This year, like 2016, seemed like a continuous garbage fire (and in some places, there were actual fires…). It’s been hard to stay strong, to be positive about the kind of future we have in store. Plus, with winter officially upon us in the northern hemisphere, these cold, short days are perfect for negative thinking and depressive attitudes (at least for me). So in light of all of that, I wanted to write about some of my favorite things to come out of this year.
The newest production from the teams behind Tanis and The Black Tapes finished their first season last week with a shocking twist. This show, titled Rabbits, is by far the best produced and written podcasts from the Public Radio Alliance and its sister network, Pacific Northwest Stories. Rabbits is, at the heart of it, about one person’s attempt to find their missing friend.
Carly Parker, the host of the show, usually opens each episode by telling us why she started the podcast. Her friend, Yumiko, went missing while playing a mysterious and rather ancient game, often referred to in hushed tones as ‘Rabbits’. It’s during Parker’s search for her friend that she discovers just how complex and potentially life changing that the game just might be. And it’s during her search that she learns just how potentially fatal the game could be as well.
Recently, I listened up the popular podcast S-Town and ended up listening to all seven episodes in about 24 hours. This podcast is wonderfully produced and one of the latest projects from the teams behind This American Life and Serial. I was initially hesitant to listen to this show because I wasn’t sure how the show would go. It has been lauded as a true crime podcast and the description of it alludes to it being similar in nature to other popular podcasts like Serial and Missing Richard Simmons. And while the description doesn’t adequately describe the final product of the show, it was an interesting (and sometimes rough) listen.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about using real life pain, tragedy, and abuse as entertainment. A part of this comes from listening to the podcast Missing Richard Simmons, in which one journalist looks into the enthusiastic fitness instructor’s rather sudden retreat from public life a few years ago and the turmoil that the show caused. Listening to that show felt weird at so many moments and Amanda Hess over at the New York Times nailed exactly why it felt so invasive.
There are so many other examples similar to Missing Richard Simmons that are based on that same sort of premise: using and telling someone else’s story in a very public way. Many (but not all) of these productions are about events that are traumatic and violent, making them moments that I’m sure not many would want to constantly relive on a public stage.
Today is International Podcast Day and it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the medium. I’ve written about many of the podcasts that I’ve been listening to over the years on this blog: The Message, Last Name Basis, We Want The Airwaves, Limetown are all some of my favorites. Over the past few months, I’ve come across a few more that I love so I thought that I’d share them here!
If you are anything like me and enjoyed listening to The Message, then you’ll probably also really like the podcast Limetown. It’s fictional podcast following the investigation of what happened to a place called Limetown in 2004 and seems to be a mix of Serial, NPR, and the Twilight Zone. Although if you want to listen to it spoiler free (which I would), I recommend not reading this any further.
So several months ago I wrote about some of my favorite podcasts and since then, that list has grown! This list right now is about the podcasts I know I love already(*) but the ones I’m excited to start listening to(**).
Last Name Basis* – husband and wife duo Patrick and Franchesa talk about what’s happening in the world as well as married life and their dogs.
Lore Podcast* – this is a biweekly podcast about true life scary stories and each episode looks into the truth behind a uniquely scary story. I have honestly gasped audibly and made faces at the information I learn and some of the stories. Based on this podcast, I guess it’s true what they say – sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.