Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: “Arrive Having Eaten”

Posted by Maximum Fun on 31st May 2009

Longtime Podthoughts readers know that the podcast medium has spawned two basically-new genres of show. The first is the venerable TTWGBAC, or, for shorttime Podthoughts readers, the Two Twentysomething (or Thirtysomething) White Guys (or, occasionally, Girls) Bullshitting About Culture. (Content obvious.) The second, your Podthinker hasn’t yet bothered to label, so he’s just been calling it You Look Nice Today, which, for those really new to the podcast scene, is the name of the hi-larious program that pioneered the format, or in any case perfected it. In this genre, two or more co-hosts make comedy, or at least attempt to, by making preposterous statements in reasonable tones of voice, then improvisationally scale up the prepostrosity in conversation. It’s usually broken up by short bumper tunes and titled with a phrase that doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps we’ll call it Ridiculousness Uttered Flatly, Segmented By Music (RUFSBM).

Arrive Having Eaten [iTunes link] is something of a hybrid of the TTWGBAC and the RUFSBM, though with a strong lean toward the latter. Linked up by Skype (presumably), Kentucky-based co-host Ben Compton and Ohio-based co-host Erica Minton trade ridiculous and/or preposterous lines about certain sectors of culture — Twitter, say, or movies like Con Air — and about life’s vicissitudes — like being de-friended by real-life friends on Twitter and watching Con Air on VHS until the audio track wears off. Though Erica seems to drive the conversation and Ben picks up the rear with the quips-in-response, they operate on what it feels appropriate to call the Jenga model of RUFSBM podcasting: keep pulling out blocks of ludicrousness until someone, usually Erica, collapses. In laughter, than is.

With each RUFSBM — or, for that matter, TTWGBAC — your Podthinker listens to, it becomes clearer that their listenability hinges on how well one knows the hosts’ particular tics and inclinations. As with regular friends, the more familiar you are, up to a point, the better time you have. Therefore, the success of an RUFSBM hinges on the prospective listener’s willingness to hang in there while they get to know the hosts. Upon first play, Ben and Erica certainly seem affable and articulate enough. Jovial. Reasonably energetic. Few especially eccentric qualities — or positively or negatively distinguished characteristics of any obvious nature — emerge to latch onto, unfortunately, but there’s nothing repellent either.

If you’re in need of a new regular download, though, hang in there. Your Podthinker is pleased to report that he’d fully warmed up to Ben and Erica after no more than three or four episodes. There’s laughs. There’s good times. There’s schemes, harebrained and otherwise. There’s priceless phrases like “‘tato stampin’.” Ben sometimes works a tad blue, but the content is nothing one wouldn’t share with an especially forward-thinking family. Plus, it’s quite well-produced, which is often the Achilles’ heel of these projects. While Arrive Having Eaten doesn’t make much of an effort to come out and grab you, there’s smile-inducing entertainment to be had on that there podcast if you’re willing to swim on out to it. A mixed metaphor, yes, but you’re hereby dared to prove it inaccurate.

Vital stats:
Running since: June 2009
Duration: 15m-25m
Frequency: just about weekly
Archive available on iTunes: all

[It’s podthinker Colin Marshall you want? colinjmarshall at gmail.]