June 27, 2016

#20 'Science O'Clock'

by Sampler

Brittany travels to NPR to meet the women behind the hit science podcast Invisibilia and learn more about their latest season. Things quickly get emotional... and a little musical.


**Warning, this episode contains adult language**


Episode #20 features clips from the following episodes (please click below for hyperlink to episodes):

Love Me, "Episode 4: Falling" (This clip was adapted from a longer piece and produced by Mira Burt-Wintonick, Cristal Duhaime and Jodie Taylor)Invisibilia, "Entanglement"

Slate's DoubleX Gabfest, "Are Hobbies Sexist?"

How to Be Amazing, "#27: Audra McDonald"

The Allusionist, "Architecting About Dance"


The Facts:

This episode was produced by Kate Parkinson-Morgan, Rose Reid, Sarah Abdurrahman and Brittany Luse.

It was edited by Annie-Rose Strasser.

Our theme music was made by Micah Vellian and our ad music was made by Mark Phillips.

The show was mixed by Matthew Boll.


Sampler is a production of Gimlet Media.

Where to Listen

Transcript

BRITTANY: Hi, and welcome to Sampler, I’m Brittany Luse and today I’m going inside the radio mothership, NPR, with the women behind Invisibilia. So, for those of you who don’t know: Invisibilia is a podcast that explores ideas about science and emotion...  And the women of Invisibilia are like some pretty heavy hitters in the podcasting game. Basically, since their show started in early 2015, it’s not just been like critically successful, but like it’s just really really popular. Like people are so excited for this hour-long show about science. It sounds like it should be boring but it’s totally not. And the new season just launched. So welcome to the show… Alix Spiegel...


ALIX: Hi.


BRITTANY: Lulu Miller.


LULU: Hello.


BRITTANY: And a newbie, Hanna Rosin.


HANNA: Hi.


BRITTANY: Welcome to Sampler you guys.


ALL: Thank you.


BRITTANY: Oh my god it's very cool that you guys are here but it's also cool that I'm here because...


[laughter]


HANNA: I think it's more cooler that you're here.


LULU: Yeah.


BRITTANY: I'll take that. I'll take that. So Invisibilia, is actually Latin for “invisible things.” And your show’s about all invisible forces in our lives... like our beliefs, our assumptions, our relationships… Uh, so all of the clips that I have brought for you guys today sort of deal with these invisible forces... Get it like Invisib—Invisibilia? Right. I mean you guys are smart though so obviously I knew you were going to get that one. But basically the first invisible force that we're going to talk about today is love. Essential we would agree I think... so this clip comes to us from a brand new podcast called Love Me from CBC which is Canadian Radio. Umm... Lulu I see you're like grinning right now. That's good that's good. You excited? Do you know it?


LULU: It's Cristal Duhaime and Mira Burt-Wintonick with Lu Olkowski hosting but shit am I not supposed to say that? Did I just kill the game? Am I the worst? No but you said that - anyway that's all I know.


BRITTANY: Well no that's good that's good. This is amazing. So Love Me episodes will be a mix of like short narratives and fiction that address our human and very deep desire to be loved. And the clip we’re going to play for you comes from an episode that was just released today. So this story is called Love Rival and it's a story told by one woman Vanessa Woods who is a science researcher. Vanessa talks about how she found herself in a very very unusual love triangle.


———— CLIP: Love Me, “Falling” ————


VANESSA WOODS: Brian and I had just gotten engaged. I quit my job and went to work with him and you know it was while we were working together one day that she showed up.


She was totally beautiful. I mean she had this long dark hair and these almond shaped eyes and from the second Brian saw her I just knew he was gone. I would sort of walk up and interrupt them kind of giggling together and you know the heads kind of really close and he would like whisper little secrets to her. It was all just nauseating.


They called her Malou which is short for Marie Louise. She was found in someone's hand luggage and going through the x-ray machine at Charles de Gaulle airport. There is a thriving international black market for great apes and Malou was a bonobo. Malou's mother was killed and she was probably taken from her dead body and sold on this black market to be destined to be somebody's pet.


Brian and I were working at… the world's only bonobo sanctuary. It's in this beautiful forest in the middle of Kinshasa in the Congo. Both humans and chimpanzees... we're male dominated we kill each other. We beat our females. Sometimes you know we kill the infants. And bonobos who are so similar to us they don't kill each other and they're the only great ape that doesn't kill each other.


