In the past year or two, podcasting has exploded, as old players like NPR and new ones like Gimlet, have transformed audio storytelling into a compelling, informative and exciting landscape. Throw in transformative series like Serial and BuzzFeed’s Black-centric Another Round, and you’ll get at least one part of media that isn’t imploding.
Sure, Radiolab is better at using sound than any other show, and Story Corps consistently provides some of the most moving first-person narratives of the 21st century, but I’m not here to talk about any of those great programs. I’m here to talk about Who? Weekly.
Who? Weekly debuted on Jan. 18 and my life hasn’t been the same since. The podcast is hosted by Bobby Finger of Jezebel and Lindsey Weber, currently an editor for Dollar Shave Club, which evidently is launching a #lifestyle site. Who? Weekly exists to inform the uninformed about C-F-list celebs, a majority who owe their rise to who-dom to reality shows like The Bachelor/ette, Real Housewives, The Voice, American Idol, Keeping Up With The Kardashians as well as ABC Family shows. Bobby and Lindsey split the celeb world in two realms- either you’re a Them or a Who.
If a celeb is a Them, they don’t need any explaining. For example, Jennifer Lawrence. If you tell your friend that you read that JLaw ate at this cool, new brunch place, she won’t say who? she’ll say let’s go!
On the other hand, if you tell your friend that you read that Bella Hadid ate at this cool, new brunch place, she’ll probably say who?
Bella Hadid is a Who. Jennifer Lawrence is a Them.
Bobby and Lindsey act as guides through the world of Whos. Although they certainly don’t know everyone, each episode opens up with them trying to stump each other with names like Pia Toscano and Hailey Baldwin, trying to figure out why exactly they’re famous, or at least trying to be famous.
However, what makes Who? Weekly so great is not just Bobby and Lindsey’s absurd knowledge about pop culture and their quick wit. In this relatively new era of podcasting, it seems that in order to truly succeed, the topics must be compelling, have professional-sounding production, exist in high-brow culture, and of course should be Meaningful Journalism. Who? Weekly is none of those things. They talk about literally the most meaningless events (the guy who voiced Squidward in Spongebob Squarepants recently got a DUI), sound like they’re voicing in their childhood basement, and have a regular segment on what Rita Ora has been up to that week. And this is not a bad thing!
Technology is supposed to make the world, including media, more egalitarian. Anyone with an iPhone and Instagram can become a photographer just like anyone living in a volatile area with a Twitter account is now a journalist. However, with podcasting, producers and journalists keep reaching higher and higher, ignoring the people who with cheap and easy-to-use equipment, are also creating pieces to be heard and enjoyed.
Bobby and Lindsey are both great writers outside of Who? Weekly, and this series is clearly just something fun, and we’re all lucky that we get to listen to their conversations because they’re incredibly silly and great. Seriously, you will never hear a more passionate retelling of the Blac Chyna/Rob Kardashian/Kris Jenner saga than on Episode 3.
I may be biased because I already have an affinity for the Real Housewives series (except for Atlanta and the short-lived D.C. AND Potomac cause those women aren’t even from Potomac!), made one of my New Year’s resolutions to get more into the Kardashians, and have a passion for truly absurd news, but I can confidently say that Who? Weekly is the greatest podcast blows Serial out of the water.
In a world where the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nominee is a fascist with grapefruit-colored skin who won’t condemn the freaking KKK, and meanwhile the world is literally melting and no one cares, and Frank Ocean still hasn’t released a new album, we should welcome the Whos into our lives. They certainly won’t make them any worse.