In the world of high-stakes self isolation that Covid-19 has imposed, days can feel lackluster, monotonous, and dare I say boring. Even before the frenzy of Zoom meetings and long days at home, it was easy to forget the magic of everyday life, which Starlee Kine reminds us of in her six episode podcast, “Mystery Show”.
In 2015, Kine began the project while working for Gimlet media. She devoted her 40 minute episodes to solving everyday mysteries, the kind you can’t find the answer to on the internet, brought to her by her friends. She tracks down the owner of a long lost mysterious belt buckle, and an equally mysterious custom license plate. She contacts Brittany Spears and Jake Gyllenhall personally to learn miniscule details, the kind no poparazzi would think to ask, that are of the utmost importance to her “clients.”
However, the most enchanting factor of “Mystery Show” is the people Kine meets along the way. Kine has a long history in radio, appearing on podcasts such as episodes of “This American Life”. Her talent for radio shines through in her unparalleled ability to get people to tell her things. A search for a novel turns into a conversation with a bookstore employee about her parent’s million dollar lottery win, and an assessment of her greatest aspirations. A brief inquiry with a customer service representative becomes a pep talk that the recipient describes more than once as “life changing.” Every episode is jam packed with conversations that leave you wanting to pick the brain of everyone you see on the street.
Though its run was short, and it aired a good five years ago, “Mystery Show” still takes its listener out of the drudge of everyday life and reminds them that the world is full of fascinating strangers and endless mysteries. It inspires that long lost child-like wonder and a newfound curiosity. It’s everything you need to remember that on the other end of an indefinite quarantine lies a world full of questions and just maybe, if you look hard enough, a couple answers.