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“Maybe you’ve laid awake imagining how it could have been, how it might yet be, but the moment to act was never right. Well, the moment is here and the podcast making it happen is Heavyweight. Join Jonathan Goldstein for road trips, thorny reunions, and difficult conversations as he backpedals his way into the past like a therapist with a time machine. From Gimlet Media.”

We all have moments in our past--relationships in our past--where two (or more) decisions presented themselves, and in making one or another, one of life’s roads was seemingly closed forever.  Maybe for you that moment was a breakup.  Maybe it was an apology--or lack thereof.  Maybe you forgot to text your friend back that one time and it represented the beginning of a gradual drifting apart.  They thought you didn’t care enough about the relationship.  Maybe they were right.  

These sorts of moments are what Jonathan Goldstein’s Heavyweight poignantly explores, and though he can’t take himself or his guests back in time to revisit them, he can help them now, in the present, make it right.  Or at least understand it better.  These moments are haunting, and it takes a certain sort of bravery to revisit them.  Jonathan helps his 80-something year old father Buzz reconnect with his estranged and reclusive brother Sheldon, with whom he hasn’t had a real relationship in decades.  He helps his friend Gregor and a certain electronic music superstar get over a falling out they had over some lent CDs 20 years ago that may or may not have played an absolutely vital role in launching said superstar’s career.  He helps himself understand what happened when he was dumped by his first true love in his youth, and why it continues to affect him so much to this day.  

These moments are like places that we revisit over and over in our minds.  Only, that’s not actually how memory works.  We’re not really revisiting them so much as reconstructing them each and every time we think about them.  With each reconstruction the moment slowly takes on new and accumulated meanings and emotions (some amplified and some deadened), and each aspect of the moment is viewed through the lens of the ever-changing even-now.  Even the so-called hard facts change shape with time.  It’s scary, but it’s true.  That’s why what Jonathan does with this podcast is so important.  His attempt to dig up the moment out of the past and place it squarely in the experience of the even-now helps to destroy or at least curtail its power.  It helps him and his guests learn to create new histories instead of reliving old ones. 
Oh, and by the way, he does all of this with a truly self-deprecating (in the best possible way) sense of humor.  Despite its seemingly serious and unabashedly emotional subject matter, the show is funny.  Full stop.  Jonathan injects humor into every moment, which might on the surface seem like a defense mechanism, but is actually more of a skillfully used tool of the trade.  I really don’t think I can do justice to this show here, but for for all of these reasons and more Heavyweight is a must-subscribe, so go listen to every single episode. 


Very high.

Future Potential:
I cannot wait for the second season, which is set to return at the end of this month!

Episode Length:
About 30 minutes

Overall Score: 9.2/10

Notable Episodes:
All of them.  There aren’t many out (yet).

If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like: 

  • This American Life
  • S-Town
  • Love + Radio
  • Nocturne

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Where Should We Begin?

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