Say swear this blog post is not me jumping on the next buzzy trend. Far from it. I happen to be a trendsetter…. OK or maybe the real truth is that I was driving to Austin this past weekend and, my old grandma self, for the life of me could not stay awake. Justin Biebs was just not doing it for me…. So I decided to “mentally” do something and after I got bored of counting all the blue things around me, I reminded myself the world of podcasts after Serial still exists! And what do you know. From the producers of Serial themselves, all 7 episodes of S-Town had just gone live.
Just like that, in the span of two 3 hour rides back and forth from Houston to Austin, I finished the entire S-Town podcast series. Spoilers ahead!!!!
Welcome to the life of John B Mclemore in what is called Shit Town, Alabama. John, in all his oddities, reminded me of some smart AF people I know and what started as teamwork effort to expose some 20 year old hick turned into a touching story about the unpredictability of life and fitting in when you know in your hearts of heart that you don’t belong. It’s sweet in that way.
BUTTTT, I guess when you put Serial’s label on anything you automatically assume that the reporter, Brian Reed, was onto something BIGGER than just a sad, heartfelt, inside the life type of story. I thought there was a murder mystery and possibly a theft crime worth into the billions and he was in the know. I was so ready to sacrifice working hours to be on Reddit reading up on conspiracy theories, drawing out maps for a treasure hunt in S-Town and figuring out clues from the names of the top 7 people on the list to see what hints I can unfold.
Instead, it turned out to be more of a biography about a clock obsessed, puppy loving, genius who dealt with heavy mental issues and committed suicide. A man who hated everything in this town that he helped create and ultimately, for all his reasons or excuses even, couldn’t leave from it until he found his ultimate escape route. A story about how he tolerated Shit Town while, all the while, he came from a long line of crooks… mind.blown. To be honest, that correlation at the ending was amazing and made up for me feeling overwhelmingly unsatisfied to the lack of a solution. It was kinda of like La La Land in that sense when everything slowly goes about and lines up to this dramatic ending that otherwise wouldn’t have had that impact. And whether you hate the duration of getting here, hate used probably a bit unfairly in this situation, you love everything after you learn the purpose at the end.
The thing that I’ve come to learn in my author journey (because somehow now everything ties back to this) is that it’s not so much about the series leaving me unfulfilled and upset. Which isn’t necessarily even a bad thing. Not everyone will love what you do. But everyone will remember it if you evoke an emotion. Because here I am, days later, reminiscing and wanting more and wondering what if. And that, my friends, is the biggest accomplishment for any storyteller.