Move over, sounding-as-similar-to-This-American-Life-as-possible and two-dudes-talking-about-politics-pop-culture-or-whatever-in-a-basement, there’s a new popular genre sweeping the podcasting nation. It’s a conversational podcast where one person brings research to delight and inform their fellow hosts, usually about dispelling a commonly held idea or social more, also known as a You’re Wrong About (you know, from the show, You’re Wrong About).
Before we get into the list, let’s define what we’re talking about. First, a YWA must have two or more hosts who bounce off each other (sorry, Noble Blood, You Must Remember This, American Hysteria). The hosts can have guests who bring their own fascination, but the engine of the show is the hosts bringing topics to each other (RIP Getting Curious and Factually!) And finally, the hosts need to look at a topic critically or analytically, so all the conversational true crime shows that are just regurgitating Wikipedia articles, ya out.
I also realize this disqualifies You’re Wrong About in its current form. That doesn’t say anything bad about the show (it inspired this list and I listened to so, so, so many episodes of those episodes), but it just keeps them off the list.
And now on to your new favorite podcasts about debunking!
You’re Wrong About Wellness: Maintenance Phase
The youngest sibling of YWA is going to have YWA DNA, but Maintenance Phase has burst onto the scene as the best show about the wellness and dieting industries. Michael Hobbs and Aubrey Gordon are at their best digging through terrible diet books and medical journals, pulling out the most buckwild quotes for us to understand. But the power of this YWA is from the hosts’ ability to laugh and deflate an entire industry set up to make people feel bad about themselves and their bodies. When everything about American life is telling you to lose weight immediately, Maintenance Phase is on your side with citations.
You’re Wrong About Tech: Wow If True
Tech and internet podcasts are usually analyzing and parsing the tech news of the day, so, unsurprisingly, this genre of show would show up on this list. But a YWA is about loving and trusting the hosts, which is tough when the hosts oppose unions, are putting their show up on a streaming service for and by ads, and want that monkey NFT so so bad. Enter Amanda Silberling and Isabel Kim, the internet podcast host you can trust because they’re 1) perpetually online millennials and 2) have the experience to support it; Silberling is a tech reporter and Kim is a lawyer who also writes genre fiction and a whole lot of fanfic. Wow If True catches you up on the memes and Internet waves you missed, explain why it is happening, and how it affects you going forward, which is all we need to know without giving ourselves Internet brain poisoning.
You’re Wrong About Medicine: Sawbones
Man, I wish this show didn’t need to exist but welcome to the world we live in where medical care and doctors are incredibly opaque! Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin (of My Brother, My Brother and Me fame) tackle the assumptions of medicine and healthcare in two ways. First, they explore the history of medicine, from the Classical Period and Pliny the Elder to the dawn of modern medicine and everything in between. You have to know where preconceived notions come from to dispel them, right? But Dr. McElroy spends a lot of time taking on the modern myths of medicine, from anti-vaxxers to cure-alls. The more things change, the more things stay the same. Finally, you can get a doctor to talk to you with a tap of the podcast app with Sawbones.
You’re Wrong About Baseball: Tipping Pitches
A Sports YWA can go about revealing information for two separate audiences: either you’re explaining the game to people who have no idea what’s going on or you’re revealing how the sausage gets made to die-hard fans. Tipping Pitches does both for the American pastime, diving just as much into the fight for fair labor practices for the MLB and the minor leagues as much as they explain why baseball is still good and cool. You might have seen the “Unionize the Minors” merch flying around the Internet, so why don’t you listen to the show that put it out into the world?
You’re Wrong About Language: Lingthusiasm
Think of this show as “All Words Are Made Up: The Podcast.” Two linguists who are incredibly enthusiastic and open-hearted about words and language are here to tell you how and why words are the way they are. Though don’t take my word for it -- they intentionally overhauled (and did a ton of research about) their website to be as user-friendly and accessible as possible, so we can let that speak for itself.
Eric Silver is a writer, audio producer, game designer and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. He is the Dungeon Master for Join the Party, Head of Creative at Multitude, and produces a bunch of other podcasts. He likes the fall, sandwiches, and being five minutes early.