizza good? Does a difference in dough starter actually matter? And what the hell even is deep-dish pizza? James-Beard-award-winning journalist Steve Dolinsky answers at least some of these questions with his fantastic Pizza City podcast, which spotlights the various pizza makers who operate within this pizza-loving nation. This week’s episode has Dolinsky speaking with Chicago restauranteur Gina Pianetto, third-generation owner of Pat’s Pizza, which is locally known as having been film critic Roger Ebert’s favorite. Pat’s is famous for its tavern style (thin crust) pies, which, contrary to popular belief, are the preferred style of pizza in Chicago—not deep dish. Dolinsky’s interview with Pianetto is entertaining and informative as both professionals drop dense facts on listeners in a casual conversation easy enough for us pizza peasants to comprehend. If terms like “tip sag” and “stuffed pizza” pique your curiosity, Dolinsky’s got the answers you seek. [Kevin Cortez]


From the magnificent brains of Felix Trench (Wooden Overcoats) and Zachary Fortais-Gomm (The Orphans) comes this satirical comedy about the European Union. A set of videotapes from 1995, designed to inform employees about what the future of the EU is going to be like in the 21st century, have been adapted for audio. Trench is the deadpan, ominously helpful narrator, a classic style of absurd satire you can find in works like Look Around You. The EU is distorted beyond recognition, and yet somehow ends up smartly commenting on things like the ridiculousness of how the EU handles freedom of movement. Trench’s subtly judgmental and irritatingly cheery demeanor is the perfect delivery system for wondering on topics like moving historic buildings to other countries and checkpoints, while also calmly describing a house where every room is in either Germany or Austria. Quid Pro Euro’s humor would not be as successful without Fortais-Gomm’s sound design, perfectly recreating nostalgic ’90s educational videotape effects like canned laughter, off-key theme tunes, and out-of-place swishing sounds between scenes. [Elena Fernández Collins]


Multitude’s Spirits is a “boozy dive into mythology, legends, and folklore,” in which one friend, expert Julia Schifini, teaches her friend, enthusiast Amanda McLoughlin, about tales from around the world. The two lifelong friends drink and tell jokes, and the results are sweet, charismatic, hilarious, and sharp. Inspired by the release of Detective Pikachu, Schifini tells McLoughlin this week all about the Japanese myths and icons that inspired Pokémon. The episode features discussion on kitsune, fox spirits that can have nine tails (golly, wonder what Pokémon that inspired); Jinmenju, a tree with human-face-shaped fruits (à la Exeggutor), and more, all while tying it into conversations about pop culture and society. What sets Spirits apart is that not only are these tales treated with the utmost respect, they’re also contextualized in current society, analyzed for why they remain reflections of human nature and the stories we tell. [Wil Williams]


Tell Them, I Am
Tan

Misha Euceph is here to enlighten you. On Tell Them, I Am, she is sharing the Muslim experience with the world in short but very sweet episodes that tell the stories of a variety of Muslim people. Every episode is released during Ramadan and shares the small yet crucial moments that led many of her guests to the careers and lives they are leading today. On the first episode, Euceph sits down with Queer Eye’s Tan France to discuss his childhood and the experiences that have defined and shaped his life. France tells the story of how he has always been known as the person to give people advice, and jokes that when it comes to the platform he has now, he “spent his whole life training for this.” He shares that he can even remember the moment he realized this was a gift he had, which was on a family trip at the age of 9, and how more recently he’s helped his husband make better style and shopping decisions. This interview is just one of the many inspirational moments on Euceph’s podcast that helps normalize and teach people about the power and beauty of the Muslim experience. [Vannessa Jackson]


When this shameless show about bad relationships kicks off with astrological analysis of the couplings discussed in the episode, you know it’s going to be a party. Our two regular hosts are joined by a fellow Southerner, and the trio effortlessly moves between swears and tears. The whole production feels a bit like if Delilah shit-talked during her long-distance dedications. Elizabeth Taylor, a real-life Snow White surrounded in life by seven seedy dwarfs, seems fairly grounded despite an eye-popping number of husbands, and the actual details of her love life are somewhat less wild than the legend. Only her first match was truly awful (the hosts saddle Conrad Hilton Jr. with a dubious “five trashcan” rating on the shitty husbands scale), and her third marriage to a film producer was positively tragic. Everything else can be summed up as a series of men she had the means and opportunity to fall in and out of love with, if you want to skip the details. Which, of course, these women don’t. [Zach Brooke]


