The “You’re Wrong About” Extended Universe

In 2020, I fell in love with You’re Wrong About. The podcast, as one of their taglines suggests, gives a good name to saying, “Well, actually . . .” with its fact-based unpacking of American moral panics and misunderstood historical figures. Amidst constant disinformation and misinformation campaigns, the show felt like a balm on my brain and my heart.

As I listened, I found myself falling down a rabbit hole of the other podcasts that branched off of You’re Wrong About: first, the podcasts by the hosts Sarah Marshall (You Are Good) and Michael Hobbes (Maintenance Phase and If Books Could Kill), then by the guests on You’re Wrong About, and then branching off from the hosts of these hosts’ other shows like second cousins.

My love for this collection of podcasts has unraveled me like they unravel myths from our past. I present to you a compendium of the You’re Wrong About Extended Universe, displayed here as infographic, and down below as a full list. It should be noted that this Extended Universe is surprisingly white and surprisingly cis. That being said, it’s also a collection of some genuine greats.

You’re Wrong About

  • Connection: The original big mama podcast that would wind up connecting all the others here in its lovely little web. YWA was originally hosted by both Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes; however, Michael Hobbes departed the show as a host in the October 2021 episode, “Mike Lives in a Downtown Hotel” (go listen to the after school specials episode and it’ll make sense). Hobbes has since been back as a guest on YWA for the episode “Hunting Serial Killers with Michael Hobbes” in September 2022.
  • Description: “Sarah is a journalist obsessed with the past. Every week she reconsiders a person or event that’s been miscast in the public imagination.”
  • Find You’re Wrong About here: Pod.Link
  • A personal favorite, obviously. I’ve talked about YWA on KQED’s Forum as well as over on Discover Pods.

Featuring the You’re Wrong About Hosts

You Are Good (formerly Why Are Dads)

  • Connection: Co-hosted by Sarah Marshall
  • Description: “A feelings podcast about movies.”
  • Find You Are Good here: Pod.Link

Maintenance Phase

  • Connection: Co-hosted by Michael Hobbes
  • Description: “Debunking the junk science behind health fads, wellness scams and nonsensical nutrition advice.”
  • Find Maintenance Phase here: Pod.Link
  • A personal favorite.

If Books Could Kill

  • Connection: Co-hosted by Michael Hobbes
  • Description: “The airport bestsellers that captured our hearts and ruined our minds.”
  • Find If Books Could Kill here: Pod.Link
  • A personal favorite. Each episode gives me rabies.

Featuring Hosts of Those Podcasts

Nashville Demystified

  • Connection: Hosted by Alex Steed, co-host with Sarah Marshall on You Are Good
  • Description: “Talking with the folks who live, work, agitate and make art in Nashville, TN.”
  • Find Nashville Demystified here: Pod.link

5 – 4

  • Connection: Co-hosted by Peter Shamshiri (Twitter’s The Law Boy), co-host with Michael Hobbes on If Books Could Kill
  • Description: “5-4 is a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks. It’s a progressive and occasionally profane take on the ideological battles at the heart of the Court’s most important landmark cases; an irreverent tour of all the ways in which the law is shaped by politics. Subscribe to our access our premium episodes & much more at fivefourpod.com/supportListen each week as hosts Peter, Michael, and Rhiannon dismantle the Justices’ legal reasoning on hot-button issues like affirmative action, gun rights, and campaign finance, and use dark humor to reveal the high court’s biases. Presented by Slow Burn co-creator Leon Neyfakh, and hosted by Rhiannon Hamam, Peter Shamshiri, and Michael Morbius. 5-4 is a production of Prologue Projects.”
  • Find Nashville Demystified here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite. Deeply cathartic.

Hosted by You’re Wrong About Guests

Jamie Loftus

Jamie Loftus is one of the most prolific podcasters to have guested on You’re Wrong About, alongside Avery Trufelman and Jamelle Bouie.

A list of YWA episodes Jamie Loftus has guested on:

The Bechdel Cast

  • Description:The Bechdel Cast is a podcast about the portrayal of women in movies hosted by Caitlin Durante and Jamie Loftus.”
  • Find The Bechdel Cast here: Pod.link

My Year in Mensa

  • Description: “Jamie Loftus takes you through her year in the high-IQ Mensa society, from taking the test as a joke to spending the Fourth of July with 2000 angry Mensans in Phoenix. Chaos reigns, but at least it tests well.”
  • Find My Year in Mensa here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite. We talked up this podcast on Tuned In, Dialed Up.

Lolita Podcast

  • Description: “Who is Lolita? The Nabokov literary classic has sparked infinite discussion in the 65 years since its release, but the cultural memory the book has left behind lives more in romance and fashion aesthetics than a cautionary tale about a deceptive predator and his young prey. Jamie Loftus wants to know how we got here, and this series traces Lolita — the person, Dolores Haze — from her literary origin to current status as a doomed icon.”
  • Find Lolita Podcast here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite, and a platonic ideal of a deep-dive podcast. Read my full review at Discover Pods, on desktop versus mobile for the best reading experience.

