S-Town Review by Olivia Beaupre

S-Town was an interesting podcast to follow.

I say that S-Town was “interesting” because honestly I am not even sure what else to describe this podcast as except maybe Ambiguous which seems to be a running theme in the recent works I have dived into. But that aside S-Town was really kind of all over the place, not really diving to far into one story and never giving a full answer to a mystery before introducing a new one. This left me feeling unsatisfied throughout most of the Podcast and a little peeved at the end.

Starting off with the first chapter I was hooked into the story and listened to the first chapter and the second chapter non-stop because the story was that intriguing. I enjoyed the idea of this enigmatic character of John B and how he was a different kind of guy in a small town. My mom grew up in a small town in Tennessee and my dad did as well in Texas so it was interesting how I could connect their experiences to that of John B which made it even more addicting to listen to because I was like “wow that is something that would happen where my parents grew up”. Hearing about a scandal in a small town is always intriguing because they seem to be the most secretive and juiciest of scandals, which is why I was excited how this podcast started off and where it was going until the third chapter hit.

Now a BIG spoiler warning and also possible trigger warning ahead so read with caution.

When Chapter Three hit saying that John B had killed himself I did not know what to think. Part of me had seen it coming because they had hinted on how depressed he was and how someone was going to die but i never thought it would go down that fast and so suddenly. I was not really sure how to feel about it at first and was kind of upset that the podcast was diving into his death because i thought that was a little unethical and pushing some boundaries, and I guess I was not the only one considering the multiple law-suits against the podcast now. But I still was not completely offset by the podcast yet because a new story was starting to develop.

The new story seemed to be over John B’s alleged fortune and the future of his estate and affairs. This seemed to bring on a war between long lost relative Reta and Tyler who was a son-like figure to John. Both seemed to have their own stories and neither seemed to like the other or agree. But this was not something out of the ordinary for me because knowing small town life from my parents it was pretty common for people to fight over estate assets when there was no will involved. But what I did not enjoy was the fact that this entire plot just seemed to be filler on to what the podcast was really about, which was a study of John B.

I would not have minded a study of John B since he is an interesting character, but i did mind the fact that there were interesting mystery aspects and crime solving things that seemed to appear throughout the majority of the podcast only to be left unresolved and unattended to on the way to trying to describe John B which I felt was unfortunate since that is what I think made the podcast most interesting. Even at the end of the podcast I do not even feel like a good character study was done on John B.

Overall I think this podcast tried to go too many different ways and tell too many stories that it was just not cohesive and fell short because I feel like nothing was explained to an extent that they could have brought it to and that nothing felt resolved in the end.

S-Town was an interesting podcast to listen to. It was not what I was expecting in the least, and I think it fell short in the end with resolving the story. However as far as being the first podcast I listened to it was a decent one to hear and I would recommend people to listen to this podcast if they can ignore plot holes and run off stories.

The OA Review by Olivia Beaupre

I remember when the OA first came out on TV and my friends were talking about how awfully long the first episode was and how they would not recommend the show to anyone. I never even thought about the show again until I had to binge the entire season in one week. I looked at the length of the first episode and saw it was a little over an hour which was a little daunting but I thought it could not be too bad. However the first episode was a major struggle for me to get through and made me dread the rest of the episodes to come. It was all over the place in the beginning with a lot happening but nothing really happening at the same time because you did not really understand what was going on until the last 15-20 mins when Prairie-the main character- starts to recount her story from the beginning. Once the title sequence appeared and the real story began is when I started to really get into the show and appreciated the unique and clever nature of how the episodes and story were being portrayed. I can not even believe the first episode used to be longer when it first aired. So for those of you just starting the show it does get better after the first episode, so power through.

But getting past the first episode, the show is actually something I am glad I watched. I have never been a fan of the science-fiction type programs which I feel this program falls under, but this show was very entertaining and interesting to watch. There were twists and turns everywhere you looked and every episode had something I was not expecting. The writers were also very good at leaving cliff hangers and adding suspense at the end of each episode to make the watcher want to keep going and watching the next one. I am glad I didn’t watch the show on TV and that I got to watch it on Netflix and binge the entire season in a week because I feel that made the experience of watching the show more enjoyable and easier. A lot of things happen in one episode of the show and I feel if I had to wait a week to watch each episode I might forget some of the details that are helpful in understanding the next episode or the overall meaning. I am also grateful that the next season is just a few short days from being released onto Netflix so that I can start to see how the story continues.

