(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Podcast: Reply All (specifically, Episode 158: The Case of the Missing Hit)
Where You Can Stream It: Wherever you get your podcasts (or right here)
The Pitch: We all know how frustrating it can be to have a lyric or a melody from a song stuck in our heads when we don’t know what the full song is. But usually it doesn’t take much to figure it: there are apps that can help identify melodies, and most of the time a search for the lyric will find the answer. But in this episode, filmmaker Tyler Gillet (one of the directors of the horror film Ready or Not) has an incredibly detailed memory of hearing a specific song, but when he went to search for it, he found…nothing. All evidence of it had been scrubbed from Google. What happened? Did the song even exist in the first place, or was Tyler’s memory playing tricks on him? This is the story of what happens when the lack of Google results turns into an obsession and a quest for the truth.
Why It’s Essential Listening: Reply All’s tagline is “a show about the Internet,” which gives it license to cover a wide swath of different material. But episode 158 is a pure, self-contained mystery story which launched the show to new heights of popularity, and for good reason: it’s a totally riveting episode that had me on the edge of my seat.
I am not a regular listener of this show, but I downloaded this episode back in March when it was originally released because I saw several people praising it on Twitter. It’s been collecting dust in my podcast player ever since, waiting for me to finally see what all the fuss was about. The timing couldn’t have been better because I recently finished listening to the phenomenal Wind of Change podcast, and this really filled that gap for me in a way I didn’t know I needed.
I will not spoil what happens in the episode, because the joy is in experiencing how the story unfolds and tracing how your feelings might vacillate between multiple possibilities as the mystery deepens. But The Case of the Missing Hit gets my highest recommendation: it’s a practically perfect piece of storytelling that’s relatable, funny, immersive, and gripping.
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