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Doing Good

Malia Politzer
Editor of International Investigative Journalist
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piqer: Malia Politzer
Thursday, 31 January 2019

Terrible, Thanks For Asking: A Show About Tragedy And Inner Strength

Each episode of the podcast series "Terrible, Thanks For Asking" is essentially an in-depth interview and profile chronicling the interviewee's hardest journey in life. 

The host, Nora McInerny, was inspired to start the show after the worst year of her own life: The year her father died of cancer, she had a miscarriage, and then subsequently lost her husband, Aron, to a brain tumor—all within weeks of each other. After this experience—and feeling like she always had to answer the question "how are you?" with some sort of disingenuous platitude while she was in the process of grieving—she was inspired to create a podcast that looks unflinchingly at tragedy and asks people to honestly talk about how they feel. 

One episode details the life of a woman who lost her father to suicide and who fights her own suicidal urges. Another episode highlights the experience of a woman who struggles with fast-growing facial tumors and is constantly having to go in for appearance-altering surgery, while in a third, another woman turns to online dating, falls madly in love ... and discovers that the love of her life is a pedophile.

While this may sound like an extremely depressing premise, the show is actually uplifting: First, there's the element of complete honesty and vulnerability throughout the interviews that is quite beautiful. McInerny does a good job of meeting her interviewees where they are—neither turning them into saints nor tragic victims, but merely showing them as people who are going through true challenges. Each episode is also imbued with tremendous empathy. We are invited to identify with the interviewee and walk their path alongside them.

Ultimately, "Terrible, Thanks For Asking" creates that feeling provided by a good support group—the knowledge that you are not alone, but without any semblance of preachiness. We are left with each episode feeling stronger, knowing that if the worst were to pass, we could also ultimately come through it and survive.

Terrible, Thanks For Asking: A Show About Tragedy And Inner Strength
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