Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Bitterest Pill - podcast review

A nice way, close to serendipity, to discover new podcasts, is to check on a podcast you know in iTunes. This directory will list a number of other podcasts that listeners to the selected one, also listen to. This is what I did and what brought me to try the famous audio blog by Dan Klass: The Bitterest Pill. (site, feed)

These are the stylized lamentations of a failed comedian and actor who is condemned to lead the live of a stay at home dad. I am sure there is a huge autobiographical imprint on the show, but Klass carefully relates his fate and adventures as a dad, husband and podcaster from his garage in a particular character. That character is the tormented, neurotic and absent-minded, slightly forgetful underachiever who barely manages to stay alive among the pitfalls and banal mishaps of the suburban dweller. For him, taking your son to the dentist, flying to New York and helping your elderly neighbor installing anti-virus software turn into life threatening nightmares.

Dan Klass's tales put a magnifying glass over the little sufferings of everyday life we all know so well and takes them to the next level, short of disaster. The formula, started in 2004, has been so successful, he has won acclaim from serious media, fellow podcasters and listeners. The latter even subscribe to his premium podcast, which give them four times as many episodes. I was particularly struck by his talented use of silence - he frequently leaves the listener hanging in a dramatic moment without sound. No, you haven't run out of battery, you haven't lost your ear phones. Wait, wait, something is coming. It goes to show what talented actor he is and what great use of the new media he is capable of.

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