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“I just don’t know why you would Jet Ski around New York Harbor as a hurricane blew in unless you were at least going to try to high-five the Statue Of Liberty. You’re either all in or you’re all out.” —John Oliver, The Bugle, describing a wacky scene during Hurricane Sandy

“It’s so hacky that your stepfather moved in and started hitting you.” —Dave Anthony to Baron Vaughn, Walking The Room

“Amy, want to say hello?”
“That’s enough. Quit trying to steal the podcast.” —Tig Notaro and Amy Schumer, Professor Blastoff

“Deploying false humility to let a falsehood stand was at least as brilliant as the joke I was in the process of stealing.” —Mark Katz on The Moth

“And then you had to write an essay about what you did on Christmas vacation, and your essay was, ‘I was paralyzed.’” —Janet Varney on Amy Acker’s first-grade Christmas vacation

“To be the premier podcast in a dystopian society would be really something special.” "The one that everyone is forced to listen to." "Like Good Morning Vietnam!" —Chris Hardwick and Scott Aukerman, Comedy Bang! Bang!


Hang Out With Me
A literal master in linguistics, Myq Kaplan has an unabashed love of wordplay and, for better or worse, puns. A recent appearance on Never Not Funny showcased this talent, but often with an “I know this is bad, but…” disclaimer to ward off the inevitable groan. With his own show, Hang Out With Me, Kaplan is free to romp around in his conceptual word playground without reservation, giving a sophisticated braininess to what’s otherwise a shaggy, wandering chat show with comedian friends who are either on board with his humor, or familiar enough to playfully mock him for it.


Kaplan’s perpetual hyper-awareness and self-referential nature ensure that even when there’s nothing to say, he’ll find something funny to say about it. This is quickly evident in earlier episodes, but thankfully Kaplan doesn’t have to spitball for long before landing on a central theme. Episode #1 with longtime pals Micah Sherman and Josh Gondelman heats up to a dissection of why they like disparate types of comedy; episode #3 with Gaby Dunn and Baratunde Thurston finds the three swapping stories of warped childhoods. The world may not need another free-form chat show with comedians talking about themselves, but Hang Out With Me finds a fresh wrinkle in the format. [SM]



Paleo-Cinema Podcast
There is a certain kind of sadness at the heart of the one-person podcast. For Paleo-Cinema Podcast, Australian cinephile Terry Frost’s largely solo dissection of cult, film noir, science fiction, horror, and exploitation films is fitting. While going to the cineplex is often a group activity, searching for forgotten genre gems or obsessively hunting for every film with a favorite character actor is a much more solitary endeavor. Frost is clearly a student of film (he bills the show as a place for discussion about films from 1895 to 1990) and he provides detailed analysis during hourlong monologues, which makes the show something of a hybrid between an expert DVD commentary and a fan commentary. The show’s best episodes are overviews of an actor, director, or era, such as an excellent introduction to the great Warren Oates and a solid look at the Sam Peckinpah’s cocaine-fueled The Killer Elite as part of an episode on 1970s tough guys. Frost occasionally lets others in on the act, as with a recent discussion about Night Moves and Ice Cold In Alex. However, the guests tend to break up Frost’s remarkably dry, meticulous commentary. The solo podcast host may be the 21st-century version of an “Eleanor Rigby” character, but Paleo-Cinema Podcast is an artfully done version of the loneliest of podcast formats. [TC]



The Best Show On WFMU
With Hurricane Sandy knocking WFMU’s transmitter out of service, it was anyone’s guess as to when the Best Show would return. But host Tom Scharpling somehow made it out from under the storm this week and returns with an excellent episode that epitomizes the dedication and passion of the host and his loyal fan base. After attempting to take listener calls on a cell phone, which presents a host of problems, Scharpling goes on to tell of his own trials and tribulations presented by the storm. But it all seems miniscule compared to that of Joe Puppy, one of AP Mike’s friends whose trailer was completely flooded. The few callers that Scharpling does speak with are overwhelmingly supportive, and his tear about the resilience of New Jersey and New Jersey bands is quite inspiring, making for a near-perfect episode considering the circumstances. [AF]