The hosts of Unburdened have been carving out a space for black men to examine the pain and anxiety of their past while dismantling various forms of toxic masculinity one episode at a time. Their latest finds Derik, Gerald, and Corbin exploring the challenges of parenthood as they work to deviate from the “do as I say, not as I do” psychology that they were all raised under. They collectively admit that creating an honest and open environment for children to speak their minds is equally liberating and terrifying. “There’s a difference between them talking to you and them saying what you want to hear,” Derik observes. Such boundaries can leave room for bruised egos when the youth express plain truths, but as Corbin puts it, “The back of my hand can’t be behind your honesty.” As Gerald presents his own struggles in talking with his son who doesn’t want to go to college and whose alternate path is currently no path at all, Derik delivers a gut-wrenching testimony concerning his own college experience, pleading with parents to “stop romanticizing the idea of being the first.” Unburdened is brown-skinned vulnerability unapologetically working toward a nuanced brand of manhood. [Jason Randall Smith]


Anyone who listens to Where’s My 40 Acres? knows two things for sure: that the hosts are deadass when it comes to their musical interests, and that North Carolina hip-hop star J. Cole continues to be a thorn in their collective side. But it isn’t just Cole’s knack for meh rhymes and refusal to feature other artists on his tracks that drive them up the wall. It’s also the lack of enthusiasm he appears to show for the talented artists on his Dreamville label. On this episode, hosts PhenomBlak, Ms. MusicLover, and Twanburgundy address that by mostly discussing Shea Butter Baby, the debut album from Dreamville soul singer Ari Lennox. The trio showers the album with unanimous praise, but they’re also pissed at how it was quietly released a couple Tuesdays ago with little to no fanfare. Their lengthy discussion is a sobering reminder that even in this age of tunes being more accessible than ever thanks to streaming platforms, great music—and new artists worth keeping an eye on—can still slip through the cracks without effective marketing and publicity. [Craig D. Lindsey]

Source: Kotaku.com

Jenny Slate is a powerhouse in Earth Break as she navigates a postapocalyptic world

Podmass_In [Podmass](https://www.avclub.com/c/podmass),_ The A.V. Club _sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at [podmass@avclub.com](mailto:podmass@avclub.com)._  

For four podcast seasons now, journalist, comedian, and LGBTQ activist Gaby Dunn has been offering listeners an approachable guide to personal finance. Bad With Money is a breeze to listen to at a time when, frankly, looking over your finances is not. This week, Dunn talks to two men who were successful in defeating the odds by paying off their debt and even making up for lost time: Marcus Garrett and Rich Jones. Jones kicks off the podcast recalling how he created about $20,000 of debt with his ex-partner by sharing a credit card at a young age and being unconcerned with paying it off. Garrett shares his experience of accumulating $26,000 of debt in a single incredibly baller weekend. In under an hour, the two share insight on how they recognized their core values and started to prioritize chipping away at the financial burden that followed them everywhere. Even if you’ve never thought about how your spending might contribute to your personal debt, this podcast will prompt you to assess your habits and relationship to your bank account. [Kevin Cortez]


Earth Break: A Few Suggestions For Survival, With Additional Hints And Tips About How To Make Yourself More Comfortable During The Alien Apocalypse
Finally Dying

In this new scripted podcast from Skylark Media, Jenny Slate plays Lynn Gellert, a thirtysomething woman who has made it five weeks into the alien bioapocalypse without dying thanks to what she refers to as “sheer dumb luck.” Lynn’s only companion on her trek through the wastelands of her home is a tape recorder from her late mother’s attic. Her moment-to-moment survival is challenging enough, but when Lynn learns she’s pregnant, she also has to cope with the idea of building a future. Earth Break’s sound design is one of its standout qualities; Lynn’s audio diaries often begin and end abruptly, with appropriate grunts, alien screeches, crashes, and scuffling to make each one feel genuinely jarring (and sometimes gross: emetophobic listeners should be careful of audible vomiting toward the end of this episode). Slate is, as always, compelling to listen to, bringing charm and flow to a sometimes cliché script. While apocalypse narratives are hardly scarce, Earth Break succeeds in making post-apocalyptic living personal, illuminating the bargains we all make between the world’s future and our own. [Jade Matias Bell]


