Our favorite Colin McEnroe Show episodes from 2023
“Every new thought drives out the previous one,” is, I think, how my old pal Bill Griffith once described the sublime mind of his comic strip creation Zippy the Pinhead.
That’s how it feels to host a daily public radio show at my advanced age.
I look at the titles and descriptions of all the shows we’ve done this year, and I feel like an unreliable witness about them.
Senior Producer Emeritus Betsy Kaplan did a show about eggs. I remember being very happy about the idea of doing it, the way Zippy is happy about the idea of taco sauce. Did it turn out well? Or over easy? I have no idea. And the same applies to about 65 percent of the titles from 2023.
We know that negative experiences brand the brain with a red-hot iron of regret. So the producers and I remember all too well – as Bishop T.A. Swift has taught us to say – the disasters or the episodes that were sooo close to greatness but for one tiny flaw. (Why did we book Jar Jar Binks to talk about kitchen gadgets? What were we even thinking?)
The producers remember better. They have fewer episodes to keep track of, and their brains are not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
So most of this list reflects their choices. Some episodes are just good in every possible way. The show about rabbit holes deserves that designation. Some episodes find a place in my heart for more complicated reasons. One of the shows on this list features two friends, people whom I love very much but who don’t strike me as, let us say, low maintenance. The fact that the show was so much fun is (a) good in a very simple way and (b) so much better than it might have been if we hadn’t taken compatible approaches to the playground equipment.
See, I’m already getting into …what do you call that state when you think too much and your thoughts start burrowing and circling one another? I’m sure there’s a two-word term for it.
Enjoy our picks.
And brace yourself for 2024. It’s going to be a wild ride. We should start trying to book Mister Toad right away.
Our favorite Colin McEnroe Show episodes from 2023:
- Let’s go down a rabbit hole about rabbit holes
- Keeping it brief: A celebration of short stories
- ‘Though the heavens fall’: The JFK assassination in our media and culture
- ‘It always means something’: Connecticut in the movies
- Everyday Carry: Unpacking what we carry with us and why
- An irreverent reimagining of US history’s most revered (and reviled) idols
- “I once had a dentist named Dr. Fillmore”: Stories of nominative determinism
- How the weight of family 'truths' can get heavier with each generation
- The hidden joys of searching
- Meet Connie Converse, the haunting songwriter whose work stayed hidden for decades
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Carolyn McCusker, Jonathan McNicol, and Lily Tyson contributed to this post.