This week in Podmass: “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!”

Russia v. Saudi Arabia, 2018 FIFA World Cup
Photo: Catherine Ivill (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


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Bubble, the first scripted comedy series from Maximum Fun, begins as a cutting and comic look at millennial misadventures. Set in Fairhaven—“a literal bubble of corporate utopia”—the opening scene depicts a bunch of young people as they all “brunch and vape and watch shelter dogs and have too-loud conversations” about social media, documentaries, and the like. It’s ordinary, until it isn’t. Going from Broad City to Buffy The Vampire Slayer with the abrupt appearance and killing of a reptilian monster, narrator Tavi Gevinson’s introductory “this is all happening now, but it’s happening someplace else,” makes more sense. Writer and creator Jordan Morris has created an addictive podcast with an impressive comedic cast: Cristela Alonzo, Keith Powell, Judy Greer, and Kyle Kinane are just a few. This is Bubble’s first episode in this series about “a small band of monster killers [struggling] to make ends meet and find love in a nightmarish version of the gig economy.” [Becca James]

Call Your Girlfriend
A Taxonomy Of Scammers

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What do Scott Pruitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Elizabeth Holmes all have in common? According to Call Your Girlfriend, they all work in the same profession: grifting. But just as any lucrative field eventually becomes large enough to diversify and carve out specialties, the mechanics of how each one milks their mark bear little resemblance to one another. So, in the spirit of Carl Linnaeus and BuzzFeed quizzes, the hosts break down the most common tactics scammers use to procure ill-gotten gains. The most daring are the fake royals racking up thousands in hotel bills and personal loans before people start to get wise. A separate breed encompasses all political grifters, who are presently having quite a moment. A third grouping is best described as “messy bitches who live for drama,” typified by social media personality Joanne the Scammer. Rounding out the set are self-declared saints, wellness gurus, pyramid schemers, and Silicon Valley start-up scammers. Though offered as a cheeky authoritative ranking, the discussion includes a fair amount of debate about which type of scammer works the hardest, which is having the most fun, and which, if any, is deserving of compassion after the scam falls apart. [Zach Brooke]

Chapo Trap House
The President’s Neck Is Missing feat. David Roth

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A year and a half into Trump’s presidency, a dividing line has arisen between people who can still see any of his most outlandish behaviors as funny, and those for whom his antics are just crushing reminders of reality in 2018. The hosts of Chapo Trap House, like so many of us, seem to vacillate between these camps, earnestly (or at least extensively) analyzing the motivations of Trump and his supporters while presenting the indisputable trappings of this hellscape: bad tweets, worse op-eds, and an honest-to-god collaboration between Bill Clinton and James Patterson. The gang this week solicits the help of guest David Roth [Full disclosure: Roth is an editor for our sister site Deadspin] to dissect the motivations of a man alternatively depicted as a dementia-addled reprobate and a public-relations mastermind, one who watches staggering amounts of television and is enviously tasked with catering to a voter base that makes no moves to condemn hypocrisy on any scale. And of course, it wouldn’t be Chapo without a reading series from some bloviating columnist trying to solve society’s ills in 500 words or less—in this case, a ridiculously convoluted proposal to gut NYC’s subway system. Welcome to hellworld. [Marnie Shure]

10 Hours Later

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The Kennedys’ legacy looms large over American history, so well-known that Chappaquiddick, for example, has become shorthand for the death of political campaign specialist Mary Jo Kopechne. On People magazine’s first podcast, the publication goes back nearly 50 years to the discovery of her body in senator and presidential hopeful Ted Kennedy’s car the morning after he drove off a narrow wooden bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. This discovery took place minutes before Kennedy contacted the authorities. The catch is that he had already safely escaped the car—10 hours earlier. Why? As People puts it, “Everyone has a theory, yet no one knows the truth.” The first episode makes a point to focus on finding out more about “the young woman the world never got a chance to know; the one whose story was eclipsed by that of Ted Kennedy and his political future.” Through interviews with relatives and those first at the scene, Cover-Up gets off to a strong start. [Becca James]

Tupac Shakur And The Notorious B.I.G.: The Media Did It

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There’s a point in adulthood where you begin to realize that you’ve been witnessing history your whole life. Many people in their 30s can tell you where they were September 13, 1996, the night Tupac Shakur was fatally shot. On this week’s Disgraceland, host Jake Brennan briskly recounts the murder and the factors that led to Shakur’s untimely death. The episode slickly paints a time and place, beginning with the wild story of Shakur being shot five times in the lobby of a New York recording studio, setting the unfortunate series of events into motion. There’s an odd wave of nostalgia for anyone who was perpetually tuned into MTV throughout the ’90s: Brennan explores the birth of the east coast/west coast feud that he suggests was driven by the media—including Quincy Jones and his then-brand-new Vibe magazine—in an effort to sell papers. It’s a fascinating listen for those who have even a passing knowledge of ’90s hip-hop or the wild cast of characters involved, from Suge Knight to Sean “Puffy” Combs. [Mike Vanderbilt]

Latino USA
How I Made It: The Man Behind the ‘Gooooooooool!’

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With the possible exception of the “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” guy, no announcer has made a more indelible contribution to our competitive vernacular than Andrés Cantor, the hispanophone soccer announcer famous for his one-word, many-voweled exaltation of triumph. Cantor grew up in Argentina, where he heard his first soccer matches called by radio and was transfixed by the announcers’ ability to paint the action so vividly in his head. Around age 12, he began to type up his recollections of games right after they happened. Though not the first to call goals with his particular delivery, Cantor says his calls are a natural consequence of describing the climax of game strategy unfolding. He points to the dramatic U.S. victory over Algeria in the 2010 World Cup as one of his most passionate outbursts of all time, claiming he nearly passed out from shouting. Cantor clearly understands his international legacy as a fanatical bellower, but would rather be judged by true soccer fans for his ability to describe and analyze a game well as it plays out on the pitch. You might say it’s his one true goal. [Zach Brooke]


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At first listen, Murdertown could easily be mistaken for a real unsolved murder podcast. That’s in part because the hosts of this parody show, comedians Shannon Noll and Gary Pascal, have pitch-perfect public radio tones, not to mention the spot-on suspenseful music and cast of small-town characters. Each episode dives deeper into the murder of the mayor of the fictional town of Chatapicnic, Wisconsin. The pair not only weave a comedic story while parodying the true crime genre, they also pull back the curtain and poke fun at the production of audio journalism. Adding to the authenticity of the story, all the interviews with town folk are completely improvised by a murderers’ row (sorry) of Chicago comics. This week it becomes hilariously clear that the town being investigated has a murder problem, and the hosts interview townspeople about the bullies who inevitably turned into the killers running amok. Each episode is short and sweet, packing every minute with laugh-out-loud jokes and oddly compelling details about the ever-growing pile of fictitious killings. Let the fan theories begin! [Brianna Wellen]

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