Eli Roth’s History of Horror: Uncut
Stephen King

During the premiere episode of Eli Roth’s History of Horror: Uncut, Roth presents Stephen King with a Frank Zito action figure complete with bloody scalp. The sheer joy King expresses at now owning a pocket-sized version of one of the most disgusting killers in film history perfectly sums up this latest podcast from the horror streaming service Shudder. Each episode is an interview with a horror aficionado or icon, and it really doesn’t get more iconic than King. Roth and King do plenty of theorizing about why we like being scared and what makes horror work, but the real pleasure is in listening to two nerds geek out about their favorite subject. Most of the interview boils down to how cool the meat hook scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre was and how rad it is that a zombie once fought a shark. “The worst horror movie I ever saw was fucking great!” King says at one point, capturing the celebratory mood of the podcast and the AMC series, to which it serves as a companion. If you’ve ever wanted a Frank Zito of your very own, this is for you. [Anthony D Herrera]


This promising new podcast explores the intersection of mental health and media, unpacking the pop culture narratives that shape our understanding of mental illness. Host Sandy Allen and culture writer Hannah Giorgis kick off this debut episode with an in-depth conversation about BoJack Horseman, the Netflix animated series known for its disarmingly complex and compassionate explorations of depression, addiction, and intergenerational trauma. “There is something in here that we do not often see on TV, especially in animated television, and I would say in general,” Allen tells Giorgis, who recalls her initial reluctance to watch the “depressed horse show.” While experiencing a depressive episode of her own, Giorgis eventually decided to “lean in” to the popular series, ultimately developing an appreciation for the show and its refusal to romanticize depression or fall back on the “tortured artist” trope. Allen and Giorgis also discuss BoJack’s frequent alcohol-fueled flashbacks and listen back to a clip that offers a heartbreaking glimpse into his unhappy childhood with a distant novelist father and emotionally abusive mother, Beatrice. A subsequent flashback clip reveals Beatrice’s own fractured relationship with her involuntarily lobotomized mother, a surprisingly haunting moment for a show about a cartoon horse. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]


The season finale to this raucous and touching science-fiction comedy showcases the peak of both the creators’ humor and their understanding of balance between the funny and the serious. Oblivity tracks the story of Commander Falconer, a war hero who suffered a nervous breakdown and was sent to a scientific research station on Pluto. Research Station Persephone is staffed by oddballs, the people who don’t quite fit, and Falconer tries to keep the team from falling apart at the edges, as she feels she herself might be. “Falconer The Fearless” sees Falconer facing down the test that determines whether she can return to the field, and her team facing down the return of Profocter, the evil genius who created their cyborg engineer, Lowell. Nothing ever goes as planned on Persephone, however, and everyone is forced to make a decision: who deserves their loyalty? How can they escape? And what, exactly, is Burney doing in that lab of his? From Lowell’s cute Cybergerbil to Falconer’s complete ignorance as to what really happened here, the finale encompasses everything Oblivity has been about since the beginning: loyalty, friendship, and really stupid decisions. Lowell will always press the button. [Elena Fernández Collins]


A.I. has infiltrated our lives for better and worse without many of us even noticing. Sleepwalkers breaks down the invisible forces that define how we live online. In its first episode, hosts Oz Woloshyn and Karah Preiss tackle the modern the side effects of living online that no one was prepared for, such as the painful experience of Gillian Brockell, who had a stillbirth and was haunted by infant-centric advertisements no matter how much she tried to beat the algorithm. They also discuss how terrorist groups began using common online platforms to radicalize individuals. The positive side of online dating and the negative effects of our growing screen addiction are examined as well. In the end, Sleepwalkers does not set out to demonize the internet. Instead, it encourages listeners to be aware of the internet’s complexity. As Woloshyn says, there is no way to know if the internet is bad for humanity; however, there is hope that it is neutral. Hope that we can hold onto, as long as users are willing to wake up and make more informed choices. [Nichole Williams]


