Welcome to Should I Listen To This?, where we deep-dive into a podcast to find out what it’s about, what works, what doesn’t, and whether or not you need to make the all-important decision to hit subscribe and add it to your rotation.
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Podcast: The Flop House
Network: Maximum Fun
What Is it?: A bad movie review podcast.
Who’s The Host?: “The Three Peaches” are all on pretty even ground so it wouldn’t be fair to single out any one of them as the specific host or star of the show. Dan McCoy does a lot of the heavy lifting upfront to get the ball rolling, Stuart Wellington is the self-styled “party animal” of the group and Elliott Kalen brings the kind of nerd humor and smarts that simultaneously leave you in awe and infuriate you for not being able to pull those kinds of references yourself.
What’s A Normal Episode Like?: The trio introduce the film in question and, depending on how much they enjoyed it or despised the experience, the hosts intersperse their review of the film with tangents that are just best heard rather than explained. After recapping the movie, they each give it a rating (Good Bad Movie, Bad Bad Movie, Movie I Kinda Liked). Then they read Letters From Listeners (often accompanied by an impromptu theme song by Elliott) and close out the show by providing recommendations for movies they actually do like.
Who Is It For?: Fans of bad movies, obviously. If you already listen to How Did This Get Made? or We Hate Movies, this is a natural compliment to both. If you’re a fan of The Daily Show, you’ll probably align with the show’s humor and sensibilities as well, since Kalen was formerly head writer for Jon Stewart and McCoy is still a writer there.
Who Is It Not For?: People who unironically enjoy films such as Masters of the Universe, God’s Not Dead, The Last Airbender, and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.
How Many Episodes Are There?: The Flop House just released its 201st episode for the Bruce Willis sci-fi film Vice.
Can I Jump Right In?: You could, but you’d be robbing yourself of a rich history of inside jokes, references built upon references and a strong catalog of episodes. This show has a pretty substantial Wiki for a reason. Going back to the very beginning isn’t necessary, as initial episodes feature a different castmember instead of Elliott Kalen and don’t quite hold up. Elliott climbs aboard in episode 8 and the show begins to hit its stride.
That sounds like a lot of homework (roughly 190 episodes of homework), but you’re not going back to listen to the show before it was good. You’re going back to catch all of the episodes that laid the foundation for the podcast’s success and growth. Plus, they’re mostly all very funny.
Also, you don’t want to jump into episode 202, hear the hosts talk about Batman villain Seven Pounds or Chopin Goatables and not know what’s going on. I know that last sentence makes no sense. That’s why you gotta go back.
What’s Not Great?: The cold, hard truth is that while all three hosts bring something to the table and a rare episode which doesn’t include one of them is lesser for it, the show only really falls off the tracks when Kalen isn’t present. His energy, wit, and joke density hold the entire enterprise together and non-Elliott episodes often feel disjointed and off-kilter.
Perhaps this is personal preference, but the Letters From Listeners segment is often a comedown from the heart of the podcast. The letters are usually written in an attempt to try to match the humor of the hosts and often fails to do so. I’ve always felt I’d much rather listen to the guys dig deeper into the movie they’re reviewing for another 15 minutes instead of reading fan letters.
How Are The Live Episodes?: They are rare but when they happen, they play to a very enthusiastic, sold-out crowd and the drop-off in quality is minimal. While that’s a major concern for a lot of podcasts, the chemistry of the trio and their performance experience (all are comedians or stand-ups) means they can handle it.
Gimme Some Great Episodes to Get Started: If you’d rather sample some of the very best episodes in order to get an idea of whether or not you’ll like it, here’s what I would consider some great starting points.
- Episode 34, Mirrors – A rare episode when Stuart takes the lead, but that takes us down the road to one of the best early bits in show history as the he tries his damndest to make sense of the plot.
- Episode 100, Tango & Cash – Exactly the kind of movie this podcast was made for. Slate named it one of The 25 Best Podcast Episodes Ever. They’re right.
- Episode 121, The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure – Sometimes, really boring movies can lead to low-energy episodes, but this low-rent kids’ movie was worth teeing off on.
- Episode 138, Foodfight! – “Hey, you guys ever think to yourself, ‘I like Toy Story, but I wish it could be more commercial, ugly, and frenetic?'”
- Episode 140, After Earth – This confusing mess starring Will and Jaden Smith and directed by M. Night Shyamalan provides one of the densest mines of comedy gold the trio has ever had the pleasure of digging into.
So, Should I Listen To This?: Does Sean Connery run around in a red diaper in Zardoz? Of course!