Generally a podcast is not bound by the restrictions of time and space but with the popularity of Serial, the times they are a changing. The space, not so much. By no means am I saying that Serial has invented the podcast mini series but it has definitely increased their attractiveness. Continuing on from last week’s recommendation, this week is another of those mini series. Very different in many ways and a much shorter run of shows but since it is a more current show, there is the hope that this is more of an anthology series, rather than a mini series.
Lena Dunham is an incredibly famous cult star at the moment. Chances are you’ve heard of her fantastic HBO comedy-drama, Girls. In and around her Girls, Dunham has popped over to The Simpsons, Adventure Time, Scandal, a multitude of Hollywood films and is one of the best late night interviews around. More importantly she is a prolific writer and now a podcaster. In cahoots (I was going to say conjunction, but cahoots is a lot more fun) with Buzzfeed she has now released five-ish episodes of the glorious podcast, Women Of The Hour.
I was with Women Of The Hour right from the beginning. It is one of my greatest procrastination joys to search the iTunes store with the names of my favourite comedians and four weeks ago I hit gold (ok so maybe not RIGHT from the start). Lena Dunham and Emma Stone, a.k.a Dragon talking about the various names they have been called as women, the good and the bad was a hilarious and very effective teaser. Then as I delved into the full length first episode, I found a much deeper and beautiful world. One episode in and I was ready to write a full eight hundred or so word recommendation for this new show but in the true bingy bastard spirit, I thought it was only fair to wait for the series to end.
As you can probably tell from the title, Women Of The Hour is a show that deals with feminist issues, celebrates women and life in general. This is a broken rollercoaster ride of emotions, jolting you through elation, wretchedness, mirth, thought-provocation, fulfillment and all the other old-timey words that explain emotion from about a hundred years ago. It was not coincidental that I mentioned Serial in the title, Women Of The Hour has the feel of a much happier Serial. After Lena’s opening monologue, a whole host of different people share stories from all walks of life. It could quite easily be named “Lena Dunham And Friends”. These friends share stories that cover the main five issues of friendship, body, love and sex, work and the big picture. A couple of other interesting topics sneak their way in there too and absolutely no punches are held.
Some of the names to make the podcast are very impressive. People such as June Squib, Emma Stone, Sam-Taylor Johnson, Zadie Smith, Todd Oldham, Aidy Bryant and Amy Sedaris all make an appearance. While it is incredibly exciting to listen to these interesting celebrities, it’s sometimes the lesser known guests that have the most fascinating stories. In a world obsessed with celebrity and fame, it’s refreshing and thrilling to hear these interviews from people that are just as remarkable, regardless of their notoriety.
For some people reading this article, they may feel a bit awkward with the breath of Dumbo in the corner over there. Yes, I am a man talking about a podcast called Women Of The Hour. I don’t really see it that way, there is something for everyone in this show if they are just willing to give it a chance. The point of feminism is that everyone should be involved, otherwise how is the world going to change? Maybe not every aspect of this show was designed with myself as a listener in mind but I enjoyed it all the same. There is a chance that the bonus episode on body could be a bit awkward for some men. Although the way I see it, is that there are two ways of approaching that episode. Number one; it was not made for you and there is no shame in turning it off if you are a bit bashful. Otherwise number two, men should be able to sympathise and understand women’s health and this episode will only go to help with that. I’ll let you decide what you’d like to do and what you think I did. As I navigate these egg shells very, very carefully and say do what you want with your life but I hope that all the women listeners opted to listen to all the episodes if only for their own health.
Like all good art, Women Of The Hour is inspirational and eye-opening in more ways than one. It’s quite clear that a lot of work has gone into these shows but Dunham and a lot of the Buzzfeed staff. Even if you put the feminism to the side for just a moment, this show is full of wonderful stories that will make you laugh, think and maybe even cry. Anything that can layer laughter with intellect and genuine care is worth you time in my mind and I’ve got a lot of time for Women Of The Hour (three hundred and forty-six minutes to be exact). Here’s hoping for another series along the line but for now, I wholeheartedly recommend Women Of The Hour With Lena Dunham.
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