... self-deprecating comedic humility balances the gravity of life...
December 13, 2017 8:15 PM   Subscribe

“Heavyweight,” the Podcast That Contends with Our Regrets "When the writer, radio producer, and humorist Jonathan Goldstein set out to create his Gimlet podcast, “Heavyweight,” whose second season concluded on Thursday, he considered introducing each episode with a subway P.A. system that would talk to him like the voice of God. On the podcast, Goldstein—a longtime producer at “This American Life” whose radio show “Wiretap” aired on the CBC for more than a decade—acts as a kind of social instigator and meddling therapist. With gumption, empathy, and comic awkwardness, he ventures into people’s lives and tries to help them resolve things from the past: an unsolved human mystery, lingering guilt, a falling-out, hurt that’s turned to grievance." (slNewYorker)
posted by crazy with stars (16 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Previously on a specific episode.
posted by crazy with stars at 8:36 PM on December 13, 2017

posted by Fizz at 8:59 PM on December 13, 2017

Yeah, I'm in for a try. Downloading a couple episodes right now.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:19 PM on December 13, 2017

Wiretap mostly predated podcasts but if you're a fan of radio and podcasts you need to try to dig up some old episodes and have a listen. Goldstein does great work.
posted by GuyZero at 9:40 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

They're pretty much all really good - just when you think he's pushing his 'shtick' too far he pulls back. A reliably really good listen.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:11 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wiretap seemed like such a transparent ripoff of Joe Frank's work that I got tremendously pissed off at it and never really gave it a chance. Maybe I should loop back around on it.
posted by Shepherd at 3:35 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I dunno. The "Reply All" podcast subbed in an episode of this a couple weeks ago. It was a story about a guy who barely survived a crash, then years later gets to meet the guy who was driving the car that hit him. The story of the two guys was kind of interesting, but all of Goldstein's irrelevant ramblings about himself were so fucking annoying that I almost didn't finish the episode.
posted by dnash at 5:06 AM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]

I could never stand more than a couple of minutes of Wiretap, primarily because Goldstein was just so damned annoying. God knows I tried to like it, I really did. That said, I'm willing to give this a listen.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes, I remember being excited to find Wiretap after enjoying Goldstein's work on This American Life, but it turned out that a tightly edited 8-10 minute segment balanced with other people on other topics is different from All Goldstein All The Time.

That said, are there specific episodes of Heavyweight you would recommend for a new and skeptical listener? I'll give most podcasts a try.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:37 AM on December 14, 2017

I've gone back and forth with Goldstein's work since his days on "The American Life" - sometimes he's funny and insightful, other times it crosses the line into what feels life navel gazing and self-indulgence to me. But he's worth paying attention to, and can be really, really funny (especially when pared with his comic foil and Gimlet producer Jorge Just). The recent Heavyweight episode "Dina" resonated with me, and is a good place to get a feel for whether the show is for you, I think.

Also, just since we're talking about Goldstein, I'm going to link to his TAL segment "It's Not the Heat, It's the Humility", which I love. He's right about eating shirtless at the Russian Baths.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:38 AM on December 14, 2017

I miss Wiretap. I always enjoyed Goldstein's rambling. Heavyweight is a pretty good show, but I prefer Wiretap.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:51 AM on December 14, 2017

If I listened to podcasts, I'd give this a try. As it is, I'll just pass along a public service announcement.
(Midway through the first season, I pulled off I-91 North, heading northeast through Holyoke; minutes later, I was horrified to discover that I was somehow south of Holyoke, back in Springfield. What had I done?)
Note to visitors to Massachusetts: do not, under any circumstances, visit Springfield unless you absolutely have to. (Holyoke is bad enough.)
posted by languagehat at 8:25 AM on December 14, 2017

... do not, under any circumstances, visit Springfield unless you absolutely have to.

Springfield! My brother once witnessed a near-riot at the bus station there.

They do have a pretty good thrift store, though.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:49 AM on December 14, 2017

Springfield! My brother once witnessed a near-riot at the bus station there.

I once had a four-hour layover at that bus station. It was... quite something.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:18 AM on December 14, 2017

I had to wait for an elderly aunt at that bus station. (We begged her to find some other way of getting to our part of the world, but noooo.) It was the worst bus station experience I've had, and I've hung out at the Port Authority many a time.

And then trying to drive from the bus station to anywhere out of Springfield was another nightmare....
posted by languagehat at 11:48 AM on December 14, 2017

Using "self-deprecating" and "empathy" in describing Jonathan Goldstein's work strike me as very odd choices. But, the more experimental radio there is in the world, and the more attention it gets, the better.
posted by eotvos at 1:29 PM on December 14, 2017

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