Thursday, September 15, 2011

Podcast Review: WDW News Today Podcast

I've taken quite a while to think about this particular podcast review.  Because on one hand, it is one of my absolute favorites, but on the other hand, it annoys the hell out of me.

Why I love WDWNT:

A.     It is NOT as "DF" podcast.  Some podcasts are so Disney-Fanatic or are so afraid of offending someone (who? the audience? the Disney company? it's hard to say), that they will not say anything remotely negative about Disney.  If they do say something the least bit critical, they will couch it in so many caveats that my iPod may physically roll backwards due solely to the overwhelming amount of backpedaling going on.  Some DF podcasts are so otherwise wonderful that I overlook their DF-ness.  See, e.g., WDW Radio; Disney, Indiana; even my beloved Be Our Guest Podcast. 

It's hard to avoid this attitude because the Disney community is positivity-driven and everything is UP and SMILES and LOVE and FAMILY and WONDERFUL.  But look, I am nothing if not a realist.  I am often a cynic.  I even have road rage and am occasionally witchy.  I need someone in the Disney community to be as cranky, critical, and judgmental as I am or I will feel isolated and alone.  WDWNT (along with some others like The Hub) satisfies this need.  They love Disney but they don't care for the look of rose-colored glasses.  Not everything Disney is good and the WDWNT podcasters are more than comfortable saying exactly what they do not like about it.

B.     It is ALLLLLLL about the WDW parks and there is a heavy focus exactly on the things I like to discuss about the parks.  This means there is no chatting about new movies (I could not be less interested in hearing yet another review of Cars 2) or other things I care less about (cruises, e.g.).  WDWNT has basically distilled my exact WDW-related interests into one gorgeous podcast.  It's about the parks - past, present, and future.  And you KNOW I love me some vintage WDW discussions.  Plus, they discuss it in a really fun way - with games!  I love their Match Games and Top 10 lists (note that unlike WDW Radio, WDWNT Top 10 lists feature much less cheating) and the heated discussions they lead to.

C.     The hosts are *generally* enjoyable.  They are smart and cranky and funny and I just enjoy listening to them debate most of the time . . . . .

 . . . . . Why WDWNT annoys me a lot:

In a word, the host.  Tom fake-laughs at jokes in order to seem like an insider, like a cool guy.  It's so obvious - he's terrible at guile even if he attempts it all the time - but it just makes him look nerdy in a really unlikeable way.  You can tell it's a fake laugh because he laughs unnaturally hard and long.  ("Ho ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!!!!!")  He also sometimes acts fake-weary at "silliness" (e.g. "Send your hate mail to...") <-- that joke got old a long time ago, Tom.  It's all a pose and none of it sounds believable, honest, or sincere - which are some traits that are important to me in people. 

Fortunately, his regular guests/co-hosts don't capitulate to his desired self-image, but it still annoys me sometimes.  He tries SO HARD to be the coolest, smartest, most knowledgeable one.  The catch is, if he would just relax, he would be more likable as a host.   If he was actually authentic, he would really BE a cool, smart, knowledgeable guy.  I think that's what frustrates me most of all.  He just needs to come down off the pose and be himself and it just might make this the perfect Disney podcast I listen to.

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