Editor’s Note: We’re giving playlists a break this week–and tuning into podcasts. Assistant news editor Nirmal Bhansali’s back with a list of his favourite podcast episodes. We hope you’ll discover something new, have a less boring commute, or just have a good laugh. Enjoy!
We recommend: Our fav podcast episodes
Whomst Among Us Let The Dogs Out by 99% Invisible: A song that’s always been stuck in my head is ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ by Baha Men. This is seemingly a dumb song, but everyone you know can recognize this. How did this song capture our collective imagination growing up?
You’re going to witness how creativity and art evolve over time, and why ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ became such a massive hit across the world.This episode is a story that goes back decades and spans continents. I know you don’t really care about the song in 2023, but I promise you the different layers in this 99% Invisible episode makes it all worth listening to.
What's Up, Doc? by Radiolab: I enjoyed watching the Looney Tunes Show as a kid. Watching the antics of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck was super entertaining. It’s only after listening to this old Radiolab episode that I learnt that ALL of the voices in the Looney Tunes are by one person—Mel Blanc. He was known as the "the man of 1,000 voices," but the actual number may have been closer to 1,500. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety, Barney Rubble—all Mel Blanc.
This episode isn’t about Mel Blanc’s legend though, it’s about an accident in Mel’s life. After a car crash, Mel was in a coma. When he eventually woke up, the first thing that came out of his mouth was not his original voice, but an impression of Bugs Bunny. Why did this happen? Listen to the episode to find out!
What if a killer asteroid was headed towards India by Imagined Tomorrow: I remember watching the movie ‘Don’t Look Up’ and wondering what it would be like if a movie like that was made in India. In this episode Shreya Dasgupta paints a picture of what would happen if an asteroid was coming towards Lucknow.
I learned so much while listening to this episode. How would scientists react? Do we have the capabilities currently in India to deal with such a crisis? Can we plan ahead? If you have ever been curious about extinction level threats and how India can deal with them, I think this episode (and the podcast) is a perfect gateway.
When We Said Goodbye to Steve by An Oral History of The Office: Spoilers for ‘The Office’ ahead, you’ve been warned! ‘The Office’ is a show that’s close to my heart. I started watching it a few years ago, and since then I’ve binged it multiple times and even now, while having lunch I end up watching the best scenes on YouTube. This show is hosted by Brian Baumgartner (who plays Kevin), and it is a deep dive into how ‘The Office’ became such a cultural phenomenon, a behind the scenes look into the writers room, the casting decisions, and the struggles the show faced during its long run.
Episode 9 is one of my favourites in the entire series. One of the saddest moments in the show is when Michael Scott leaves the series forever. Steve Carell made the show incredibly popular, so his absence changed the dynamics of how the series had to move forward. This episode looks at the conversations that took place during this period, why Steve Carell had to leave, and what the future seasons would look like. If you’ve seen even one episode of this spectacular show, or watched a Steve Carell movie, I think you’ll enjoy listening to this.
White Horse by The Memory Palace: The Memory Palace is one of my favourite podcasts ever. In each episode, host Nate DiMeo carefully crafts and narrates a story about some historical moment or fact. These are well researched short episodes and Memory Palace is able to beautifully capture the tales of past lives and pack it with an emotional punch.
‘White Horse’ is about the longest running gay bar in America and its importance to the community at the time. It is only 9 minutes long, but I can assure you, it’ll make you cry (at least I did). If there’s one episode on this list that you must listen to, it is this one.
The Pirate Bay by Darknet Diaries: If you’ve been following splainer, you know that HBO is not releasing any new content in India. This has resulted in many people relying on torrents and online piracy to start watching the latest movies and tv shows like ‘Succession’. Pirate Bay is one of these places where people access pirated movies, music, games, and apps. It first came up in 2003 and is still in operation despite facing a lot of legal hurdles. You would think that by now, authorities would have shut Pirate Bay down, but that hasn’t happened yet.
It still survives and millions of people across the world download torrents of copyrighted material through PirateBay. This episode features a conversation with the founder of Pirate Bay. It is a wild ride into one of the darker corners of the Internet, and sheds light on how online piracy continues to thrive. It is a fun, entertaining, and deeply informative conversation.
PS: We've compiled our picks that are available on Spotify into a handy playlist for your convenience. Check it out on the Splainer Spotify account here.