When bonobos fall in love with you it's a very specific experience. I'd fallen in love with bonobos a ton of times before. I mean Brian was always laughing at me... he wasn't going to get sucked into this like ape-hugging type relationships but then when Malou chose him he was just helpless. But as for me I was the other woman and she knew it so she would kind of squint her eyes at me and give me dirty looks and you know Brian didn't see any of it.


We used to eat breakfast outside on the porch and there was this one morning where Malou must have been watching us because as soon as Brian went inside to get something or go to the bathroom she ran down and just knocked over my tea stole my toast and then ran off. I used to see Brian play this game with her where he threw her up into the air as high as he could and she would go completely limp. She would be like 7 feet in the air I mean if Brian had dropped her she would have broken her neck but she knew that Brian would never ever let her fall that no matter what he would catch her. And it was this kind of trust that for me it taught me what really being in love was because in order to be in love you have to completely trust that person.


Even though you know that you don't have control on whether they catch you or not. After we left the sanctuary Brian and I moved to America. Malou kept growing, kept flourishing and there was talk of her being one of the bonobos that was going to be released into the wild. I still remember it was spring time and the dogwoods were flowering and I was sitting outside at a cafe with one of my friends and my phone rings and it's Brian and his voice sounds very strange and it's broken. He just says Malou's died.


I could just hear it. I knew then that he would never love a bonobo again like he loved Malou. He'll never fall in love like that again. A few years later I found out that I was pregnant with our first baby and she was a girl and so I asked him I'm like do you want to call her Malou? And he didn't say anything. But he smiled. And that's her name.


---------------


ALIX: That's beautiful.


LULU: That’s lovely.


BRITTANY: Isn't it?


ALIX: Yeah, yeah. No no no that was excellent beautiful perfectly like contained.


LULU: Their stuff is so relaxing like... I feel like I've gone swim— I feel like stretched out like I've gone swimming. Their pace… they're pretty much always non narrated or there's no reporter and then… or just...


ALIX: That’s beautiful.


LULU: I liked the image... I love like when you get a very clear image and just that image of like a monkey possibly about to break its neck as a metaphor for trust. [Brittany: Yeah] Like, that's a nice... Yeah. That's a pretty... A very nice image— [fades off]


BRITTANY: —Yeah when I heard that particular sentence - the first time that I heard that clip - it was just so like illustrative to me of what love is actually supposed to be about and how it's supposed to feel... um but I also know the first season of Invisibilia you guys did a lot of reporting about love, not just romantic relationships but also friendships family relationships successful and unsuccessful.


ALIX: Did we?


LULU: Well, entanglement.


BRITTANY: Yeah.


LULU: Definitely mom and daughter and how... like the weird downside of empathy...


BRITTANY: OK so just to fill you guys in at home... What we’re talking about is Invisibilia’s Entanglement episode from the first season. So in this episode, Lulu and Alix introduce us to this woman named Amanda. And Amanda has this condition called “mirror touch synesthesia.” Basically, uh, Amanda’s body physically experiences what other people around her are feeling. So in the episode they talk to Amanda’s daughter about how Amanda’s condition affects her.


———CLIP: Invisibilia, “Entanglement”———


LULU: Do you ever get  um - like if you see a little kid spinning around and around do you


ever get dizzy?


DAUGHTER: Oh, it makes me want to throw up like for them.


LULU: Really?


DAUGHTER: Yeah for them.


LULU: Is it hard to watch other people eat?


DAUGHTER: Oh I hate it… like icky nasty squishy feeling in your mouth.


LULU: And then she told me about the hives.


DAUGHTER: Like you may see my mom like scratching her neck a lot because she gets


really nervous and she has little hives and I get em too because I see her doing it - see?


I’ve got… I can barely see but just because I always cover them up with makeup


because I get it too.


LULU: Really?


DAUGHTER: Yeah.


LULU: So I had to ask again. Do you think you have mirror touch synesthesia?


DAUGHTER: Um, possibly, but I don’t want to end up like her. Cuz I mean she’s.. I don’t want to be


rude but it’s like wasted talent. She knows so many language and she’s an artists and she


has so much potential and talent. And she doesn’t do anything.


LULU: Amanda’s paintings, those bright and swirling canvases, hang all over the walls of


her daughter’s room.


