“Maybe you’ve laid awake imagining how it could have been, how it might yet be, but the moment to act was never right. Well, the moment is here and the podcast making it happen is ‘Heavyweight’…” There is no better description for this podcast than the one given in the introduction episode. The host, Jonathan Goldstein, tackles unresolved issues head-on. In the first episode he reunites his dad and his dad’s brother, who despite having grown up together, have not spoken for many years due to an unresolved sibling rivalry. Although the meeting doesn’t go perfectly, the episode ends with the two brothers on good terms, discussing a nearby house for sale.
Throughout this show, Goldstein helps various people with their attempts to resolve the thoughts that keep them up at night. Whether it’s their father’s ashes they never scattered or someone they saw in a video back in college, Goldstein is very effective at resolving these loose ends. And in most of the episodes, it seems to be for the better. Many of them leave the listener feeling optimistic, hearing how well these reunions turn out.
This being said, not every episode finishes in a neat bow. In episode seven, “Julia,” there’s no way to find all the answers to her lingering curiosity. Despite the fact that she has been harping over an unanswered knock on her door back in high school, none of the girls who knocked can remember their purpose in coming. Despite this, Goldstein does his best to make predictions on why they were knocking to give Julia some peace of mind.
Recommended to me by one of my co-workers, this podcast is now my go-to pick-me-up podcast. If I am having a rough day, hearing about people talking out past problems gives me faith in the world. Even if they aren’t solved, there is something calming about hearing people address their problems and get some type of closure after years of questions.
Each episode starts off with a call to Jackie Cohen, which most of the time she is not enthusiastic about. Although it can be assumed that Cohen is Goldstein’s friend, he always seems to catch her at a time that she doesn’t have time to talk or he says something that starts a fight. This is always a comical start and you can see the friendship between the two of them through these short conversations. In the final episode of the first season, they actually talk about their friendship and she admits that she doesn’t mind his calls. Although there is no actual point to this part of the podcast, it definitely starts the podcast off comedically.
One of my favorite parts of this podcast is the catchy theme song that ends each episode. The song is by The Weakerthans, beginning with, “Now that the furniture’s returning to its Goodwill home. Now that the last month’s rent is scheming with the damage deposit. Take this moment to decide, if we meant it if we tried…” This gives off the same vibe as the podcast with a nice clean finish.
The one concern that I have with this podcast is the conflict of interest potential. Many of the episodes are either issues that Goldstein himself has or his friends or family have. This makes it harder for him to take on these issues with a clear perspective, when they are things that he is still harping on. I’ve never noticed this affecting the quality of the podcast, but it’s definitely something to make note of.
If you are looking for a positive podcast that takes on unanswered questions head-on, “Heavyweight” may be a good podcast for you. Produced by Gimlet Media, it currently has two full seasons, and as of Dec. 8, 2017 they were looking for stories for a third season.