With him as the host, premiered during the height of campaign frenzy and, each week, eased people’s fears about “the other side” with a specific kind of medicine: information.
By offering historical context (say, stats about the cortisol levels of conservatives versus liberals), explaining how one-time Obama voters found themselves screaming support at Republican rallies, and dignifying the voices of hardcore Trump supporters, the show shrank the frightening chasm of stuff that seemed beyond understanding.
(say, “life as an au pair isn’t easy”) doesn’t capture how incredible any given episode actually is.
The podcast uncovers topics that you didn’t know you knew so little about (wildfires, the Zika virus, welfare) and renders it into the audio version of high-definition color.
Each episode finds the host Jonathan Goldstein moderating a fraught moment intensified by years of distance: a time when someone broke a promise, or another person’s heart.
The hurt is still there—sometimes for everyone, sometimes for just one person who can’t let something go (like the time a man named Gregor lent the then-unknown musician Moby a collection of CDs that were never returned).
explores the tricky business of redemption and estrangement by starting with the premise that to make something right, you have to first get over the idea that someone is at fault.
You also have to laugh, to the point of tears, as much as possible.
In 2016, veered into the hosts’ personal lives—Lulu Miller exploring her family’s struggle with mental illness in “The Problem With the Solution,” for instance—breathing new life into a show already alive and well.
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl abandoned his post in Afghanistan, was captured by the Taliban, and then held hostage for five years, which incited a tremendous manhunt—but that’s about as much as anyone can agree on in ’s second season.
As Goldstein presides over these thorny divisions, he injects the narrative with a buddy-cop mania, letting the listeners laugh at how flawed his subjects (himself included) are, without ever being demeaning.