Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Chris Gethard objects to your Garden State hate on <i>New Jersey Is The World</i>

Chris Gethard objects to your Garden State hate on New Jersey Is The World

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Audible (Getty Images)
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.

New Jersey Is The World
Amusement Parks

Illustration for article titled Chris Gethard objects to your Garden State hate on New Jersey Is The World
Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

What do marauding baboons, carnival gang fights, and straight-up murder at a Wild West show have in common? According to comedian Chris Gethard and his crew of fellow Jersey boys, it’s all just part of growing up in the Garden State. New Jersey Is The World is a monthly podcast in which Gethard and friends cover every aspect of what makes New Jersey one of the greatest and wildest states in the union. Equal parts history lesson and survivor support group, this premiere episode covers the sometimes baffling and often deadly world of New Jersey amusement parks. Gethard eschews the well-known tales of the infamous Action Park and instead focuses on off-the-highway attractions and parking lot carnivals where the rides are powered by bicycle chains and lawnmower engines. These carnivals acted as both the state’s sex education classes and centers of community spirit as teens from different towns would congregate to beat the holy hell out of each other. What really shines through amongst the stories of scalpings and giraffe attacks is the host and guests’ obvious love for their home state and genuine wonder that they’re still alive to tell these tales. [Anthony D Herrera]


Reverberate
Hong Kong’s Accidental Pop Star

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

In its first episode, Reverberate from The Guardian states its mission to explore songs that are a part of history, beginning with the fascinating example of Kashy Keegan. Hosted by Chris Michael, Reverberate hopes to contextualize songs that have, intentionally or otherwise, become intrinsically intertwined with impactful moments. In this debut episode, Michael unpacks the importance of singer-songwriter Kashy Keegan’s performance of “This is My Dream” at a political protest in Hong Kong in 2013, drawing parallels to David Hasselhoff singing at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Keegan had actually written the song years earlier as an expression of his feelings of alienation living in England. But as fate would have it, an independent television channel in Hong Kong (HKTV), amidst its fight against the Chinese government’s oversight and censorship, ultimately chose Keegan’s song as an anthem for its movement. In the years since, Keegan has moved to Hong Kong, becoming an unlikely pop star. With this first episode, Reverberate has proven capable of contextualizing history through music, using song as a lens to show how the story continues to unfold. [Jose Nateras]


Rough Magic
house of sueños: el regreso

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

There’s more than one way to approach and appreciate Shakespeare. For playwright Meme García, it means blending Hamlet with their own life story as a Salvadoran artist, produced on the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s podcast Rough Magic. Rina returns home five years after her father’s disappearance to attend the wedding of her mother and stepfather, but she’s faced with her younger sister Amelia’s harrowing story about a figure lurking in the attic and the deeply entrenched lies within her family. House of sueños’ brilliance is in the captivating rhythm of García’s language, rolling in and out of English and Spanish and, without a single missed beat, in and out of dialogue from Hamlet, some of it gently edited or translated to fit the scene. This isn’t an inattentive transposition of Hamlet into a modern setting; this is an intricate examination of mental health and intergenerational trauma using Hamlet as its touchstone. The house encroaches upon the audio space, amplified by both García’s illustrative language and the threat of Shakespeare’s well-known play, and looms in the silences between each of these aggrieved family members. [Elena Fernández Collins]


Ruined
The Omen

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

Horror gets the wholesome treatment with Ruined, a podcast where two best friends—one a horror nerd, the other a super squeamish abstainer—review and ruin scary movies for fans and the fainthearted alike. Hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby have created a show with a sweet Midwest tone while somehow maintaining a flat affect when talking about where the 1976 horror classic The Omen goes left. In the genre of “spooky child” we have Damien, Baby Antichrist Superstar, switched at birth and not here to make friends. If you’ve never caught the Gregory Peck vehicle, Ruined walks you through the plot, which sounds even more wild when it’s spelled out this way. Why does Damien’s family let a random and uninvited governess stick around to haunt their halls? Wouldn’t it be a good idea for Peck to come clean to his wife about authorizing a maternity ward switcheroo? Is there only one photographer in all of London who can capture the horrors on film?!? This podcast is perfect for those who love dissecting spooky movies, or those who want to know where every jumpscare is before diving in. [Morgan McNaught]

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

pop-culture critic, multi-disciplinary artist, playwright @ Columbia University, they/them