Have You Listened to S-Town?

I listened to the most amazing podcast on the drive to and from West Virginia this past weekend. It’s called S-Town.

Apparently S-Town was hugely popular when it was released a few months ago, but I didn’t hear about it until last week. It’s 7 episodes, each about an hour long, and it’s produced by some of the people who made the Serial podcast.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll give a very brief synopsis and then share why I enjoyed it so much. NPR’s introduction is way better than whatever I would write:

“John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.”

The entire production is extremely well done. The podcast is mostly about John, who turns out to be a riveting character. I was also hooked by several of the mysteries and twists throughout the 7-episode arc.

Perhaps most importantly, it made me think. It made me think about America, love, journalism, human nature, the south, time, storytelling, and deciding how to fix the things about the world that make you angry.

My favorite scene in the podcast is one where Brian, the narrator and reporter, goes to a tattoo parlor to chat with some locals. I can’t reveal the details of this scene (despite it not impacting the storyline, I can’t do it justice in a few words) it’s the perfect microcosm of how people who may appear bad are actually quite good…they just have some bad qualities. Within a span of a few minutes I went from completely dismissing someone to relating to and even liking them.

Have you listened to S-Town? What did you think? Feel free to talk about spoilers, but please tag your comments appropriately if you do.