Have you been listening to “Serial”? Of course you have. The podcast from the team “This American Life” has been cracking podcast records and column inches, as host Sarah Koening navigates the murky waters of a true crime case involving the murder of Korean-American student Hae Min Lee. Week by week, the shows tries to put the pieces together to get a better picture of whether it was in fact her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, as the legal system posits it was, or if there is more to the story. If you haven’t been listening, if you thought it was just a momentary flash in the pan that people would forget about as soon as they had embraced it, then there’s still time to catch up. The podcast takes a break over Thanksgiving week and returns in December, and just like your new favorite show on Netflix, you will be binge-listening if you start.
However, given the nature of the show and some of the graphic unpleasantness that is described, you should be warned that you can’t just go around listening to “Serial” anywhere you go. On the subway? Sure! As you push your cart around the supermarket? You’ll be giving people the side-eye down the dairy aisle, but sure! Here are some helpful hints for where not to listen to “Serial.” It’s for your own benefit, I swear.
On the Way to A Hook-Up
Did you talk to someone on Tinder and make a hot date? Meet somebody at a bar last Saturday night and organize a late-night rendezvous next weekend? Well don’t casually stroll over to their place with your headphones in, getting pumped for a night of friction and then decide that, actually, you need to know the latest developments from Adnan’s case. Nothing quite kills the mood like asking, “Have you heard the recent ‘Serial’?
Look, there’s only so much pumping-iron inspiration that one can get from listening to the intricate details of how a 17-year-old high-schooler may or may not have murdered his ex-girlfriend. There are plenty of podcasts worth listening to while on the elliptical, but “Serial” is not one of them.
Is that happiest of days where you get to watch two dear friends come together in marriage? Well, don’t use the drive from your door to the church to catch up on the latest episode that you missed because nothing will make you want to stand up and shout during the bit where they ask if anybody opposes the marriage than having just listened to how love can be torn apart and destroyed forever.
Look, people are awful. They are the worst. And whether you’re renewing your driver’s license or applying for permission to build a pool in your backyard, having to experience the long, dull, life-draining mundanity of going to these concrete buildings than listening to how a perfectly normal, rational human being supposedly snapped and killed someone right there in public. See also: chain restaurants.
One of the more alarming statistics is the number of bodies that have been found in the city’s Leakin Park, Hae Min Lee’s included. So much so that the Wikipedia page for the park notes that it “has a reputation as a common site for Baltimore murder victims to be disposed of.” Nothing quite makes you aware of your surroundings like listening to how people get buried there hoping they never get discovered.
They say to never go to bed angry. Well, let’s also make it a rule to never go to bed having just listened to the latest episode of “Serial.” It’s just common sense.