‘Reply All’ spotlights the internet’s lesser-known stories
The Internet is the best and worst thing ever. One moment, you’re sharing funny videos of cats sneezing to all of your besties. The next, you’re being mercilessly Rick Rolled (I don’t think that happens anymore).
But like Rick Astley, Gimlet Media’s “Reply All,” hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, will never give you up, let you down or desert you. In this golden age of memes and jokes that have been beaten to death, “Reply All” brings something to the table that most Internet users haven’t heard of: originality.
Trust me, I’m a hip Millennial who has been around the World Wide Web a few million times, so I’ve seen my fair share of Internet wonders, but “Reply All” spotlights stories I have never come across. Ever. Like Earth’s oceans, because of “Reply All,” I know there is still so much of the Internet I haven’t discovered.
I’m Christopher Cizek, and this is “Podcast Picks.”
My soon-to-be wife and I’s household duties are pretty simple: I’m a terrible cook who pours pinto beans — juice and all — onto rubbery spaghetti and calls it a meal, so she’s the resident chef extraordinaire. And I do the dishes like the busboy I am.
While I do dishes, I like to binge podcasts, but I have different podcasts for different things, none of which involve scraping off dried green bean casserole. Enter “Reply All.”
Touted super generally as “a show about the Internet,” there is nothing general about this show.
PJ and Alex laser-focus on interesting topics like the stories behind classifieds for time travel companions, several-month-long online dating money schemes, a service where you can send strangers to deliver messages to people you know, the effects of “lifecasting” stardom, how the Internet has destroyed families and so much more.
I am obsessed with this show. Dishes have become a respite because I get to listen to “Reply All.” And the topics aren’t presented like monotone newscasts — you can hear the deep empathy and humor juxtaposed in the hosts’ voices, as well as feel the lurking eeriness in some episodes.
Each episode is between 25 and 30 minutes, so its easy to queue one up and let a few play through before you realize your dishwater is cold. “Reply All” is arranged and presented simply enough to absorb fully while still allowing you to multitask.
The next time you tackle the dishes, let “Reply All” be your shoulder pads. You can find the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all.