Recently, I had a chance to chat with co-hosts Tamar and Christine about their hit podcast: The Shipping Room! It’s fun, it makes you think, and it makes you believe that there is someone out there for everyone. The ladies chatted about shipping, how they started, and who they ship. They drop a new episode every Thursday which can be found on iTunes.
How did you get started? Why the shipping room?
Tamar: I had been a guest in a friend’s podcast a couple of times and really loved it and then I briefly hosted a Shameless podcast for the EW Community blog and I was officially bitten by the podcast bug. I loved it and I wanted to create something original and fun. It was June of last year and by that point I’d been writing about television long enough to have noticed a pattern: people respond most intensely to stories about couples. “Shipping,” or following and rooting for one’s favorite couple is a huge part of being a fan. I knew I wanted my podcast to focus on this aspect of the TV viewer experience.
Christine and I had met a few years earlier through Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s website hitrecord.org and had kept in touch via social media. She was also enmeshed in the TV world, writing and blogging for various sites, and I knew she’d be the perfect co-host. I emailed her the idea and within a couple of weeks we were up and running.
Christine: I’ve been an avid listener of podcasts for years and it’s a medium I love. It’s like listening to a radio show where every segment is something you’re interested in. Television is one of the things I have the greatest passion for and I knew I wanted to do a podcast centered around television, but I was still a bit wayward in pinpointing exactly what that was and who would actually want to take a podcasting journey with me. And then coincidentally, I got an e-mail from Tamar saying, “Hey, do you want to start a podcast?” and everything seemed to fall into place.
I think “shipping” is something that every television watcher can relate to, as romance tends to be the beating heart behind most popular television series. Tamar and I really wanted to take back the negative connotations that can often be associated with the term “shipping” and engage our audience in real and analytical conversation about tv relationships, not just the things that many think “shipping” is about, like, “OMG OLICITY” or fan-fiction and things like that. Yes, Oliver and Felicity are an amazing couple; we’re going to talk about WHY and what the writers are doing that makes theirs a relationship we root for, and look at it from a critical standpoint. I think our listeners have really responded to that.
How often to you record your podcast?
Tamar: We record weekly, usually only a couple of days before the episode drops. Sometimes we get a little ahead of schedule to work around holidays or vacations, and though it’s nice to have a little breathing room, I do like to record near our release date because we often discuss some current events and respond to listener feedback which is difficult when we’ve recorded well in advance.
Christine: What she said. 🙂
What are your favorite episodes?
Tamar: Ahh this is such a hard question! I am really proud of all of them, but I think my favorites are the Jason Katims episode – we discussed Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, and Roswell – and our Beverly Hills, 90210 episode. Also, one of the best experiences I’ve had doing the show was having Keiko Agena join us to talk Gilmore Girls. That was incredible and the episode came out great.
Christine: As someone who has been an overly-avid fan of Gilmore Girls since the series started back in 2000, getting the opportunity to discuss the show with Keiko Agena was an insane experience for me and a memory I will treasure always. We recently released an episode with Demi Adejuyigbe where we discussed Jane the Virgin, which is another one that was so cool for me, as I’ve been a fan of his as well from his own podcast, Gilmore Guys. And I can’t not mention our first mailbag episode…our listeners sent in incredible questions that really put us on the spot and it was so much fun to have such a great dialogue with their leading for an episode.
What are your plans for future episodes?
Tamar: We try to find a variety of topics that interest a diverse audience. We alternate between tv show-centric themes and more general topics. As far as future episodes, we have been trying to incorporate listener feedback as much as we can. We have an interview episode scheduled where we’re going to pick the brain of a TV writer and see how shipping affects the writers room. We’re also going to cover some fan favorite shows like Gossip Girl and Sex and the City. Additionally, we’re working on lining up more fun and exciting guests.
Christine: We’ve also got an episode coming up where we discuss our favorite musical moments from some of our favorite shows and it’s an episode I’ve been looking forward to recording for a LONG time.
Who do you ship?
Tamar: For my biggest ships to date, check out our first episode, where Christine and I list our top 10. Right now I’m really into Alicia & Jason on The Good Wife.
Christine: I’m pretty vocal in every episode about my insane love for Leslie and Ben from Parks and Recreation. Though they didn’t make my Top 10 list, I pledge my allegiance to Team Jess (and Rory) always and forever. And as for recent favorite romances, I just finished a binge of The West Wing and Josh and Donna are just the ultimate in frustrating will they/won’t they romances. They would have bumped someone from my Top 10 a few months ago, for sure. Right now I’m bingeing The Good Wife and I think I’m obsessed with Cary and Kalinda.
If you had a dream guests who would it be?
Tamar: Oh man, I have so many!! Talking with Keiko about the show she was on was so much fun, so I’d love to have more actors come on. But based on our subject matter, I think my dream guest would be E!’s Kristin Dos Santos.
Christine: I’ve made it known how desperately I want to have Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, The Good Wife, Hart of Dixie) on our show. But I’d also love to have someone like Janel Moloney (Donna, The West Wing) on our show, an actor who’s actually half of an incredible TV romance and ask them about that experience.
Tamar: Have a clear idea of what you’re going to talk about. Tangents can be fun on podcasts, especially when the hosts are enjoyable to listen to, but in general, I think listeners want to hear a clear conversation on a given topic. Being as prepared as possible before you record is invaluable in keeping the discussion flowing and focused.
Christine: Don’t be discouraged if you start small. Our show started very humbly as far as numbers go. We’ve done a lot of self-promotion and worked really hard at getting the word out about the Shipping Room, and after 7 or 8 months we’ve really built a great audience, one that keeps growing every day. It takes a lot of time and perseverance. So if you start out and think no one is listening, rest assured that someone WILL listen. Just give it time.
What makes your podcast stand out?
Tamar: This is probably a better question for our listeners than for us. It’s hard for me to know. The one thing I will say that I think our audience notices is that we are very committed to interaction with our listeners. We believe it enhances our show tremendously to get listener input and we try very hard to respond to tweets and email and to engage our audience as much as we can. I don’t know if that makes us stand out, but I hope it’s something that they enjoy as much as we do.
Christine: I think based on the feedback we’ve had, we stand out because we talk about tv over a glass of wine. When we talk about a show or a couple, it’s really like listening to your friends talking. We’re very active on social media with our listeners and continue the conversations there. If a listener hears us say something in the car and wants to comment on it, they can head over and we’ll gladly continue that dialogue. We’re approachable and fun, I think, and that’s something that I sincerely hope we never lose as we continue to grow.