LULU: Are you the one that puts all her paintings up?


DAUGHTER: Mmhm. She doesn’t like to show them.


LULU: Do you like them?


DAUGHTER: Yeah.


LULU: What do you like about them?


DAUGHTER: Cuz it’s her, it’s her… her emotions....


LULU: Are you worried... like are you worried that that’s... that you’re the same way?


DAUGHTER: Kind of.


LULU: But she does everything she can to be different. As overstimulating as the world can


be she’s constantly going out with friends.


DAUGHTER: Oh, I’m always trying to get out. I don’t like how quiet it is here. It sucks.


Nobody talks here. I guess it’s cuz we feel each other all the time.


LULU: And suddenly there were tears in her eyes.


[crying]


What is that? What is that about?


DAUGHTER: We don’t talk.


-----


HANNA: This idea that you could catch someone's feelings and eat them basically? Like make them your own, that they could become yours that you could catch things that other people were doing in such a profound way that you would mistake them for your own feelings… it was a revelation to me and something I'd been thinking about with my own mother that I would like walk into the air with my own mother and I would just pick up her own sort of anxiety and feelings and kind of ingest it in a way that wasn't really true to me like that wasn't mine and kind of got in the way of our relationship in some way.


BRITTANY: So before we get to our next clip, I want to ask you a little bit more like about the show, a little more about the second season. Is there like a specific theme that you guys were like going for with this whole season? Anything on your minds?


ALIX: I think we wanted to take the frame we established last season and take it different places, which we have. So last season we did a lot of kind of - there were a lot of neurological extremes and that was pretty much every episode had somebody who was neurologically different and this season we only have one and otherwise it's basically like looking at these same kind of...


HANNA: Invisible forces?


ALIX: These same forces and these same systems like conceptual systems, emotional systems but it's looking at them in like places like your workplace or the criminal justice system or terrorism like it's like….


BRITTANY: Just small stuff.


ALIX: Just small stuff. Like we're we went big… so like, it's bigger, it's better... and there's 50 percent more host.


BRITTANY: I was about to get to that.


ALIX: I'm just gonna say that over and over again.


BRITTANY: Yeah I noticed that the team has expanded now having Hanna on board and also Hanna... like Invisibilia is it's a weekly hour long deep dive of just like really intense reporting and obviously there may be people who know you in a like podcast context but like as a writer you are like a serious...


HANNA: Deep diver?


BRITTANY: Yeah, you're a serious journalist.


HANNA: Yeah well that's why… and Invisibilia is like not seri - no. It's... it's very similar to the writing I have done for magazines. Working on Invisibilia stories - it's a different topography, different landscape but the way of going about it, the way of conceiving a story, the depth of it is similar. Like the amount of time it takes that part feels familiar to me...


BRITTANY: So that feels...feels familiar to you from your writing but your podcasting, you come from Slate's...


HANNA: Gabfest.


BRITTANY: Gabfest right.


HANNA: And Gabfest culture it's more like… it’s more like writing for Slate. It's like the 1000 word piece versus the 10,000 word piece so the Gabfest keeps you in the vein of news.


BRITTANY: So uh to give listeners a sense of how different the two shows are, let’s hear a little bit from a recent episode...


———CLIP: Slate’s Double X Gabfest, “Are Hobbies Sexist?”———


HANNA: David Brooks wrote a column about Hillary Clinton in which he suggested that maybe one of the reasons that people can’t relate to her is because she’s too much of a workaholic, and essentially doesn’t have a hobby. So he writes, can you tell me what Hillary Clinton does for fun? We know what Obama does for fun. Now listen to what he defines as for fun… golf, basketball, etc.


OK. [laughing]


So the question is, if only golf basketball and woodworking are defined as hobbies, it’s natural for us to ask… Like what the hell… Are hobbies sexist? Do we just not perceive the things that women do for fun as hobbies?


What do you guys think? Well first of all, I can tell you what Hillary Clinton…


———END CLIP———


HANNA: That's another channel that I have that I really like - like I like to just talk about what's going on in the world at the moment. But that's just not at all what invisi - but I've always been split that way.


ALIX: And she still does it.


HANNA: I still does it.


ALIX: She still does it.


HANNA: I've always been split between like deep dive mind shallow dive mind…


BRITTANY: Sooo we are actually going to do some deep diving of our own -- into some more invisible forces. After we take a quick break.


