8 Dec 2018

Everyday people face up to grievances and regrets in the podcast Heavyweight

From The Podcast Hour, 12:15 pm on 8 December 2018

If you could revisit one crucial time in your life when things went wrong or you made a decision that still bugs you, would you go back to make things right? 

In Heavyweight, Jonathan Goldstein is a kind of "therapist with a time machine”, leading people into their own pasts to face the truth about a crucial life event.

Heavyweight host Jonathan Goldstein

Heavyweight host Jonathan Goldstein Photo: YouTube screenshot

Goldstein is a Canadian-born writer, radio producer and a former longtime producer of This American Life.

His role in Heavyweight is quite difficult to explain – part detective, part narrator and at times "a therapist with a time machine”.

What he does so cleverly is insinuate himself into stories of second chances, lingering on the awkward moments when things didn't quite go to plan.

Take a listen to Rob – the first episode of the third and current season – in which a middle-aged man who remembers breaking his arm as a kid finds out if he actually did - despite his family denying it ever happened.

The first season of Heavyweight premiered in 2016 with an episode called 'Buzz' in which Goldstein took his 80-year-old father Buzz to Florida for a fumbling attempt to patch up his fractured relationship with his brother Sheldon.

In Goldstein's words, Buzz and Sheldon “still possess voices and temperaments suited to shouting out Brooklyn tenement windows” and he acts as the uneasy fixer.

In the most famous episode of Heavyweight – 'Gregor' – a friend of Goldstein's visits the Hollywood home of electronic musician Moby to collect a box set of CDs he'd lent him 20 years ago, which Moby later sampled on his multi-million-selling album Play.

Heavyweight is hosted and produced by Jonathan Goldstein for Gimlet Media and also produced by Kalila Holt, Peter Bresnan, and Stevie Lane with editing by Jorge Just and Alex Blumberg. 

Thanks to Julia Kaplan at Gimlet for her help with this episode of The Podcast Hour.