Why I Don’t Like My Favorite Murder—and What I Listen to Instead

It’s common knowledge around here that I am The Everygirl’s resident murder-obsessed editor. I love anything scary and anything related to true crime, and my life consists of going from reading a murder mystery to listening to a true crime podcast to watching the latest serial killer documentary. Am I crazy? Well, maybe.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my 10 favorite true-crime podcast episodes — and boy oh boy, was there a response to what I thought was a non-controversial list. The main takeaway? A lot of people were livid that what many consider to be the true-crime podcast king wasn’t included: My Favorite Murder.

Full disclosure: I’m not in the business of bashing successful, accomplished women; and I’m not here to tell you why you shouldn’t like them — I’m just explaining why personally don’t. Do I appreciate that two fellow women started My Favorite Murder and arguably began what is now the true-crime podcast craze? Absolutely, and I think they are both incredibly talented people. But it’s never been my cup of tea, and I felt the need to explain why. My list didn’t include any episodes from My Favorite Murder on purpose because I enjoy the podcast less than I enjoy others. But don’t light your torches and head to The Everygirl office just yet — this is all fully my personal opinion.

From the start, I found it difficult to get into My Favorite Murder; I always found myself zoning out and starting an episode of a similar one but wanted to give it a chance because I knew about its cult following. I think that Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff are very witty and funny people, but when I want to listen to a true-crime podcast, that’s not what I’m generally in it for. I appreciate that they use humor to support an otherwise horribly depressing topic, but I always found their use of it more distracting than entertaining to me.

The hosts have also come under a bit of fire for failing to hold themselves to every detail of every case, or as Rolling Stone put it, “While they do research their murders in advance, they refuse to feel beholden to every fact, exact date, or pronunciation.” I don’t believe any true-crime podcast episode could possibly be perfect — when you’re speaking about a case for 60+ minutes, of course, there will be statements made that are less accurate than they should be; but Hardstark and Kilgariff have seemed to frame any inaccuracies without too much apology.

I’ve also felt less compelled to listen to many of the topics they choose to cover — not because they’re bad choices, but because they aren’t what I personally prefer to listen to. Their hometown minisodes have been very hit or miss to me, and they consist of many of their episodes. Also, as nit-picky as this is, their episode titles next to the other true-crime podcast titles that are next to each other in my library always look much less appealing.

When it comes to podcasts, you have to absolutely love the hosts’ banter and personalities to fully invest yourself in listening; there are no other mediums to entertain you, only their voices and what they choose to say. Am I happy that other people automatically click with them and feel fully entertained by them? Definitely. Am I staying in my lane by not loving them myself? Absolutely.

My education is in journalism; I received my Bachelor’s degree in Editorial Journalism last year. I deeply appreciate other journalists and the work they put into their research and reporting. When I listen to a podcast, my journalistic curiosity makes me want all of the details, and accuracy is important to me — I spent four years knowing that if I made factual mistakes in my writing, I’d need to clarify it in a retraction. When I listen to podcasts by fellow journalists, I appreciate the way in which I can tell they went about their in-depth reporting, and covered it factually and without bias. The investigative journalism process is interesting and very respected to me, so I’m naturally drawn to that kind of in-depth story telling; I very much prefer reporting to story telling.

If you’re a My Favorite Murder lover, by all means, keep listening to every episode and being a Murderino. But if you’re not, these are similar podcasts that I suggest — all by journalists.

 

1. Serial

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig, who is a journalist. The podcast has all the makings of good, solid true crime reporting and tells one story over the course of an entire season. Season one seems gets the most love (I personally also found season two incredibly interesting); but as the winner of the first ever Peabody award for a podcast, I believe that all of them are worth checking out.

 

2. The Clearing

The Clearing is also in a one-story-told-over-the-course-of-a-full-season format, and it’s one of the most insane and bizarre stories I have ever heard. It’s another show hosted by a seasoned journalist, and it tells the story of serial killer Edward Edwards, with the help of — get this — his own daughter, who figured out he was a murderer when she was in her 40s.

 

3. To Live and Die in LA

Hosted by Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss, this podcast follows the disappearance and death of actress Adea Shabani, who was last seen alive leaving her Hollywood apartment. This show is perfect for a long road trip, or to break up to entertain you for a week’s worth of long commutes — it’ll have you in its grasp throughout the entirety of the series.

 

  • I don’t like My Favorite Murder because I feel like the hosts are really disrespectful in the way they talk about the victims. I can’t imagine being a friend or family member of the deceased and not being outraged at the way my loved one is being talked about. It’s just really….low.

  • Katherine Lathrop

    THANK GOD I’m not the only one who doesn’t care for MFM – I find them annoying. To Live and Die in LA is AWESOME. I like listening to Corpus Delicti, The Minds of Madness, Small Town Murder (warning for VERY adult language and jokes that not everyone will find funny but they do a real deep dive into the area before getting into the murder), and Trace Evidence. Martinis and Murder is also a fun one.

