Reply All is, as per the website description (which couldn’t be more direct), “a show about the Internet.” But please, keep reading – this specific episode has nothing to do with the Internet. Hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman usually discuss stories pertaining to the Internet, and its pervasive nature in society. The podcast, by Gimlet Media, is fairly new (debuted in 2014).
I’ve never clarified how this blog works. Essentially, I have a list of ‘best-ofs’ episodes to choose from every week. I have no summary of the podcasts, and for good reason: I want to blindly select each episode so that my reviews are as diverse as possible. I chose this week’s episode, Reply All’s “Today’s The Day,” solely because of the title.
For full disclosure, the past few months have been stressful (for the most part, in a good way). I liked this title because of the daily affirmation-esque nature (“I can do anything good, yeah, yeah, yeah”). I needed this. And I am so glad I selected it.
The hosts start the episode by explaining that this episode is a bit different: they are interviewing an expert on transistors.
Immediately, I paused the episode. I started to seriously question my selection. I went back to work to mentally prepare myself for an episode that wasn’t as daily affirmation-esque as I’d expected.
When I finally started listening to the episode again, I was regretful of not having faith in the title. While the phone was ringing, unanswered by the transition expert, the hosts said, “I feel kind of relieved” and “I have zero questions about transistors.” They decided, instead, to tape an episode of adventures around New York City. They said that they had lost track of the time of year since they’d been working so hard. A few of us are probably all-too-familiar with the feeling.
Listeners spend the entire rest of the episode alongside the two hosts & friends as they gallivant around New York City. First, they ride a horse buggy through Central Park; then, they trek out to Coney Island; next, they drive a Craigslist-bought boat to Ellis Island; they then proceed to a karaoke bar; and finally, they break into an abandoned building in Brooklyn. Many of these activities are questionably legal, but the commentary was highly entertaining. It put everything in a very refreshing perspective.
For example, the horse buggy segment discussed the serenity of a nearly deserted Central Park. At Coney Island, they remarked that the rollercoaster really should NOT boast the fact that it was built in 1927. The boat ride provided some pretty hilarious commentary on the legality of the scenario. And let’s just say I was grateful that the karaoke segment was rather short.
Perhaps my favorite line of the show, however, came when one of the hosts was questioning just how illegal it would be to break into an abandoned industrial building. The response went something like this: “If we get caught, we’ll get arrested but it won’t ruin our lives. You wouldn’t see your baby tonight, but you’d see your baby tomorrow.”
If you have 32 minutes to spare, be it on your drive to/from work, or on your run, or during ‘me time,’ I’d really recommend listening to it. Like me, you might find yourself questioning why you’re actually spending time listening to it. Rest assured, though, you will realize at the end of the episode that these somewhat mindless and entertaining adventures have definitely given you a perspective on life that reminds you of why you’re living.
Keep in mind, though, that this episode is different from other episodes. Based on this episode, however, I do believe that no matter the subject matter of the episode, these hosts will find a way to make it entertaining. Go have a listen.
I’m gonna go break into an abandoned industrial building now.
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