The Bugle #212: Wind Of Change
Not even the superstorm that was Hurricane Sandy can prevent John Oliver from joining Andy Zaltzman for another stellar discussion that begins with Hurricane Sandy and careens into the election and Felix Baumgartner, the space jumper. The story of Sandy is recast in hilarious detail through the eyes of Oliver, who takes great delight in describing seeing a man Jet Ski through New York Harbor as the storm blew in. The two comedians smoothly weave talk about politics into the storm discussion, but the episode drags just a bit when they get bogged down with a particular businessman who uses disasters for financial opportunity. Things rebound quickly with Oliver’s ridiculous imitation of a Scorsese character, and the lunacy unfolds from there. [MG]


Comedy Bang! Bang! #184: Pop And Politics: Aziz Ansari, Bob Odenkirk, Neil Campbell, Mike Hanford, James Adomian
Episodes don’t come more overstuffed than this one: Aziz Ansari as the main guest; Bob Odenkirk, Neil Campbell of A Kiss From Daddy, and Mike Hanford of The Birthday Boys reuniting their Capitol Steps-like group, The Washington Monugents; and James Adomian as Pat Buchanan. Ansari is amiable but pretty much disappears once the focus shifts to the Monugents and their medleys, though everyone’s in the mix for a solid Would You Rather? Odenkirk sadly doesn’t stay long, but at least he manages to do some of his signature shouting when one of the Monugents dares to express a personal belief. The episode almost suffers from having too much going on, but the Monugents’ terrible songs are worth the price of admission alone. [KR]


Doug Loves Movies: Paul Scheer, Riki Lindhome and Amber Benson
Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Amber Benson is a loud and not particularly pleasant presence on this election-night panel, but she is gung-ho, and DLM vets Paul Scheer and Riki Lindhome are reliably good guests. But the real highlight of the episode is the palpable excitement over the in-process election results, and the at-first-cautious, then overt relief when Scheer announces the results after checking his Twitter. It’s a somewhat distracted, fragmented episode, but the games are good and Scheer especially gets in some good zingers throughout the night. [GK]

Hang Up And Listen: The Out Of The Running Edition
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s decision to cancel the NYC Marathon in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, after first pressing a show-must-go-on tack against widespread opposition, provokes a great, historically minded conversation about when it’s appropriate to hold sporting events after major local or national tragedies. There are times when it’s healing (e.g. baseball after 9/11) and others when it’s callous (e.g. NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle has called his decision to hold games after JFK’s assassination his biggest regret), and it’s not always easy to figure out the right thing to do. Better still is a segment with ex-NFL player David Meggyesy about the perils and utility of professional athletes being vocal about their political beliefs. [ST]


Judge John Hodgman: Sort Reform/The Right Not To Bear Arms and A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Slob/B.F.F.-R.I.P.
After taking a week off, Judge John Hodgman drops two 90-minute live shows covering two cases apiece, plus docket-clearings. The live setting brings out the best in Judge Hodgman, Bailiff Jesse Thorn, and their guests, who feed off the energy of the crowd and seem more eager to riff than usual. The cases have a nice range to them, too, from the mundane business of folding laundry the right way (“Sort Reform”) to the wardrobe affectations of would-be science-fiction writers (“A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Slob) to the purely hypothetical assertion that a woman could murder her best friend and get away with it (“B.F.F.-R.I.P.”). There’s no radical change to the format of these episodes, but the move from Skype to the real world is a mono-to-stereo amplification of the show’s strengths. [ST]


The JV Club #35: Amy Acker
Anyone who’s seen Amy Acker on Angel, Dollhouse, or Person Of Interest knows that she’s adorable, and her conversation with Janet Varney reveals where that delightful personality came from. They dive into Acker’s past via an interesting topic, Acker’s two weeks of paralysis as a child when she was bit by a brown recluse spider in the first grade. That experience would go on to affect Acker’s life, requiring her to have knee surgery in middle school to remove scar tissue leftover from the bite. Their time spent on Acker’s high-school years is in-depth and intriguing, with Acker sharing stories about her trips to Japan to be a model (starring in an incredibly bizarre Apple commercial) and outlining how she cycled her way through extracurricular activities until she decided on acting. Light, fun, and informative, it’s a great episode that never dips in momentum. [OS]

