Weekly Recap — 5/7/21

Stitcher Blog
Published in
5 min readMay 7, 2021


Stitcher has a plethora of podcasts worth listening to. Each week, we’re giving you new episode recommendations from some of our top shows to help keep you up to speed and ease the pain of the pod discovery process.

Full Release With Samantha Bee — “Stephen Colbert”

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“I still get a gut punch.”

These days we could all use some kind of release. With the return of Full Release, host Samantha Bee aims to help us do just that.

While her late night show Full Frontal likes to “tackle the big problems,” her podcast likes to “revel in the feel-good vibes of a conversation with someone I already respect and admire and who definitely, obviously adores me.” Early aughts Daily Show fans can rejoice as the host is joined by Stephen Cobert on this week’s episode.

How is Colbert feeling? After Biden was officially elected he says “some valve opened in me.” To him it felt like he was “paddling through a storm for four years.”

One of the most interesting parts of the episode is the discussion of Colbert feeling he pulled the plug on his Colbert Report character at the perfect time. His character was a “well intentioned-poorly informed, high status idiot” modeled after George W. Bush and Bill O’ Reilly, but he says with Donald Trump and Alex Jones there’s no well-intention. “I would end up doing a parody of a parody because he literally said lines almost verbatim that my character said.”

Colbert also delves into what it was like to tape The Late Show in front of his family over the last year, “I’ve never felt great about no audience.” He says he knew it was going to be a long time and that it would be an adventure without one. “The interviews could be more intimate.” He says he does the show much faster now that he doesn’t have to wait for the audience.

The two also talk about aging over the pandemic. “The level of decrepitude that has crept upon me over the last year,” Colbert Says. Bee adds:“I feel like I grew a lot of, what a young person calls a freckle, and what I now know as liver spots,” Bee says. “Emerging from all over you. Just like a freckled toad.”

Listen to the episode to hear their thoughts on The Rock running for president, how to make fun of politicians who have no shame, and whether or not they have been pulling punches on Joe Biden.

Periodic Talks — “The Science Of Cooking”

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Food science takes center stage on this week’s episode of Periodic Talks. Hosts Gillian Jacobs and Diona Reasonover welcome J. Kenji Lopez, a food writer who focuses on the science behind cooking.

Jacobs admits she, like many of us, is intimidated by cooking. But Lopez’s goal is to use science to demystify cooking. The writer didn’t grow up cooking either and realized that, despite not having a “personal food culture” (his mom from Japan to U.S. and she did a lot of assimilated cooking), he found having a “scientific inquiry” towards cooking was a solid approach.

Coming from a family of scientists — his father is an immunologist and grandfather was an organic chemist — he says “science was sort of just the common language in my family.”

It’s uplifting to hear Lopez, who never went to culinary school, say that everyone who cooks is a scientist. “Science is kind of fooling around, but writing it down in the process.”

If there’s one lesson to learn from the episode it’s not to simply follow the exact recipe someone tells you. Lopez compares following a recipe to getting directions to a grocery store. “You can walk the whole way just staring at your phone and watching the dotted line and you can get to this grocery store, but you don’t really get an idea of what your neighborhood is like and all the other places you can potentially go.” By learning the techniques and science behind the dish, you’re given the full map and can decide how you want to go from one point to another.

Listen to the episode to hear why salt is a highly misunderstood ingredient, the key to making a perfect “smashburger,” and how Jacobs plans to overcome her terrible experience coking “disgusting” waffles.

How Did This Get Played? l — “Hotel Mario with Eva Anderson”

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It’s officially Mayrio! All month long on How Did This Get played? Hosts Heather Anne Campbell and Nick Wiger alongside producer Matt Apodaca explore the worst and weirdest of one specific franchise: Mario.

While most of us remember the greatness of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario World, Mario Kart, and Mario 64, the hosts instead do a deep dive into the often mocked Hotel Mario.

Writer/comedian Eva Anderson joins the show and after a deep discussion on Icelandic hot dogs and “disgusting” Vienna sausages, Wiger transitions by asking the crew how they feel about hotels. “I see you heading towards a transition here Nick and I’m really proud of you,” Campbell says.

Hotel Mario is a puzzle-based video game released in 1994 on the Phillips CD-i. The goal of the game is to progress through a series of hotels each with its own specific challenges. But it was more the cutscenes than the gameplay that caught the hosts’ attention.

“It looks like something one person made in MS paint,” Wiger says. It really is aggressively unpleasant.”

They bring up how the game keeps reminding the player that it’s a game and how the cutscenes tell you to look at manual and the manual tells you to look at cutscenes.

“Is it possible that this is a Dutch joke?” Anderson asks, referring to the Phillips company making it.

One of the funniest moments is when they read from an interview with Trici Venola, a digital artist who worked on the art for the hotel levels.

Venola criticizes a concept artist for suggesting there be a cheese hotel and says how she fought aging by using the money from Hotel Mario to get a facelift. They go on to read more about her other cosmetic procedures she had at the time and how she impressed the “cyber-hunks” she worked with.

“That’s the lady who designed the doors for Hotel Mario,” Anderson says. “I fucking love her.”

Listen to the episode to hear the team try to say something nice about Hotel Mario, present some surprisingly positive reviews for the game, and a deep analysis from about the many iterations of Mario’s voice over the years.

— Ian Goldstein



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