Aack Cast!

  • Description: “Aack! Cathy, the iconic and much-maligned comic strip by Cathy Guisewite, chronicled the day-to-day tribulations of its titular working woman for 35 years, met with equal praise and derision. In this podcast, Jamie Loftus (Lolita Podcast, My Year in Mensa) weaves between reporting and fiction, putting a cruelly treated cartoon everywoman in context.”
  • Find Aack Cast! here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite.

Ghost Church

  • Description: “In this limited series, Jamie Loftus investigates and interrogates American spiritualism, a century-old tradition of communing with the dead that takes place in camps full of mediums across the country. Who is drawn to these camps, how did the religion come together, and why are the tarot card readers and the seance-havers fighting? Ghost Church is a look at grief, religion, and loneliness, with on-site reporting and interviews with everyone from spiritualist psychics to Protestant pastors to a very lonely carnival employee.”
  • Find Ghost Church here: Pod.link

Avery Trufelman

Another prolific podcaster who guested on YWA, Avery Trufelman is something of a podcast icon. You can read my conversation with Trufelman about her career and her podcast Articles of Interest on the Spotify for Podcasters blog.

A list of YWA episodes Avery Tufelman has guested on:

99% Invisible

  • Description: “Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we’ve just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org.”
  • Find 99% Invisible here: Pod.link

Articles of Interest

  • Description:Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear. Produced and Hosted by Avery Trufelman.”
  • Find Articles of Interest here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite, and another I discussed on KQED’s Forum.

Nice Try!

  • Description:Nice Try‘s second season, Interior, is all about the lifestyle products that have been sold to us over and over, and the promises of domestic self improvement they have made, kept and broken. From Curbed, New York Magazine and the Vox Media Podcast Network.”
  • Find Nice Try! here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite.

The Cut

  • Description:The Cut is a weekly audio magazine exploring culture, style, sex, politics and more. Intimate, provocative, and probing, the Cut aims to ask questions before listeners even know they have them, always with a generous wit and an expansive idea of what is possible. From New York Magazine and The Vox Media Podcast Network. New episodes every other Wednesday.”
  • Avery Trufelman left The Cut in 2021.
  • Find Articles of Interest here: Pod.link

Jamelle Bouie

Our final multi-podcast-host guest on YWA, Jamelle Bouie is also a prolific writer. Bouie is a columnist for The New York Times and the former chief political correspondent at Slate. He’s a political analyst on CBS News, and he appears on episodes of Face the Nation and CBS Sunday Morning.

A list of YWA episodes Jamelle Bouie has guested on:

Reconstruction

  • Description: “The era of Reconstruction that followed the Civil War was our best chance to build an American democracy grounded in racial equality. Its failure helps explain why race, ‘states’ rights,’ and the legacy of the Confederacy remain central themes in our politics today.”
  • Find Reconstruction here: Pod.link

The History of American Slavery

  • Description: “With the help of acclaimed historians and writers, Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the history of American slavery and examine how the institution came to shape our country’s politics, economy, and culture.”
  • Find The History of American Slavery here: Slate

Unclear and Present Danger

  • Description:New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie and freelance writer John Ganz delve into the world of 90s post-Cold War thrillers with Unclear and Present Danger, a podcast that explores America in an age of transition to lone superpower, at once triumphant and unsure of its role in the world.”
  • Find Unclear and Present Danger here: Pod.link

Chelsey Weber-Smith: American Hysteria

  • YWA guest episodes:
  • Description: “American Hysteria explores how fantastical thinking has shaped our culture – moral panics, urban legends, hoaxes, crazes, fringe beliefs, and national misunderstandings. Poet-turned-podcaster Chelsey Weber-Smith tells the strangest stories from American history and examines the forces that create the reality we share, and sometimes, the reality we don’t.”
  • Find American Hysteria here: Pod.link

Laci Mosley: Scam Goddess

  • YWA guest episodes:
  • Description:Scam Goddess is a podcast dedicated to fraud and all those who practice it! Each week host Laci Mosley (aka Scam Goddess) keeps listeners up to date on current rackets, digs deep into the latest scams, and breaks down historic hoodwinks alongside some of your favorite comedians! It’s like true crime only without all the death! True fun crime!”
  • Find Scam Goddess here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite.

Karina Longworth: You Must Remember This

  • YWA guest episodes:
  • Description:You Must Remember This is a storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. It’s the brainchild and passion project of Karina Longworth (founder of Cinematical.com, former film critic for LA Weekly), who writes, narrates, records and edits each episode. It is a heavily-researched work of creative nonfiction: navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Karina tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars and scandals of the 20th century.”
  • Find You Must Remember This here: Pod.link
  • A classic — a real “your favorite podcaster’s favorite podcast.”

Willa Paskin: Decoder Ring

  • YWA guest episodes:
  • Description:Decoder Ring is the show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters.”
  • Find Decoder Ring here: Pod.link
  • A personal favorite. You can read my review of Decoder Ring on Discover Pods.

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