The Moth: Mark Katz: Al Gore Is So Boring…
Mark Katz’s self-deprecating delivery so resembles that of a rambling Woody Allen that it nearly distracts from his story about writing jokes for Al Gore. Luckily, it holds up as a twisting story about bluffing one’s way to success and waiting to be found out, as Katz recalls winning over Gore by “writing” a laugh line he stole from The Today Show. Yet Katz pulls it off without too much self-loathing, instead reveling in the ill-gotten but harmless triumph. Even if he bullshitted his way through his early career, Katz came through it with a gift for tense yet funny scenes. [SG]


My Brother, My Brother And Me #127: UNK
The theme of awkward situations, and awkwardness in general, pervades My Brother, My Brother And Me this week, from discussing the nuances of tipping in a coffee shop to reminiscing about coffee-induced adolescent boners to detailing the risks involved in complimenting both coworkers and strangers. It should come as no surprise that the McElroy brothers also sneak in a couple of bits that are basically just them pronouncing words and names in goofy ways. Nor should it come as a surprise that all of this is equally hilarious. There’s also yet another great Extreme Restraints ad in the middle of everything; here’s hoping that partnership isn’t really over, as the brothers claim it is. [CG]


Nerdist #277: Neil deGrasse Tyson returns!
Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson makes his second appearance on Nerdist, and he and host Chris Hardwick settle in quickly and spend the next hour jumping from topic to topic, keeping it entertaining and nerdy throughout. Tyson is able to project knowledge and humor while remaining friendly and warm, allowing Hardwick to open up his line of questioning. It’s a solid interview, but the tacked-on ending featuring Liam Lynch and Steve Agee is a treat as well. In his last appearance, Lynch hinted at having a certain ghost story to tell, and here he goes on at length about his experiences with the paranormal when he first moved abroad. The combination of Tyson and Lynch makes for an episode that exemplifies what Nerdist can be when it is firing on all cylinders. [DA]

Nerdist #279: Kevin Bacon
At the start of the episode, host Chris Hardwick’s excitement at having Kevin Bacon on the podcast is palpable, and with good reason. Bacon’s filmography is significant, and he’s more than willing to discuss it at length. His stories of living in his first, tiny apartment in New York City are charming, and he recounts his first experience flying first class as if it happened mere weeks ago. The episode becomes a bit disjointed near the end, when it becomes obvious Bacon is going to be called away and the conversation shifts toward Hardwick’s time at MTV, but Bacon’s willingness to discuss his past openly makes for a top-notch interview. [DA]


Nerdist #280: Angela Kinsey
Having played Angela on the American version of The Office since its start, Angela Kinsey has a lot of insight into the show’s inner workings, a topic that’s finally broached as the interview approaches its end. But Kinsey’s early work in the Improv Olympics and her childhood spent in Indonesia make up the better part of the hour, and it’s these details that help shape the episode. There are a few sections where Chris Hardwick’s humor breaks the momentum, but it never hurts the episode overall. With Jonah Ray and Matt Mira doing their best to keep things on track—and occasionally injecting effective one-liners—these small breaks always end up pointing back toward something. Kinsey brings her personality to the forefront and makes the episode feel warm and inviting. [DA]



Never Not Funny #1120: Backing Up With Rob Corddry
This week’s title refers to Rob Corddry’s explanation to Matt Belknap of how he securely stores his media, a passing moment made noteworthy for the way it evidences one of Corddry’s most winning traits as a podcast guest: He’s game to talk about pretty much anything. An up-for-whatever attitude and a knack for off-the-cuff remarks are the best grease for Never Not Funny’s wheels, particularly with Jimmy Pardo driving the conversation through topics as seemingly disparate as drug-addicted fast-food mascots, a fear of sports, and Sammy Davis Jr.’s sexual adventures. Comments on the relationship between father and child run throughout the episode, leading to a surprisingly moving conclusion. The second half sees the return of the long-dormant feature “Stupid Question Of The Week,” which showcases Pardo’s incomparable ability to spin a yarn out of anything, no matter how thin. [SM]

