Mystery Show: Case #5 Source Code
June 20, 2015 11:39 AM - Subscribe

While watching a movie, David notices a discrepancy.

Mystery Show is produced by Starlee Kine, Alex Blumberg, Melinda Shopsin and Eric Mennel. Producing help from Chris Neary and Phia Bennin. Eli Horowitz is contributing editor. Thanks to Matt Lieber. Logo by Arthur Jones. Thanks to Sloane Crosley, Daniel Engber, Jen Snow, Jeb Brody and Elna Baker. Special thanks to David Rees.

Original score by the band White Dove
Additional original scoring by Emmy the Great and Devin Dare.
Closing song “Go Far” written and produced by Emmy the Great, performed by Emmy the Great, Leo Abrahams and David Gardener. “Go Far” was mixed by Dave McCracken.
Opening theme song “Those Mysteries” was written and performed by Sparks and licensed with permission from Imagem Music.
posted by Going To Maine (45 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was a pretty solid episode that I didn't expect to work out - I was listening with only half an ear and now feel like I should definitely give it a re-listen with a whole one. To the extent that I have a complaint, it's that the final scenes -as delightful as they were- felt basically like the standard sort of banter one would expect out of a celebrity in any context. But then, that seems kind of inevitable when you talk to a celebrity.

I do think an opportunity was missed to talk about not being able to go over Jake Gyllenhaal's head. "Not being able to go above / go higher" are weaker-sauce substitutes.

Also, in prepping this post I finally saw a picture of Starlee Kine and had radio face disconnect. I expected something much more, Iunno, Sarah Vowellish. Darn you, brain, with your assumptions!
posted by Going To Maine at 12:00 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I finally saw a picture of Starlee Kine and had radio face disconnect.

Oh god, I actually had to watch videos of her talking to try to make myself believe it was the same person and I still don't. I don't think it's the face, though, so much as the way she presents herself - I suppose I was imagining this twee little elfin being with a backpack covered in iron-on unicorn patches and an odd way of moving, whereas she appears to dress and comport herself like an... adult? Like, those are the kind of clothes people wear to an office? It's really weird.
posted by Acheman at 12:36 PM on June 20, 2015

Apparently the lesson here is that twee is who you are, not what you wear, despite the history of Indie rock suggesting otherwise.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:44 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

This episode brilliantly strung out its answer to the point of hilarity.
posted by maxsparber at 5:43 PM on June 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

Also: how did she get the interview? This point was never actually resolved.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:05 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Probably called a publicist. It's really not that hard to set up an interview.
posted by maxsparber at 8:30 PM on June 20, 2015

Yeah, but it feels like a missing piece. And probably left missing because, let's face it, she could have called the publicist at the outset. Still...
posted by Going To Maine at 9:22 PM on June 20, 2015

Even though we hear her talking to a publicist?
posted by maxsparber at 5:41 AM on June 21, 2015

Maybe that was just a telephone operator.
posted by smackfu at 8:05 AM on June 21, 2015

That *could* be a publicist. But it's an explicitly missing step.

The quest to get in touch with Britney Spears was built up by the narrative into a nicely convoluted and dramatic ordeal. It could be boiled down to "i tried to get in touch with Britney Spears, but failed. It turns out the easiest way to talk to Britney Spears is to do a meet-and-greet, so I / Gimlet paid a bunch of money, and I got to ask her a question." Instead we got a huge journey out of it.

This episode build getting Jake Gyllenhaal to reveal his height to be a similar dramatic ordeal, with Spears's inaccessibility replaced by Gyllenhaal's reticence. But the boiled down synopsis could be "I tried to get in touch with Jake Gyllenhaal, but failed. It turns out the easiest way to ask hm is to just ask him, so I somethinged and got to ask the question."