The Constant: A History Of Getting Things Wrong
The Gentle Hammer

This is a popular indie offering with a soft history focus and a philosophical bent. Rather than lionize the march of progress, Mark Chrisler picks apart the legacy of error in a meditative monument to human folly, analyzing big moments cursed by small thinking. Past episodes have focused on world-class boners like insurance fraud and inciting mass pandemonium, but the bad idea sussed out in this week’s show isn’t as obvious, Laszlo Toth’s deranged attack on Michelangelo’s Pietà statue notwithstanding. The aftermath of the attack, which horrified the world and nearly cost Toth his life, is what concerns Chrisler. Authorities elected to repair the fractured masterpiece, and though the restoration was flawless, it foisted Michelangelo with a co-creator 500 years after the fact and gauchely airbrushed the Pietà’s story. Chrisler’s hypnotic reasoning plays on the episode’s title—an ironic name given to Toth’s act by sympathetic artists—and places its muted destruction on the restoration effort. There’s also a great bonus discussion about virtually every art museum on Earth exhibiting undetected forgeries. [Zach Brooke]


Starting off as staffers at BuzzFeed, the hosts of The TryPod—Eugene Lee Yang, Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, and Zach Kornfeld—stumbled upon lightning in a bottle when they began making humorous informational videos of themselves trying various things for the first time. From attempting drag to wearing skimpy Halloween costumes, the four friends have done it all; they’ve even broken away from BuzzFeed to start their own company. Now, as an independent venture, they’re publishing a book, going on tour, and as of this month, they’ve launched a podcast. Offering their die-hard fans (called Tryceratops) even more of what they want, The TryPod features Yang, Fulmer, Habersberger, and Kornfeld chatting about a wide array of things, including but not limited to the current cultural attitude toward sex tapes and how childhood pyromania can lead to getting into Yale. The podcast succeeds on the strengths of The Try Guys themselves, namely the amazing chemistry the four of them share. Since their BuzzFeed days, the guys have become best friends, and this is obvious from the way their conversation flows and builds, moving from shared anecdotes to discovered comedic bits. The TryPod is an entertaining new branch on the ever-expanding Try Guys media tree. [Jose Nateras]


Thinking Big With Maisie Williams
Loyle Carner

Maisie Williams knows you are probably wondering why she started a podcast, but Game Of Thrones is over for her, and she wants to try something else—something wildly different, like exploring people’s childhood dreams. If you only know her as Arya Stark, you are in for a fantastic treat; Thinking Big With Maisie Williams is full of self-effacing humor, delicate sarcasm, and contagious joy. This inaugural episode features British MC and actor Loyle Carner, who confesses his childhood dream was to become a famous footballer or actor. Clearly, some dreams stick more than others, though he says he still plays football every week with the guys from his local barbershop. His grandfather was a poet, his mother a musician, and as he and Williams unravel the ways his dreams were supported and fortified by the creative vibes and secret poetry notebooks in his home, the journey of three generations of artists becomes apparent. You might have come for Maisie Williams, which is correct, but you will stay for the effortless way she reveals the nature of dreams. [Morgan McNaught]


Maybe because it’s by the same producers of Criminal, but This Is Love is very good at finding unpredictable ways to tell stories about our deepest motivations. “We’re not doing pretty love or easy love,” explains host Phoebe Judge. Past episodes feature more than just the love between two people, but also between a man and his home, and a woman and a baby whale. In their new season, Judge invites us to ponder the Greek concept of philautia, or self-love, by letting us tag along with her to the idyllic Italian village of Piobbico, where there’s an exclusive club with only one membership requirement: being ugly as sin. The club is sort of an ugly-person version of Under The Tuscan Sun. Members drink wine, eat truffles (a notoriously ugly, but rare and valuable, town specialty), and people are generally happy with who they are. Because they realize, like Umberto Eco says, that beauty, with all its trappings of perfection, symmetry, and order, is actually pretty boring. The aberrations, the interruptions, the messiness of unpredictability—that’s what makes things interesting. [Amber Cortes]


Living in America, surrounded by the American entertainment industry, it can be easy to forget the massive impact of the Chinese market. Big studio releases make a significant portion of their box-office return from Chinese audiences, and there are a ton of homegrown Chinese blockbusters topping worldwide gross lists that we never even hear about. The new biweekly podcast Uproar In The Studio is attempting to remedy that cultural blind spot one film at a time. Each episode focuses on a different movie from the ever-changing list of highest-grossing Chinese films, like the martial-arts-centric body-switching comedy Never Say Die and, on the most recent episode, the genre-defying, semi-animated Monster Hunt series. Additionally, the hosts invite journalists, professors, and fellow podcasters onto the show to provide further context. This episode’s guest, Carl Zha (Silk And Steel), is a fountain of information about Chinese cinema and tells a great story about how Stephen Chow’s 2015 romantic comedy The Mermaid became a surprise box-office hit after everyone felt guilty about torrenting his previous films. Some Westerners might never fully understand or appreciate Chinese blockbusters, but this podcast can paint them a clearer picture. [Dan Neilan]

