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Author Topic: PC356 / 703: Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day  (Read 5631 times)


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on: March 27, 2015, 03:54:43 PM
PodCastle 356: Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day

by Tina Connolly

Narrated by a full cast!
C.S.E. Cooney as Stef
Amal El-Mohtar as Zoë
M.K. Hobson as Alicia
Tina Connolly as Tiffy
LaShawn Wanak as Deiondre
Dave Thompson as Joseph
Marguerite Kenner as Lindsay
Anna Schwind as Felicia
Hosted by Dave Thompson

Originally published in Unidentified Funny Objects 3, edited by Alex Shvartsman!

From: Stef Jones-Tanaka <>
To: <>
Subject: Intros

Hey Super Moms! Here’s the email group I mentioned to a couple of you at preschool today. Teacher Stacie said there are four of us families in the system right now at Little Darlings Preschool and shared your emails with me–hope that’s ok! I think we can learn from each other!

Please go ahead and introduce yourself and your kids, and feel free to share a problem you’re having right now. Chances are you’re not alone.

As for me, I have twin four-year-olds Isabel Ko and Beatrix Ai. Isabel has super strength and Beatrix has X-ray vision. Isabel is going through a hitting phase. Our front door has been obliterated twice. Beatrix knows all about sex from looking through the neighbors’ walls (apparently the neighbors have way more fun than we do.) I’m tempted to put both girls in a cement dome covered in foil until they’re twenty.

Hope to hear from you all!

hugs, Stef

Live each day like the planet might explode tomorrow. Who knows, right?

Rated PG.

Editors’ Note: This is the last story Dave will be hosting at PodCastle as your editor. And he has a present for you — he wrote a story for you all which you can listen to on his new site!

Special thanks to Peter Wood for all the hard work in putting this episode together, and to LaShawn Wanak, for being a wonderful part of our staff.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: November 02, 2021, 08:56:40 PM by Ocicat »


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Reply #1 on: March 28, 2015, 10:33:42 AM
I really wanted to like this story better than I did.

The performance was entertaining, especially in switching tones from, e.g. panic to the goofy sig. lines. "Who knows, right?"

But I really did not enjoy the too-obvious too-easy stereotyping of the various mom characters. Do women in groups always have to be catty and sniping at each other? (Spoiler: no.)

And I still feel bad for the adolescent girl. What do you think her home life was like with Tiffi for a mom before she manifested her super-power?


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Reply #2 on: April 02, 2015, 03:53:31 PM
This is definitely one of my favourites of this year - so funny! It had me obnoxiously chuckling while plugged into my headphones.

... too-obvious too-easy stereotyping of the various mom characters. Do women in groups always have to be catty and sniping at each other?

I agree that this was stereotyping, but it was perfectly done, which is why it works so well as a piece of lighthearted satire. Having been involved with various parent committees and groups over the years, I can totally confirm that this is exactly how parents (not just the women) interact over their pre-school age children. Tina totally nailed it - I know all of these characters personally (right down to their names!). I even saw myself in there ~cringe~ Poor lonesome Joseph.

Don't worry though ToooooMuchCoffeeMan the sniping and catty-ness mostly wears off by grade 3 ^_^
« Last Edit: April 02, 2015, 03:55:07 PM by ediblepenguin »


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Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 05:19:01 PM I just thought this one was fun. I was very amused all the way through. A unique idea well executed. Using different readers for the separate voices made it all the better!

And all the best to Dave in his future endeavors.


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Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 08:33:08 PM
The part of this story that bugged me was totally realistic - that they'd call it a mom group, as if dads aren't involved in childrearing.


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Reply #5 on: April 05, 2015, 11:26:14 PM
I loved this; it was a lot of fun and I think the stereotypes were kept to about the right level-- the only character I thought was a flat-out stereotype was Tiffy (who I hated for most of the story), and her character was rehabilitated by the end, as well as made more complex and human. The ending in general was fantastic, and I really do feel for Amherst, both because of how her mother must have treated her before the super powers manifested, and for having to deal with creating a preschool full of super-powered kids.

And the cheesy email signatures and email addresses really added to the fun for me; I thought they were funny and made it sound more like a real email chain:


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Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 12:36:29 AM
I out and out loved this story, but then again, I am biased towards Tina Connolly; and this story captures so much of what I like about Dave and Anna's tenure at Podcastle.