———AD BREAK———


BRITTANY: This episode of Sampler is brought to you by Spotify.


Spotify has this feature called Discover Weekly playlists. And instead of explaining it to you, I decided to explain it to my dad.


Brittany: Look in your phone and check out your Discover Weekly playlist in Spotify.


Dad: Oh, Discover Weekly.


Brittany: Discover Weekly, Yeah! Click on that one.


Dad: Ohhh


Brittany: Yea, oh my gosh, they pay attention to what you listen to and they curate a custom list for you every Monday, it disappears…


Dad: Really?


Brittany: Yea! you get a new one every Monday. And that way you can discover new music that way. And the more you use Spotify, the better it gets at recognizing what you like and curating a better list for you.


Dad: Ohhh, this is good. Not Just Knee Deep, George Clinton. Nights over Egypt by the Jones Girls.


Brittany: Oh my gosh, I love that song!


Dad: Wow, I can then just add them to my playlist.


Brittany: Yeah, you can just save the songs and then add them to your playlists.


Dad: Thanks, Spotify.


Brittany: What about me?


Dad: Oh, thanks, Brittany.


Brittany: [laughs]


Spotify’s Discover Weekly is a great way to find new music and rekindle your love for old favorites. And, it’s free for all Spotify users. Go to spotify.com/discoverweekly to learn more.


This episode of Sampler is brought to you by eBay. eBay has partnered with our advertising division, Gimlet Creative, on a branded podcast called Open For Business. Open For Business is all about how to build a business from the ground up, and it’s hosted by entrepreneur John Henry, who has been involved with many businesses...but this...this is his first time hosting a podcast.


BRITTANY: What has surprised you the most about being a podcast host?


JOHN: How much work goes into it


BRITTANY: [laughs]


JOHN: It is a lot of work…. It is a lot...I have been here all day.


BRITTANY: Same!


JOHN: I’ll never listen to a podcast and look at it the same way again


BRITTANY: But isn’t like being an entrepreneur a lot of work?


JOHN: Yeah, but it also looks like a lot of work.


BRITTANY: [laughs]


JOHN: Like just the idea of running the company sounds like it’s a lot of work, so it’s no surprise there really for me.


BRITTANY: Yeah, yeah.


JOHN: But for this, you just kind of think that, hosting a podcast is doing an interview or two and slapping it together and you have a show.


BRITTANY: No, we ride it until the wheels fall off.


JOHN: You guys go HAM.


BRITTANY: We go HAM. I’m not gonna get into what HAM stands for...


BRITTANY: You can check out the first two episodes of Open For Business right now. Subscribe to Open For Business on iTunes or Google Play. For more information on the show, along with tools and resources on how to start or grow a business on eBay, you can go to ebay.com/openforbusiness.


———END AD BREAK———


BRITTANY: Welcome back to Sampler I am in the District of Columbia with the Invisibilia team Alix Spiegel, Lulu Miller and Hanna Rosin. Everybody say hi.


ALL: Hi.


BRITTANY: So today on the show, we are talking with the women of Invisibilia, who have JUST launched their second season. And we’re going deep into some of the invisible forces that shape our lives. So started with LOVE... and the next clip we’re going to play is about another powerful emotion that can drive us sometimes, for better or for worse: FEAR.


LULU: Feeeeeeeear.


BRITTANY: [laughing] Yes, fear… So what I’m going to play for you guys is one of my favorite moments from the podcast “How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black.” Michael Ian Black is a comedian and an actor and in this show, he interviews other performers and writers just trying to find out how they got to be so amazing. So in this episode Michael is interviewing the Broadway singer and actress Audra McDonald. So she's done everything from film to television to stage, and she's actually really close to an EGOT -- she has an Emmy, a Grammy and more than a few Tony’s - the only thing she doesn't have is an Oscar. So in this moment, she’s talking about this one aspect of success that she still finds really hard.


———CLIP: How To Be Amazing, “Audra McDonald”———


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: When you get off the stage afterwards, what is your emotional state? Where are you emotionally?


AUDRA MCDONALD: That's interesting that's something I'm really trying to work on because usually I go into sort of you know beating myself up or being negative about what I've just done as opposed to being grateful that look what I get to do for a living and I am starting to understand that people's experience of it can be something completely different than what you experience and in the end in that respect it's not for you. It is for them. And a lot of times when people come backstage to say great job or whatever.