Source: Kotaku.com

Sexual mishaps are exposed by the BBC’s Unexpected Fluids

Podmass_In [Podmass](https://www.avclub.com/c/podmass),_ The A.V. Club _sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at [podmass@avclub.com](mailto:podmass@avclub.com)._  

On the first episode of Coach’s Dream It Real podcast hosted by comedian Heben Nigatu, Selena Gomez helps usher in the pod as its first official guest. The musician is there to talk about this week’s theme: authenticity. Gomez knows a thing or two about the topic, discussing her recent social media hiatus and the negative effects Instagram had on her self-esteem. In her most open interview to date, Gomez shares how growing up in the entertainment industry forced her to adopt a persona that wasn’t always authentic to who she was. As she’s gotten older and dealt with some serious issues, she’s learned the importance of stepping back from the spotlight to focus on her mental health. Both she and Nigatu stress the importance and benefits of therapy that everyone should take advantage of, and how crucial it has been to have a strong support system. Of course, Gomez didn’t let her “Selenators” down, teasing her upcoming album and chatting about what she learned working with Cardi B. If this episode is any indication of what’s in store for Dream It Real, then it’s sure to be a weekly must-listen. [Vannessa Jackson]

When Fantastic Worlds launched last August, its creators were stepping into a fairly crowded field of actual play podcasts. Since then, they’ve managed to set themselves apart from the pack and slowly grow their fanbase because of their ability to perfect one important element: balance. Each episode of their continuing Pathfinder campaign (for the uninitiated, that’s basically D&D) contains virtually equal amounts of world-building, character development, and high-stakes action, which is broken up by those all-important moments of levity where these five friends can just goof around a table (or Skype call, as it may be). Is it still a little rough around the edges? Sure. But the sheer amount of heart being put into this imagined world will charm you into really caring about the fate of Team Torta as they battle with the fey, seek assistance from local clerics, and dangerously over-tip the waitstaff. As with most actual play campaigns, it’s always best to start with episode one, but conveniently enough, this episode begins with each character restating their objectives and current mood. Once that’s out of the way, you can dive headlong into this creepy yet playful adventure. [Dan Neilan]

COPS is still on television. The show still airs new episodes, and old ones run in syndication up to 20 times per day. It’s the longest-running reality show in history, older than fictional entities The Simpsons and Law & Order. With a legacy like that, former reality show producer turned podcaster Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons, Surviving Y2K) wants to know how much of COPS reflects real policing and how much of real policing reflects COPS. His podcast promises a hard look at the show’s social impact, but this first episode is mostly concerned with backstory. Piggybacking on the success of America’s Most Wanted, COPS scandalized mainstream audiences when it debuted in 1989, its politics and pathos steeped deeply in the urban crime wave and war on drugs. The original pilot featured a murder. One former Fox executive calls COPS the simplest, best format in the history of television. From a technical standpoint, Taberski says there’s very little sleight of hand taking place. That makes its distortions all the more pernicious. Police departments have control over the final edit, and supposedly ironclad evidence is later exposed as suspect far from the glare of primetime. [Zach Brooke]

In Motherhood Sessions, a new podcast from Gimlet Media, reproductive psychiatrist Dr. Alexandra Sacks turns the therapist’s office inside out, walking mothers through the radical shift in identity that comes with having kids. Sacks and her anonymous guests—who are not her clients, but volunteers who agreed to have one-time conversations about their struggles—put vulnerable conversations about the transition into motherhood out in the open, with the hope that they might spark discussion about the parts of parenting that run deeper than sleeplessness and diaper changing. In this episode, a 32-year-old woman referred to as Anne struggles with the feeling that she betrayed herself by having a child, something she only did because of the external pressure on her to raise a family. With Dr. Sacks’s help, Anne outlines her own life, from her relationship with her self-sacrificing immigrant mother to her aspirations for the 1-year-old daughter she truly loves, even as she struggles with her fears about parenting. The conversation’s intimacy is both jarring and refreshing. Dr. Sacks is a gentle presence throughout, and Anne articulates struggles that will hit hard for many listeners, mothers or not. A reflective, cathartic listen. [Jade Matias Bell]