I was surprised on how taken I was with this show because I did not think that in the beginning I was going to enjoy it that much. Though I will warn you some parts get kind of weird and a bit cringe-worthy so if you get bad second hand embarrassment be prepared. I also would not get too sucked in to all the characters backstories and the plot holes that appear in some parts of the show because I think it is all done for a specific purpose and that it is just the nature of the show that so much is going on at one time and you can not really connect all the dots because you do not have all the information. The ending can also be triggering in different ways and is almost unsuspecting but I think it is on purpose because the action itself though seems super huge and a big shock the real meaning behind it is to show and continue the story of Prairie and why she is here.

I think waiting to watch this show has given me a different outlook on it as a whole since as soon as I was finished I watched the trailer for the second season and things made more sense to me and it made me excited for the next season. But if I was just watching this without knowing about the next season I would not be as excited or enthusiastic about this show because I would not know if any of the things happening really happened or if Prairie was even telling the truth about her story the entire time which would be upsetting since the entire season was about her and her backstory and I would not be thrilled if I spent hours learning her backstory for it all to be one big lie.

This show was a great example on the positives of binge culture and why it allows better experiences for shows. I would gladly recommend this show to any of my peers.

Pierre Review-O.B.

When I first heard that I would be reading Pierre by Melville I went to look up the author because the name sounded familiar to me. Turns out that is because Melville is the one who wrote Moby Dick. Now I know it is one of those classic novels everyone says you should read and I thought about it once before someone informed me that it was one of the worst, dragged out books they have ever read and I think it is safe to say this comment can be used for Pierre as well. Now I am not saying Pierre is a bad book because there were parts where I enjoyed reading the novel and was rather intrigued. However most of the time I was just annoyed with the expansive pages of one tiny detail that could be honestly said in a few sentences at most. I love a good cliff hanger and suspense being drawn out in a good way but this was not that kind of novel and did not need to be as long as it did.

Diving more into the story and it’s details I thought the Dialogue and the plot was rather entertaining and quite good. I mean the story has a lot of turns and twists and is shocking and dramatic and sort of connected to people and their lives. This story in its most simplest summary could be described as a boy who loses his father young and is raised by a tough mother who he has no choice but to look to for advice and guidance. He then one day falls in love with a girl his mother likes but finds a long lost sister who throws his perfect life into a whirlwind that takes him on an adventure into finding who he really is. It really is a coming of age story in the simplest sense and that part of the story is what I think makes it good and interesting to read. However these parts are separated and filled with nonsense pages that drag on about things that really do not matter and deter you from the basis of the story.

Now some people thing these long winded explanations and pages are his critique on the publishing age and that these long pages without the dialogue and story plots are his jabs at the publication of the time period and why they were awful to him and to others. My teacher also brought up the fact that this was a response to Hawthorne as well and how he was upset that they no longer wrote letters to each other and were no longer friends. But having read it on my own and looking back at these observations they could be done without the multiple books and the pages upon pages describing a rock or a pamphlet.

Maybe I am being bitter because I had to read some of these pages late at night, which when droned on could put you to sleep. Or maybe I just do not get the deeper meaning of these pages or see the real point behind them. That being said I did not hate Pierre as a story itself and if it was modified and condensed a ton I think this book would be amazing and a very interesting read. I think Melville was one of those writers who was too modern for his time which is how it goes for a lot of classic authors and their books. Though I do not appreciate his style of writing I think he was rather bold in his writing of Pierre and that he made his points and stuck to his true style of writing and who he is.

Pierre was rather difficult to handle a some points, and could make you want to throw whatever device you are reading it on across the room at times too. But ultimately I think the book achieved what Melville wanted and is actually quite entertaining when you really read the good parts. I think Pierre is not a great read but an interesting one and if you have the time and the mental capacity then should definitely be read and maybe skimmed around the long never ending sections.