Pod-Fascination: The 12 Best Podcast Episodes Of 2012, Part Two

For the last few months, I've been recommending quality podcasts. In the spirit of the year's end, I'm highlighting the single episodes that I enjoyed the most. As I have mentioned before, I listen to primarily comedy podcasts, so there are obviously thousands of other episodes released this year. Leave your favorite episodes in the comments!

Here's Part One in case you missed it. 

6. It's That Episode 5: Adam Lustick/Hey Dude – Rainmen
It's That Episode seems like a podcast that was made specifically with me in mind. New York-based performer/writer Craig Rowin invites people to watch an episode of anything they want and discuss it. On episode #5 in February, Craig and guest Adam Lustick watch the old Nickelodeon staple Hey Dude and marvel at its low production values, insane racism, and their teenage crushes on Bradley and Melody. It's surprising that this show even existed, but hey, I blame the '90s; lots of crap made it to air. The best part of watching old episodes is that it leads to discussions about awkward childhoods, one of my favorite topics.

5. The Fogelnest Files Episode 11: J J J Is For Julie!
Pop culture kingpin Jake Fogelnest usually curates an eclectic assortment of weird retro YouTube clips, but in the episode with Julie Brown, he shows clips as a way to showcase her career. Those of you who who were the prime demographic for MTV in the '90s will remember Just Say Julie and the amazing Earth Girls Are Easy. Brown is a pioneer for women in comedy and hearing the "insider" news of working for MTV in the nineties is a pop culture connoisseur's dream.

4. Ronna And Bevery Episode 32 : Not Personal With Steve Agee
Stand-up comedian Steve Agee is always a delight, because he's able to be hilariously excited about a topic as well as self-deprecating and cynical. When working with characters like Ronna and Beverly, making it work means "playing along" with the characters, and he certainly does in this episode. Silliness ensues when he admits he's going commando on Ronna's expensive sofa in her home in Marbelhead, MA, and Beverly's confusion over booking a gay cruise is "classic" Beverly.

3. How Did This Get Made? Episode 48: Sleepaway Camp With Zach Pearlman
No matter what the movie, the crew of How Did This Get Made is equal parts hilarious, charming, and chaotic. The episode spent discussing the cult horror classic Sleepaway Camp spent at least the first half of the show arguing over the plot points of the opening scene. Many listeners found this incredibly frustrating, but it encapsulates the very reason Sleepaway Camp is one of the best worst movies (and was an inspiration for the seminal comedy piece, Wet Hot American Summer).

2. Gelmania Episode X
I really don't know how much more I can sing the praises of Gelmania and its creator Brett Gelman, and it was hard to pick just one episode, but alas, Episode X has a good smattering of what makes Gelmania incredible, including Gelman's modulated voice trying to brainwash the listener, a conversation between GG Allin and John Wayne Gacy, and the infamous "I Am Bane" song. Gelmania is not for everyone, but if you do choose to partake, you shall know its brilliance.

1. Comedy Bang Bang Episode Episode 154: Finger Guns / The Christmas Womptacular
Comedy Bang Bang is known to have some of the best in alternative comedy playing over the top characters, and Jessica St. Clair as Marissa Wompler, the fifteen year old intern, is by far one of the funniest. This is likely due to the quick wit of St. Clair, as well as her ability to give the character a rich, detailed back story. Listeners are all too familiar with her adventures at Marina Del Ray High School. Already a regular guest, in episode #154 Marisa Wompler appears with Miss Listler (played by Lennon Parham), her deranged, inappropriate "special" resource room teacher. Parham and St. Clair play so well off each other that even when it steers into the bizarre and improbable, they commit fully. Parham and St. Clair were the creators of the short-lived show Best Friends Forever, and based on this I hope they are given another chance to gain a wider fanbase.

After many successful appearances on the show, a one-off spinoff show was recorded called the The Christmas Womptacular where Marisa Wompler hosts a show with other Earwolf regulars playing the characters in her life previously mentioned, including the return of Miss Listler, Brian Huskey as her stepfather, and the always brilliant Jason Mantzoukas as her high school boyfriend. The Wompler Mythology is ridiculous and pure silliness, but great escapism.

I'll be continuing Pod-Fascination in the new year, and let me know about any podcast you'd like me to review. You can leave a comment or tweet me at @robinhardwick.

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