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: They mean it.


AUDRA: They mean it. Yes.


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: You can take that compliment.


AUDRA: Yes well and to take the compliment, that that's part of thanking them and if you don't that's a slap in the face to them and that's what I'm just now really starting to learn.


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: That's interesting to me because although I do not place us at all in the same category -


AUDRA: Oh.


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: Now don't you dare.


AUDRA: I might --


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: -- Although I don't place us in the same category that's a lesson I learned years ago.


AUDRA: Really how?


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: Well because my instinct was always to bat away the compliment to do the oh you don't care about me. And mean it. Not in a self-effacing way like literally mean it and what I realized was that those encounters with people when they approach you were not about me at all. And that to give them the that moment for them because it's important for them to express something whether or not you feel like you've earned whatever they're trying to express or not.


AUDRA: Right, and it is truly about them and the moment is about them. You know I used to pass out a lot when I would perform. I would faint dead away.


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: A lot?


AUDRA: Yeah look it up.


MICHAEL IAN BLACK: I know the one sort of famous story about your original audition for Carousel...


AUDRA: Yeah and then there's the Rosie O'Donnell tribute when I was back in Julliard, I passed out in the middle of my English diction recital I passed out - it happens it's happened a lot. It was finally diagnosed as vasovagal syncope which means that my body when I get overexcited my blood pressure goes up and my body says oop blood pressure's too high we got to regulate it so instead of going back to a normal spot my body resets completely back to 0 which means unconsciousness just like oh let's start over let's start over as if the day is starting over and you're just waking up. As I've gotten older in performing I'll still sometimes get that sense of oh gosh… you know, in special situations like if I have to perform for someone really famous or I'm performing at the White House. In those situations now what I often tell myself - this is going to circle back to the point -- which is this isn't about you and if you go out at someone else's memorial service because you're super nervous and you pass out then you're making it about you that's selfish. Get ahold of yourself girl.


———


HANNA: That was an unusually good exchange. For interviewer, interviewee. Because the pace of it was very fast and had no awkwardness. So there was a genuine chemistry between two people where they were talking like people who knew each other a long time which does not often happen in a public interview and second of all because it was about a set of themes that was deeper and other than what they were actually talking about - so it's like when is humility real? Who are you performing for? Who are compliments for? How should we behave in compliments... like it was actually about something other than the thing which also is rare in an interview. Usually it's like when did your career start? How did you get - it's just about the thing itself. But this was about a set of emotional, psychological and almost philosophical themes that were like deeper and richer than the words.


BRITTANY: Well I also liked it too because I never imagined just like growing up I really wanted to go to musical theater school. That was like my dream - like literally up until it came time to audition for me to go to college and I was like I don't want to do this - this was like my life.


ALIX: Where did you grow up?


BRITTANY: Farmington Hills, Michigan. It's this suburb outside of Detroit. People in Southeastern Michigan are kind of into musical theater. But you know I idolized Audra McDonald and I never in a million years thought that she would be someone who had performance anxiety. Um, or somebody who like really grapples with that regular everyday human thing of like how to just take a compliment and how to deal with like nerves and the fact that something just isn't about you.


ALIX: Mhmm.


BRITTANY: Everybody has something like in their day to day life that scares them. What scares you guys about your work?


ALIX: Hmm.


BRITTANY: Oh god... sharp intake of breath collectively.


ALIX: I'm scared of hurting people.


BRITTANY: How do you mean, Alix?


ALIX: Well I think it's really really scary to be a journalist. You take people's lives in your hands and you can do a tremendous amount of harm.


HANNA: Because people live by their narratives, right?


ALIX: You can hurt not just the people you're reporting on but also if you tell - this is very true in essentially my beat, which is human behavior, like one of the stories we have this season is about this new um procedure, let’s say, for Asperger’s which allows people who are unable to see emotion to see emotion.


BRITTANY: Oh wow.


ALIX: OK now that is a very very very very dangerous story to tell because people are really d-- like some people they're really desperate to address Asperger’s and if you give them a certain kind of story then - the truth is that procedure is nowhere near to being a cure for Asperger’s but because it exists places are cropping up which are offering that procedure and saying that it will cure Asperger’s. So these are really complicated stories. A lot of the material that we do, they're really complicated stories to tell...


