Review: “The Box Of Oddities” The most fitting podcast title/ description ever
Kat & Jethro Gilligan Toth bring their irreverent brand of humor and unique chemistry to an exploration of the strange, the bizarre and the unexpected.
- Excellent Sound Quality
- Highly Informative
- Well Researched
- Wide Variety of Topics
- Twice Weekly Releases
- Bumpers Don’t Get Stale
- Great Chemistry
- Authenticity- No Phonies
- Damn Funny
- Not Above Self-Deprecation
- Stories Can Get Graphic
- Ad Breaks Can Get Pretty Long
- Can Veer Into the Political
A Funny Couple Talks About Weird Shit…
If I had to describe “The Box of Oddities” in one sentence, that would have to be it. And really, that’s all you need to know for a recommendation. That sentence encompasses everything that is “The Box of Oddities” while simultaneously telling you next to nothing about the actual content.
A more thorough description would read more like, Kat and Jethro Gilligan Toth, a married couple living in Maine, share a variety of strange and unusual stories ranging from unsolved mysteries, peculiar history, disgusting factoids, the paranormal and supernatural, aliens and UFOs, and occasionally some straight forward true crime cases with a unique brand of humor that is unmatched.
In short, it’s just weird and well done
If you made a checklist of all of the things that would make for a great podcast, The Box of Oddities would tick all of those boxes.
Let’s just get it out of the way, their audio quality is excellent. They mention from time to time that Jethro has a background in radio. This definitely shows in their sound. It’s just clean. Yes, there’s the occasional dog interference, but that is part of the charm of the show. They don’t let the dogs stop the show. They just become a part of it. Another sign of the radio history shows in their bumpers. They have professionally voiced custom bumpers between all of their segments. But it’s not the same thing every episode, like most podcasts, they change them up every show so they never get stale or tired. Add in that those bumpers are just as funny as the hosts, and you really don’t mind listening to them.
Checking off the next box, it’s well researched. This is not just another show reading Wikipedia. Yes, sometimes they may use the old wiki as a source, but they also go through multiple articles and sources to gather information about each story they’re telling. And they mention those sources after each story, as well as link to them in their show notes for you to check for yourselves.
Did I mention that they drop two shows a week? And each episode consists of one story from each of them and a “thing in the middle” which is a quick bit of weird history or trivia to break up the segments. That’s a lot of content to produce, and it is all quite varied. Any given episode could include a gruesome murder case or a legend about magic cats. It really is a mixed bag of weird stuff, and very rarely will they pick stories with the same tone in the same episode. This way, much like the bumpers, the topics don’t get stale, but rather, they keep you interested in what new thing they could be talking about today.
Did I mention that they’re funny? Like, super funny! The kind of funny that you can only get from a married couple who get a kick out of taking loving jabs at each other. They also aren’t above telling self-deprecating and sometimes rather embarrassing stories about their personal lives. It’s a level of authenticity that you cannot fake and I greatly appreciate. It’s that same realness that makes them so relatable. Whether they’re talking about accidentally making an embarrassing amazon order via Alexa, maybe having irritable bowels, or just having dogs barge in on you at inconvenient times, you can likely relate to something they’ve said on some level and laugh right along with them.
Honestly I had a hard time finding negative points with this podcast, but…
I don’t want to make it seem like I think this show is perfect. It’s not. But I had a much more difficult time finding points to critique rather than praise.
I will say that, much like many podcasts that get into this variety of subject matter, things can get graphic. Sometimes the details that they can get in to, especially during true crime stories, may be a bit much for some. Other times things can just be gross. Again, it’s kind of a mixed bag of weird shit. Personally, this type of content doesn’t bug me, but I can see why it make bother some people. But sometimes being thorough and accurate means being a bit graphic, and some people may not have the stomach for that.
Another small gripe, and it really goes more to the times we live in, is how at times they may drift into some political commentary. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough political commentary to last a lifetime. I listen to funny podcasts to escape from the stresses of the world, and mentioning anything dealing with politics or current events really does mess with that. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it kind of pulls you out of the escapism that brought you here in the first place.
Finally, I have to bring up the thing about ads. I realize that this is a business for them, and they need to pay the bills and all, but sometimes the ad breaks can run as long as five minutes. And this is in the middle of the show, not on the ends. Also, they tend to run ads for the same products that are advertised on every other podcast, so it’s kind of old before they’ve even started. Again, I know that they need to earn money from the show to operate, but the length of the ad breaks can really get to be aggravating sometimes. I also know this is a common gripe I have with many podcasts, but it’s also one I’ve heard from other listeners.
So why only 4 stars?
After I was introduced to the Box of Oddities, it quickly became one of my regular “must listen” podcasts. It’s been well established on my own podcast that I love weird stuff, and this show scratches that “weird shit” itch very thoroughly.
Of course, no show is perfect. And no show is for everyone. But also, the subject matter variety in The Box of Oddities is suited to only a certain niche of people. I happen to be that kind of person, but I can also see where it could be very off-putting for some people. The listener base for this show is a bit more narrow than most, but if you are at all the kind of person that appreciates the strange and unusual, you absolutely need to open the lid and peer inside “The Box of Oddities.”