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.
During my This Week in Podcasts hiatus, the teaser trailer for Amazon’s adaptation of Lore debuted, which inspired the new “Podcast Adaptations” section of my “Podcast News” post category to make finding news about the adaptations quicker. I reviewed She’s In Russia, a show about Russian-American politics, and I wrote my list of the best podcasts to prep writers for NaNoWriMo. Wooden Overcoats started a Kickstarter for their third season and very quickly hit their funding goal. American Public Media also announced the return of Terrible, Thanks for Asking and The Hilarious World of Depression.
“Episode 53: Dirty Work”
This week’s Wolf 359 was another feat in writing, acting, and production. While the first half of this final season had me worried, it’s clear now that the barrel towards the end of the show will be as exciting and intriguing as one could hope. The most successful parts of this episode were the much-needed return to Minkowski’s character growth but also the incredible work with building Jacobi. Jacobi’s character has felt like an awkward elephant in the room since the end of season 2; he’s been around, but he hasn’t felt utilized. He’s just seemed to exist without the writers really knowing what to do with him. Now, though, all of that waiting pays off perfectly, and renders his presence in the previous episodes so much more unnerving and upsetting.
This was my first listen on Rough Translation, and I’m already furious with myself for not listening sooner. “American Surrogate” features the story of an American woman acting as a surrogate for a Chinese woman. The episode discusses the political ramifications of the situation, but mostly, it focuses on the unlikely friendship between the two women. The story is about the cultures coming together, but mostly, it’s a story of a woman who feels such a deep shame for having a miscarriage and the woman who wants nothing more than to support her. It’s a beautiful story that’s beautifully told, with gorgeous editing and pacing. This is one of the best episodes of nonfiction podcasting I’ve heard in recent memory, and I couldn’t recommend it more.
Hello from the Magic Tavern
“Season 3, Ep 25 – Sit in a Circle (w/ Todd Barry, Janet Varney, Cole Stratton, Matt Besser & Danielle Schneider”
This episode of Hello from the Magic Tavern was a painful exercise in guests who had no idea what the show was but still seemed to actively hate it. I didn’t listen for more than twenty minutes; I have a high tolerance for awkward humor, but this was just too much.
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous Strangers
“77. Coming Out with Katie Couric”
I have wells of respect for Katie Couric. I think that Katie Couric is one of the most important people in journalism. I also, however, think that Katie Couric is a little insufferable, it turns out. Her presence in this week’s episode took the focus entirely off the of the caller, a sweet 20-year-old trans woman, and instead on Couric, who spent the episode applauding herself for her documentary about the trans community. This was made even worse given the caller, Amelia, was clearly a Chris Gethard fan who wanted to have such an intimate conversation with him specifically and not a reporter who only seemed to want a sob story. This was, without a doubt, the most excruciating episode I have ever heard.
This Week’s Ratings
- Wolf 359, “Episode 53: Dirty Work”: B+
- Conversations with People Who Hate Me, “Episode 5: The Seeds of Hate”: B
- Wooden Overcoats, “Funn Fragments: The Social Rudyard”: B–
- Note to Self, “Refresh Your Mind”: C
- She’s in Russia, “14: Rap Battle and Kirill Serebrennikov”: C+
- Note to Self, “Attention Please”: B
- Within the Wires, “Season 2, Cassette 1: Tate Modern (1971)”: B
- Rough Translation, “American Surrogate”: A
- My Brother, My Brother and Me, “MBMBaM 370: Dax Don’t Care”: B
- Wooden Overcoats, “Funn Fragments: Practical Magic”: B
- Hello from the Magic Tavern, “Season 3, Ep 25 – Sit in a Circle (w/ Todd Barry, Janet Varney, Cole Stratton, Matt Besser & Danielle Schneider”: D
- The Moth, “Radio Hour: Under the Gun”: B-
- Polygon’s Quality Control, “Destiny 2”: C+
- The Gray Area, “5.5 Hatch”: B-
- Song Exploder, “Ibeyi – Deathless”: B
- Greater Boston, “With Truck, Without Truck”: B
- Beautiful Stories From Anonymous Strangers, “77. Coming Out with Katie Couric”: D
- Terrible, Thanks For Asking, “11: The Ending Matters”: B+
- Code Switch, “An Advertising Revolution: ‘Black People Are Not Dark-Skinned White People”: B+
- Myths and Legends, “82A-Arabian Nights: I’ll Most Likely Kill You in the Morning”: C+
- 99% Invisible, “274- The Age of the Algorith”: C
- The Heart, “Bodies: Itch”: C+
- Station to Station, “Ep. 2 – Workplace Wellbeing”: B+
- Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked, “Lost in Time”: B
- Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked, “The Watcher”: B-
- Snap Judgment, “Campfire Tales IV: Primal”: C+
- Strangers, “A Filipino-Albino-Gay-Straight-Boy-Girl-Poor-Privileged-Immigrant-American Life”: B
- Imaginary Worlds, “Technobabble”: B+
- Wooden Overcoats, “Funn Fragments: The Full Works”: B
- The Adventure Zone, “The Adventure Zone: Live in Austin”: A–though, as always, this show just doesn’t even seem fair to rate at this point
- Nancy, “#22: Does Your Boss Know You’re Gay?”: B