I don’t know how you came across this blog exactly, but in case you couldn’t tell from the last few posts, I really love lists and spreadsheets. This love has grown exponentially as I’ve gone through grad school, and lost time to work on creative writing and art.
One of the growing spreadsheets I’ve kept for the past 9 months or so is all the podcasts I’ve listened to, along with date of release, my rating and a link to the podcast. What follows are my favorite episodes I’ve come across in that time. I’m labeling this list as part one, because with this ongoing project, I’ll definitely have more I want to share.
Enjoy, other bored podcast dorks!
Some of my Five Star Podcast Episodes (Listened to from 8/17/17 to 5/4/18)
- Mystery Show (Gimlet) – Case #3: Belt Buckle (June 18, 2015)
I happened upon the Mystery Show, hosted by Starlee Kine, after catching up with all my other favorite Gimlet podcasts on a whim one day, and fell completely in love with the show and it’s incredibly sincere and passionate host. This episode is about a homemade novelty belt buckle found by a young boy in the 1980s and kept for 30 years. As an adult, the boy has decided it’s time for the buckle to return to its rightful owner, and Starlee goes on a mission to find them.
The ending of this episode gave me goosebumps in the best possible way. I was seriously impressed with the storytelling and was very disappointed to realize the show only has 6 episodes in total, and is no longer active. I love a good non-True Crime mystery, and those can be hard to come by.
- What Really Happened – Without a Voice
This episode really gave me some insight into Britney Spears’ career, and in particular her infamous breakdown in 2007. The host explains the lesser known legalities of the case, and remains sympathetic to Spears’ struggles throughout the entire episode. I went into the episode with fairly neutral feelings on B. Spears, and left with a newfound love and appreciation for her.
- Internet Explorer – “I Sent Porn to the Entire Company” & Other Horrors (March 17, 2016)
I really love podcasts that explore the internet, because I spend so much time there myself, and the hosts of Buzzfeed’s Internet Explorer clearly know what they’re talking about. This episode talks about the host’s group chat with friends and the ridiculous and awful things that could possibly be brought to light if any one of them ever gets into legal trouble.
- TLDR (WNYC) – GodTube (January 8, 2015)
A short and succinct little podcast episode about a Christian youtube clone, GodTube and its niche community. Not extraordinarily in-depth, but interesting (especially if you’re as fascinated by Christian fundamentalism as I am)
- The Mortified Podcast – Jessica: I was a Teenage Prison Wife
In searching for more information about the lives of Prison Spouses (Thank you, Love After Lock Up!) I came across this episode of the Mortified podcast and spent the next hour stifling my laughter at my cubicle. Like with many of the Mortified podcast episodes, the author’s unabashed honesty and lack of personal censorship is what makes the story work. If you listen to this, prepare for a fair amount of second-hand embarrassment, as well as some harsh reminders of what you were probably like as a teenager.
- Every Little Thing – The Voices Hiding in your Favorite Movies (December 4, 2017)
This episode changed the way I observe movies and TV shows. Never before had I considered the life of a background voice actor, and this episode provides an excellent break down of the industry and how these actors operate. It made me acutely aware of the level of detail put into the media we watch, much of which, we just never notice.
- Do Go On – Benjamin Franklin (July 5, 2017)
This podcast almost never fails to crack me up, and this episode is by far my favorite because along with being a huge comedy nerd, I’m a big fan of Colonial American history. This break down of the life of Benjamin Franklin from three New Zealanders offers hilarious perspective on Franklin as a figure, and allowed me to view what I know of the era and its prominent figures with some fresh eyes.
- First Day Back – Lovebirds (April 11th, 2017)
If you’re someone who is interested in the criminal justice system, this entire season is a must-listen. It paints a complicated picture of life after leaving the prison system, and how one woman attempts to atone for committing a crime she can’t even remember.
- A Very Special Episode Podcast – Episode 17: Leave it to Beaver – “Beaver and Andy” (May 8, 2017)
I love shows that review old, strange or especially bad media. A Very Special Episode podcast is just what it says on the tin, a podcast about Very Special TV episodes. This is one of the few podcasts I’ve encountered that reviewed any episode of Leave it to Beaver, and the hosts do a fantastic job at poking fun at the show, while still acknowledging its significance to TV history and noting the ways it differs from what an unfamiliar view might expect from a 1950s TV show. (P.S. Ward Cleaver is def one of my favorite TV Dads–He actually admits when he fucks up!)
- Redhanded –The Drag Queen & Her Costume Cupboard Corpse (October 12, 2017)
Redhanded, hosted by Suruthi-laya Bala and Hannah Maguire, is by far the best True Crime podcast I’ve listened to. Too often when I find an episode about a case I’m interested in, I wind up frustrated by the hosts lack of detail, bad sources or lack of respect for victims of violence. Suruthi and Hannah manage to make me laugh through some dark episodes, but manage to never make jokes at the expense of these victims. This case is particularly fascinating for those who have seen the 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning about drag queen culture in New York in the 1980s, because the (most likely) perpetrator of this crime was featured prominently in the film. To further entice you into listening, here’s the episode’s description: “Dorian Corey, drag queen superstar, was the queen of queens in life – but when she died, a bizarre and horrifying mystery was revealed. What her friends found hidden in the back of her costume cupboard, zipped up in a dress bag, shocked the world.”