In Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at email@example.com.
Since its initial release in September 2016, Gimlet’s Heavyweight, helmed by radio veteran Jonathan Goldstein, has racked up nearly 50 beloved episodes and is moving exclusively to Spotify. As if to end its tenure as a more widely available podcast with a bang, the series released the second episode in a rare two-parter this week, featuring a family story whose trajectory would have been impossible for even seasoned listeners to predict. In part one, Justine reaches out for Jonathan’s help in deciphering which pieces of her dying father’s bombastic autobiography are true, and which are just self-aggrandizing bits of mythmaking. For a while, it seems like we’re in for a more crass version of Big Fish. But episode two nearly dispenses of the dad-decoding mission altogether, shifting focus to Justine’s brother, whose sense of self could be forever altered by one of their father’s genuine revelations from his past. The series has always been about interrogating the past to help people move their lives forward. But “Stephen” is a stark example of just how many lives besides our own can be changed by that exercise. [Marnie Shure]
Co-hosts and sisters Allison and Carrie Gilbert have their wine and autumnal candles (or tea and Sour Patch Kids) at the ready to set the mood for their discussion on the iconic ’90s movie Practical Magic. On every episode of Hold Up?, the Gilberts come together to look at their favorite romcoms, examining their merit in terms of artistry and a feminist framework. Despite receiving negative reviews upon its release, Practical Magic has gone on to hold a special place in many folks’ hearts, including the Gilbert sisters themselves. The hosts reflect on how a supernatural romantic comedy is able to capture something complex and specific about experiencing domestic violence all the while tapping into the spirit of female narratives in a way that critics at the time just couldn’t understand. The episode is sure to leave listeners eager to give Practical Magic a rewatch. [Jose Nateras]
Hidden Mickeys: Robin Lopez!
Like beauty pageants, news about theme parks mostly catches the attention of mainstream outlets when something has gone terribly wrong. So it was refreshing last month when a parks-related development went viral for only going a little wrong, very charmingly, with the lowest possible stakes, in Disneyworld Animal Kingdom’s new set of 10-minute people-eater shows. Despite being the butt of plenty of Twitter jokes, KiteTails—wherein impressively engineered windcatchers shaped like Zazu, Baloo, and Simba are dragged out of a shanty town cottage by jet skis to soar above kids and parents resting their feet—is not without its advocates, the strongest perhaps being theme park journalist Carlye Wisel. Last week, Very Amusing host Wisel gushed with Technical Director Lindsay Vrab over the little details that make the spectacle so precious; this week, in one of the series’ most entertaining conversations to date, Wisel compares notes with a different kind of Disney expert: Orlando Magic basketball player Robin Lopez. The NBA star discusses having lived in the Coronado Springs resort bubble, the deliciousness of EPCOT’s Takumi-Tei, the reasons Florida’s Space Mountain is better than California’s, and why Hong Kong Disney feels like a Michael Jackson backyard approximation of a theme park. [Dan Jakes]