Despite the strange looks from people when I enthusiastically say things like, “I love reading about serial killers,” or, “You live down the street from a murder house?? Tell me everything!”, I have always been interested in true crime and serial killers.
I like the topic so much that I majored in criminology in college. That’s why, when I discovered there was a podcast called “My Favorite Murder,” I thought to myself, “That sounds like the best thing I could do with my spare time.” And I was not wrong.
There are so many things that make this podcast wonderful. It has everything: comedy, true crime, feminist perspectives (thanks to hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark), and even some amazing survivor stories.
I was fairly new to the podcast world when I came across “My Favorite Murder.” I had listened to both seasons of “Serial,” “S-Town” (which I listened to twice), and a handful of “Lore” episodes, and that was all. I can’t remember now how I even heard about MFM, but I do remember that as soon as I heard the title I got excited. I immediately downloaded the first episode, and there went my social life for the next several weeks.
The most refreshing aspect of MFM is the way Karen and Georgia sincerely care about the victims (who are often female) and treat them with the utmost respect in their telling of the true crime stories.For instance, the ladies make a concerted effort to always use the term “sex worker” instead of “prostitute.” The reason for this is the idea that in cases where the victims happened to be prostitutes, law enforcement labeling them as such resulted in an attitude that, somehow, the loss of their lives mattered less, or they deserved what they got, and the investigation to solve their murders was not taken as seriously as, say, a housewife and mother of two who was murdered in her suburban home. The term “sex worker” separates the person from the job, reinforcing the fact that it is just that – a job. Whether it was the person’s first choice or not, it was a choice that they freely made and a job they have chosen, rather than being coerced.
In general, Karen and Georgia always make it a point to include the victims’ names, ages, and even a little bit about them as a person, if that type of information is available. This stood out to me, because it is very different from other tales of true crime and serial killers that I’ve heard or read in the past, which typically focus on the perpetrators.
Don’t get me wrong, they do talk plenty about the killers as well, because the childhood traumas and psychological background are part of what they find so fascinating about this topic (which I think is a fascination shared by most “Murderinos” – the name fans of the show have given themselves). But the victims are never just nameless people who are forgotten about once the case is solved.
I discovered after listening to a few episodes that MFM had a private Facebook group that was rapidly growing in numbers. Since I was listening to the beginning episodes almost one year after they first aired, it was interesting to hear the ladies saying how thrilled they were that the group was up to “500 members,” and then seeing when I went to join it that the membership had reached more than 100,000! Clearly, I was late to the party.
The current count is creeping up towards 150,000, and it is a friendly, supportive, safe space where people can meet other “Murderinos” that have similar interests in topics that may typically be frowned upon in polite society. There are very few mean comments or creepers on the page, from what they have reported on the podcast, and what I’ve seen in browsing the page myself. I truly admire the special community that has been created by the fans of this show, with the support of Karen and Georgia. People express a sense of belonging and unity; they finally have others they can talk to about this “taboo” subject, who will not judge them or think they are weirdos for cheering out loud upon hearing the topic for the day is Ted Bundy (yes, that’s a thing that happened during a live show).
If you are interested in listening to tales of true crime, while laughing your face off at these hilarious women, and learning or perhaps gaining a new perspective on something, then “My Favorite Murder” is definitely a podcast worth checking out.