Just a programming note to begin. In reviewing podcasts I like, I ended up with a few more categories that I initially expected so this portion of Things I Like Month will run through Wednesday with Storytelling and Humor categories to follow and THEN we’ll address webcomics.
One way or another, we all find ourselves in relationships, be it friendly or intimate. And, especially on the intimate side, sex tends to come up now and again. Sometimes it is nice to have a voice to turn to besides your friends for some help. That’s where these two podcasts come in.
If you are familiar with Dan Savage—writer of the Savage Love column you can find in most City Papers (Advocates for us Connecticut folks)—and his work, you know what to expect with this offering. It’s essential his weekly column come to auditory life. People call in and leave messages with what they’re struggling with, confused over, or trying to convince their partner to try, and Savage replies.
The most prominent difference between the written and the spoken SAVAGE LOVE is that Savage tends to start each podcast with a brief (usually) editorial of sorts about sex and relationships issues that are in the news that past week. Understandably, especially given recent advances, it often concerns same sex issues. However, Savage also is sure to remind listeners of what he characterizes as the eroding of heterosexual sexual rights in a segment he refers to as Straight Rights Watch.
Savage is, as in writing, flippant, irreverent, and entirely sincere by turns, depending on what he deems the situation requires. If you don’t love someone being free with the profanity, this probably isn’t for you. People more conservative in their views on sex and relationships who feel their way is “right” as opposed to just what works for them will also find plenty to annoy and outrage as Savage is pretty open with not believing that monogamy is the default or should be for long-term relationships, but rather but one option couples should consider.
Also, in the past, Savage has upset people when he’s discussed obesity/weight gain and asexuality so be aware that he has the capacity to upset on a number of topics/opinions.
Twitter handles associated with the podcast:
Wife-husband team Elizabeth Laime and Andy Rosen, who you might previously recognize for the Showbiz types podcast column, also boast a second podcast, this one an advice show with only the two of them on mic. As one would expect from the title, most of the questions are of the sex and relationship variety, but questions about dog care—Laime is a big advocate of adoption and both dote on their dog Ruby on mic—and career guidance—Rosen is a music producer, Laime is interested in becoming a talk show host of some kind and is/was(?) pursuing a staff writer work on sitcoms.
The show opens with Laime and Rosen sharing some events in their life, which also tend to serve as a showcase for how they interact as a couple—each mocks the other for his or her storytelling skills just to demonstrate their own fallibility of the matter moments latter, Rosen makes jokes he gets reprimanded for, Laime is admonished for not properly noting where questions or follow-ups are coming from, and so on and such of.
After the check-in, the duo tackle follow-ups from previous questions, usually either the original letter writing telling them how things have progressed since or other listeners writing in to correct some misinformation or oversight that might have occurred earlier.
Finally, comes the bulk of the episode in which the couple tackles emails and the occasional voice mail questions. They repeatedly stress their lack of expertise throughout but do not shy away from anything. There are some clichés to be found in the advice that may make your hair stand on end depending on your own perspectives. The big offenders appear to be the idea that modern men are largely “pussies,” and the dicey nature of male-female friendships. The last one, arguably the most controversial to listeners, is a tad more shaded than When Harry Met Sally’s “it can’t happen” perspective but just a tad. The long and short of it—so you can decide if you can handle it or it will drive you nuts—is all friendships change after coupling/marriage, but that male-females ones are usually singled out as particularly fraught in this context. They CAN survive, but the coupled friend must be careful not to disclose any sort of complaint, concern, observation, etc to his or her friend about their partners as this is how affairs start.
To the podcast’s credit, they do seem to consider others’ perspectives on what’s being discussed. Past episodes have seen them soften, alter, or apologize on several things including assumptions about young women with older men or drawing a false equivalency between using condoms versus the withdrawal method. However, on some topics, like the “pussy” or male-female thing, they’ve doubled down and have drawn the line at “you may disagree, you have a different experience, but that doesn’t change how I/we feel.”
Regardless of what growth may or may not take place though, all advice giving people have their biases (again, see SAVAGE LOVE above). It is part of the deal. If you can look past where you disagree—or perhaps even consider that your opinion might not be right or, at least, the only right one—and find something useful or fun in them, it is still worth. I think listeners would have to work pretty hard not to find something about Laime and Rosen’s work here, especially given their chemistry, that makes the podcast work listening to.
Released: Twice a week
Twitter handles associated with the podcast:
Tomorrow: Storytelling Podcasts