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Erin Listens: The World in Words, Magic Tavern, Chronicles of Oz October 30, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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I’ve been well caught up with the brief archives of the Lingthusiasm podcast for a while, so when one episode mentioned The World In Words, I went to check out the archive.

It’s ridiculous. There are hundreds of episodes. This podcast has been running since the Bush administration.

Basically they just culled all the language-related material from their overall supply of public-radio stories. Great international perspective — they’ll go to France to talk to the translator of a novel, China to interview people from regions whose dialects are being subsumed by Mandarin, Mexico to report on the state of bilingual education for kids deported from the US, anywhere and everywhere.

Early episodes are 30-minute compilations of segments; later they start releasing individual segments, so you’ll get a “podcast” that is 6 minutes, 5 minutes, even 3 minutes long. So it’s not quite as intimidating a backlog as it appears.

Still, it’s filling a lot of time. I haven’t gotten past 2013.

Hello From The Magic Tavern is getting good, y’all.

A recent live episode included an improv guy who hadn’t actually listened to any episodes, so he was going on a 5-minute summary of the premise. “Don’t worry, it’s not that serious,” they said. “You won’t break the show,” they said.

Two minutes in, he almost breaks the show. The scramble to fix it is adorable.

A while earlier, don’t remember which specific episode it was, but they get into a recurring gag of soda-based puns, expanded to general drink-based puns. One poor guest gets totally stuck until the end. (I spent a bunch of it figuring out how to work in a reference to “high seas.”)

The Chronicles of Oz is a dramatized rewrite of the book series — so far they’ve only gotten The Wonderful Wizard — but the authors are gleefully throwing in references to Baum’s entire oeuvre. Along with foreshadowing about Ozma, they’ve namechecked the political situations in Ev, Oogaboo, and Jinxland.

It takes things more seriously than the books. The death of the Wicked Witch of the East leads to riots, as the underground revolutionaries abruptly stop being underground, and clash with the established loyalists. Glinda reveals early on that she has a long-term plan to depose the Wizard. Continuity!

But it doesn’t throw out the spirit of the books for the sake of joyless grimdark. It’s fun. There are cute nods to the movies, too. (When Oz asks why Dorothy expects help from him, she stammers, “Because…of the wonderful things you…?”)

Dorothy here is a snarky, sarcastic teenager, who has very little in common with book!Dorothy, but she’s fun in her own right. I’m really loving their take on the Scarecrow — he sounds like Arthur Shappey from Cabin Pressure.

Halfway through the posted episodes, I’m already looking forward to Book 2.

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