That somethinged could be "called a publicist and set up an interview", but it's never actually stated - it's left as a mystery. (Heh.) SInce at this point I think that the episodes are at least as much about process as about resolution, I'm miffed. "Boo!" I say. "Boo-urns!"
posted by Going To Maine at 8:42 AM on June 21, 2015

I loved the line "or to put it in terms that my peer group would understand: my Snuffleupagus."

I agree that she sorta yadayadayada'd over how she got him on the phone, but let's be honest: She's a well-known radio producer with lots of connections who works at a super hot startup. It wouldn't be that hard for her to get in touch with an actor.
posted by radioamy at 5:23 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Starlee was again cryptic about who her "client" was, although at least this time she said what he did. Just realized he the guy who did Get Your War On.
posted by radioamy at 5:35 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I expected something much more, Iunno, Sarah Vowellish.

Heh. I had the same disconnect the first time I saw Vowell, at a book signing for Take the Cannoli. There was this person reading into a microphone a couple yards in front of me, and there was the familiar radio voice coming out from the speaker just off to the side, and there was this fascinating cognitive dissonance in trying to put them together.

(Ira Glass didn't look anything like what I'd have expected, either.)

Anyway. I enjoyed this one, especially the extended Twitter riff in the middle.
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:53 PM on June 21, 2015

I've always assumed that Starlee Kine looks like Kristen Schaal. (As for Ira Glass, I always assumed he looked like a more urbane Andy Dick, and I turned out to be right about that.)
posted by skewed at 10:24 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've always assumed Starlee was a rogue agent of the Odd Squad.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:27 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

At least we can all agree that Carl Kasell looks exactly like you'd think he does, right?
posted by schmod at 6:28 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I still don't really feel like I know how tall he is. Like, 5'11.5 is the obvious "true" answer to give if you are on the record as saying 6'.

Also, how many people's mom's know how tall they are?
posted by smackfu at 6:31 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

"It's 11 PM. Do you know how tall your children are?"
posted by Going To Maine at 9:20 AM on June 22, 2015

I god, I hated this episode. I'm a fan of the show generally (see my effusive comments about the Brittney episode), but this one was hard to listen to. The David Reese guy -- the client -- came off terribly, I thought: "Look at him mincing around. Boy, he thinks he's real cute. You want to throw up." as Woody Allen would say. There was just no collateral beauty, no humanity at all really, along the way in this episode. I really hope the show doesn't turn into a sort of look-at-my-adorable-friends project. Because that'd be heartbreaking.
posted by thursdaystoo at 11:06 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

thursdaystoo - I'm thinking that Starlee is starting out with friends as "clients" because it was easy, and because they wanted to keep the show under wraps. I imagine (hope) that she'll take on mysteries from strangers in the future.
posted by radioamy at 12:42 PM on June 22, 2015

I wasn't a fan of Dave's self-awareness either but I enjoyed this episode.

But I really like heated arguments over details of un-verifiable minutae so I mean, I was primed from the get-go.
posted by Tevin at 1:54 PM on June 22, 2015

Radioamy: That makes sense. I'm not opposed to her taking mysteries from friends on principle -- the writer in the Britney episode came off as a friend of her's, too, and she was completely sympathetic. This guy just wasn't, in my book. Here, the mystery seemed created for the episode, made up for the sake of everyone being adorable -- it didn't come off as being important to her friend at all. (Have I mentioned that I didn't like this episode?) And for that reason, and because both he and Starlee went so out of their way to make the listener *take* the guy as adorable, it had the opposite affect, at least on me. (I was listening in the car, and her description of his artisanal pencil sharpening business made me want to drive headon into a tree.) None of the other episodes did that: begged the listener to like the people involved.
posted by thursdaystoo at 2:34 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

It won't make you like the episode (or him) better, but David Rees is pretty much a supreme slacker humorist. My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable, My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, and Get Your War On are all pretty good examples of this. Which is to say, I have a really hard time believing that the pencil sharpening thing is anything other than a really long-running weird gag.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:47 PM on June 22, 2015

I god, I hated this episode.