For the last few years, Insomniac Games CEO and founder Ted Price has been interviewing some of his biggest contemporaries in video games in a podcast presented by the Academy Of Interactive Arts & Sciences. The latest offering from The AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook is an hour-long interview with Sony Interactive Entertainment producer Shuhei Yoshida. Price guides the podcast with ease as Yoshida lays out his career history, detailing his start working for Sony’s manufacturing field and going on to become one of the major figures involved with launching the original PlayStation—at a time when Sony hadn’t entered the video game field at all. Yoshida also sheds light on his duties as a producer, which include overseeing budgets, tons of travel, and respectfully shooting down ideas that simply don’t work. Most interesting is Yoshida’s thoughts on the current state of virtual reality and just how much the development process mirrors the passion and creative freedom felt with the early PlayStation. This episode is as much an informative guide for those who aspire to work within the game industry as it is ear candy for those curious to learn about the inner workings of gaming. [Kevin Cortez]

Longtime cult favorite The Bright Sessions details the inner lives of super-powered therapy subjects, and from creator Lauren Shippen comes a new spin-off. The AM Archives follows old and new characters alike as they navigate the bureaucracy of possessing their special abilities. The debut comes exclusively through Luminary, a new podcast app offering both free shows and flagship originals available only to paid subscribers. In this first episode, Shippen sets the scene through masterful writing and compelling character interactions; the balance between familiar characters and fresh voices keeps listeners on their toes while a dramatic situation unfolds, and there isn’t a dull moment. Producer Mischa Stanton’s sound design is completely immersive and a cut above the already excellent soundscape of The Bright Sessions; Stanton brings the story to life in a way that sounds natural and effortless. Whether you’re a fan of the original series or just discovering its universe now, The AM Archives is worth a listen. [Alma Roda-Gil]

The Only One In The Room is a podcast for anyone who has ever looked up, scanned their surroundings, and felt complete isolation. Host Laura Robbins initially wrote a piece for The Huffington Post about being the only black woman in the room at a writers’ retreat. Since its publication, she has received an outpouring of stories from people of all backgrounds with similar experiences. Now she has people share those stories on her podcast. This week, Robbins sits down with Dr. Troy Byer, who is best known for her role on Dynasty in the late ’80s. After a downward spiral, Byer found herself arrested and handed the maximum sentence of anger management. When she first sat in that classroom with the other women, she thought they were all beneath her. However, as the classes continued she found herself learning she was not just equal to all these women, but she was every woman in that room. As she recounts her lesson in humility that led her to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology, listeners are taken on a journey of struggle, triumph, and healing. [Nichole Williams]

Pregnancy discrimination can affect virtually every aspect of employment, including hiring and firing decisions, promotions, layoffs, assignments, wages, and benefits—which is both unethical and technically illegal, thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. However, in this episode of The Pay Check, hosts Claire Suddath and Jordyn Holman present two recent cases that suggest pregnancy discrimination isn’t exactly a thing of the past. Guest Nicole LaPointe shares a voicemail from a potential employer who rescinded a job offer upon learning LaPointe was pregnant, evidence that she brought before Minnesota’s Supreme Court. News anchor Brittany Noble Jones also shares her story of being pushed out of her job once she became pregnant. Now in its second season, The Pay Check is an in-depth investigation into the personal and political reality of the gender pay gap, with interviews from legal experts and women working to change the system. As this episode reveals, pregnancy in particular can have a devastating, long-term effect on women’s earning power as many employers still struggle with treating pregnant women fairly. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]

It’s a well-known fact that lead paint is bad. Particularly in children, it can create learning disabilities and behavioral problems, leading to a lower IQ and hyperactivity. But how did lead paint become so popular in the first place? On the premiere episode of WNYC Studios’ latest series, The Stakes, Kai Wright tell us: It was, ironically, the work of children. At least, that’s part of it. Wright delves into the compelling story of the early lead industry and its spread of misinformation into the public consciousness, and how Dutch Boy Paint, a pioneering company within the industry, created a mascot aimed at children that literally told them to get their parents to purchase their product. When the company was confronted with the fact that lead is a public health risk, it placed the blame on the victims within Puerto Rican and black communities of New York City. This tale of a public health crisis is one full of shock and marketing, and Wright makes the case of the people versus lead paint one of the most exciting stories in recent journalistic podcasting memory. [Kevin Cortez]