BRITTANY: Delicate too.


ALIX: They can have repercussions in the lives of the people that you're talking to and that scares the shit out of me. Like it truly, truly does.


BRITTANY: What about you Lulu?


LULU: Umm… the thing I struggle with more personally is just like I am sort of like I am terrified of confrontation and that can sometimes make being a reporter hard. Like I still get scared to pick up the phone and call someone. Like that has not gone away.


BRITTANY: Just that regular. Like just the jitters…


LULU: Yeah. And it’s like the little northeastern polite person that I was raised to be is at odds sometimes with doing my job well.


BRITTANY: I can understand that.


LULU: So that's my constant fear is like be direct. Ask the thing. Like, and that's something I'm always pushing through.


BRITTANY: That's something I actually deal with too because I have the little polite Midwestern person...


LULU: Yeah.


BRITTANY: … That I was raised to be. What do you do in the moment when you're on that seesaw of like should I be direct or should I just not.


LULU: I think weirdly when the mic is on I am a little more - like it's now over time with conditioning… I’m like headphones and mic and now I'm this person like in this space because I know I'm going to be accountable to it. It's like the sick side of me that's like you need the tape … you know? And so I think that that's still harder weirdly in the pre-interview or like when we're just humans. And then the other thing I do is I just pretend I'm someone else for an hour. Like there's something nice about the like...


BRITTANY: I'd never thought about that.


LULU: Oh yeah my first trick was be Sally Herships who was like this… sweet but direct confident reporter who was one of the first reporters I met when I was an intern at WNYC and she would just go out and get great man on the street tape and she was just like Sally Herships asking you a question in Times Square and it was fine and I was like Lulu Miller can't go up to people and ask them questions but Sally Herships can and like I'd be like hi and you could do it for an hour like the time constraint...


BRITTANY: Mmm.


LULU: So that’s my trick… be Sally Herships.


BRITTANY: Oh my gosh you actually gave me a super helpful piece of information!


LULU: You can be Sally Herships [laughing]


BRITTANY: So we've talked to you guys about fear. We've talked to you guys about the heartbreaking death of a bonobo. We're going to lighten it up a little bit. Is that cool?


ALL: Yeah.


BRITTANY: So our last clip comes to us from a podcast called the Allusionist which is all like the Allusionist with an A not an I. It's all about how we use language which is why it has this wonderfully puntastic title. Uh, everything from the origins of certain words.


ALIX: Did you just say the word puntastic?


BRITTANY: Puntastic exactly.


But -- but so, the Allusionist is about language. And word choice. And what the words we say actually say something about us. It’s hosted by Helen Zaltzman, and what you’re going to hear is Helen interviewing a woman whose entire JOB is all about choosing the right words…


————CLIP: The Allusionist, “Architecting About Dance”————


HELEN: What is an audio describer?


ALICE: So I describe TV programs and films for blind and visually impaired people.


HELEN: Alice's job in a nutshell is to watch the film or TV program write a script describing what's happening on the screen then record that to fit in around the dialogue when the piece in question is broadcast.


What is the worst thing to do?


ALICE: Dance movies which I've described many of - the whole Step Up series.


HELEN: Wow how many are -


ALICE: Well there's like I don't know 15, maybe 47. There's a lot.


HELEN: (narrating) Dancers march on the spot and sink to their news. Emily smiles in wonder. Mr. Anderson looks around heavy-browed. A guy appears to fall from one of the top containers. His arms flail as he falls but miraculously he bounces back up and stands on the edge of the container. He and another guy proceed to plummet from the container bounce back up and spin. The audience can't see a -


HELEN: This is Alice's description of a dance sequence from the 4th step up film step up revolution. So what's so bad about describing dance films, Alice?


ALICE: Well the point of dance is that it is a different way to communicate that is not words. And so translating that back into words it just oh it just ends up being horrifying and especially if you're describing something like street dance not ballet it ends up sounding just ridiculous. And you can say things like robotically or I don't know fluidly to get a sort of feel across but it just is like you work all day long - and then they take forever because obviously describing like minutes and minutes of dance sequences is really difficult. You look at your work at the end of the day and it's like you've just carved this hideous statue that you can't bear to look at. And you just go home very dissatisfied.


HELEN: You need to come back and do the next Step Up film.


ALICE: Yeah I did actually threaten to leave if my boss ever gave me another dance film.


