“Her parents’ financial success is dependent on her abdomen.” This week, Jessica moves to L.A., records a video and meets a boy. The celebrity cameos escalate. Digressions include overalls, werewolves and Judy Garland. This episode unfortunately contains detailed descriptions of disordered eating.
Our journey through late-’90s pop stardom begins with an intervention and ends with an audition. Digressions include Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne, Jane Fonda and the cast of the Mickey Mouse Club. Sarah’s English degree and exercise habits make appearances. This episode, we’re sorry to say, contains descriptions of sexual abuse.
Mike tells Sarah how an obscure technical glitch became a nationwide mobilization. Digressions include Twitter beefs, “The Net” and VHS pricing. We spend much of the episode roasting our own work from the relatively recent past.
We conclude our book club with Michelle’s escape from the dungeon. The dead baby trend continues; Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Satan’s fingernails make brief appearances. Digressions include Dustin Hoffman, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and things that rhyme with Beelzebub. This episode contains references to child abuse and sexual assault.
Sarah tells Mike about the clash of the titans, the fury at the grand jury. We follow Kato, the wise fool of the kingdom, for the week between the murders and the Bronco chase. Digressions include John Travolta, French kickboxing movies and “The Mummy.” The celebrity cameos are less numerous than usual but no less absurd.
This week, our lithe psychiatrist takes his favorite patient hiking, a priest burns some furniture and Michelle tries to escape her remembering. This episode contains descriptions of kitten sacrifice, sexual abuse and three more dead babies.
Sarah and Mike continue into the depths. With Dr. Pazder home from Mexico, he and Michelle journey into her subconscious and the stories they find there continue to get weirder. This episode contains kitten sacrifice and the first—but not the last—dead baby of the Satanic panic.
“What’s sad about her has nothing to do with the content of her character.” Special guest Dana Schwartz tells Mike and Sarah how an Austrian princess became a French scapegoat. Digressions include Rubik’s Cubes, Taylor Swift and Tom Stoppard. The use of the word “bawdy” exceeds all previous episodes combined.
Sarah and Mike continue their journey into the book that launched a thousand lawsuits. Michelle and Dr. Pazder’s relationship grows more troubling by the chapter. Digressions include orgy etiquette, sheepskin jackets and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Neither co-host believes anything depicted in this book happened as described, but still want to warn you that it contains scenes of torture and sexual abuse.
Mike tells Sarah about a dying industry, a dangerous car and the acclaimed article that misrepresented them both. Digressions include “Mission Impossible,” “Friday the 13th” and the naming conventions of academic articles. This episode contains a larger-than-usual number of dad jokes and a shocking revelation about Johnny Carson.
Sarah describes the spark that ignited the Satanic Panic. Our setting is a therapist’s office in 1976 Victoria, B.C., and our digressions include Sybil, scary paperbacks from the ’80s and shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. This episode describes child abuse.
In the final chapter of our series on the D.C. sniper attacks, Mike finally tells Sarah about the D.C. sniper attacks. Digressions include “The Abyss,” Ed Rooney and Jack the Ripper. We begin the episode with an update on our quarantine plans. Sarah misremembers the name of the TV show she was on.
Sarah tells Mike about a week in the life of Marcia Clark, who became America’s most famous prosecutor on June 13, 1994. Digressions include car phones, college group work and “Titanic” (as usual). In keeping with the theme of this episode, Sarah had a bad feeling about recording without her mic screen, but Mike said it would be fine. Please excuse our p-pops.
This episode contains descriptions of murder and sexual violence.
Mike tells Sarah about the indoctrination of Lee Boyd Malvo and the beginning of the sniper attacks. Digressions include Jonestown, Greek tragedy and something called “creepy crawling.” The episode begins with a lengthy meta-discussion of true-crime tropes and whether we are playing into them. The final section includes a detailed description of a suicide attempt.
“Every big fish you catch, you end up with a hole in the net.” Mike tells Sarah how America’s white-collar crime spree got so bad. Digressions include self-checkout kiosks, Barbie dolls and moonshine. Homeless shelters and teacher pay feature prominently. By the standards of this podcast, this episode is relatively upbeat.
Mike tells Sarah how a nice Jamaican kid became the disciple of a mean American adult. Digressions include Tonya Harding (of course), “Sliding Doors” (again) and “Anne of Green Gables” (Sarah has an English degree). Mildred re-appears just after the hour mark. We are unable to conceive of a content warning comprehensive enough for all the horrors contained in this episode. There is less crying than last time, but only slightly.
“If you’re black, you can’t get work as a serial killer even if you’re manifestly qualified.” Mike tells Sarah how a military veteran became an abuser, a murderer and, eventually, a footnote in his own crime spree. Digressions include Jim Jones, the Addams Family and “The Gillooly Gang.” The episode gets super dark about two-thirds in, but brightens just before the big twist. We describe—again, unfortunately—domestic abuse in great detail.
Sarah tells Mike how an aspiring actor protected and then betrayed Nicole Brown Simpson without knowing he was doing either. Digressions include ’80s movie tropes, ski-resort etiquette and the need for a process of “un-faming.” Unfortunately, this episode contains graphic descriptions of violence and abuse.