People are fascinated with the end times, as Roland Emmerich’s vast empire of apocalyptic blockbusters proves. There’s just something fun about watching how all the shit might go down. Seriously, though, impending climate doom is on its way, things are going to get weird, and we’d best be prepared for it. In each episode of This Is How We Die, emergency preparedness and infrastructure nerds Meghan and Megan pick a U.S. city and discuss the worst-case scenario most likely to kill us all—and how we might actually survive it. Their latest episode features Los Angeles—home of mega droughts, dirty water, and fire-nados. Luckily, it looks like we can blame most of this “slow-moving car wreck” of an environmental disaster on suburban lawn lust and the public’s unquenchable thirst for almond milk. You’ll walk away from this episode with survival tips that include everything from the ridiculous (a giant collective tap dance; kidnapping Matt Damon) to the practical (how to make a DIY desalination kit; voting for water-supply-diversification policies). [Amber Cortes]

Sex can be dangerous, yet people still insist on doing it, and the BBC podcast Unexpected Fluids is here to chronicle all the ways in which physical intimacy can end in disaster. Sex educator Alix Fox and author Riyadh Khalaf are your guides through this world of “sexual fails.” They’re joined this week by reality TV star and emergency room physician Dr. Alex George to talk about his firsthand experiences with the aftermath of calamitous fornication. The stories range from a tale of a young man unwisely using a Brillo pad to exfoliate a very sensitive part of his anatomy to a striptease that somehow ended in a bloodbath. While these stories are hilarious and embarrassing, the hosts don’t turn it into salacious spectacle. Their main aim is to show that stuff like this can happen to anyone and that no one should feel shame, especially about seeking medical treatment. There’s also plenty of useful advice. They recommend that men get the HPV vaccine to avoid esophageal cancer and urge people not to use household items in lieu of purposefully constructed sex toys. Come for the stories, stay for the advice, and try not to end up in the hospital. [Anthony D Herrera]

This week, hosts Dana Goodin, Jasmine Helm, and Joy Davis move a bit away from the usual Unravel format. While still maintaining elements of their typical roundtable discussion style, they take a more theoretical approach to the ideas of both fashion and rebranding. Helm is a fashion scholar, Goodin is a conservator, and Davis is a scholar of history and fashion, and as expected, their areas of expertise lend a fascinating depth to their take on a subject that has a widespread and unfair reputation for being shallow. In reality, clothing and fashion touch our lives in ways people are often unaware of. Even the subject of Kanye West’s clothes and the rebranding of his image might sound like fodder for E! News. (Specifically, his choice to wear the red MAGA hat, and then the things he wore once he saw how people responded to that.) Unravel is a fascinating and intellectually stimulating sartorial discussion that makes full use of the three hosts’ deep scholarly and creative knowledge. [Jose Nateras]

When Angels Visit Armadillo
A Bit Of Both

In 1988, Maggie Waters witnesses the inexplicable disappearance of Cassidy Summers in Armadillo, Florida. When Angels Visit Armadillo is the story journalist Sam Byrd uncovers as she retraces what happened, centering Maggie’s voice as a fierce, out lesbian living in the deep South, and uncovering a potential religious conspiracy: Was it aliens or angels who took Cassidy Summers away? In this episode, the midway point for the eight-episode limited series, Sam finally talks with Cassidy about what happened and digs deeper into Maggie’s histories—not just about the facts, but about Maggie’s views, her feelings, the way she sees Cassidy and the world of Armadillo. WAVA is told in binaural audio design that evokes the experience of memory: When Sam’s interviewees describe their stories, the background becomes a slow river of sounds that represent that moment in time, like the sharp wail of a police siren when an FBI agent arrives in Armadillo or the tsunami of mutterings when a rumor takes over a church congregation. WAVA uses the work of an investigation—phone calls, interviews, recordings—to show how our perception of the truth, and of good and evil, can be distorted according to the lens we use to look at it. [Elena Fernández Collins]

Source: Kotaku.com