Podcasts I Love: Judge John Hodgman

I decided to check out the Judge John Hodgman podcast after the Pop Culture Happy Hour folks giggled uncontrollably while discussing an episode they referred to simply as “Bats.”  And man, I’m so glad I did. At least once per episode, I find myself saying aloud “God, I love this podcast.”

Brought to us by Maximum Fun, Judge John Hodgman adjudicates lighthearted disputes among friends, family members, and people who don’t take themselves and their disagreement too seriously (for the most part.) John Hodgman (who you may recognize from numerous appearances on The Daily Show, many NPR shows and other podcasts, and whose work you may have read in The New Yorker) presides over both sides’ arguments and delivers a verdict that both agree to adhere to. Jesse Thorn (from the Bullseye podcast) is usually the bailiff (though sometimes guests take over his duties).

Some of my favorite episodes are:

  • TL:DNR, where two friends argue over whether a promise to read a several thousand page book series by a specific date should be upheld.
  • Amicus Grief, wherein a pair of acquaintances or friends (depending on which you ask) argue over a rather intense theory regarding the concept of friendship.
  • Wake Me Up Before You Go, Bro, which I related to only too well because my husband and I have the same dispute. Two brothers live together. One has a harder time waking up than the other, and relies on his brother to wake him up in the morning. The early riser thinks his brother needs to get an alarm clock and depend on himself.
  • The Perp Walk, where a couple argues about the dangers of jay walking.
  • God Save the Teen, wherein two American brothers argue over whether the younger of the two should study abroad at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Die Flederhaus, or the aforementioned episode affectionately known as “Bats.” Two brothers live in a ramshackle house infested with bats and argue over who has the better method of removal. This episode made me laugh until I cried.

It’s often hilarious, but usually thought-provoking as well. I find myself giggling throughout the arguments and gleaning wisdom from John Hodgman as he explains his verdict at the end of each episode. I don’t always agree with his decision, but I am always glad that I listened.

New episodes are posted on Wednesday, and you can listen from the website or subscribe via iTunes or whichever podcast app you like best. (My personal recommendation is Downcast.)

Best of 2014

I read, watched, and listened to some pretty great things in 2014. These are my favorites:

Favorite Reads:

Fiction:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Memoir:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Young Adult:
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Best Audiobook:
Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Best Short Stories:
Bark by Lorrie Moore and Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

Best Graphic Novel:
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky
Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe By Yumi Sakugawa

Best Poetry Collection:
I Don’t Know Do You By Roberto Montes

I made a goal to read 75 books this year and surpassed it (by four books, but still; woot!) I’m debating whether I should challenge myself to at all in 2015. While making a specific goal and keeping track of whether I’m behind schedule definitely keeps me motivated, I do sort of agree with articles like this one, which argues that always keeping track of how many books you’ve already read is nerve wracking and is not really what reading should be about. I made a personal goal to post here four times a week, which seemed completely manageable for the first half of the year. There are so many great books I read this year that I keep meaning to write about here, but just haven’t found the time, and that’s a frustrating feeling.


Thanks to the success of Serial, many have dubbed 2014 “the year of the podcast.” Even Dear Sugar got in on the action! I’ve started listening to so many this year, some new, some just new to me. But I’ll try to keep this list reasonably short.

Favorite Podcasts:

Serial

This American Life

Gilmore Guys

The Scot and the Sassenach

Totally Laime (which is unfortunately ending soon)

BookRiot

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig

How Did This Get Made?

Dear Sugar Radio


I’m a huge fan of guilty pleasure television, especially when it comes to Reality TV. I know, I know, but I just can’t stop myself.

Favorite TV

Outlander

Orange is the New Black

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The Affair

Hart of Dixie

How to Get Away With Murder

New Girl

Pretty Little Liars

The Chair

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills/Orange County

True Tori

Shark Tank


Finally, I watched some really fantastic films this year. These were my favorites:

Favorite Movies

Short Term 12

Chef

Snowpiercer

The Fault in our Stars

Veronica Mars

Mockingjay

Gone Girl

Divergent

Wild


You were a good year, 2014.

Happy New Year!