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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Mystery Show” unearths life’s answers one clue at a time

    The world we live in will always hold more questions than it does answers. Some questions are too big to ever be answered sufficiently, such as, “Why am I here?” There are also more common, trifling ones like, “Where did I put my keys?” At some point in life, people stop searching for answers they know they’ll never find, and learn to pick their battles.

    Nobody has the time and energy to track down that long-lost friendship bracelet or learn the name of the homeless guy on the corner who always wore the black cowboy hat; up until now, anyway.

    Out of the shadows emerges a hero. Not the hero anyone requested or even thought to be necessary, but a hero nonetheless. That hero is Starlee Kine, who tackles these issues in her newest podcast, “Mystery Show.”

    “Mystery Show” aims to do just as the name implies: investigate mysteries people don’t typically have time to solve, due to their hectic lives.

    In these moments of despair, Kine comes to the rescue. No mystery is too big, nor too small, for Kine. The only fine print in the contract: these mysteries cannot be solved via Internet snooping.

    If the genius minds of Yahoo! Answers cannot solve your mystery, “Mystery Show” has your back. The show’s unofficial motto would read, “No conundrum too small. No request too ridiculous.” Don’t believe it? Take a look at the enigma-like situations featured in the first season, ranging from a disappearing video store, to Britney Spears potentially reading a book, to a lost belt buckle, to a strange vanity license plate to an actor’s true height. The eccentric mysteries featured on the show are endless.

    Listeners arrive at each episode ready for a tidy order of all mysteries. The typical epsidoe involves a mystery, followed by clues, culminating in an orderly denouement. 

    Instead, we follow Kine as she grasps at straws. Some hold great potential. One of her cases possesses a police contact who ran a vanity license plate to track down the owner. As for others, not so much. For example, Kine buys an article of clothing Britney Spears tried on in order to track down the singer. All clues, large and small, reflect the most salient strength of the podcast: rabbit holes.

    Just as “Mystery Show” focuses on solving the subplots of people’s lives, the rabbit holes which Kine explores build layer upon layer of each subplot. When these wild goose chases actually work, the podcast employs a storytelling method unseen in any other medium. When tales fall flat, each episode acts as an elaborate, yet impractical, web of dissatisfaction. When successful, prepare to get hit right in the feels. The greatest moment of the show comes from a recorded phone call with a Ticketmaster customer service representative.

    Kine calls to ask the representative, Dennis, about a VIP meet-and-greet package. The conversation organically grows into Kine asking Dennis about his life, which leads to the revealing of his story.

    He discusses how his father died at a young age and left his mother to raise seven boys. Kine points out that the nostalgic father-son dog piles Dennis remembers act as metaphors for life—sometimes you’re at the top, and other times the bottom.

    The conversation shifts and Dennis’ personal vulnerabilities come to light. Kine acts as a personal therapist and encourages Dennis by telling him that no matter what he tells himself, he is worthy.

    Kine created one of the only customer service calls in history to result in bittersweet tears.

    This minutiae fixation reveals the heart of her podcast: the idea that the smallest parts of life reveal the biggest truths. Insignificant moments unearth people’s stories that would otherwise never be heard. Yes, mysteries get solved, but the importance of “Mystery Show” lies in the journey to that point—the journey traveling with Kine through rabbit holes, minute details of everyday and the lives of others.

    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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