I felt an increasing and increasingly implausible blend of irritation and boredom with this episode and it's, well, as everyone says, tweeness, reaching a climax (nadir?) when I could tell she was about to meet Gyllenhaal, and in response, I actually walked out of the room in an explosive blend of annoyed boredom (or bored annoyance), and my 12 year old had to chase me upstairs clutching my phone in front of her to play me the Gyllenhaal interview, and I was like, rolling my eyes out of my head thinking "I guess I'll just have to tune in to the episodes of this that aren't about her nepotistic connections to tediously and outlandishly successful white, heterosexual, conventionally attractive, almost 6" tall men", until the payoff, which totally spun me around at least, I don't know, 160 degrees.

I learned something from this episode, and it is this show is good at payoffs. I mean, I'm not sure you can ever beat the belt buckle, but they just totally milked the Gyllenhaal thing, in this incredibly emotionally pleasing manner, to startlingly effective effect. I take my hat off to you Starlee Kine, no, I salute you. No, I salute you with my upraised hat. You know what you're doing, even in the instances where what you're doing lacks any objective depth or meaning! Mystery Show! You are a mystery, but you are also awesome.
posted by latkes at 8:18 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Latkes: that's intersting. What was the emotional payoff of the Gyllenhaal interview -- what'd you take away from it?
posted by thursdaystoo at 5:41 AM on June 23, 2015

Hmm, I'm not sure! Maybe something subconscious in the music? Maybe just being susceptible to celebrity? The moment I realized she was actually going to talk to Gyllenhaal was the moment I lost interest, but the moment she did talk to him, I was hooked. So maybe something in their playfulness, or the way they dragged it out made me both see the encounter as absurd but also get to vicariously enjoy an encounter with stardom? I'm not sure. It's a mystery!
posted by latkes at 7:30 AM on June 23, 2015

I agree that we still have no idea what Jake Gyllenhaal's height is*, which was annoying. Also annoying that SK completely did not acknowledge that it was even possible for him to lie to her. Was this an agreement she made with his publicist? If so, I'd prefer to have her report on his publicist's demands than to listen to the interview. Or was it just another case of her being or pretending to be astonishingly naive?

*My guess would be less than 5'11". Partly because he spent so long talking about how height is a feeling you project.
posted by Acheman at 8:43 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I actually really liked this episode. I wasn't sold at the beginning, her friend just wasn't super invested in Jake Gyllenhall's height I guess? But then it turned out to be such an implausible internet mystery. The mystery was why the hell is this such a mystery? It's such a basic and trivial fact! I can see myself coming to care about his height, not because I care about his height, but because this is something I should be able to know if I so desired, and my inability to find out would drive me insane.

I listened to this podcast while driving home, arrived just when the interview started and had to sit in my car in suspense waiting for it to finish. Jake Gyllenhall was wonderful and they dragged it with so much will he? or won't he? actually answer? suspense that I just died.

But I am strongly predisposed to like this episode both because I am a foaming-at-the-mouth fan of Mystery Show, and because I love Jake Gyllenhall (I saw Brokeback Mountain with my first boyfriend back when it came out, and it was sweet and sad, and I will love Jake Gyllenhall forever now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
posted by selenized at 2:47 PM on June 23, 2015

Also: I imagine Starlee Kine looks like Mabel from Gravity Falls, but all grown up. I refuse to believe in any other reality, everything else is just a disguise (she is an investigator after all).
posted by selenized at 2:51 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I didn't think that the interview seemed like standard celebrity banter -- if it was, Jake Gyllenhaal is really good at it. They had great chemistry during the interview, and I'd totally listen to a Starlee/Gyllenhaal talk show.

I also thought that Jake seems to know exactly how seriously to take himself. He knows he's famous, seems pretty personable, and has seemingly figured out how to be coy with the media (without also being rude).

