As if you haven’t heard, Serial didn’t release a new episode last Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday. And that’s ridiculous. I’m not really one to make demands for free entertainment but come on, Sarah Koenig. No one needed an escape more than the United States during this past week. We’ve seen awful stuff in the news lately and even worse stuff on Facebook from friends we added during the first week of college.
Every Wednesday night I think about what Serial could bring me in the morning, and this past week all it brought was disappointment and the knowledge that I’m living for a podcast that doesn’t ever seem to be long enough. We’re living in an era where podcasts are not just for old people anymore. Podcasts are about this American life. Podcasts are gripping, funny. Podcasts are what you wake up for on Thursday mornings.
Unless you’re the Serial staff and you decide it’s chill to just take a break during the week we need it the most.
Serial’s tag line is, “One story told week by week,” which isn’t a revolutionary way to release content, but Netflix has spoiled me so much that when my favorite podcast decides to take a week off for a holiday with a pretty bleak history, I have to write a thinkpiece about how egregious it is that not only do I have to wait a week for a new episode, but I have to wait two weeks. That sounds annoying, but I’m half kidding. This past Thursday would have been the most opportune time to release a new episode. Think about it, Sarah: people are traveling, bored, waiting for perpetually late flights. A forty-minute reprieve from our crushing realities would have been a welcome distraction.
Like everyone else, I’m obsessed with this podcast. It’s easy to be captivated mostly because Sarah is a great storyteller but also because Adnan is fascinating. He’s incredibly earnest and he sounds too levelheaded to be a killer. But the overwhelming evidence suggests that Adnan played a role in the murder of his ex-girlfriend. And I can’t wrap my head around the idea that within this person who is seemingly normal and kind is also a person who could be capable of awful things. This kind of conversation has sparked weekly Thursday morning tweets, articles, and podcasts about podcasts.
Had Serial decided to release a new episode, Thanksgiving dinner conversations would have been way more engaging. Instead of asking about my future career goals over mashed potatoes, my family could have been talking about the details of a brand new Serial episode. I’m not blaming Sarah Koenig for my relatives’ nosy questions, but I think dividing the dinner table between people who are Team Jay and people who are Team Adnan would have been less charged than a table divided between Democrats and, um, the other side.
One of the reasons I’m desperate for a new episode is that, like Sarah, I’m a little bit in love with Adnan. He’s charming and rational and Sarah pointedly portrays him in a likable way inconsistent with a murderer. She also describes him as having “giant brown eyes like a dairy cow” which is cute, I guess. I want to know what he thinks about millions of people talking about him and I want to know what happens to him in the end, too.
Because there wasn’t a new episode this past Thursday, I consoled myself by listening to episodes I’ve heard before. But one of my favorite parts about an episodic story is the shared experience of listening or watching something together with other people whose comments and tweets enrich the experience. Adnan’s story is best heard with my friends spouting off far-fetched theories about what really happened that January afternoon in 1999. Serial in itself is entertaining, but I also relish in the discussions that happen because of it.
With three episodes left in this season, maybe the break this past week is a good way to ween ourselves off of Adnan’s story. The last episode is scheduled for the week before Christmas, and again, Sarah, I can’t believe you’re going to let us suffer through road trips home without a brand new episode, but I guess I understand.
Anyway, I can’t wait for Thursday morning! Team Adnan Did It Probably But I Really Hope He Didn’t!