“S-Town is a new podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.”
Okay, seriously, if you haven’t listened to the cult phenomenon that is S-Town, a.k.a. Shit Town, yet, drop everything you’re doing and binge all seven episodes (chapters) right now. Honestly, you don’t even need to finish reading this review. Just go listen. You won’t regret it.
But for those of you still reading, I’ll assume you’ve already listened to the entirety of the show and are, as I did, frantically scouring the web for anything and everything you can lay your hands on regarding Shit Town and John B. McLemore. I wish I could help you with that. I wish someone could help me with that. Those of you still reading who haven’t yet listened...well, you didn’t follow my advice earlier, so why would you now?
I’m going to attempt to avoid spoilers here, so all I’ll say is that Shit Town is a beautiful, hypnotizing, heartbreakingly human story masquerading as a show riding the current wave of the popularity of True Crime podcasts. I say this now as much for myself as for those out there resisting listening to this podcast (I too was once in your ranks!): this is not a True Crime podcast. It’s more than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s the exploration of what it means to be part of human society and to be an outsider at the same time, and to make your way through life with that jarringly discordant relationship at the forefront of your existence. And Shit Town does this through the lens (mostly) of one man.
That’s really all I have to say about it, other than that it’s so good I aim to relisten to the whole thing in the next month or so. So go. Listen. It’s one of the few times I recommend a full-on, uninhibited binge.
Close to perfect, as one would expect of anything Ira Glass is involved in.
The first episode or two start a bit slow, but trust me, it really gets going after that.
Brian Reed is great. I don’t have anything bad to say about him. But he’s not really the star of the podcast, which isn’t a bad thing. He takes a backseat to the show’s major characters, and I applaud him for it.
The whole thing. Seriously.
Sadly (and happily), the show came out as a complete piece. No more episodes to come.
All seven episodes were released at the same time. It was done this way for a reason. Binge this show.
About an hour each.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
All of them.
If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like:
- This American Life
- Mising Richard Simmons