For those of you who don't know, "Serial" is a spin-off podcast of NPR's "This American Life," hosted by Sarah Koenig. It follows the case of Hae Min Lee's murder and questions the validity of the persecution of Adnan Syed. "Serial" quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, gaining over 40 million downloads just after the conclusion of its first season.
All "Serial" listeners know that no matter how innocent your intentions, it is not a casual listening experience. It consumes all of your attention. It demands answers to impossible questions about honesty and truth, innocence and guilt, and mercy and justice. With Season Two of Serial on the horizon, take this list of my reactions to Season One as a warning to prospective listeners.
1. This theme song is bomb.
2. This woman's voice is making me feel some type of way.
3. No one can get Adnan's name right.
4. RIP to the attorney, but it's so annoying you're dead.
5. Also, I wish you were alive so you could get sued because you're terrible.
6. I do not trust Jay.
7. I do not trust Adnan.
8. I am in so deep.
9. [I go to the "Serial" Reddit.] Nope. Never mind, I'm not in deep, THEY ARE IN DEEP! HOLY--
10. Asia McClain is almost as perplexing as the Nisha call.
11. [Dance break for ominous transition music.]
12. Sarah Koenig sounds so old when she describes teenage life.
13. Adnan did it. He denies everything!
14. Adnan didn't do it.
15. ALL OF THIS INFORMATION IS SPIN! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE?!
16. I am learning so much about cell towers.
17. Adnan's stories about his relationship to Hae are too calm to be real -- especially given Hae's emotional journey. How could they just break up amicably? How could there be no intense emotional response?
18. [I Google how to become a detective because I am slaying the game.]
19. What is Adnan's motive? Jay's motive?
20. How many cases like Adnan's; without clear motive or much evidence, pass through our court system? How can a case with so little evidence even be taken to court and lead to conviction? Even if future evidence supports the claim that Adnan did kill Hae, he should not have been convicted based on Jay's flimsy testimony alone.
21. Adnan's case has been reopened because of "Serial." How many other questionable cases, without podcasts about them, aren't reopened?
22. How many people are wrongfully convicted? How many of the innocent die in prison?
23. Jay changes his story often -- is that a symptom of guilt or is he just a teenager intimidated by the process of testifying?
24. How could a high school romance escalate to murder? How could someone murder someone they loved?
23. What exactly would make you suspect someone is capable of homicide? What are the signs? Who is to say that Adnan can't both be this incredible student and community member and a murderer?
25. [I start posting on the "Serial" Reddit.]
26. The state completely manipulates Adnan's relationship with his parents by suggesting innocent teenage secrecy is indicative of sociopathic tendencies. The state's claim that the inconsistencies in how he acted in front of his parents versus his friends are a sign of deeper duplicity is baseless. By extension, most teenagers and even adults could be hiding violent intentions.
27. How can I be ready for Season Two when I'm not even over Season One?