  • Emily Day

    YES! I agree 100%. They also spend the first 30 minutes just talking to each other about mundane things which is not what I’m there for… When I do listen I always find myself fast forwarding through all the B.S. LOVED your list of recommendations.

  • Emma

    I love My Favorite Murder among MANY others (have you listened to In The Dark? Incredible). I listen to crime junkie too, but I feel like they do the same amount of research as Karen and Georgia and have the same amount of mispronunciations, but they don’t call it out or joke about it and it drives me nuts! For example, Shanann Watts’ name was mispronounced for an ENTIRE EPISODE and was never corrected. One of the most horrific family murders of the past couple of years and you don’t have the decency to have a corrections corner? At least Karen and Georgia recognize that the mess up. I want Ashley and Brit to do that too.

  • I frequently wondered while listening to MFM how anyone could get through an entire episode. The small talk is excessive, and I’ve always found the cadence and editing to be not my cup of tea. Thank you for making other recommendations! Im looking forward to checking those out!

  • I love this! So many people have recommended MFM to me and I just can’t get into it; I’m just not a banter person. This is also why I stopped listening to Stuff You Should Know and Stuff Your Mother Never Told You – not that the content isn’t good, but the delivery is not my personal style. Based on the crime podcasts you do enjoy, I think you might also enjoy In the Dark (two seasons so far) and Criminal. They are both amazing!

  • Liz

    Writing a lengthy blog post about why you DON’T like something feels really negative and unnecessary. The internet needs more positivity, not a bunch of people joining in a chorus of why they think something sucks. Disappointing.

  • Lucy Hobbs

    And there I was thinking I was the only one! I find MFM too chatty for my liking, they drift off topic so much that I end up forgetting what they were talking about in the first place.

    I highly recommend Casefile and thanks so your original article I’m now hooked on crime junkie 🙂

    Thanks!

  • Sarah Odessa

    While I TOTALLY understand and respect your perspective, MFM is still one of my favorite podcasts. I really appreciate how Georgia and Karen bring joy and advocacy into their conversations. They have done a great deal for mental health awareness, and their “openness” at the beginning of the podcast breaks down the stereotypes of perfection/not letting the honest humanity of someone, like a celebrity or internet personality, show in their work. If that part bores you, skip through it? Or play it at 1.5 like me. Perhaps the reason you do not fancy MFM is because you are looking for more of a fact-laid-out type of podcast and not one that builds up a larger community over an array of subjects that all relate to true crime.

    Could they be more careful with facts? Sure. Are the quick to apologize when they do make a mistake? Yes.

    While I was sad when I didn’t see my favorite podcast on you list last week, I didn’t really think twice about it. This article seems to draw more negativity towards the topic, and re-invigorate those feelings.

  • Duke Silver

    This post is kind of…gross? Have some courage and stand by your opinions – don’t write an entire essay on why you DON’T like something and someone specifically because some people are complaining. Now this piece serves as a pile-on for people who don’t like the same thing to trash that same thing and those people. You left it off the list for a reason. Let its absence stand on its own. If you’re going to feel compelled to explain every reason for every top 10 list then stop writing them and leave it for someone with a bit more courage in their convictions. Isn’t that part of being a journalist, too?

  • VT9284

    Considering the place that Crime Junkie has on the list and the writers interest in journalism, I’d advise looking into some of the plagiarism accusations CJ. Hopefully the hosts have learned their lesson as others (MFM included) have, but crediting the original journos when retelling a story seems like an important part of journalistic integrity.

  • Washington Irving

    I think that list should still be reevaluated. Not because MFM wasn’t included, but because Crime Junkie was listed three times and it’s been proven that they majorly plagiarized some of their episodes. Something for which they’ve only given a half-assed apology for.

  • Christine L.

    SO many people have recommended My Favorite Murder to me because I generally like true crime, but when the first episode contained a comment to the effect of, “I’ve never seen a dead body before, but I really want to,” I tapped out. Could have been because I work in health care and had just lost a patient on shift the night before, but it’s also just a weird thing to say about death.

  • Sinclaire

    Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing a legitimate, honest opinion! I too had a hard time clicking with them (and the 15-30 minutes it takes for them to actually get past the banter). I want to be hooked rather quickly when it comes to a podcast – I don’t want to have to wait that long to hear someone’s opinions! Give me facts and details, pronto!

  • THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS. I think their podcast has glamorized the intrigued-in-true-crime population. The term Murderino I actually don’t care for because it makes the interest of true crime into a sort of “type” (and typically a female type– I think of Jeffrey Dahmer lovers and Ted Bundy swooners even though I’m sure MFM doesn’t want to only cover those kinds of people.).

    But I don’t want to bash them either and totally think it’s great if people feel fulfilled by their podcast. First and foremost, I think that people (especially women) should hear true crime so that they are more aware of the world as a dangerous place (not to say that everything about the world is dangerous and we should all cower in fear but we should be aware). If that means they’re only able to consume the content in a lighthearted manner, then fine. At least they’re being informed, right?

    Anyway, love your post. Adding numbers 2 and 3 to my podcast subs right now!
    xx Gitana

    http://www.simplygitana.com