As for the issue of the moms and stereotyping, I'm not a parent, but I am friends with many parents who belong to such groups and, from their stories, I instantly recognized all of these characters. Which you could take as a bad thing ("oh, they're so stereotyped") or as a good representation of reality ("oh, parents really do tend to approach their kids and peers in a few ways"). Personally, I lean towards the second of those options, both because of my preexising biases and because parenthood doesn't really get explored enough in fiction.


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Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 01:57:07 PM
Normally I would rail against e-mail headers and footers in audio fiction. Most of the time, they're awful space fillers to provide that frame context and work on the page but fail in audio. On the page, you can glance and see that it's an e-mail address, maybe scan it on the first read for easter eggs, and breeze past it in every further instance.

But I'm not going to do that this time. Tina manages to pack character into every line, and keeps the frame from just being padding. From the variety in the e-mail addresses to the signature blocks, the frame focuses the character development. This was the cherry on top of a really enjoyable story.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


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Reply #8 on: April 09, 2015, 01:30:04 PM
The story was fun.

But my favorite part was how well the author captured the passive-aggressive one-upping by the parents.  Certainly, not all parents are this way.  But a decent chunk of them are--and they tend to be the ones (in my experience) to gravitate toward social media to discuss their kids.  Both the writing and the narration captured that perfectly.

As I said, fun.


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Reply #9 on: April 10, 2015, 04:48:50 PM
This was so much fun! The satire was spot on and the voice work was excellent. Of course I was imagining this as the same world as The Incredibles! Love it :)


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Reply #10 on: April 12, 2015, 05:43:35 PM
That was a lot of fun. Just fun. Well acted! The format worked surprisingly well for this medium.

I thought the subtle sniping was well-done and true to reality. Like most functional groups, they were able pull together in a crisis but otherwise drifted back to snipe mode. It was classic. One of the few I'd like to listen to again. Kudos for producing something so outside the genre norm.

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


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Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 10:03:13 PM
OMG, so much fun.  Great choice for full cast. Conolly is excellent as ever.  And I had no problem with stereotyping--actually i appreciated that there were a variety of different preconceived notions, each representing some parents I've met.  Parenting, especially of little ones, is one of those things that you're going to get all kinds of advice that is diametrically opposed from one give to the next with each side willing to fight endlessly over it.  Tiffy was a bit much at the beginning (and I was honestly skeptical that she was super at all) but I appreciated the further development at the end.


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Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 04:14:08 PM
I got to be honest, I hate when people throw out the word "stereotyping" like it's automatically a bad thing.

Stereotyping is a technique. It's a shorthand. Especially in a really short piece of fiction, you don't have room to fully explore a character, show the depths of their psyche and how they came to be the way they are. And often that's not the point of the story. So you paint with broad strokes instead of tiny ones. "You all know THIS guy, amiright?"

Especially when it comes to satire, which is where this story falls. You HAVE to establish the stereotype in order to subvert it. That's what makes the humor relatable: "I totally know that person!" That's what makes the humor, period: "This thing you were expecting? Turns out it's the opposite of that! Expectations thwarted!" That's what provides the character growth at the end and makes the ending satisfying: "Hey, she's not just a stereotype after all, there's a real person in there".

When done badly, stereotyping is just lazy writing. By all means, criticize bad writing all day. But using stereotypes does not *necessarily* mean lazy writing has taken place; sometimes the author choose to use that tool, just like the author might choose to show instead of tell, or any of the other million things you're not "supposed" to do.


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Reply #13 on: April 16, 2015, 10:50:14 AM
This one had me on the verge of tears in my car. Is that weird?

I think the use of stereotypes to tell this story worked perfectly, and it freed up space for the emotional journeys of the characters. I adore Amal El-Mohtar's narration of anything, so I was all about Zoe here, but Tiffy's resolution was the bit that brought me to chin-quivering sniffles.


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Reply #14 on: December 17, 2019, 09:16:44 PM
I love the "women of color" term. But I thought it was a missed opportunity, in that the author could have coined a new term, "women of power." Wouldn't it be wonderful if that took off in the main stream.


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Reply #15 on: November 02, 2021, 08:57:18 PM
This episode has been re-run as PC703: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day