One minor gripe with the episode: Starlee spoils the ending of Source Code, and doesn't warn us.
posted by schmod at 6:41 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do people still think this is a show about actual mysteries? Because it's basically a humor podcast with a self-aware faux detective as protagonist.

For the record: I enjoy it and liked this episode a lot.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:21 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I spent so many hours on Fanfare discussing Serial that when I saw "SK" upthread I immediately thought 'why are we talking about Sarah Koenig? She doesn't host Mystery Show!?!?' and then quickly realized she has the same initials as Starlee Kine and now my brain is a pile of mush on the floor.

I think the reason the conversation with Gyllenhaal worked so well was because it was exactly like the convo with the Ticketmaster customer rep guy in the Britney episode. That is Kine's real skill: being able to have prosaic, yet interesting conversations with anyone, regardless of status, that I want to listen to.

I am entertained.
posted by dry white toast at 10:13 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

I was similarly unbalanced by the realization that they are both SK.

I'm holding out for the Nancy Updike podcast. Everyone's complaints about the informal, non journalistic aspects of Serial and Mystery Show would certainly be satisfied by Updike's hard journalistic chops.
posted by latkes at 2:22 PM on June 24, 2015

I was similarly unbalanced by the realization that they are both SK.

I would also be delighted if Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss, and Carrie Brownstein tried to solve mysteries.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:44 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

It made me so happy! I think for all the reasons so many people seemed to hate it? Sign me up for the cult of twee, I guess, if we're calling it that - I was thoroughly charmed and squee'd my face off during the penultimate interview.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 11:48 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I also liked the interview with Gyllenhal. I mean, she could have just launched into the question, but instead she took this circuitous route and had a really interesting conversation.
posted by radioamy at 7:42 AM on June 25, 2015

For me, my favorite moment in the episode was when Starlee was relating the incident where her friend confronted Jake Gyllenhaal and his mother in the restaurant and asked point blank how tall he was, and then he was quoted, "Why does everyone want to know how tall I am?", which since I've seen my share of Jake Gyllenhaal movies, my mind immediately clicked in an image of his reaction and body language as he said it.

I think this episode is also kind of helped because he has starred in a fair number of weird mystery detective type films like the eponymous Source Code, but also Zodiac, Nightcrawler, and Enemy.
posted by FJT at 2:00 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I also thought that Jake seems to know exactly how seriously to take himself. He knows he's famous, seems pretty personable, and has seemingly figured out how to be coy with the media (without also being rude).

Not to mention that apparently Starlee's army of offbeat New Yorkers had been (who know how politely) pestering him about this for months--including during dinner with his mother!--so he strikes me as pretty gracious to play along in the end.
posted by psoas at 11:04 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

So what's with the schedule for this show? Five weekly episodes and then a month break? I skip the end, so maybe they mentioned it?
posted by smackfu at 2:25 PM on July 17, 2015

I think she just said she's taking a break for a while...
posted by latkes at 4:12 PM on July 20, 2015

@MysteryShow: “@andrewwwscottt There was notice actually in the credits of episode 5. Said we'd be back mid-July. New episode coming very soon.”
posted by Going To Maine at 4:29 PM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Man, where is mystery show?

They promised they were only taking a short break, and here I am all gaunt and feverish, laying on the floor, coming down from all that whimsy. I need another episode, even just a short mini-sode, just a little hit, I'm dying here man...
posted by selenized at 2:46 PM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dave's self-awareness

Ah, that phrase just crystallized why I was cringing during his segments. Yes. Her interviews are best when they're entirely straight but still wander into offbeat or revealing areas. David felt much too much like he was deliberately trying to be quirky and funny, and it felt a bit forced.

OTOH, though, I would totally watch Max Morningheight, Private Investigator.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:11 AM on July 30, 2015

Closure on Conan.
posted by maudlin at 9:29 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Idk, guys, Starlee Kine looks around 80% like I expected. A blonde pixie cut would've taken her to 100%.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:16 AM on August 8, 2016

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