Professor Blastoff #77: Best Of Vol. 1
Given the headline-making year Tig Notaro has had, plus her current gig in New York writing for Amy Schumer’s TV show, Professor Blastoff can certainly be forgiven for phoning it in for a week. Not that there’s much to forgive—the 30-plus listener-chosen clips of this week’s Best Of episode exemplify the shaggy vibe and good-natured ribbing among the hosts that make the show so uniquely enjoyable. Chief among the clips are Notaro’s many mispronunciations, which tend to spiral into absurd, hypothetical riffs, and Kyle Dunnigan’s penchant for nonsensical beat-poetry riddles and awkward sexual encounters, made further uncomfortable in a phone conversation with his mother. The show may occasionally lose steam in the scientific exploration of its regular episodes, but the funniest moments of its first 50 or so episodes, all strung together in a blooper/highlight reel, is both a treat for fans and an excellent place to start for new listeners. [SM]


Sklarbro Country #119: Denying The Magic: Pete Holmes, Jason Nash
Not many comics admit to having religious faith, much less are willing to discuss in detail how it informs their outlook on life. The Sklars and Pete Holmes, returning to Sklarbro Country for the first time since he started his own podcast, buck that trend, delving deep into the connections between religion, comedy, and sports. It’s a rare, fascinating conversation, and much better than the inevitable and insufferable over-analysis of a Twitter beef with Marc Maron. The quick hits and news stories are also funny, including ones about Magic Johnson firing his private flight attendant and a 19-year-old college football hopeful who failed to jump over a speeding car. [KM]


The Smartest Man In The World #183 Barrels
Greg Proops is more sing-song-y than usual this week, starting with robust new versions of “America The Beautiful” and “Get Into The Groove.” His manic energy lasts throughout the podcast, and breathes new life into his usual routine of talking about the city he’s playing (Denver, in this case). The all-president baseball roster from a few episodes back is finally completed, with Abraham Lincoln as the starting pitcher. Proops usually takes a turn for the political somewhere, but unlike his typical rhetoric, he ends the podcast with a call for mutual understanding, using the correspondence between Jackie Robinson and Dwight D. Eisenhower as a powerful reminder of the failure of our current political discourse. [NC]

Sound Opinions #362: James Brown Dissection, Reviews Of Kendrick Lamar And Neil Young
Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis give the classic-album-dissection treatment to James Brown’s Live At The Apollo. The most useful thing about their analysis is that it connects Brown’s 1963 breakthrough to the later, funkier version of Brown that more casual listeners know. They’re joined by RJ Smith, author of a recent Brown biography, who helps keep the conversation focused on the album’s historical context and the “chitlin circuit” from which Brown emerged to become a star. The information won’t be new for everyone, but it could potentially send listeners back to the album with a new curiosity. [SG]


Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Mysterious Disappearance Of Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie is probably best known by modern readers for rendering the mystery genre into its current formulaic state (or for her unfortunately stereotyped ethnic characters). But the writer’s complete disappearance from society in late 1926 has remained a shrouded footnote. To this day it’s not entirely clear what happened, though a letter written shortly beforehand hinted in the broadest way possible that she was becoming sick of her busy life and longed for an escape. Many thought it was murder, and blamed her philandering husband, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even tried to take her glove to a spiritualist. Hosts Sarah Dowdey and Deblina Chakraborty are careful to set the scene and unravel the best documented aspects of when she was last seen in such a way as to make the mystery seem fresh. Eventually found after 11 days checked into a hotel under an assumed name, Christie declined to explain her reasoning, and her fans continue to speculate nearly 100 years later. [DT]


Stuff You Should Know: Yakuza: From Samurai To Slot Machines
The Yakuza makes frequent appearances in pop culture, particularly as a token Japanese mafia organization. (Listeners will be treated to an extended riff on their appearance on The Simpsons.) Hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant deftly break down the clans and confederations, explaining how similar their pyramid structure is to the slightly better known Italian mafia structure. Though the constant pop-culture references bog down the first third of the episode, Clark and Bryant do have a lot of research to share. Of particular note is the Yakuza’s supposed honorable lineage compared to other crime syndicates, though that seems very debatable. Yakuza clans appear to be more publicly active than many other organized crime groups, and they also seem to have become highly idealized, making them difficult to uproot legally and nearly impossible to separate from Japanese culture. [DT]

