My Favorite Podcasts

We live in strange times. It’s hard to even unpack that phrase. But we’re all looking to survive and maybe even thrive as we get through this current crisis, and one thing I’ve been particularly grateful for is that my usual podcasts are continuing to release, and some of them are even producing more content. 

I arrived at getting into podcasts relatively late. It’s only been the last year that I’ve accepted that I enjoy podcasts and I want to keep up with the rotation and releases of new content. It’s kind of like having regular contact with old friends, even though I haven’t met any of these folks in person. (Though I might get to occasionally interact with them on Twitter.) And even though I’m not in my car as much as I used to, which was my usual time to catch up on podcasts, I’m making efforts to listen to my regular podcasts while I go for a social distancing walk or am cleaning my house. 

So here are the podcasts I listen to in case you’re looking for something to help distract you from the world (or at least keep you entertainingly informed).

This is the only podcast I have been listening to consistently for years. This is obviously more of a thing for people who identify as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), or those who have more of an academic interest in the culture of the church. But Geoff the host is highly intelligent and funny, and he now has a rotating array of hosts who help to tell the news of the day as it relates to Mormons and provide some lively commentary as well. I live in Utah and am surrounded by Mormon culture, yeah, but it’s still fun to have it distilled through other people.

Like most white people my age, I’m a huge fan of The Office. It’s one of my comfort shows that I can watch repeatedly and have on in the background while I do other things. Now two of the actors from the show are doing this great rewatch and recap of each episode, occasionally bringing in guests like the series creator Greg Daniels or Andy Buckley who played Dunder Mifflin CFO David Wallace. Even someone like me, who has absolutely watched the episodes with the cast and crew commentaries, has learned a few different pieces of trivia about the making of the beloved show. Angela and Jenna are super cute, and getting their journal entries and MySpace posts from back during the filming days adds some fun spice to the fandom. 

I stumbled upon this show because I kept noticing one the hosts, Sarah Marshall, get retweeted by other people I follow, and when I further investigated I learned she and her cohost Michael Hobbes had this podcast with this great premise of doing deep dives into famous events and famous people from the past and “debunking” the common thought about them. I started from the first episode and binge-listened to every episode until I was caught up. I’m absolutely obsessed, and their arcs on the O.J. Simpson trial and the D.C. Snipers are in particular pretty amazing. Their Kitty Genovese episode and their episode on sex offenders were also major standouts for me. I’m now a supporter on Patreon because I love their work so much. They’re currently doing a “book club” series on the Satanic Panic, one of host Sarah’s pet interests. 

I haven’t been listening to this podcast for as long as the others, and right now it’s more serving the purpose of a “filler” podcast when my other podcasts are between episodes. However, I first got into listening to their series on the movie The Song of the South that Disney made in the 40s that’s essentially become a blacklisted film these days (but you’ve no doubt heard the movie’s big hit “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” at some point). The series went into how the film came about, the rereleases it’s had, and all of its many controversies that lead up to it not being included in Disney+ today. The podcast delves into stories and biographies of classic Hollywood, which is a favorite topic of mine, and now has a large backlist of episodes to keep you entertained on a car trip or long weekend when you need something to listen to. I grew up watching old Hollywood films and being familiar with those actors and directors and major players, so it’s a continued interest and something I will always find interesting.

This one I stumbled upon and immediately became obsessed with. I was definitely one of those 80s Babies who acquired American Girl dolls during the course of my childhood. I still have them, though right now they’re packed away. A fellow history major in college and I discussed how we became history majors because of Indiana Jones and Molly McIntire, and I love the podcast for completely indulging in that for me. Two professional historians, who grew up with American Girl as well, are reading through each of the books and discussing them with modern insights. I love the deep dives, the in-jokes that develop, and the knowledge shared. And the hosts recently got a book deal, and I can’t WAIT to get my hands on that, too!


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