When the world is dark, the doctor prescribes a frothy podcast

April 3, 2024



A strange hybrid of radio show and blogpost. Since I don’t have an Iphone, I wasn’t really sure how to access podcasts at first. Then, I realized that my Audible account, which I use for audiobooks, also has podcasts. So I browsed.

Now, I’m not a highbrow podcast listener. For that content, I’d rather read, so I can pause, ponder, re-read. Highlight, even.

I want lighter fare on audio. Maybe even to be amused. So I thought I’d share a few comments on podcasts I’ve listened to this year.

If you’re looking for literary or political content, you won’t find it in this post. More lowbrow stuff, today. And sometimes that’s a good respite for a world that’s so on fire. So don’t expect me to be embarrassed. These podcasts put me to sleep every night. More serious podcasts are for daytime.

MissUnderstood by Rachel Uchitel

Rachel became famous for her relationship with Tiger Woods, but she’s really hit her mark with her podcast, MissUnderstood, in which she interviews people whose lives have been reduced to a single headline. Like hers. The range of subjects include former Gov. Rod Blagodevich to reality “stars.” I pick and choose the interviews I listen to–if I don’t like the subject I’ll scroll by. But I listen to most of them.

She’s an excellent interviewer, probably because before her notoriety she was a producer for Bloomberg. She gives her guests an opportunity to talk–she doesn’t turn it back to herself like so many podcasters–unless it’s directly relevant. I like her style. She’s smart, articulate and has really great questions.

And is a good reminder that folks who experience scandals aren’t just here for our entertainment and the shock value–they are real human beings.

Girls Next Level by Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt

Holly Madison has to be the one of Hugh Hefner’s “girlfriends” who has made the most of her “platform.” She’s had a Vegas show, written a book, hosted TV shows and now is teamed with Bridged Marquardt, another “Girl Next Door” on a podcast called Girls Next Level. They talk through each episode of the show Girls Next Door, putting a 2023 perspective to this 2000 surprise hit.

Recently, they interviewed one of Hef’s sons, Marston, which was…oh, what do I want to say? Maybe that this young man isn’t a normal guy? It’s a peek inside a world that I can’t even imagine. She and Bridget both ask good questions.

The whole Playboy/Playmate thing is an artifact of my generation –actually began a bit before–and the psychology and practicalities involved fascinate me. Holly is especially interesting. On top of everything else she’s doing, she’s raising kids, and seems to be the hardest working of Hugh Hefner’s exes.

Yes, yes, she’s had major cosmetic makeovers and yes, she lived with that much older weirdo, Hefner, in a situation that is truly bizarre. But again, a real human being and someone whose life is food for thought. You might check out the TV series, Secrets of Playboy for a full analysis.

Rewives with Bethenny Frankel

I do like Bethenny. A woman with an opinion she’s not afraid to state. Or go back on if proved wrong. She’s whip-smart–and definitely a lightning rod–you love her or you hate her. I love her. And yes, she can dominate her interviews. But I liked most of her podcasts and most of her Instagram. Her podcast commentary on Real Housewives was a little different take on the show, as she’s been spearheading this “reality reckoning” movement to provide better working conditions, compensation etc. for the “housewives.” And then, she decided that Rewives was part of the problem, so she ended it. At the same time, her critics think she’s being disingenuous with reality reckoning. I mean, ya just can’t win.

Bethenny seems to be struggling a bit with identity. For a woman who’s got a ton of money and successful businesses, she’s spending an awful lot of time shilling on Insta and also posting there to excess, IMO.  I am feeling her struggle these days. Something’s going on and I don’t know what it is. But since she’s no longer doing Rewives, keep your eye on JustB, another of her podcasts.

Oh, and Bethenny? Do you really need ads on 8 minutes of content? Don’t you have enough money?

Yes, I do follow a couple “Real Housewife” shows, which have become less real and more produced. Friendships, family relationships and marriages have been decimated by just being on the show.  Yet women still want to star and get a platform to wealth and privilege. Some have done really well at this. I admit it’s a shallow franchise. But it’s also an interesting window into a world I’ll never experience.