This American Life #478: Red State Blue State
Even though the election is over, this is a can’t-miss political episode of This American Life. Instead of focusing on the presidential race, the show goes after the political climate of ever-widening extremes. Where political disagreement was once a private matter, now it divides friends, colleagues, and siblings to the point where it dictates social interaction. The stories illustrate just how far apart the left and right have grown, especially in the case of the New Hampshire legislature, a former haven of moderates that suffered a dramatic shift into toxic partisan agendas. [KM]


The Thrilling Adventure Hour #95: Sparks Nevada, Marshal On Mars: Red Alert
It’s been a long ramble lately for Thrilling Adventure’s Sparks Nevada storyline, and thankfully it all comes to a head of sorts in this installment. Especially crucial here are the space-western’s various love stories, the hero becoming a bounty, and the writers’ uncanny ability to keep milking jokes from the word “onus.” The episode ends with the brilliant Martian character Croach the Tracker mortally wounded, but maybe that’s what it’ll take to keep the series moving ahead strongly. [SG]


The Todd Glass Show #72: Family Show
This time around, Todd Glass keeps his podcast guests within the family, the family in this case being Daniel Kinno, producer Katie Levine, and the gang of lovable knuckleheads often heard cracking up in the background. This supersized two-hour episode is pretty evenly split between the serious and the silly. In the first hour, Glass takes on the ambitious task of trying to understand the mentality behind social conservatism, as well as people who compromise progressive social beliefs for fiscal conservatism in the days before the presidential election. At the halfway point, the show makes a seamless transition into lighter territory, which includes Glass getting more mileage out of the musical version of a fan’s apology email. [MS]

Uhh Yeah Dude: #346
The greatest Uhh Yeah Dude moments can usually be traced to Jonathan Larroquette and Seth Romatelli’s love/hate relationship with consumerism: Misconceived advertising campaigns, shoddy products in recall, and bad taste in general provide the grist for UYD’s humor mill. So even without a signature moment or story to make #346 memorable, a strong mid-episode discussion of Red Bull Editions, American-made rifles, and the failure of Coke to “do anything cool” (like put a dude in space) lends the entire episode a satisfying, self-righteous glow. [CW]


Walking The Room #128: Baron Vaughn
Host of the Deep Shit podcast and fellow member of the All Things Comedy network, Baron Vaughn has a knack for clever phrasing and an eye for the fringe material in a joke’s premise, which makes him a natural fit in the closet, a place where left-field one-liners are practically a prerequisite. Following an excellent riff on a sexual holodeck and a story of Dave Anthony’s visit to a shady hotel to shoot an episode of TV’s WTF With Marc Maron, the hosts model a segment after Vaughn’s podcast and examine the cause and effects of Greg Behrendt’s career anxiety. It’s certainly a subject that’s been addressed before, but Vaughn brings an insightful, holistic approach that envelops Anthony’s frustrations with younger comedians and the over-saturation of podcasting. Also noteworthy are a few moments of symbiotic, Sklar-like punchlines from the hosts, possibly a result of the guest, but also an indication of their scarily growing rapport. [SM]


Who Charted? #101: Crazzle Dazzles: Baron Vaughn
Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack welcome actor and comic Baron Vaughn, who is surprisingly upbeat in spite of the recent cancellation of his USA show Fairly Legal. Vaughn is the type of guest that brings out the best in both Kremer and Vilaysack: His energy is infectious and he’s versatile when it comes to discussing a broad range of topics, including country music and RZA’s first foray into filmmaking. But Vaughn really shines during the movie charts when he discusses Ben Affleck’s growth as a filmmaker. Vaughn and Kremer also have a lot of fun speculating on the nature of Vilaysack’s relationship with husband and Earwolf founder Scott Aukerman. [MS]

WTF With Marc Maron #331: Pauly Shore
Maybe Marc Maron is more despondently unhinged than everyone thinks, as he continues to ruminate on the unknown health of his cats, but who better to break Maron out of his funk than The Weasel himself, Pauly Shore? His father founded the legendary Los Angeles venue The Comedy Store, and Shore shares stories from his childhood in Southern California, which led to him forgoing college to tour with Sam Kinison. His rollercoaster film career and history at The Comedy Store offer ample material for Maron to pick away at, and Shore comes off surprisingly grounded and satisfied with grinding out work as a stand-up in tertiary markets. [KM]


