Junior Year Abroad: The Return

I understand the concern and I would like to address it before we go any further. Yes, this episode was recorded before Drew and his family went on vacation to London, and as a result—or just out of force of habit, I guess—there is some appallingly poor British accent work in the episode. Probably slightly more than usual, certainly exactly as bad as it always is, but ultimately not enough to expose Drew or I or anyone else at Defector or Multitude to any kind of criminal sanction under the laws that currently govern this kind of thing. We were probably one “innit” shy of having to account for our actions at The Hague, but as it stands we’re free and clear, and this week’s two-hander qualifies as a perfectly acceptable—and not legally actionable—pre-vacation goof-em-up episode.

As a pre-vacation episode—for Drew; my personal grind never stops—this is both decently loosey-goosey and not quite on the news cycle. Which is fine, it’s not like we would have gotten tired of talking about the excesses of Young Drew Abroad or the delightfully idiotic gambling scandal swirling around Shohei Ohtani and his interpreter had we recorded it at our regular time. There’s a chance we talk about all of it again next week, and it’s unlikely that we’ll be over any of that anytime soon. But we absolutely got after it here, as only two people talking on a Friday afternoon can get after it. This, incidentally, would be a nice time to thank Mischa at Multitude for cobbling together a seamless and pleasant-sounding episode from a decently chaotic recording.

But there are things that even expert production cannot remove from a recording, and in this episode those include the aforementioned offenses against British accents, a tour through the reckless study-abroad experience of a young Drew Magary, me detailing my fetish for 1980s films in which London looks incredibly shitty and decayed, and a spirited round of Middle-Aged Man Bar Stories. That is just what this podcast is made of, and the first half of the episode is pretty much that, with some detours into the strange nature of pre-internet virality, the important distinction between dumps and dives (with examples, including a bar that is not named after a former Yankees third starter but seems like it is), and the risk of those you care about smoking that shit that makes them turn into one of the fast-running zombies from 28 Days Later.

We delved into the Funbag from there, although a question about The Ohtani Issue led us to what was probably the most substantive sports conversation of the episode. New aspects of the case will doubtless continue to emerge, but we considered it as it is now, which is as an absolutely delightful sports story—full of great hanger-on idiot characters and some surprising sitcom beats, with a relatively inconsequential and ridiculous crime at the center of it. I also got to bring up the Dodgers’ institutional knack for balancing state-of-the-art efficiency and absolutely oafish malfeasance, which is in my opinion one of the better storylines the sport has going.

I suppose the next bit was decently sports-y, too, insofar as it used Daryl Morey’s efficiency-coded sociopathy as a way to talk about Car Brain, Hotel Brain, Business Guy Brain, and other contemporary derangements. But by the time I was doing my Sebastian Gorka imitation by way of illustrating the finer points of Car Brain, it was hard to claim that we were talking about sports anymore. This bit accelerated, or I guess just settled, into a discussion of famous assholes and famous asshole behaviors. I learned something new and ridiculous about Steve Jobs, although Drew didn’t seem as impressed with what I brought to the table, there, which is my recent discovery that Steve Jobs has a daughter named Eve Jobs.

And that, give or take a conversation about the rise and fall of Cottage Cheese as an American foodway, and my tangentially related celebration of a Lynchian dining experience I had in Palm Springs, was that. I’d tell you that we’ll tighten things up next week, once Drew is back from vacation and Eric is back from his podcast tour and things return to normal. But instead of telling you something we both know isn’t true, I will just thank you again for your patience, and your patronage. I promise not to do the Gorka voice again unless it’s necessary, or I feel like it. I make no such promises where the accent stuff is concerned.

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