Surprisingly Awesome

Surprisingly Awesome

By: Gimlet Media


4.0 (1032 ratings)


Taking on subjects that appear boring and explaining why they’re actually awesome.

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#1 Mold



Mold giveth, and mold taketh away. The same not-quite plant, not-quite animal that causes cancer can also cure infections and unite long-lost family members. The Facts Original music for this episode by Mark Phillips and Elori Kramer Our theme music is "How We Do," written, performed, and produced by Nicholas Britell Our ad music is by Build Buildings Further Reading “Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds” by George Hudler Sponsors PC Does Whaaaat?! Thanks to Geromy Moore Justin Trosclair of the St. James Cheese Company David Nally 

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Our theme music is by Nicholas Britell. We were edited this week by Annie-Rose Strasser, produced by Christine Driscoll, and mixed by Zac Schmidt. If you want to subscribe to Twice Removed (you do!) you can use this link, or search for it wherever you get your podcasts:  

Your Holiday Binge Listen



Hey Surprisingly Awesome listeners - we think you'll love Homecoming, a fiction thriller from Gimlet Media. It was written by Eli Horowitz and Micah Blumberg, and stars some talented people you may have heard of, like Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, David Cross, and Amy Sedaris.The whole first season is out now, and it's the perfect thing to binge-listen to this holiday season. We're playing the first episode here, and you can go listen and subscribe to Homecoming to hear the rest.

Surprise Surprise!



Hey Surprisingly Awesome listeners - we think you'll love Undone, a new show from Gimlet Media. It's about how the big stories we thought were over, were actually the beginning of something else. Hosted by Pat Walters and developed with help from the documentary series Retro Report, Undone challenges what you thought you knew about history.Want to hear the rest of the episode? Subscribe at

#23 The Wedding



Something borrowed, something blue, something that explains why weddings look the way they do.The FactsOur theme music is by Nicholas Britell and our ad music is by Build Buildings. We were edited this week by Annie-Rose Strasser, and produced by Christine Driscoll, Elizabeth Kulas, and Rikki Novetsky.  Sylvie Douglis and Nick Fountain field produced at the wedding.Thank you to Sue and Austin’s friends and family for letting us ask so many questions and bother you during the whole wedding.Thanks to Jorge Just -- and sorry we forgot to thank you last time, and to our beloved mix engineer Andrew Dunn. ANDREW DUNN MIXED THIS EPISODE, he always mixes our episodes, and we have not been great about remembering to tell you that!Additional production assistance came from Jacob Cruz, Emily Kennedy, Melanie Kruvelis, Sarah Melton and Sarah Stoddard.Thank you to Karen Klaiber Hersch, Gayle Strege, Patrick O’Neil, Jennifer Gellmann and Sharon Boulani.And finally, stay posted with us as we report the next season. You can follow us on Twitter, subscribe to the newsletter, or subscribe to us on your podcatcher for all our cool updates!See you in 2017!Learn MoreIf you want to learn more Folk-Lore of Women you can access it via the wonderful Project Gutenberg at this link.Did you like learning the value of the garter industry in 1952? What a rebel - you probably need Dr. Vicki Howard's book at this link or your local library.There are a lot of wedding traditions out there!  We obviously didn't cover them all! There's a great history about women changing their last names by Dr. Sophie Coulombeau at the BBC. For some funny and insightful thoughts on the prevalence of Corinthians in wedding vows, check out this essay by Kate Braestrup at Huffington Post.Our SponsorsBlue Apron – Delivering all the fresh ingredients you need to create home-cooked meals. Click now to get your first three meals for free.Casper – Get $50 towards any Casper Mattress purchase by visiting and using the offer code “AWESOME”.

#22 Wedding Planning



This week: It's awesome in the sacred sense - but stressful in the practical sense.The FactsSurprisingly Awesome’s theme music is by Nicholas Britell. Our ad music is by Build Buildings.Additional music came from Kyle Morton, Sex Life, and XoloWe were edited this week by Annie-Rose Strasser, and produced by Rachel Ward, Christine Driscoll and Rikki Novetsky.  Our field producers were Sylvie Douglis and Nick Fountain.  Production Assistance came from Jacob Cruz, Emily Kennedy, Melanie Kruvelis, Jessica Langley,  Sarah Melton, and Sarah Stodder.Thank you to Meg Keene at A Practical Wedding, Erin Boll, proprietrix of the Instagram account Pisces Bride, Stevie Lane who designed our wedding invitation, and for helping us find Sue and Austin. Learn MoreSource for the inverse relationship between the cost of weddings and duration of marriages: ‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration. At one point this was the most downloaded paper on SSRN, the database we found it on.Here's the link to Tamara Sniezek's paper, Is It Our Day or the Bride’s Day? The Division of Wedding Labor and Its Meaning for Couples. You'll never look at invitations the same way again.Several years ago, Slate did a great, concise post about wedding averages and how they're reported, The Wedding Industry's Pricey Little Secret.Rebecca Mead's book is called One Perfect Day, and you can check it out at the library, like we did, or get it... you know where. (Amazon, you can buy books on Amazon.)Our Sponsorseero - For free overnight shipping, visit and at checkout select overnight shipping then enter “awesome" to make it freeHello Fresh - To get $35 off your first week of deliveries visit and enter promo code "AWESOME"

#21 Postal Addresses



4 billion people in the world don't have standard addresses - so how do they get mail?The FactsSurprisingly Awesome’s theme music is by Nicholas Britell and our ad music is by Build Buildings.They were edited this week by Annie-Rose Strasser. Peter Clowney weighed in too. The show was produced by Elizabeth Kulas, Christine Driscoll and Rachel Ward.  It was mixed by Andrew Dunn. Special thanks to Maeve Higgins, who brought us that Vonnegut essay.We had production assistance from Shani Aviram, Jacob Cruz, Emily Kennedy, Rikki Novetsky and Sarah Stodder.Additional music for this episode came from Our Many Stars, Onry Ozzborn, and One Two Three.SponsorsFrank & Oak – Go to to get your first outfit for $79 (a pair of pants and a shirt).Prudential - Download the MapMyRun app and join the Prudential 4.01K challenge. When you do, pledge to save at least 1% or more of your annual income for retirement and run and log 4.01K to be eligible to win a prize.Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

#20 Crying



THE FACTS:Surprisingly Awesome’s Theme Music is “This is How We Do” by Nicholas Britell and our ad music is by Build Buildings. We were edited this week by Annie-Rose Strasser, Alex Blumberg, and produced by Rachel Ward, Christine Driscoll and Elizabeth Kulas. We were mixed by Andrew Dunn.Austin Thompson mixed Matthew Boll’s music. Thank you to Joe Staples. Jacob Cruz, Emma Jacobs, Tiffany Lee, Rikki Novetsky, Elah Feder, Melanie Kruvelis, and Jacqui Helbert provided production assistance.LEARN MORE:If you want to hear more from Tim Manley, look for his web series “The Feels,” and check out his storytelling at The Moth.Dr. Nina Kraus at Northwestern University sent us the Smoke on the Water music – you can learn more about her lab at can hear more of Matthew Boll at and follow him on Twitter @bigbearii.OUR SPONSORS:Frank & Oak – Go to to get your first outfit for $79 (a pair of pants and a shirt).Lenovo – See how Lenovo is revolutionizing data center technology.Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.