LAJ ARTICLES

7 Entertaining and Enlightening Podcasts That Will Help You Escape 2020

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By Kate Bilik

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Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

“Can you believe she did that?” My co-worker’s eyes grew large as she awaited my response. Her conviction to our discussion showed as she ignored her cellphone buzzing. As I reflected on another’s romantic situation, my boss inserted, “I don’t understand how she fell for him. He’s scum.” 

Our office gossip around the water cooler – in our office a Keurig – is not filled with entertainment buzz, personal drama, or who slapped whom on the latest reality show. No, it’s about podcasts. And the podcast we were discussing was Dirty John.

Podcasts have increased in popularity over the years; being used as a platform to share news, history, opinions, ideas, and bring a sense of community to listeners. Through podcasts, I have found entertainment, reconsidered my views on specific issues, uncovered history I was unaware of, and found a sense of acceptance with people who share my interests and beliefs. Here is a list of my top shows that are sure to captivate you.

The Bright Session

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This podcast, written and directed by Lauren Shippen, follows Dr. Bright – a therapist – and a group of her patients. But Dr. Bright is not an average therapist, and her patients are anything but typical. This science-fiction podcast includes mind readers, empaths, time travelers, and military experiments. 

You Must Remember This

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Through mesmerizing storytelling, You Must Remember This explores the history of Hollywood’s Golden Age that reflects anything but the radiant era we have come to know. Karina Longworth writes, produces, and narrates the podcast. Episodes have included guest stars John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt, Taran Killam, Dana Carvey, Fred Savage, Nora Zehetner, and Adam Goldberg. The season topics include The Manson Murders, Joan Crawford, the fact-checking of the book Hollywood Babylon, dead blondes of Hollywood, and Disney’s Song of the South

And That’s Why We Drink

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It is not an easy feat to weave elements of humor into a paranormal and true-crime podcast; if anyone is more than capable, it is Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz. The hosts use their platform to share their battles with mental and physical health and advocate for the normalization of pronouns. There is a bit of everything – wine, milkshakes, murders, ghosts, U.F.O.s, conspiracy theories, serial killers, lemons, fluffy dogs, and listener stories. 

Sidenote: This is my personal favorite that I recommend to anyone that will listen. I was lucky enough to attend the pair’s live show during the 2019 A.T.W.W.D. Tour; Em & Christine are just as amazing in person as they are through my speakers.

1619

1619 is an audio series from the New York Times. Nikole Hannah-Jones will take you through an eye-opening and riveting journey detailing how slavery transformed America, examining the impact still felt in society today. The limited podcast release in 2019 intentionally coincided with the 400th anniversary of the first Africans arriving in Virginia. The narrative is emotional and heartbreaking; it will leave you with an empathetic awareness of other’s perspectives. Hannah-Jones – the project creator – was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for the 1619 Project. 

You’re Wrong About

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Within the last few weeks, I discovered this podcast and became quickly obsessed. Michael Hobbes is a reporter for The Huffington Post; Sarah Marshall is currently writing a book about the satanic panic. Each week they analyze events in pop culture, informing the listeners of details that were – sometimes purposefully – withheld by the media. Mike and Sarah examine how the media misconstrues facts and information to fit their narrative, supplying the audience wants to hear versus the accurate details. They are not just another crime podcast; granted, they do cover O.J. Simpson, the Jonestown Massacre, and the D.C. Snipers. Subjects also discussed include Monica Lewinsky, Anna Nicole Smith, D.A.R.E., and Alpha Males. 

The duo is sarcastic, witty, and engaging as they make you challenge everything you thought you knew.

Noble Blood

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Listen, I love all things history. Give me a good period piece, and I am in heaven. If you want an audio series that appeals to your past lives – Noble Blood is for you. 

The host and creator – Dana Schwartz – transports the listener through history as each episode tells a tale of one of history’s most intriguing royals. Schwartz’s soft voice captivates, absorbing you into the stories of ruined monarchs and damned lovers. Episodes chronicle Catherine the Great’s rise to power, the events leading up to and the mysterious death of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the romance of Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb, as well as grants us with a view into the sagas of the six wives of King Henry VIII.

I should note, Aaron Mahnke is the executive producer. Mahnke is the host, creator, and producer of the award-winning podcast, Lore – along with Unobscured and Cabinet of Curiosities. 

True Crime Obsessed

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True Crime Obsessed is the weekly podcast you did not know you needed in your life. Gillian Pensavalle and Patrick Hinds seamlessly blend true crime and comedy, as they recap crime documentaries and shows. The duo is exhilarating with humor, charm, and witty banter. Episodes cover The Ted Bundy Tapes, The Keepers, Three Identical Strangers, McMillions, and more. 

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