WTF With Marc Maron #332: Shelley Berman
Marc Maron keeps a respectful distance from comedy veteran Shelley Berman (known largely today for his role as Larry David’s father on Curb Your Enthusiasm) in this relatively brief interview, perhaps partially due to his professed slight discomfort around the elderly. Listeners will come away with an appreciation for Berman’s career (and Bob Newhart’s, whom Berman alleges stole his telephone bit) although perhaps a bit befuddled by Maron’s introduction to the interview: Maron makes Berman sound like a bitter, forgotten old comic, but that’s not necessarily what comes across from Berman himself, so something feels missing from this otherwise informative look back at classic stand-up. [CZ]


Comedy Bang! Bang! #185: Cum Scanners: Chris Hardwick, Ike Barinholtz
Scott Aukerman drops a bonus episode of the podcast this week to help Chris Hardwick promote his Comedy Central special (airing this Saturday at 11 eastern). He and Hardwick have been friends for a long time, and their rapport makes for a fun, easygoing episode opposite Ike Barinholtz, in character as douchey comedian JT McDowell.[KR]

Doug Loves Movies: Doug Loves Scary Movies
This episode, recorded on Halloween in front of a costumed audience, sounds like a lot of fun for everyone in attendance, but that unfortunately doesn’t translate to the podcast format. Things wrap up with an exciting Leonard Maltin Game conclusion, but it’s a bit of a slog to get there. [GK]


How Was Your Week #87: “How Was Your Storm”: Chris Spooner, Jack Fagan
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Julie Klausner has put together a special episode featuring interviews with two figures who have loomed large over her podcast: producer Chris “Spoony” Spooner and her boyfriend Jack Fagan. Longtime listeners will enjoy these talks—especially with the sardonic Fagan—though casual listeners might not find them as essential. [DF]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #85: Coping & Trauma with Brenda Feehery
It can be difficult to judge a Mental Illness Happy Hour installment like Episode #85, which features former Division 1 softball player Brenda Feehery telling her story of surviving a brutal attack in a parking lot. Feehery is a study in strength, which probably hurts the conversation, as Paul Gilmartin searches in vain for her unresolved issues. [TC]

Mohr Stories #103: Rob Van Dam
Mohr and high-flying pro wrestler Rob Van Dam perform conversational acrobatics in a talk with more blood than dirt, bounding between conspiracy theories, mob history, WWE politics, and the brutalities of road life. [DXF]


Mohr Stories #104: Kevin Ryder
Mohr quotes a maxim that talk-show appearances should be “a hang,” and makes good on it in a languid chat with KROQ morning show co-host Kevin Ryder, who dishes on terrible live bands, why radio DJs can’t play music, and train-wreck interviews with The Black Keys and The Cardigans. [DXF]

Monday Morning Podcast
Bill Burr spends a great deal of time this week recounting his experience of attending last weekend’s Alabama/LSU game, but it pales greatly in comparison with his Rose Bowl tales of old. [CG]

Sklarbro Country Sklarbro County #24: Nate Fridson, Dan Van Kirk
Recording for the first time out of the Earwolf Studios, this week’s not-so-minisode from the Sklars comes from co-host Dan Van Kirk’s Wisconsin cabin. That setting lends the discussion a cozy, vacation-like feel, and New York comic Nate Fridson more than holds his own with stories about playing pickup basketball in Bushwick. [KM]


Stuff You Missed In History Class: Who Was Tokyo Rose?
Once the hosts get beyond the definition of this Japanese propaganda, there is little left for them to explore. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: Is Stockholm Syndrome Real?
Although skepticism seems reasonable, the topic of this episode ends up becoming hair-splitting at the expense of victims. [DT]

You Made It Weird #98: Bret Ernst
While it’s entertaining to hear Bret Ernst challenge Pete Holmes’ various assumptions about his life, their conversation this week is somewhat lacking in the storytelling and riff department. [GK]


You Made It Weird #99: Paul Scheer
Pete Holmes and Paul Scheer could very well make a good episode together, or even a good over-long episode, but this week the pair’s discussions about relationships and religion just end up bloating the episode into a rather aimless two hours. [SG]