Podcast Pulse

Unqualified with Anna Faris

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I’m not one to bad mouth another’s work. Indeed, I like to spend my time putting light and good into the world as much as humanly possible. Every now and then, however, something comes along that compels me to comment in the negative. A thing so monstrous and confrontationally horrible that I simply must warn people about it, causing them to wonder what is going on in our world that a thing like this can attain any status at all. The monster to which I refer is the recent podcast Unqualified by Anna Faris.

Though, I have to give her credit for aptly naming it, I don’t think labeling something correctly gives you a pass. In fact, I think it incriminates you more as it shows that you are well aware of what you’re putting out. I could almost be more forgiving if Faris called it “An Hour with Howard Stern’s Protégée.” At least this would be closer to what she’s going for. At least this would be honest.

To give a little background on Faris, she is famously married to mega-star Chris Pratt. If you listen to her podcast for 10 minutes she’ll be sure to mention this like some archaic throwback to the fifties who lives in the shadow of her husband’s superstardom.

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Here’s the Thing

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Alright, I know right off the bat, some of you might say “Alec Baldwin? Come on! Really?” There’s no denying after the scandal Baldwin was involved in a few years back where he called his then 11-year-old daughter a rude, thoughtless pig, the man’s had an uphill climb rebuilding his reputation. However, when you listen to him interview celebrities and personalities ranging from iconic to those just arriving on the scene on his podcast, Here’s The Thing, I think you’ll agree that he’s made that climb and finally reached the summit.

Baldwin waxes both apologetic and candid about his past flub ups. He shares about how he has used his mistakes to help him in his most recent marriage to continuing to foster a good relationship with his now 21-year-old daughter from his former marriage to Kim Bassinger. If his daughter forgave him, then we should too right? He is, after all, a film and television star, not the leader of the moral majority. Indeed, tuning in to Here’s the Thing is a bit like visiting with your spunky uncle — the one your parents warn you about, but the one who’s always got the funniest stories and the best hugs.

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The Black Tapes

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Okay, so I’m going to preface this referral by saying I had to quit listening after the first five episodes. Mind you, after living in a haunted house in Augusta, Georgia one summer I’m not as up for hearing about anything other wordly, and you’re talking to a woman who made her then boyfriend stay on the phone with her all night in college after seeing The Blair Witch Project (shocker he still married me after that).

All that aside,  The Black Tapes is SCARY with a capital “S”. The biggest reason is that I can’t tell how much of it is legit or not. The verdict’s still out… Though it says is a docudrama, the way they put it together, with interviews, the description of eerie images, and the sound effects, makes it sound very, very real. That’s probably what makes it one of the better, if not the best, horror podcasts out there. No matter where you stand on the idea of the paranormal, it will make you at least put one foot over that line that jaggedly divides disbelief and belief.

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Bullseye

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In our culture, unless you’ve chosen to take the path of a deeply jaded, fear-riddled prepper and live off to yourself in the woods, all of us are bitten by the celebrity bug. We want to see them and know them, dream about meeting them. Soon they become friends we feel like we grew up with but in reality, they don’t even know our names. Bullseye with host, Jesse Thorn, fulfills these desires.

For those times you want to hear celebrities dish, and bathe in the kiddie pool of  entertainment fluff or those days when you are feeling more astute and want to hear your favorite stars pontificate on what makes them, them, or share their viewpoints on their work, N.P.R. has hit the “Bullseye” with this podcast as it offers you both.

Danny McBride

On one episode, Danny McBride, star and co-creator of the HBO hit Vice Principals, delves into his unlikeable characters that make an impression more than they endear. You get an inside look at what makes McBride tick and how he came to be a simple boy from N.C.

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heavyweight

Heavyweight

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Let’s face it, most of us duck and cover if things get uncomfortable with the people we know. Most of us shy away from emotionally charged situations. You know the ones — ones like getting your dad to talk to his estranged brother; helping your friend patch things up with someone they feel denied them credit for an idea; and the trepidatious, locked and loaded meeting up with an ex you feel changed how you see relationships forever.

One man is not turning away from these types of scenarios. Heavyweight Host Jonathan Goldstein, armed with his recording devices, dives right in, prying open all that difficult emotional baggage we all carry around in hopes of fleshing out its origins and endeavoring to change things for the better. At first read, everything I’ve described thus far might be a big turn off for you. Trust me.  Heavyweight has weight in the title and Goldstein handles these things scenarios and issues with a profound balance of brevity and depth with a wit that makes you glad to be a passenger along for the ride.

Each episode delves into the baggage of totally diverse people.

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