You Should Be Listening To is a series where I talk up one of my favorite podcasts and explain why you should be listening, too. Each post gives an explanation of the show using the same five questions, including how best to listen and comparisons to other pieces of media. You can find all of my You Should Be Listening To posts here.
All About Fall of the House of Sunshine
What is Fall of the House of Sunshine?
Fall of the House of Sunshine is a serialized musical audio drama with touches of mystery, suspense, and a good deal of absurdist comedy. The podcast follows the death of Brushee Sunshine, the host of a children’s TV show about dental hygiene, who is shot by a bullet through a rift in spacetime. The audio drama follows the investigation of the murder and it . . . does not get less strange than any of those things I just said. There’s a cult that worships teeth ruling the world, a rebellion of puppets, and some really fantastic songs.
Its second season, “Days of Future Fuzz,” has just started, and this time, it’s got a more X-Men style plot.
Okay, but what is it really?
Fall of the House of Sunshine is a story about the corruption of power, propaganda, and the pervasiveness of systematic oppression. I think. It’s a story about the–often horrific–power of love, the meaning of family, and the ethics of lying to keep others safe. I think.
What makes it different from other podcasts?
I haven’t used gifs in articles for a long while, but this seems like an appropriate occasion.
Fall of the House of Sunshine isn’t just completely different from any other podcast I’ve ever heard–it’s different from any other piece of media I’ve ever experienced. You will never hear another podcast like Fall of the House of Sunshine.
When does it start to “get good?”
Fall of the House of Sunshine is good out the gate, but there’s definitely a learning curve that comes with it. Early episodes almost blindside the audience with the commitment to what it is–there’s no comfortable, slow-build introduction to this bizarre world and story. Initially, the strangeness of this audio drama makes it seem like it’s going to be only comedy, and that’s true to an extent. It might be easy to write off early episodes as being strange just to be strange or one big joke concept, but as it unfolds, it becomes so much more. It isn’t that Fall of the House of Sunshine “gets good” a few episodes it; it’s that usually, listeners only understand how good it is a few episodes in.
Why should I be listening?
Fall of the House of Sunshine is, without a doubt, one of the most ambitious podcasts I’ve ever heard. When I first listened, I had some apprehension about a few aspects of the first season that felt problematic to me, and those apprehensions have stayed with me–but so has this podcast as a whole. Fall of the House of Sunshine is also a master class in world building and internal logic. Each piece of this show’s plot sounds hodgepodge when explained, but when actually conveyed in the podcast, it’s shockingly cohesive. The bizarre fantasy setting is more fully conceived than most “high-concept” TV shows doing less ambitious things with their worlds. With its second season, Fall of the House of Sunshine has expanded its cast and added new actors like podcasting darling (and 30 Under 30 Media Luminary) Lauren Shippen. The science-fiction, superhero style plot is sure to lead us in directions none of us could have possibly expected.
Listen to Fall of the House of Sunshine if you like:
- Those really strange, sort of horrifying children’s movies from the 90’s like We’re Back or Rockadoodle or Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme
- Comedic musicals, especially Little Shop of Horrors or StarKid productions like Firebringer or The Trail to Oregon!
- High-concept analyses of oppressive governments like 1984 or Brave New World
- Media that straddles the line between comedy, horror, and drama like A Clockwork Orange, Repo! the Genetic Opera, or Slither
- Media that will take you off guard and surprise you over and over
You can find more information, including transcripts of episodes and the cast album of the podcast’s songs, on their website.