The guys walk up to the edge of the container and do death defying flips and spins. The audience love it. The container goes somersault through the air. Incensed, Trip goes over to a uniformed policeman. The cop turns robotically. He's actually a dancer. He shoves a donut in Trip's mouth.


HELEN: Alright who said the best pictures were on the radio?


———————


LULU: Wow.


ALIX: This is all I'm doing for the rest of my life is listening to audio descriptions of...


LULU: Of dance movies.


ALIX: Of dance movies - that is the entire - I will never listen to a podcast again. That was the best thing I ever heard in my life.


HANNA: That was just brilliant and that woman is a genius... the metaphor of the ugly statue.


LULU: The hideous statue. I look at my day's work and see a hideous statue.


ALIX: That is awesome...


HANNA: Oh my god it’s awesome…. to be in a job like we all have this idea of what a horrible job is like, it’s like death destroying but it's to know you're killing the thing outside yourself and you're describing it you're just murdering it with your words. It’s so good.


ALIX: But that would be a great Invis -


HANNA: The audio describer.


ALIX: Wouldn’t that be good for Invisibilia?


HANNA: Oh my god, like so good.


BRITTANY: It seems like season 2 is over and out but possibly season 3.


ALIX: Yeah...


BRITTANY: Well there is something on season 1 that you guys started Lulu and Alix that I am hoping is still in season 2… You know, at the end of your show sometimes you guys have a moment of zen.


ALIX: Non-zen.


BRITTANY: Non-zen. AAAAAnd you guys have a little dance party -


ALL: YES


BRITTANY: Are you guys going to bring that back in season 2?


ALL: Do you want to dance?


BRITTANY: Yes, I do want to dance.


LULU: Oh then you can narrate it. You can describe it. [chatter off-mic]


ALIX: Wait a second - and then you describe it. We're going to take?


BRITTANY: OK, guys so just so you know I am about to try being a audio describer and I’m gonna describe Invisibilia dancing so let’s see how that goes.


BRITTANY: Should I play some music?


ALL: Yeah.


BRITTANY: OK I'm playing Formation by Beyoncé.


ALIX: But we need louder...


BRITTANY: Louder?


ALIX: Will it work?


BRITTANY: No there is like… Ok so Lulu's started dancing. Hanna's counting down… OK all three of them are doing this dance that actually reminds me of the dinosaur? And now they're all waving their hands above their head and now they're doing something I can't recognize it but it looks like a very strange gang symbol and everybody's doing a rap squat.


LULU: It's an “I”, an “I” for Invisibilia.


BRITTANY: That was beautiful you guys.


ALL: No no it wasn't.


LULU: It looks like a dinosaur… was my...


ALIX: No what we were doing, just so you know, was a pony.


ALL: Pony pony pony pony pony pony... lasso lasso lasso lasso Invisibilia!


BRITTANY: Well Lulu, Hanna, Alix thank you guys so much. This was so much more than I bargained for. Who knew that the dancing really -


ALIX: Yeah it kicks it up a notch. Yeah.


HANNA: I used to be a serious journalist.


ALIX: Once upon a time... and then I did the pony.


[music]


HANNA: Hey Lulu so what time is it ?


LULU and ALIX: Oh it's science o'clock. It's science o'clock. It's time for science. Sorry this was just for …


LULU: We came up with it the other day we didn't end up using it in the show so now we're forcing you to listen to it.


BRITTANY: If you want to hear more Invisibilia, episodes come out every Friday wherever podcasts are found. And you guys we are actually going to be taking off for the next two weeks, because it’s summer and summer is for fun.


But we don’t want to leave you hanging, so here’s what we are going to do. Send us your favorite podcasts about summer adventures -- episodes that are great for long road trips or your idea of a “beach listen”… or just a few minutes from an episode that really captures the carefree, sunny spirit of summer… the cookouts, picnics in the park… outdoor drinking… and blasting a nice, cool podcast… So please send your suggestions to sampler@gimletprod.staging.wpengine.com.


This episode was produced by Kate Parkinson-Morgan, Rose Reid, Sarah Abdurrahman and myself.


It was edited by Annie-Rose Strasser.


Our theme music was made by Micah Vellian and our ad music was made by Mark Phillips.


The show was mixed by Matthew Boll.


Sampler is a production of Gimlet Media.