Image courtesy of WCUA Spotify
By Caroline Morris
The newest podcast to hit the WCUA Spotify is the Don’t Read Into It Podcast with host Noelia Veras, the Tower’s very own managing editor. DRIIP with two i’s, as Veras has dubbed the podcast, is a biweekly podcast that reviews a movie, a television show, and a book.
Veras’ experiences in The Tower as Arts & Entertainment editor during the 2019-2020 school year and managing editor this school year are what inspired her to create DRIIP.
“I started to like reviewing entertainment and stuff like that, so I figured this would be a cool podcast to have and just… talk to you guys like we were, you know, friends just after watching a movie, or a TV show, or reading a book” Veras said.
The podcast’s inaugural episode was released on October 25 and centers its theme around Halloween, or “Spooky Season,” as the episode is dubbed. It spans approximately 45 minutes and Veras designates 15 minutes of review to each of the three forms of entertainment.
This episode reviews the 2019 horror movie Ready or Not, the Netflix series The Haunting of Bly Manor, and the novel Mexican Gothic. For all three segments, Veras gives a description of the premise, some of her favorite aspects, analysis, and weaknesses in the pieces. Additionally, Veras identifies the moral or even sometimes “sub-moral” of the story to encapsulate the overall theme and message of the media. She also establishes the First Act Rule for listeners.
“If I say something that happened in the first act, it’s not a spoiler, okay. It’s a premise. It’s part of the premise, and I have to explain it,” Veras said.
Not only is this a fair rule for any listener who tunes in to hear a review of a movie they have yet to see, but Veras’s delivery is quite jovial and makes the listener smile.
A strong point of this haunted episode is Veras’ insightful analysis of the entertainment she reviewed. She discusses lighting choices, special effects, costuming, acting caliber, plot and character development, and much more to give a holistic, well-balanced review.
She also does an admirable job of trying to be fair in her ratings while also acknowledging her personal preferences, tendencies, and biases because they are inevitable in an opinion-based podcast. Veras gives The Haunting of Bly Manor only 3.5/5 stars despite the fact that she and her friends “can’t stop talking about this TV show.” She tells the audience that she is harsh on movies, harshest on TV shows, and relatively easy on the ratings for books, so that they can understand her ratings on her scale.
Veras also brings a special perspective to her analysis of Mexican Gothic because of her knowledge of Latin American history and culture. She touches on moments in the novel involving meals and contrasts it against the typical Latin American meal behavior. Additionally, her analysis of the main character’s situation in life is enlightened by her knowledge of feminism in 1950s Mexico. The information Veras offers opens up the symbolism of the novel and is an asset that most listeners and many reviewers would not have in their back pocket to help them understand the book.
The only area of improvement for Veras would simply be in preparation and practice. For a first episode and podcast, this was a pretty flawless listen; however, more time and experience will help Veras to smooth out any hiccups that could impede the listener’s comprehension of her review. This issue came up in her discussion of Bly Manor, when she discusses Jamie’s character arc. Jamie’s name had never been said before in the podcast, which could leave the listener confused and not able to fully understand Veras’s review. She makes a great point about the changing plot focus and character growth, but it is impeded by this small oversight. Just a touch of refinement to the structure and planning of the episode would elevate the podcast to the highest level and allow the audience to more easily follow her apt and engaging analysis.
What makes the podcast truly special is Veras’s personality. Her delivery and sense of humor leave the listener smiling and laughing the whole time even as she discusses horror movies. While discussing Bly Manor, she describes a character at 18:42.
“He’s the absolute worst. His name is Peter Quint. Ew. He’s the worst character in the show,” Veras said.
It is difficult to have the comedy gold of this statement translated to writing, but it perfectly encapsulates the hilarity Veras brings to her podcast that makes a listener rewind and listen to laugh all over again. And this is not a standalone moment. Veras laughs often throughout her podcast in a way that makes the audience want to laugh along with her and just lets her personality and turns of phrase bring unique color to her thoughts and ideas. She even anticipates bringing up the Twilight franchise every episode, only to follow it up with “I promise I have good taste,” which has to make the listener chuckle.
This is a wonderful podcast to listen to. Veras set out to make it feel like a conversation between friends, and she really achieves that for the listener. It has all the fun and laughs of a friendly conversation while also offering engaging analyses and information.
Veras ends this episode with a few quotes from the novel Mexican Gothic, one of which is: “Noemi’s father said she cared too much about her looks and parties to take school seriously. As if a woman could not do two things at once.”As Veras begins this new chapter and new project of the Don’t Read Into It Podcast, it is clear that she has the ability to do much more than just two things at once. Not only that, she can do them exceptionally.
Listeners can follow for updates on the podcast at @dontreadintoitpodcast on Instagram, and can send suggestions, thoughts, or questions to Veras through an Instagram DM or the email firstname.lastname@example.org. The podcast can be found on Spotify under the WCUA Radio account.