The below text is a highly-edited-for-readability version of the podcast episode. For a more direct transcript of the audio, see this Google Drive folder for the downloadable document.
My solo podcast-discussion-podcast Stuff I’ve Listened To is no more. Well, in name, at least. I’ve enjoyed making SILT all these weeks but the name sucked both as an intitialism and a thing someone has to type into a search bar.
The goals of SILT were always aligned with that of The Pod Report as a website and a certain recurring post a colleague used to make (stay tuned for the final section for more on that). It feels better to united the branding and have one cohesive feed for all Pod Report-based uploads.
Thus I’ve rebranded the RSS feed to The Pod Report: Digital where the archive of SILT lives in addition to ongoing audio episodes of TPRW and audio versions of posts here on the site (save for old interviews I don’t have audio for or any weird posts I can’t remember at the moment).
Before I launch into the actual good parts of Margaritas and Donuts I’d like to touch on a brief (if hyper-local) reason the show got to me: It’s set in Nashville.
As someone from nowheresville where the closest real city is a two hour drive, hearing an audio drama set in Nashville that isn’t about the touristy honkytonk CMA side of the city is such a refreshing experience. A brief shot of that energy I assume people living in New York or San Francisco recieve the first few times they see their respective areas in movies or TV.
Margaritas and Donuts is a limited series romcom about dating over 40. Josephine, a pediatrician is pretty unlucky romantically with a little coaxing from her best friend Katrina, Josephine starts a relationship with Malik, an ophthalmologist that works in the office across the hall from hers. Malik is exactly what Josephine needs, but she doesn’t quite realize it.. yet.”Official show description, Margaritas and Donuts website.
This six-episode limited series is so good and makes me incredibly jealous of Faith McQuinn’s ability to just… do a side project in between seasons of Boom. Margaritas and Donuts achieves what it sets out to do in such a sweet, wholesome, realistic way. It genuinely feels like Malik and Josephine are dating.
Traditional Hollywood romcoms tend to lean on amplifying character flaws flaws or quirky personality traits in an effort to make life easier on writers trying to backwards-engineer from the happy ending they’ve already coem up with, a starting point for two wacky characters to inevitably meet in the middle as a choesive couple. Josephine and Malik do change as people, but in a much more grounded, realistic manner.
M&D is one of the best romcoms I’ve ever encountered. It’s thrilling to see a steady rise of wonderful romcoms happening in the audio drama sphere and I can’t wait to hear more.
All of that said, if you are sensitive to kissing noises M&D as some real heavy smoochin’ in a couple of scenes, so fair warning on that front. In my experience it was easy to see what was coming but if you’re wearing good headphones the kisses are, shall we say, crisp.
Finally: Margaritas and Donuts features my current favorite cross-promotion with a real business and a podcast. Down Nashville way is a delivery-only donut shop that serves up boozy donuts, and early episodes of M&D open with an offer of a promo code for said alcoholic donuts. It’s an adorable bit of brand synergy and it’s cool enough I wanted to start planning a trip to Nashville purely for the idea of getting donuts using a podcasts’ promo code.
If you’re anything like me you’re always in the market for a good nonfiction history-focused podcast that talks about buck-wild things in the past. Let me introduce you to Loremen. I’m gonna read the description for the website once more:
Loremen is a podcast about local legends and obscure curiosity from days of yore. Join James shakeshaft Alisdair Beckett-King and guest comedians as we quote investigate forgotten folklore.”
And when Loremen says it talks forgotten folklore, they’re not lying. Usually when podcasts discuss supernatural-flavored history or folklore they focus in on the 1800s, maybe late 1700s.
Beckett-King and Shakeshaft dig up stuff from the 1600s (and before) quite frequently. If you have been wanting to hear some buick-wild English folklore, and “firsthand accounts” from people who sound like they’re off their ass on hallucinogens and don’t know it; Loremen is your show.
Each episode features Shakeshaft, a guest, or Beckett-King bringin a legend to share while everyone else reacts. Each story is then ranked with a series of categories (some recurring, some created just for the story) on a 5 point scale. As is tradition with most comedy podcasts, the points matter not beyond giving the host a sense of accomplishment or failure with how the story played. Being good comedians theselves, Beckett-King and Shakeshaft have great taste in guests who work well with the show’s sense of humor. Every guest episode has been a winner (that I’ve heard so far). If this sounds even the least bit interesting, I have a gut feeling Loremen will be a winner for you.
I don’t know if this is going to be a regular thing that I do, but I feel like doing it today and maybe it will become a consistent feature of the Pod Report Weekly, but I want to take this week because there is no particular overarching reason (and I feel those are the best times to do these) to shout out my dear friend and colleague Wil Williams.
Wil has done nothing but work their ever-loving ass off since I first met them three years ago now. They’re the reason this site exists in the first place, having been the first podcast critic I encountered and encouraged me to chase the urge to get back into writing reviews. And here we are now, three years later with two conference speaking gigs under my belt.
I can’t pretend all of these podcasting adventures haven’t been in large part due to Wil’s support and their constant coming along with me on the ride that is Tuned In, Dialed Up. If you haven’t checked out Wil’s stuff before by some wild coincidence their website WilWilliams.reviews stands as a portfolio. Their blog is archived there and packed to the gills with articles I still reference to this day. They write for plenty of outlets including Polygon (which I still can’t get over).
And, full disclosure, this weekly thing that I’m trying out is somewhat motivated by a now-retired weekly column Wil posted on their site. When I started The Pod Report I had one big anchor every week that gave a sense of community to the amorphous cloud that is “the podcast industry,” and that was Wil’s series This Week in Podcasting. They’d rank notable episodes of podcasts, post press releases, plug crowdfunding campaigns, and a slow of other kindnesses that created a massive workload that Wil shouldered for quite some time.
There’s a reason why I’m not completely aping TWIP’s structure, and that’s because I am terrified of it.
TWIP was one of my favorite recurring events in podcast writing I hope by adding an audio twist with a podcast version and paring down the scope somewhat I’ll be able to make something in the same ballpark, something to bring togehter a sense of community and dole out criticism that isn’t bound to giant 1k word reviews.
It’s a lofty goal I admit, but Wil laid the foundation and continues to be one of the giants whose shoulders I shakily stand upon (and frequently fall off of). Thank you Wil so much for everything you’ve done and will continue to do.
Pod Report Highlights
This is a piece I put a lot of work in to, and I hope you’ll enjoy if you’ve not checked it out yet! Back in September I made a daily podcast for 30 days straight with next to no preproduction. I’ve taken all the hard-fought lessons learned from doing a daily podcast I barely was able to keep afloat, hopefully creating a list of tips and warnings that’ll help in the year 2020 where basically everything has changed. Making a daily is difficult but with my tips, maybe you’ll be able to change that flavor of difficult from the boring vanilla stuff I encountered to something fun like butter pecan, Who knows?