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The Passion Of The Familiar Stranger

Normal Gossip logo with cartoon characters gossiping
Illustration by Tara Jacoby

When we set out to create a season of Normal Gossip, there are a few things we know will happen for certain. We will be consumed with echoing fears that we will never be able to outdo the previous season, and we know that the show's inbox will yield deranged and unlikely treasures that will, hopefully, cancel out the first thing.

I could tell you we like to think that each new episode of Normal Gossip reveals some essential truth about humanity, and perhaps that is true. Maybe all this time we have been following the archetypes laid out by Joseph Campbell—the hero, the trickster, the threshold guardian. Or, in the case of our newest episode, The Familiar Stranger.

It is important you ask yourself some steadying questions before you take on the journey in our Season 6 premiere. Ask yourself how far you would go for a chance at love with a familiar stranger, that unknown but recognizable someone who happens to pass through your view on a daily basis, and causes impure stirrings?

Would your reckless and unchecked horniness drive you to acts of public service? What would you do when faced with the dissociative shame-hole that erupts when your unrequited love winds up as PowerPoint fodder?

Our guest this week is Ronald Young Jr.! Ronald is an audio producer and the host of the critically acclaimed podcast Weight For It, which was selected by the New York Times as the best podcast of 2023. More importantly, Ronald is our play cousin through Radiotopia! You may be familiar with him through his appearances on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, or as host of the TV and film podcast Leaving The Theater.

Ronald came by to talk about how growing up in the church affected his relationship with gossip and share a story about love and betrayal at the Muay Thai gym. Kelsey then told this week's tale about our friend of a friend Callie unexpectedly going to church only to find that her imaginary boyfriend was, in fact, real.

Thank you for coming back for another season of Normal Gossip! You can help the show by subscribing on Pocket Casts, Overcast, or wherever else you listen! You can also follow Normal Gossip on Instagram. If you are looking for the transcript of this week's episode, you can find it here.

As a reminder, we're always looking for new stories! If you have gossip to share, email us at, or leave a voice message on our hotline at 26-79-GOSSIP.

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