Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
<i>Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis</i> reminds us that there’s more than one epidemic to solve

Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis reminds us that there’s more than one epidemic to solve

PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

Arden

To Bea Or Not To Bea 

Illustration for article titled iPainkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis/i reminds us that there’s more than one epidemic to solve
Image: Apple Podcasts (Other)

When the popular co-host of your successful mystery show is missing for a year, there’s really nothing to do except keep the show going with a dispirited host and overburdened producers, right? This is what Wheyface Radio and Bea Casely find themselves struggling with after the disappearance of detective Brenda Bentley. Arden, a comedy-mystery with Shakespearean inspiration, tackles Hamlet and comments on on grisly panopticon-capitalism with a signature panache that first made the show a hit in 2018. [Full disclosure: one of Arden’s creators/writers/producers is Emily VanDerWerff, former T.V. Editor at The A.V. Club.] In Montana, a rich rancher has been found torn to shreds and his daughter demands that it be treated as murder rather than a “farming accident,” as the authorities are calling it. But in the booth, the production team struggles with recording equipment, interruptions from the peanut gallery, and endless phone calls. It’s an expertly constructed episode, one with a delicate balance of humor and gut punches that heralds an excellent season to come. [Elena Fernández Collins]


Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis
Down The Rabbit Hole

Illustration for article titled iPainkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis/i reminds us that there’s more than one epidemic to solve
Image: Spotify (Other)

While COVID-19 might pull our focus right now, the United States is still dealing with an opioid crisis that kills thousands every year and ruins just as many lives. Painkiller, a new series from VICE News, explores just how opioid addiction has spread like wildfire throughout the country. Host Keegan Hamilton kicks off the series by speaking with Brandon Hubbard, an addict who turned to drug dealing through the infamous Silk Road marketplace on the dark web. What’s most striking about Hubbard’s story is how easy it all seemed: He got rich dealing nationally from his home in a small town using only the internet and mail. And when Hubbard discovered fentanyl, in an accident that caused his then-girlfriend to overdose, he saw an opportunity to make more money than he ever dreamed. The fascinating and tragic account sheds new light on one of America’s many epidemics. [Anthony D Herrera]


What Had Happened Was
Gravediggaz/RZA

Illustration for article titled iPainkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis/i reminds us that there’s more than one epidemic to solve
Image: Apple Podcasts (Other)

For hip-hop diehards, this podcast is a gift from the heavens. It’s hosted by rapper/comedian/whatever Open Mike Eagle, who sits down with DJ/producer Prince Paul and discusses the highs and lows of his career. Fans of old-school hip-hop know how iconic Paul is. Along with being a member of the ’80s East Coast crew Stetsasonic, he produced De La Soul’s first three albums and several of Chris Rock’s comedy albums, and he collaborated with Dan the Automator on the all-star Handsome Boy Modeling School project (the only music project inspired by an episode of Chris Elliott’s twisted sitcom Get A Life.) For the debut ep, Mike and Paul talk about Gravediggaz, the ’90s supergroup he formed with MCs Poetic, Frukwan, and a pre–Wu-Tang Clan RZA. Despite that lineup, labels weren’t initially champing at the bit to get in bed with these guys. (They almost signed with Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records, but Paul says the contract was bad as hell.) They eventually ended up releasing three albums and becoming another amazing chapter in the life of a producer who will thankfully lay it all out on this podcast in the weeks to come. [Craig D. Lindsey]

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