Two Ts in a P0d with Teddi Mellencamp and Tamra Judge

These two got their fame on the Real Housewives of Orange County. Teddi got booted years ago and Tamra, who is by far one of the vilest housewives ever, got fired then brought back this past season. This TV show got completely out of control–the women were so obnoxious I stopped watching for a few years. Then they booted Tamra and Vicki Gunvalson, another piece of work, and I tuned back in. But after watching Tamra last season I’m pretty sure I’m out. Just too much crazytown for me.

I tune in and out of this podcast depending on the guest. They do cover other reality shows, and while I am not a fan of most Bravo shows, I’ll always read the summary to see if anything interesting is featured.  These women think they are the beginning and end of the world–their sense of their own importance is seriously inflated. I can’t help but laugh and often, click off.

Hollywood Raw with Dax Holt and Adam Glyn

They call themselves street journalists but these are paparazzi –truly two of the nicest humans in the pod-sphere. Surprised? So was I. I LOVE them! They have a kinder, gentler attitude toward their work, a unique view on Hollywood and have been up close and personal for  years. A really. nice vibe and totally unexpected in their lne of work.  I listen to almost all of their podcasts when I need to escape the world we live in. Goes to show you that the terms “nice” and “paparazzi” CAN be related!

Juicy Scoop by Heather McDonald

I have to admit I’d never heard of this standup comedian till I ran across her podcast. And the drift I get is that she leans politically right, plus she’s good friends with right-wing reality “housewife” Kelly Dodd, who is a dark figure, indeed, and not at all nice. And yet, Heather’s podcast is addictive. One of those things that I hate myself for listening to because I don’t like giving people like this air. For the most part she steers clear of politics, thank God.

I’m not a Juicy Scooper by any means, but I do pop in regularly. She’s articulate and mostly interesting. Sometimes thought provoking. I like her despite her politics.

Skip Amy & TJ’s new podcast

These are the morning co-anchors who got fired after revealing their relationship after a tabloid did a “gotcha!” when the couple were on a weekend trip.. Everyone thought they were cheating on their spouses but actually their separations predated that trip. They’re out of a job, so of course, they started a podcast. Here’s what I think about it:

Giddy. Self-indulgent. Boring. Stupid.  Don’t waste your time.

Also, and I feel I have to say this: TJ gives me a bad vibe. He’s rather arrogant and super tone deaf. He thinks he and their situation are endlessly interesting. They aren’t. He certainly isn’t. And they’ve had their 15 minutes of fame.

I’m thinking this couple won’t go the distance.

Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef & sometimes Sarah Fraser

Celebrity gossip can be quite amusing, but it’s all in the delivery. Yontef doesn’t deliver. He’s a whiny, boastful sycophant and the woman who co-hosts periodically (Sarah Fraser) is obnoxious. Their voices grate. I really don’t like him or guests at all but sometimes the content pulls me in for a rare episode. But I have to fight through an abusive number of ads. Maybe the most ads on any podcast. Truly an annoying listen, though, so I’m bringing him up so you can steer clear.

So these are a few of my guilty pleasures…some guiltier than others. I was thinking about giving you some of the more substantive content I consume by reading…maybe I will in another post. Or maybe you already are full to the gills with substance. We can’t avoid it in the world we live in.

Except by listening to light podcasts.

I do listen to some heavier podcasts: Rachel Maddow,  Chris Hayes, The Paris Review. Just like a meal, there’s heavier main course fare and lighter dessert. Today’s list is dessert.

Would love your thoughts on the subject of podcasts, especially if you tune in to them.

If you read along here often, you know I’m a big believer in random acts of kindness, especially when someone is hurting. Find our grief and healing tools HERE.

3 comments on “When the world is dark, the doctor prescribes a frothy podcast
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    Fun choices. I had no idea Bethenney has a podcast. I have to be in the mood for her, but agree she can be interesting and funny.

  2. Nancy Hill says:

    I confess I don’t watch this kind of reality show. Give me Expedition X (Geesh I adore Josh Gates.)For podcasts I enjoy Ologies with Alie Ward.
    Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, The Paris Review are more in line with what I thought you would mention.

    • It’s 2 sides of the same coin. This is the light and frothy podcast post and later I’ll do a more serious one. All seriousness and no play makes Carol a dull girl!

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