My taste in entertainment and media differs pretty drastically from Andrew’s. My reading and podcast preferences are varied within the “general” category of fiction and non-fiction. For TV and movies, my tastes tend toward anything that is created for 13 year-old girls. Andrew on the other hand, reads nothing but science-fiction and listens only to financial and economics podcasts. For TV, he watches cartoons, cooking videos, and Community, and prefers movies that are more action-based and probably rated for mature audiences. Bonus points if someone is also recording themselves commenting on the movie while they’re watching it. All that’s to say that when we are stuck in the car for 10 hours together, it can be a challenge to find something we both enjoy listening to.
In case anyone else has the same problem, I thought I’d share my list of tried, tested, and approved bingeable podcasts for road trips. I’m providing logos rather than links so you can search for whatever podcast interests you in your podcast player of choice.
I believe “S-Town” was the first podcast from the makers of “Serial” after “Serial”. The true story follows a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to ask host Brian Reed to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. Another unexplained death, a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and general Alabama shenanigans ensue.
This podcast came out in 2017 so I can’t remember for sure, but I think we listened to it driving to and from either Savannah or Charleston around that time.
“Dirty John” is a true story based on a series of interviews with Debra Newel, a successful interior designer who meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seemed to check all the boxes, but whom her family didn’t like. Love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately survival ensue. The story of “Dirty John” was interesting enough to later be made into a TV series for Bravo, which I have not seen because Bravo doesn’t make TV for the 13 year-old girl audience.
We listened to “Dirty John” while driving around southern California in early 2020.
“Blood Ties” is a fiction podcast from the makers of “Dirty John” and “Dr. Death”. I would describe it as a fictional true crime podcast that pulls very heavily from the themes from “Dirty John” and “Dr. Death”, so medical malpractice, family drama, and deceptively charismatic characters.
Technically I listened to this one alone but I know Andrew would love it because it stars Gillian Jacobs from Community. And for the Olaf fans out there, it also stars Josh Gad. So you know the voice acting is amazing.
A Very Fatal Murder
This production of Onion Public Radio investigates the mysterious death of 17-year old Hayley Price in the sleepy town of Bluff Springs, Nebraska. It comments on the ugly underbelly of the American dream, the decline of manufacturing, modern beauty standards, the gig economy, factory farming, deforestation, saturated fats, the fragility of love, the golden era of television, and CO2 emissions.
There is only one season of this podcast because luckily everything gets resolved and tied up with a pretty bow so we listened to the entire thing while driving home from Savannah last week.
My Year in Mensa
Writer and comedian, Jamie Loftus took the Mensa IQ test as a joke and then wrote about it. And the Mensans were not happy about it. This four-part podcast chronicles her year of interacting with the Mensa community. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be in Mensa, this podcast is for you.
My Dad Wrote a Porno
Jamie is a guy with a wonderful British accent, that kind that you look forward to hearing at story time. And his father has written a series of erotic fiction books. So he reads them, one chapter at a time, while his friends James and Alice provide a running commentary. I’m pretty sure that you’ll love it and learn so much.
There are six seasons so far so it should keep you entertained for a while. We’re partway through season two after listening to it on our drive home from Miami in early 2021, driving around northern California in the summer of 2021, and driving to and from St. Pete, FL last month.
“Science Vs” uses the adorable Australian voice of Wendy Zukerman to blow up your firmly held opinions and replace them with science. It’s like the opposite of “The Joe Rogan Experience”. Think topics like attachment parenting, 5G, chronic pain, screen time, immune boosting, magic mushrooms, and peanuts.
We’ve basically listened to two or three episodes of this podcast on every road trip we’ve taken since the show started airing in 2015.
Honorable Mention – Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonalds?
Do you remember when McDonalds used to serve pizza? This is a wonderfully whimsical investigative podcast that digs deep to find out the truth about whatever happened to pizza at McDonalds. It also comes with its own wonderful ads such as “This podcast is brought to you by Casper Mattresses. Have you ever slept in foam? Now you can. And sleep is what you’ll have because these mattresses are foam.”
Okay, so this podcast is actually not great for road trips because the sound quality is not great so it’s hard to hear over road noise. And you honestly probably don’t want to listen to more than an episode or two at a time.
Do you have any recommendations for my next road trip?