Forward Thinking

6 Ways To Cure Your 'Serial' Withdrawal

By Lior Zaltzman

Illustration by Lior Zaltzman

Season one of Serial is over. I don’t know about you, but I shed a tear. My Thursdays just won’t be the same without the sensational “This American Life” spin-off, produced and narrated by Sarah Koenig.

While Serial was a Serious podcast — serious with a capital “S,” because the true crime drama is about a real-life case with real-life implications — it did provide us with some delicious moments of levity. So without further ado, to help ward off your Serial withdrawal, I give you the podcast’s funniest and silliest (little or big) moments:

1. Dana and Julie Visit the Mad Hatter: The last episode of Serial has a lot to it. But luckily we get a last glimpse (of the season) into Dana, Julie and Sarah’s office womance. In an important conversation, in which Dana Chivvis and Julie Snyder find a way to refute one of the most damning pieces of evidence against Adnan, Dana is showing Sarah a picture of the Old Records Department. Sarah notes that it looks like the mad hatter’s archive room.

Sarah: Were you the first humanoid who’d come down in like fifteen years?

Dana: Yeah, they were like: “What news do you bring?”

It was so sweet to get that glimpse into their dynamic. It had absolutely no reason to be there aside from adding their voice and personality to the show. I can’t wait for another season of Serial with these big dorks.

2. Is there a Phone Booth at the Best Buy? The phone booth at the Best Buy has gained a mythical status. Yes, even Best Buy tweeted about the pay phone at Best Buy. Where was the pay phone? Was it inside the Best Buy? Was it outside the Best Buy? Did anything even happen at the Best Buy? Why is Best Buy such a confusing place?

3. “There’s a shrimp sale at the Crab Crib?” In what is arguably the most adorable moment on Serial, an absent-minded Dana Chivvis can’t help but be distracted by a shrimp sale at the Crab Crib. “Sometimes I think Dana isn’t listening to me,” Sarah tells us. It may be Sarah’s Jewish heritage that makes her immune to appetizing sales of non-kosher food items. Or just her fierce journalistic drive. You decide.

4. Christina Guiterrez accuses Jay of “stepping out”: No, not the kind of frolic-some, innocent stepping out Jo Jackson sings of in his 1982 smash hit. The kind of stepping out Christina Guiterrez, Adnan’s defense attorney, accuses Jay of is much more sinister. I have to say I hadn’t heard of that as an expression for cheating…possibly ever. So next time you want to accuse your significant other of cheating, just drawl: “If you were stepping out on me… With any person… Of any name… In any location… That would impact our relationship, would it not?” It’ll make for a great disincentive.

5. The most ridiculous fight about stabbing in radio: Teenage Jay is the most quirky, hilarious person. I mean, according to sources, he has a rat-eating frog. In the episode “The Deal with Jay,” a friend of Jay’s tells a story about the time Jay offered to charity-stab him when he found out he had never been stabbed before. “Yo, I’m not gonna stab you deep but you’ve never been stabbed before, you need to know what it’s like,” is what benevolent Jay said, according to his friend. Ah, friendship.

Mail… Kimp?

6. Mail… Khimp? Surprisingly, the most popular moment of the podcast comes in the beginning. In an introduction of sponsors, different people read out the name of the “Mailchimp,” the e-mail newsletter company. A little girl (I hope, and not a somewhat illiterate grown woman with a baby voice) mistakenly reads it as mail-KIMP. “Mail-KIMP?!” said Serial podcast listeners. “Why, I have never heard anything more grating/adorable/hilarious/perplexing in my life!” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how an internet meme is born.

What are some of your favorite Serial moments?

Bonus: the funniest Serial parodies:

Our Serial Obsession with Serial:

SNL’s Chris Cringle Serial parody this week was amazing. Aidy Bryant’s impression of Christina Guiterrez is hilarious:

Funny Or Die corroborates our most ridiculous conspiracy theory:

A great series of audio parodies from Paul Laudiero:

P.S: Don’t forget to check out Terri Gross’ interview with Sarah Koenig on Fresh Air.

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Our 'Car Talk' Rebbe in God's Auto Repair Shop

By Jeffrey Salkin

“Car Talk” hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi

It’s a stereotype, but Jewish men have an ancient and mostly well-earned reputation for not being able to fix things. (There have been many notable exceptions to this, including my father, who could fix anything).

I have done my best to uphold this proud tradition of our people. Several years ago, I was riding my bicycle and the chain popped off the sprocket. Heartbroken, I proceeded to drag my bike back home. I would have to drive it to the local bike shop where it would be repaired by someone who — you guessed it — never went to Hebrew school.

Except that morning I had heard a brief news item — yes, on National Public Radio. An Israeli Orthodox rabbi had declared that Reform Jews were not really Jews. This was great. I celebrated my sudden loss of Jewish identity. I turned the bike over, put the chain back on the sprocket (and yes, got my hands dirty) and continued on my merry way.

That might have been the last time that I ever fixed anything. For that reason, and many more, I loved NPR’s “Car Talk” show. Tom and Ray Magliozzi (Click and Clack) had more than four million listeners a week, and I was one of them. That is why I will sorely miss Tom, who died this week of complications of Alzheimers’ disease at the age of 77.

“Car Talk” had more listeners than any other program on NPR. What was it about that show that we loved (and continue to love) so much?

It was because the Magliozzi brothers were the real deal — the realest of deals. There was no sham in their show, no pretentions. These were self-made men, in the style of our parents. They grew up working class in East Cambridge, and never shed their working class vowel-less Boston accents — even and especially after they attended MIT. They worked with their hands.

But there was another thing. “Car Talk” had deep Torah in it.

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Barack Obama's Israeli Boom Box

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

President Obama listens to Israeli radio on an ’80s-style ghetto blaster. That’s the concept behind a new Israeli ad for a government-owned radio station, promoting its coverage of the upcoming elections in the Jewish state.

The ad pictures the U.S. president on the lawn of the White House with a radio glued to his ear.

But it’s not just any radio. The first black president is depicted carrying a large boom box of the sort associated with the inner city youth culture of the crack era.

Apparently, the eye-catching goal of the ad is to convince Israelis that everybody — even Barack Obama — tunes in to catch the station’s coverage. The ad’s text reads, “When it’s really important for you to know what’s happening in the elections.”

It also shows the First Family’s dog, Bo, clamoring for the president’s attention on the White House lawn.

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