Amidst the many (fine) science podcasts, Todd McHatton's latest venture, The Imaginary Accomplishments Podcast, stands out. The iTunes description -- "An imaginary NPR style rock and roll space comedy broadcast twice monthly from a red and white rocket hurtling through the Galaxy featuring friendly monsters, imaginary sports, interviews, and more" -- both captures and fails to capture its essence.
That failure to capture is contained mostly in the dry text of the words. A couple months ago, before the podcast actually launched, McHatton described the show to me as an "all ages, family friendly mix of The Muppets, Cheech & Chong, Monty Python, and 70s rock and roll cartoon shows," and I think there's way more truth than hype in that description. Is it as roll-on-the-floor funny as Monty Python? No, but its absurdity will definitely remind the older listeners of that show. Every show features McHatton's friendly monster creations Larry, Marvy, and Finch, and they travel through the galaxy reporting on absurd sporting events (the "Regional Galactic Semi-Final Doughnut Races," for example). There are made-up ads, other recurring characters (Captain Stuffy-pants, who tends not to say much more than "I say" in a gruff upper-crust British accent), and as one would hope with the talented musician McHatton at the helm, songs. (A couple of the monsters do record reviews, where they promise to give albums the finger... a big foam finger... if they like it. They've liked 'em all so far.) I'd describe the humor more as silly rather than laugh-out-loud funny, but it's genial good nature carries it a long way.
The podcast is most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 8. The iTunes link for the show is here, although you may be able to find it elsewhere (here's the SoundCloud page). Episodes are generally 17-18 minutes in length, released a couple times per month. The show is ad-free (well, except for those fake ads that get woven into the storyline).
The Imaginary Accomplishments Podcast is a variety show of sort that's pretty rare in kids podcasting. (Only Ear Snacks remotely approaches it.) McHatton's released five of the at least six episodes he's produced thus far. We shall see whether it catches on with listeners and families, but with its silly sketches and crunchy power pop, I'd like to think there's some audience out there for McHatton's goofy goodness.